Welcome To The Creative Act

A pro-musician making sense of the creative process within the context of his life experience.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Honesty and Heritage

I am a Mestizo, a mixed blood. My Dad's Great-Grandfather on his patrilineal line left the Pueblo of San Ildefonso (Tewa) with his family in the 1870's and eventually settled in southern Colorado. By searching through the archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, I have documented my Dad's Great-Grandfather's baptism at the mission church of the Pueblo identifying him as an 'Indio' of the Pueblo. However, because my blood quantum as documented is not high enough and I no longer have family members residing in the village, I can't be enrolled. My Dad's Mother's matrilineal line is mixed blood Indian and Spanish Colonial but I have been unable to document the specific tribal relationship because of the lack of written records. Being from southern Colorado, her tribal roots were most probably Southern Ute and/or Genizaro. Genizaros were Native people taken captives as youths by other Native people and traded into slavery to the Spanish in New Mexico. I am the product of generations of mixed blood people mixing with other mixed blood people as well as families that were predominately Spanish Colonial in descent such as my Mother's family. We developed our own ways which were greatly influenced by indigenous ways of being and we have had to adapt to changing historical circumstances much like other people on the planet.

Do I find it disappointing that I can't be enrolled? Not really. I am three generations removed from life in the Pueblo. I am not a Pueblo Indian in the strict cultural sense and yet it is part of my heritage. I'm not a pure Spaniard either! However, Spanish Colonial descendents don't have enrollment issues and standards of blood quantum.

I have taken the time to learn about my heritage, both Pueblo Indian and Spanish Colonial. I like to go to Pueblo Feast Day dances, I like to visit friends at the various Pueblos who see me as a distant relative and who enjoy my company. I like to learn about Pueblo history, music, dancing, spirituality, language and other aspects of culture. I incorporate these aspects into my own life where appropriate. I do the same thing with my Spanish Colonial heritage. I am who I am and I am very interested in what has brought my soul and body to this place in time and space. I am a Mestizo, a mixed blood, and I have very deep feelings of pride and love toward all my ancestors as well as their living descendents.

I find it very important to be honest with myself and others about my cultural heritage. My cultural heritage is a treasure to me and has brought me great comfort and power. My music is a reflection of this identification with my heritage. I recommend that all people explore this aspect of their being. The guiding light in your exploration must be honesty. It's OK not to know all of the details of your heritage. Don't make things up. Don't pretend to be something you are not. It dishonors your ancestors as well as your distant relations who are sharing this time and space with you. 'The truth will make you free' is really the operative phrase in the exploration of your heritage!

1 comment:

Looksinnasun said...

Thank you for shining an honest light upon and insight into the "enrollment issue". There are others who would be something they are not. Stay beautiful, making beautiful music.