2017-2018 La Canoa Legacy Talks

The Meaning of Place – Stories of Resilience

June 16, 2018

Dr. Theodore Jojola, University of New Mexico Distinguished Professor and Regents’ Professor in the Community and Regional Planning Program, School of Architecture and Planning, discusses community, identity, and resilience. Since time immemorial, people have attached their identities to the places that they have settled. Community embodies the intersection of people and the natural resources that sustain them. That relationship is expressed by their worldview. A worldview describes the social and spiritual attachment to place. Dr. Jojola draws from these relationships to show examples of how communities have met these challenges. In addition to highlighting New Mexico Indigenous communities that have persevered in time and space, he examines contemporary examples of such place-making as exemplified in the histories of the Albuquerque Indian School and the Bataan Death March.

A Lie Halfway Around the World: The Carl Taylor Murder Case

April 21, 2018

Dr. A. Gabriel Meléndez, Director of the Center for Regional Studies, will discuss, “A Lie Halfway Around the World,” from a chapter in his book, Hidden Chicano Cinema. The chapter explores the shallow mysteries and deep complexities surrounding the death of the travel-adventurer and freelance journalist, Carl N. Taylor, in 1936. Taylor was murdered as he readied himself to attend a gala event in Albuquerque. What appears as a set of non-sequential links between New Mexico’s chronic poverty, its religious traditions, and its reputation as an arts mecca results in a series of unexpected outcomes that stem from the intricate and layered master/chore boy relationship that drew together “the mountain boy,” Modesto Trujillo, and his writer-employer, Carl Taylor. The real-life drama far outstripped Hollywood’s attempt to market its sensationalistic B-movie, “The Lash of the Penitentes,” designed to exploit the fears and anxieties of the nation, Taylor’s tragic death, and smudge the dignity of the neighbors Taylor had come to know and admire.

Genízaro Ethnogenesis, Emergence, and Futurism

March 17, 2018

As defined by Fray Angelico Chavez, genízaro was the designation given to North American Indians of mixed tribal derivation living among the Hispanic population in Spanish fashion: that is, having Spanish surnames from their masters, Christian names through baptism, speaking a simple form of Spanish, and living together or sprinkled among the Hispanic towns and ranchos. Today, the permanence of genízaro identity blurs the lines of distinction between Native and Hispanic frameworks of race and cultural affiliation. Dr. Moises Gonzales, UNM School of Architecture and Planning Associate Professor, discusses the emergence of contemporary indigenous cultural production and futurism generated by genízaros in New Mexico as well as the collective work of New Mexican genízaro scholars in the forthcoming anthology entitled, “Genízaro Nation: Ethnogenesis, Place, and Identity in New Mexico.”

Verses and Flows: Migrant Lives and the Sounds of Crossing

February 17, 2018

Alex E. Chávez, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and faculty fellow of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame addresses how huapango arribeño music voices desires of recognition and connection among Mexican migrants. The product of transnational experiences, such desires are sharply political, particularly as they flow amidst the contexts of migrant deportability and illegality as American racial projects that coalesce around strategies intended to subjugate vulnerable workers who use transnational mobility to mitigate their life chances. Placed within the field of structural and cultural violence that fuel commonsensical ideas about Mexican migrants as disposable, criminal, and deportable subjects, vernacular performance and poetics achieved through huapango arribeño concerning life lived under these circumstances constitutes an embodied act of social affirmation. Chávez argues these notions of selfhood are inextricably linked to the transnational experiences, needs, and desires of Mexican migrants, all of which disturb both legal and cultural-nationalist logics on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Peralta Land Grant: James Addison Reavis’s Plan to Steal the Southwest

January 20, 2018

Anita Huizar-Hernández, Assistant Professor of Border Studies, Department of Spanish and Portuguese at University of Arizona presents a rousing La Canoa presentation on the Peralta Land Grant, exploring the creation and collapse of Reavis’s Peralta Grant plot as well as its subsequent fictionalization and eventual disappearance from the national imaginary. In the late-nineteenth century, an ex-Confederate soldier from Missouri named James Addison Reavis planned what was going to be the largest swindle in U.S. history: he was going to steal the greater portion of the Arizona and New Mexico territories. His plan hinged on the treaty that ended the U.S.-Mexico War, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and its promise to honor Spanish and Mexican land grants in the newly acquired territories so long as their title could be validated in a U.S. court. With these provisions in mind, Reavis decided to fabricate and then present to the U.S. Court of Land Claims a fake land grant that stretched 18,750 square miles and included the southern route of the transcontinental railroad, the growing metropolis of Phoenix, and valuable mining and agricultural land.

Under the Canopy of the Cottonwoods of Alameda

December 16, 2017

Dr. Jerry Gurule, Professor at the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Spanish and Portuguese UNM presents us with a vivid look at the community of Alameda. Join us on a journey of discovery of the community of Alameda explored through history and anecdotes. Alameda was vitally linked to the Río Grande that supplied the essence of life to it and its sister communities of Los Ranchos, Corrales and Sandía Pueblo. This is, in part, a visual journey of the past and present interwoven among the “alamos” of the area. These were communities filled with their share of rapscallions and heroes, but communities we fondly referred to as “mi gente,” a people with a deep appreciation of the space they occupied.

The Myth of Tri-Cultural Harmony

November 18, 2017

In this La Canoa Legacy Talk, we examine New Mexico’s public ideology of tri-culturalism, which holds that the state consists of three separate ethnic groups living together in harmony. Chris Wilson, Professor of Cultural Landscape Studies at the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning will discuss the myth, developed in the 1880s as part of the campaign to make New Mexico a state, and crystalized in the early 20th century with the rise of mass tourism. The primary visual expression of this rhetoric—found in both public art and tourism promotional literature—is a set of ethnic personas. Occupying the middle ground between racial stereotypes and mythic archetypes, these popular cultural types—like the iconography of the saints before them—are recognizable through attributes of costume, arts and crafts, skin color and facial type, tools and modes of transportation. When linked to assumptions about technological progress, occupational status and, above all, gender roles, these images also encapsulate and endorse a particular vision of social hierarchy.

Over the Santa Fe Trail to Mexico: The Travel Diary of Dr. Rowland Willard

October 21, 2017

Join us for an exploration of a late 1800’s travel diary through New Mexico and into Chihuahua, Mexico. Joy Poole, Deputy State Librarian, New Mexico State Library will take us through a three years journey with Dr. Rowland Willard, a physician, who traveled the Santa Fe Trail to Taos, NM in 1825. Hear how the Fourth of July was celebrated in Taos. Learn how an American doctor practiced medicine on the Mexican frontier. How did the Chief of Taos Pueblo pay the doctor for his services? Learn some of the 19th century ailments of his patients. Some of his patients included the ranchers around Cordova, the Padres and their wives, and the Taos Alcalde. Dr. Willard shares many first impressions of Hispano culture including fandangos, Catholic faith, his host families and his first meal in Taos. How did the composition of companions traveling with him from Missouri to Mexico change? He arrived in Chihuahua during a measles epidemic. Compare and contrast his first impressions of the Mexican frontier in Taos with his final impressions of the Mexican frontier in Chihuahua before returning to the United States in 1828.