(This is an) open letter to the Regents of the University of New Mexico.
I am writing to you today to get you to consider both sides of the Seal issue presented to you by The Red Nation and other Indian groups. They would prefer to completely remove the two figures, that is, the Spaniard and the Frontier man.
Not being born but now living in New Mexico and Hispanic (DNA - 75 percent European Spanish/25 percent Native American), I find that Hispanics in New Mexico have very little to say about their culture and history because we do not have the economic power that the Native Americans have by controlling the tourist industry through casinos. Money talks.
What Native Americans fail to understand or take into consideration is that as bad as the Spaniards were, they were not as bad as the Americans historically. The Pueblos are still here in New Mexico! If they had been situated east of the Mississippi, they would no longer exist.
On the other hand, the Anglos have substantial political power because they control the economy in New Mexico. Money talks. So, Hispanics are always coming in last. Remember Columbus Day and how no consideration was given to Hispanic history. Remember that lies about Acoma and Spaniards (Hispanics) continue to this day. Point of fact - a person who has one foot cut off is totally useless as a servant. Yes, everybody remembers the Revolt of 1680 but nobody remembers the Insurrection (Taos Revolt) of 1847 that included both Hispanics and Pueblo Indians against the Americans. We fought and died together and were even hung together.
Don’t get me wrong, Hispanics are a big part of the problem. We fail to coalesce as a group and fight injustice when it is directed toward Hispanics. We accept our station in life and do want so much to be accepted that we fail to speak out. And worse, those of us that have “made it” forget about those that are still struggling in poverty to achieve the American dream and, in some instances, to be accepted as Americans.
I hope that you will consider Hispanics when it comes to the Seal. Do not discount our culture. It is so easy to discount Hispanics because all we control is poverty in New Mexico. As a matter of fact, we are so good when it comes to poverty that we control 25 percent of it. Therefore, we have very little influence in matters like Columbus Day or the Seal. Or for that matter New Mexico history.
When will it stop? Is this another step in stripping us of our history and cultural? Only you can stop it, or you can let it go on to the point where we are marginalized even more.
Please consider both sides!
Respectfully, Frank Luna
UNM Alumni Association