In between dialogues and cultural history events we are busy reading, sharing books, and on the outlook for books we don't already know about. So here we share a few of the books we've read, are reading, are currently on our nightstands, or on our list to read.
AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES
by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
From the back cover:
Today in the United State, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native Peoples who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire. Spanning more than 400 years, this classisms bottom-up peoples' history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.
THE MYTH OF SANTA FE: CREATING A MODERN REGIONAL TRADITION
by Chris Wilson
From the back cover:
A wave of publicity during the 1980s projected Santa Fe to the world as an exotic tourist destination - American's own Tahiti in the desert. The Myth of Santa Fe goes behind the romantic adobe facades and mass marking stereotypes to tell the fascinating but little known story of how the city's alluring image was quite consciously created early in this century, primarily by Anglo-American newcomers. By investigating the city's trademark architectural style, public ceremonies, the historic preservationist movement, and cultural traditions, Wilson unravels the complex interactions of ethnic identity and tourist image-making. Santa Fe's is a distinctly modern success story - the story of a community that transformed itself from a declining provincial capital of 5,000 in 1912 into an internationally recognized tourist destination. But it is also a cautionary tale about the commodification Native American and Hispanic cultures, and the social displacement and ethnic animosities that can accompany a tourist boom.
EL NORTE: THE EPIC AND FORGOTTEN STORY OF HISPANIC NORTH AMERICA
by Carrie Gibson
Because of our shared English language, as well as the celebrated origin tales of the Mayflower and the rebellion of the British colonies, the United States has prized its Anglo heritage above all others. However, as Carrie Gibson explains with great depth and clarity in El Norte, the nation has much older Spanish roots―ones that have long been unacknowledged or marginalized. The Hispanic past of the United States predates the arrival of the Pilgrims by a century, and has been every bit as important in shaping the nation as it exists today.
El Norte chronicles the sweeping and dramatic history of Hispanic North America from the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century to the present―from Ponce de Leon’s initial landing in Florida in 1513 to Spanish control of the vast Louisiana territory in 1762 to the Mexican-American War in 1846 and up to the more recent tragedy of post-hurricane Puerto Rico and the ongoing border acrimony with Mexico. Interwoven in this stirring narrative of events and people are cultural issues that have been there from the start but which are unresolved to this day: language, belonging, community, race, and nationality. Seeing them play out over centuries provides vital perspective at a time when it is urgently needed.
In 1883, Walt Whitman meditated on his country’s Spanish past: “We Americans have yet to really learn our own antecedents, and sort them, to unify them,” predicting that “to that composite American identity of the future, Spanish character will supply some of the most needed parts.” That future is here, and El Norte, a stirring and eventful history in its own right, will make a powerful impact on our national understanding.
THE FRENCH IN NEW MEXICO: FOUR CENTURIES OF EXPLORATION ADVENTURE & INFLUENCE
by Francois-Marie Patorini
From the back cover:
In this first history of the French in New Mexico, the author chronicles the history of French-speaking people who came mainly from France, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Africa, and the Carribbean Islands; people with French ancestry who retained some of their French culture; and of people with strong connections to France. The book traces their presence in New Mexico from the 1500s to present times. It tells stories of influential, unusual, or colorful characters, and of people who are not as well remembered. They came from all walks of life, explorers, adventurers, fur trappers and traders, soldiers, merchants, priests, farmers and ranchers, business people, scientists, artists, actors, politicians, lawyers, criminals, women of note, intellectuals, and other influencers in society. Whether dramatic or lighthearted, their lives are filled with stories of love and death, of chases and hunts, of successes and failures. These stories are placed in their historical and cultural context, and point to more detailed readings and further research.
What is now New Mexico was for centuries at the limit of the world known to Europeans. This is still the case as far as French history is concerned. This book is offered as a contribution to the cultural resurrection of the French in New Mexico. It is for the thousands of New Mexicans who share a French ancestry, conscious and proud of the value of French culture, heritage, and identity. It is also for their distant cousins who remained in their original lands. And beyond direct family ties, it is for all those interested in the multicultural aspects of New Mexico's history and society.
NACIÓN GENÍZARA: ETHNOGENESIS, PLACE, AND IDENTITY IN NEW MEXICO
by Moises Gonzales
Winner of the 2021 Heritage Publication Award from the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division
Second Place Winner of the 2020 International Latino Book Award for Best History Book
Nación Genízara examines the history, cultural evolution, and survival of the Genízaro people. The contributors to this volume cover topics including ethnogenesis, slavery, settlements, poetics, religion, gender, family history, and mestizo genetics. Fray Angélico Chávez defined Genízaro as the ethnic term given to indigenous people of mixed tribal origins living among the Hispano population in Spanish fashion. They entered colonial society as captives taken during wars with Utes, Apaches, Comanches, Kiowas, Navajos, and Pawnees. Genízaros comprised a third of the population by 1800. Many assimilated into Hispano and Pueblo society, but others in the land-grant communities maintained their identity through ritual, self-government, and kinship.
Today the persistence of Genízaro identity blurs the lines of distinction between Native and Hispanic frameworks of race and cultural affiliation. This is the first study to focus exclusively on the detribalized Native experience of the Genízaro in New Mexico.
So what are you reading?