I know little about native cultures in America beyond the few books I’ve read and the unending stereotypes in media and culture. New Mexico gave me an opportunity to change that somewhat, we went to the Museum of Indian Arts And Culture and the Museum of International Folk Art, both in Sante Fe.
I learned a great deal about the pueblo and Native-American cultures, and learned also how little I know about them. In our country, we are so selective about history. In New Mexico, native peoples live here in great numbers, and the mixing of cultures here is intoxicating. It isn’t old musty history, it is contemporary life.
We walked in the plaza markets in Santa Fe where indians have sold jewelry and other goods for hundreds of years in front of the Governor’s Palace, and I bought a beautiful copper bracelet from a Navajo artist named David Ponte. I love it.
This morning, we drove to the Bandelier National Monument – 67,000 acres – and hiked to see some of the cliffs where the pueblo people lived for centuries. One powerful experience after another here, from George O’Keefe’s haunting studio to the caves where the pueblo people lived and worked.
I still know only a little bit about these remarkable cultures, but my eyes are much more open than before. I’m grateful to New Mexico (and Maria) for that.