Book does not reflect artist’s personal views
A disturbing dedication to the book, “New Mexico Native American Lore: Skinwalkers, Katchinas, Spirits and Dark Omens,” by Ray John de Aragon, that was supposed to be a positive and informative view of Native American/Pueblo world view but instead strongly convicts a deeply respected Pueblo leader.
Also, further into the book and more text regarding Popé. When you say “so-called Pueblo Revolt,” my Pueblo people know that at the time of this coordination to resist and/or remove these “invaders,” there were brutalities inflicted on the Pueblo people that caused the leaders to come together to defend the very existence and ways of who we were and still are.
I am disappointed that I did not have the opportunity to see a draft before it went to final print. There are inaccuracies with regard my art descriptions, after I emailed the descriptions and biography.
After speaking and showing this book to some deeply respected elders and leaders from a number of Pueblos, I will not assist in promoting the book.
I am asking that a disclaimer be sent to the book’s publisher to be printed and added, as an insert, immediately. This disclaimer should read:
“Artist Lena J. Munoz does not support the text written about the Pueblo leader Popé. As a person of Pueblo ancestry, she knows there are endless accounts/versions from ‘every group of people’ during time of conquest by the invaders from across the waters, i.e., the Spanish, British, French, etc., from every direction on the continent. The historical account by the Pueblo people is my bias. My art does not represent the narrative expressed in this text.”
I know my Pueblo people — Ysleta — with a deeper respect and understanding with regard to my place in my Pueblo world, even if I don’t live or participate in the community. I was told that as a Pueblo woman, my heart is where it should be.
I have very mixed feelings about contributing my art since I received the book. I am returning the book with corrections and I will take some time to evaluate my feelings.
I was not compensated for my art in this book in advance and only when the book sells. Since I am not promoting this book I will decline any form of payment by the author.
Also the Poeh Cultural Center, Pojaque Pueblo, is celebrating the “Pueblo Revolt” from the perspective of the Pueblo experience so the historical knowledge is never forgotten.
Lena J. Munoz
Change brought help to many in recent years
I found a recent letter to the editor (“Culture has changed,” Oct. 6, 2022) sad and disturbing.
The writer points to the dramatic changes he has seen in our country in the past 50 years. I’ve witnessed these changes also.
The writer’s reaction to the changes is one of alarm and rejection, which is unfortunate. It’s unfortunate the writer suffered economically under the Obama administration while the rest of the country was starting to prosper again following the economic debacle created by the Bush administration.
During the period the writer cites he saw: health care made available to more Americans than ever before, great strides in addressing economic and social inequalities based on sex and racial/cultural minorities, movement to recognize the equality and rights of LGBTQ+ people, a reopening of dialogue with our international partners and allies, and civility in political and social discourse. I’m sorry that some folks missed all that.
More disturbingly, the writer was quick to point to some changes as “evil.” This is a loaded word, and one which unfortunately has been bandied about recently by those of the far right and White nationalists to describe anyone to describe anyone who does not espouse their hate-filled, bigoted and violent views.
As anyone who saw the excellent documentary on PBS last month, “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” would readily recognize this rhetoric was essentially the same used in the 1930s and 1940s by the Nazis in Germany, and in our own country to justify their use of violence against those perceived as “others.”
If we are really seeing any evil today it is preaching hate against transgender people, or against Black, Asian, LGBTQ+, Jewish, Muslim, immigrant people. Ideologies, words and actions can be labeled “evil.”
But to label a person evil simply based on who they naturally are, or because they are different than oneself, only opens the door to justify violence and discrimination against those people. That is not the America we want.
The upcoming election is not about choice between good and evil. It is about the country we want. Do we want a United States based in liberty, freedom, equality and compassion — or do we want fascism, hate and rule by violence.
Ron Lahti, M.Div.
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