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NM NDNs - call to action!

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  • NM NDNs - call to action!

    All you folks in NM.... wanna be an activist? Well here's your chance.

    The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque is in the process of hiring a new Provost/Vice President for academic affairs. Three finalists have been announced - one from the State University of New York in Buffalo, the current acting/ interim Provost here at UNM, and Ramon Gutierrez, from UCLA and the author of the book When Jesus Came the Corn Mothers Went Away.

    Given UNM's recently claimed goal of bettering relationships between the school and the Pueblos, it seems just painfully stupid that Gutierrez made the list of finalists. That book is thoroughly sexist, racist, pro-colonial imperialist propaganda. Other Pueblo and Native people have previously publicly expressed their well-founded anger over this book. This situation could have serious negative consequences for Native students at UNM, and could undermine any efforts undertaken by UNM at large or its individual departments and programs to work with Pueblo peoples and governments. In short, if Gutierrez is hired, I see no possible way for tribal governments and Native people to continue to have any faith at all in UNM.

    On Friday, March 3, at 2:30 PM in the Trailblazer/Spirit room of the Student Union Building, there will be a public forum for students to "meet" Gutierrez. We really need to pack that place with Natives and show Gutierrez for the sexist, racist, pseudo-scholar that he is. We have to make clear to the administration at UNM that this kind of stuff will not go unchallenged, and if he is hired, that there will be tangible repercussions for UNM: i.e., loss of tuition money (and isn't money what bureaucrats understand best?), a whole lot of bad PR, and a withdrawal of Pueblo and Native support for UNM altogether. We must make clear that hiring Gutierrez is totally unacceptable. SHOW UP AND MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

    Below I have pasted some additional information that helps show exactly what Gutierrez is all about.

    see: American Indian Culture and Research Journal, volume 17, number 3, 1993

    When Jesus Came...Rewriting Pueblo History The Circle March 1, 1994 Vol. 15; No. 3; Pg. 10

    Ethnic NewsWatch

    When Jesus Came...Rewriting Pueblo History

    by David Harris


    Albuquerque, NM - The University of New Mexico is a focal point for criticism over the use of When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sex, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846, by Ramon Gutierrez as a textbook of Southwest History and Culture. Ted Jojola (Isleta Pueblo), Director, Native American Studies, UNM, stated that When Jesus Came is "the most recent mythologizing about the Pueblo Indians by outsiders, seeking to fill their own career agendas." Gutierrez's career agenda includes perpetuating a colonialist view of history, under the guise of a Native perspective.

    In a Pueblo response, compiled by the Native American Studies Department (NAS), UNM, Pueblo scholars and writers cited numerous ludicrous discrepencies and false facts, slanderous and offensive to the Pueblo people. Gutierrez cites
    his sources at the end of his book in a sort of a code fashion, which once decrypted turn into Spanish documents and memoirs, misrepresented citations of Native ethnographers, and a Spanish colonialist ideology attempting to push mud
    over the face of the genocide, and further centuries of denial of the atrocities committed during the Spanish Conquest.

    Probably the most blatantly disrespectful and sexist ideology set forth in the book is on p.51, where Gutierrez recounts the Spanish narratives of lustful Pueblo women, taunting the righteous Spanish soldiers, "...cooling the passion of the fierce fire-brandishing Spanish katsina through intercourse." This illustrates the European Justification Syndrome, plaguing the "liberal" education of the so-called New Western History that intends to represent Native perspectives, reactively attacking the attacked through his fowl words.

    When Gutierrez does use credible sources, that is prime sources of the Pueblo and other Native ethnographers, he didn't see need to use proper context, but allowed himself license of interpretation that backed his school of thinking.

    For example, as cited in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 17:3, p. 144, Alison Freese writes:

    He cites Joseph Jorgensen's Western Indians (1980) to assert that there were more similarities than differences between the Pueblo, the Yuma, and the Pima-Papago people on the eve of conquest. If one turns to Western Indians...Jorgensen states that while the bulk of cultural units were easily
    classified within the Southwest cultural areas, some took intermediary positions, but "only in the Pueblo Southwest, where Pueblos were sufficiently distinct to be separated from all other Southwest cultures, were there no borderline placements of cultural units."

    The Pueblo (Spanish word meaning town or village) are made up of six distinct languages and cultures, with different dialects and traditions within. Gutierrez's assertion that the Pueblo is "one large group" dissolves any scholarly value the intellectual and academic communities have hailed When Jesus Came to have.

    Gutierrez even assumes to judge the Pueblo society (based on harmony and balance) as graspingly materialistic and power hungry, referenced exclusively to Collier's Marriage and Inequality chapter based on Cheyenne ethnography.

    UNM, and universities and colleges across the country, including academic pillars like Cornell use When Jesus Came as a textbook. Some professors are using the book for graduate training as a critical analysis, but as stated by Alison Freese, the most dangerous element of the book is that "this book is
    seen as a bible of Southwest history. The first widely accepted textbook about the Southwest in many is read as fact, not critically." Gutierrez is selling his book with claims of a Native perspective (based solely on virtue of
    being a native of New Mexico), supported by critics having no problems swallowing this manufactured history and many awards (including the James A. Raleigh Prize on race relations of the Organization of American Historians).

    The Pueblo response to the book in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal (the first time the Pueblo views of the book became public) is composed of comments by Alison Freese, Simon Ortiz, Joe Sando, Roxanne Dunbar
    Ortiz, and Susan A. Miller, written during the summer of 1993. It is the result of a dialogue that had been initiated between Pueblo scholars and Ramon Gutierrez during the annual meeting of the Organization of American historians in April 1993, for which the second set of the commentaries was compiled. Oral and written statements were submitted by Ted Jojola, Rina Swentzell, Penny Bird, Glenabah Martinez, Jimmy Shendo, Diana Ortiz, and Evelina Zuni Lucero.

    The following November, the NAS initiated another forum for Gutierrez to meet with students, scholars, Pueblo people and the public to open dialogue on the two positions, but Gutierrez cancelled the day of the forum, saying he felt
    the panel would be too heavily weighted against him. Five days later, however, Gutierrez sponsored a forum entitled "Gutierrez meets his critics" where he diligently held his point of view and proclaimed Pueblo people unaware of their own history and tradition.

    The dialogue now stands still, with the book being used and contested, but Ted Jojola is certain the discussion will continue beyond the forums and extend into many other venues. Time and conviction will tell whether the academic consciousness will pass on a history of truth or a history of denial.

    Article copyright The Circle Corporation, 1994.
    <<< used under fair use>>>
    Functionless art is simply tolerated vandalism.

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