Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This Is Who We Really Are

The information below in bold lettering is a quote and comes from pages 13 and 14 of the book titled "Southwest, Three Peoples in Geographical Change, 1600 - 1970" written by D.W. Meinig and published in 1971 by the Oxford University Press. This is who we really are... Click here:

The most general product of contact, for two peoples so long together as the Spanish and the Indians had created a third, a blend in blood as well as culture. Soldier settlements alongside Indian Pueblos, the extensive use of Indian labor on homes and towns, growing numbers of captives and slaves from the nomadic bands, from these and other practices, from formal marriages and casual contacts, came the mestizo population. 

Although usually largely (and often almost wholly) Indian in blood they became increasingly Spanish in culture - in language and religion, behavior and attire - cultivating their fields in ancient ways but also raising cattle and sheep,  and becoming quite independent of the more formal bonds with purely Indian societies. In time such people became the main element in the Spanish founded towns, and their own small villages (plazas) and isolated farms (ranches) became the most numerous kinds of settlements in the Rio Grand Valley.

Thus of the estimated 20,000 "Spanish" in 1800 only a few hundred were wholly that in ancestry as well as in faith and tongue: the ricos in Santa Fe and a few larger towns, officials and patrons, a few religious and perhaps a few soldiers fresh from Spain.

The rest were an indigenous mixture, Mexican or New Mexican, now more numerous than the descendants of either of their progenitors, and the solid nucleus of that steadily enlarging people with which in later years became known as the "Spanish-Americans" or "Hispanos."

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Just Who In The Hell Do You Think You Are?

A lie that you believe is as powerful as the truth. Even though it’s a lie, if you believe it and you allow it to shape your thinking and your understanding, then it becomes as powerful, binding, constricting—or—freeing as an absolute truth. This happens all the time, with people we know, motives we misunderstand.

One woman in the news recently was the head of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington claiming to be African American. She was found out to be 100% white. Why she chooses to identify as an African American is beyond me.

Here and there you see/hear/read of folks who are usually classified as African Americans claiming to be white. The phenomena seems to work both ways with African American and whites.

Senator Elizabeth Warren claimed her grandmother told her she was part Native American and it turned out to be false when her political opposition checked up on her ancestors, Waalaaa, not an Indian to be found.

I pity the Cherokee Indians, they are mostly gone from the face of the earth, yet we have folks who are 1/64 Cherokee claiming to be Indians. These folks are 63 parts out of 64 something else other than Native American. The old Cherokees are rolling in their graves, the descendants of their enemies are now walking around wearing the mantel of a people long gone. This is called cultural appropriation. Check that out by clicking here.

Native Americans all over the place have to deal with this. The number of wanna be Indians probably outnumber the real ones by a factor of ten (10). Native American folk have a lot of jokes about the Wannabe Tribal members.

We New Mexican Hispanos/Hispanics/Mexicans/Chicanos/Indo Hispanos etc., have our share of wanna be's out there. Some are wannabe whites, others wannabe Indians others wanabe Jews. I have not heard of a  wannabe African American. And to be sure the ones claiming to be white or Indians, in part or in whole may have a verifiable claim, the ones claiming to be Jews is another matter all together.

The folks claiming to he Sephardic Jews are wayyyyy of base. This is also cultural appropriation. They may in all reality have some of this in their background but there is zero proof, I mean ZERO proof of any in New Mexico. Does that stop all the wanna be Jews? Not in the least, the list even seems to be growing. This was all started by a guy named Stanley Hordes. Click on his name to read all about ole Stanley and the New Mexican Sephardic Jews. They seem to forget that if they want to be Jews they can. No one is stopping them. It is a religion, so go ahead and switch.

But people wanting to be something they are not is a long list, a very long list. But they usually can't prove it. Their claims are full of snippets like maybe, we think, they said, I have heard, I read etc., etc. They usually can't prove it and their claims cannot be substantiated.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Manuela (Mela) Romero 1910 - 2011, A Repost

I just found this obituary in the last week, it was written by Robin Mckinney Martin, the owner of the Santa Fe New Mexican and published in October of 2011, it was so compelling I just had to share it here. This is probably the best tribute Manuela (Mela) Romero could ever have. Maybe the best tribute anyone of us could ever hope to have. I hope the person who wrote this does not mind me re posting the obituary here now.  Maria Manuela was a distant cousin  whom I never met and obviously a very beautiful person. I wish I would have known her. There are some wonderful people whom we happen to be related to, know or interact with, but I do not know a one whom I could say was as good as Manuela. May she rest in peace.

In memory of MANUELITA ROMERO 1910 - 2011 Manuelita (Mela) Romero loved me and took care of me and my family from the time I was born, until the time she died in October.

She lived a good, long life. She was born Dec. 30, 1910, on a small farm between the Rio Nambe and Pojoaque Pueblo. New Mexico was still a territory. The Mexican Revolution and World War I had not begun. American women did not have the right to vote.

She lived though the terms of seven archbishops of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, 32 governors of New Mexico, and 18 presidents of the United States.

Her family's roots go back to at least the 18th century in the Pojoaque Valley. She often talked to me about her family genealogy, and the following names and dates are from her memory. Her mother was Camila Rivera of Nambe. Camila's mother was Rufina Ortiz, and her mother's parents were Lupita Romero and Jose Manuel Ortiz. Camila's father was Juan Jose Rivera and her father's parents were Lugarda Valdez and Antonio Jose Rivera.

Juan Jose was the first person buried at the Pojoaque graveyard; he is buried in the northwest corner is the oldest one in the cemetery. Mela's father was Pablo Romero of Cuyamungue. Pablo's mother was Macaria Ortiz, and her parents were Chonita Romero and Jesus Ortiz. Pablo's father was Felipe Romero. Felipe's parents were Refugio Valdez and Vicente Romero. Her siblings were Tonita, born 1892; Chonita, born 1894; Jose Maria, born 1899; Alejandrino, born 1905.

Her father farmed their land and traveled through the northern part of the territory trading food and household wares. When Mela was an infant, she contracted whooping cough. Her mother later told her that while she was ill, her father spent many nights walking up and down with her on his shoulder. The illness made her deaf in one ear for the rest of her life.

In 1915 her father died, probably of melanoma. When he was very ill, he was taken to St. Vincent Hospital in the back of a horse-drawn wagon. The family stayed with relatives at the house that is now the custom banking office for First National Bank.

She accompanied her mother on the farm chores. When her mother joined with the neighbors at the all-night process that made syrup out of caña (sorghum), she slept on a mat under the cottonwood tree near the mill. The tree's trunk still stands on the hill above Mela's house on Shining Sun Road. She and her mother walked the mile to Don Pablo Romero's general store and walked back, visiting relatives along the way. Her mother carried most of their purchases on her head. Manuelita carried the tins of peanut butter, swinging them by their handles.

At that time, Pojoaque Pueblo was almost abandoned. Although Camila Romero was non-Indian, Mela's mother was assigned to care for the pueblo church. Mela remembers sitting in the ruins of the old pueblo and finding beads in the dust while her mother cleaned for the church. Growing up, she spent a great deal of time with her oldest sister Tonita and her brother-in-law Procopio Roybal.

Her cousins were like brothers and sisters to her. She graduated from eighth grade - - all the school offered - - at the Pojoaque school on Bouquet Lane. When she was about 16, she went to work for Eugene Van Cleave at La Mesita Ranch. The ranch often took in boarders. It was then that Mela began to learn European-style cooking. After World War II, she worked for Louis and Elinor Hempelmann. Louis was a distinguished doctor at Los Alamos.

In 1953, she came to work for my parents, Robert and Louise McKinney. She took care of me, as well as cooking for many parties, serving houseguests, and doing housekeeping chores. Mela was the most organized and efficient person I have ever known.

Given different opportunities, she might have run the laboratory at Los Alamos, or the state. She was a masterful cook. Her dishes ranged from red chile enchiladas, to curries, to her very famous biscochitos, to standing rib roast, to sopaipillas, to cheese or chocolate souffles.

Through family connections, and because of her work, she was respected and liked by many famous people who lived in or visited the state: painters Cady Wells, Peter Hurd, Henriette Wyeth and Georgia O'Keeffe; writers and historians E. Boyd, Paul Horgan and Witter Bynner; photographers Laura Gilpin and Julius Shulman; designer Sandro Girard; architects Nathaniel Owings and John Meem; Senators Clinton Anderson and Joseph Montoya; Representative Manuel Lujan; many New Mexico governors; scientists Robert Oppenheimer and Isidor Rabi.

She never married. Her great love was the church. She was not a joiner of Catholic organizations, but was faithful in her devotion and a strong member of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish. After Mela's mother became ill and bedridden, she and Chonita cared for her.

After Camila's death in 1967, Chonita became ill and bedridden. Mela retired to care for her. Chonita died in 1987. Nevertheless, Mela continued to watch over me. She made many of my clothes. When Meade and I were married, she baked our five-layer (carrot) wedding cake. She sewed my children's baptismal dress. She cooked Sunday dinner after Mass for my family, even after she turned 99. She taught my children to make biscochitos, apricot jam and torrejas en chile. She encouraged me, and my children, to learn proper Spanish. She always was teaching me rare, and probably ancient, words: muina, pouty; hichete, the sisal used for making ristas; rebuznar, to bray like a donkey; papalote, sunbonnet; barrullo, commotion.

Mela was strict. All it took was a sniff to discourage me from doing what she disapproved of. A quiet compliment kept me on the right path. I am certain it is because of her that my children, Laura and Elliott, grew up Catholic and respectful of tradition. She lived in the house where she was born until the 1990s, when she moved across the river to be closer to her relatives. She was famous for her flower garden, full of petunias, iris, johnny-jump-ups and roses, cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans.

In 1999, she had a bout with breast cancer, one of the few illnesses of her life. After she turned 100, she became slightly confused. So, instead of bringing the family over for dinner, I took her for drives on Sunday afternoons. In Cuyamungue, she showed me where her ancestors had lived. On the way to Las Truchas, she explained how her sister and cousins would go to those hills to pick piñon. When I drove her to Valle Grande this summer, she told me how once her mother went on a camping trip by wagon to the Pajarito Plateau. Camila, whose entire life was devoted to the farm, stopped the party on a hill to say a prayer of thanks "por ser el mundo tan grande."

In early October, she enjoyed going with my family to Mass at San Ildefonso where Archbishop Michael Sheehan presided. Two weeks ago Mela fell and broke her hip. The love and devotion she had given her family showed in their tender care for her as she was dying. Of all the people I have ever known, in business, diplomatic or aristocratic circles, Mela was the person who was most a lady. - Robin McKinney Martin.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

My Heros Were Different... As Was My History

The only "history" taught in school when I was in attendance that made any sense to me was New Mexico history, and that was somewhat convoluted. Until it started to come together. American History taught in New Mexico at the time totally ignored the Spanish contributions. New Mexico history taught at the time barely touched on any contributions by the Spanish. It was all about 1912 and statehood.

Even though the American history that was taught did not connect with me it was still interesting, very interesting. As was the bits and pieces of world history I was exposed to in the years I attended school. History was the only subject I had to be prodded to learn, it was a story so long it would never end.

My heroes were different than those who were generally found in the history books. Not once did I see John Adams or George Washington as my heroes, not one for Patrick Henry, not Douglass McArthur either.

As a child I recall Elfego Baca as a hero, because of the television series and because I could identify with the name Elfego, I could identify with the name Baca. Francisco Coronado was a hero, Escalante was a hero. I could not do that with the many other names we read about in school.

As I grew a bit older, Francisco Villa, Dennis Chavez and other names that would come up in one conversation or another. A bit later yet Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos were my heroes.

Later yet I would read the list of New Mexican dead in Viet Nam and wonder if they were brave and heroes in death. I recall the song about the death of Daniel Fernandez  in Viet Nam with some sorrow still. I would recall family talking about those who had not returned from the Second World War and wonder if they were heroes.

Some consider giving your life for a cause as the mark of a hero, others may consider them cannon fodder in the big scheme of things.

To me heroes had their people in mind when they took whatever action they took. If they happen to die because they were trying to move their people forward, I consider them a hero.