Thursday, August 5, 2010
Thursday August 5, 2010 Celebrations in Taos, New Mexico
It is interesting, photographs help us to remember. And this photograph reminds me of the day we hiked in Abiquiu. Abiquiu home of Georgia OKeefe. It is an interesting little town, high on a hill. The road used to go right through it. It is a town very similar to a Pueblo, many of the rules of the town are same. And Angelos are not really welcome. There are tours in Miss OKeefe's home, but when it is over you are expected to get into your car and leave. Once a tour member left her house on foot and began to explore the little village, and was told, "Miss Okeefe respected us and didn't wander about our town, and we would appreciate it if you would do the same." She then hurried back to her car, and left the village. Leaving all quiet behind her.
You might wonder, how did this village come to be. The people are descendants from Hopi children, that were stolen and sold into slavery in the city of Santa Fe. When these children became adults, the people who had owned them, and abused them, were afraid of them. And no longer wanted them to live among them in Santa Fe, for fear of retaliation. So the little town of Abiquiu was founded. And we wonder why the people of Auiquiu do not want us to come to their town and be among them? The slavery of children went both ways of course. I have heard it was a practice that was started by the French. (Blame it on the French.) Taos has another celebration, which it celebrates the mountain men, who were of course trappers and traders and I have been told Taos was a trading center, where slaves were traded. But who can say how these things get started. It is true our behavior toward the native people and the wild life of the United States was nothing to be proud of.
I remember years ago. In July there is a celebration in Taos called Fiesta. And of course, being new in town, I went to the celebration. I was appalled to see, in the parade there were children dressed as Native Americans on horse back, and children dressed as Spaniards with long poles with points on the end, also on horseback. The "Spaniards" were riding after the "Native Americans" attempting to stick them. I asked several people in the crowd around me about this, and was told they were celebrating the coming of the Spaniards to New Mexico. History tells us, the Native Americans suffered harsh treatment at the hands of the Spaniards. And they wonder why there might be some hurt feelings among the three cultures. Talk about politically incorrect behavior. I no longer go to Fiesta. It is not easy to make room for different people and their different cultures. Here are the original people, and the people who came and took everything away from them. And today we lack the understanding to know this might cause trouble.
But New Mexico has a long and colorful history. The blending of the three cultures also creating an interesting culture here. How often we step on other people's culture, because we do not know better. I came from a place where the majority was white, and therefore, only the white reality was respected, where minorities where not even considered. I would not be surprised to learn this is the same in most places in our country.
A friend from Texas, told me recently, "You know in the future the white race will not be the majority", and I said, "Yes, that is why I came to Northern New Mexico." And I love it here. Of course when I came I found there was a lot of hate towards Texans, which I am. But Texans have for too long treated New Mexico as their personal playground, and have given little respect to the people who lived here.
I chose to come to New Mexico because it had a long history of respecting it's artists. And also a history of respecting it's older women artists. It was always so, women were equal on the frontier. And in many ways, New Mexico is still a frontier.