November 2015

Editor’s Response

From the Editor regarding Green Fire Times’ November 2015 cover image:


I am sorry that certain Pueblo people feel offended by the cover image, which is a detail from a new, large historical mural by a group of artists in the South Valley of Albuquerque. The people who have said that have a right to their feelings and perspective, although I think that they are over-reacting. Other Pueblo people have told me that they realize that it is essentially a cartoon and that they do not feel offended by it.

I understand that, to a Pueblo person, the image of a Spaniard on a horse, sword in hand, with what appears to be a Pueblo woman in the foreground, can, to this day, be traumatic. A lot of the history of New Mexico was brutal, and of course, understandably, often stirs up discomfort and debate. I actually thought that if anyone might be offended by that image, it might be descendants of the Spanish, who prefer to emphasize a “peaceful” re-conquest. I think that discussion of these issues is needed to counter the sanitized myths that are commonly accepted by the mainstream media and culture. That was part of my reasoning for advocating that artwork detail as a cover image. A story about that mural, which was created by an organization called Working Classroom, is featured in the publication.

Regarding the mural itself, the segment on the cover is presented as part of a Pueblo woman’s vision prior to the arrival of the Spanish. I do not see the image as “celebrating the death of a race and celebrating the [conquering] Spaniard,” as has been suggested. That is one person’s interpretation. Green Fire Times would certainly not publish anything celebrating those things. If you have read GFT over the past 6 1/2 years (including six “Indigenous Solutions” editions focused on Native issues and achievements), you would know that GFT has consistently promoted respect for Native people and Native culture and has provided regular opportunities for Native perspectives. We intend to continue to do so.

In that mural detail, the woman herself is not depicted as realistically as the Spaniard, I believe, because she is not really there; her image is just the projection of the culmination of a Pueblo woman’s vision. (You can tell that if you look at the beginning of that segment of the mural, and then see how her vision manifests.) As far as her style of dress being offensive, wearing a manta over the left shoulder and a man’s loincloth, those are things that I, and most non-Pueblo people, would not be aware of. I will let the artists know about that.

I appreciate it that some people have taken the time to express their reaction to that mural detail. While I respect where they are coming from, I suggest that they step back and see that there may be more to consider, and that a call to ban that artwork may be an over-reaction.


Seth Roffman, Editor-in-Chief
Green Fire Times

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