Foreword to the Second Edition of Don Talayesva’s Sun Chief (2013)

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1 Response to “Foreword to the Second Edition of Don Talayesva’s Sun Chief (2013)”


  1. 1 Alejandro De La Garza November 30, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    This brief passage makes me want to know more about Don Talayesva and his life. I had never heard of him until now. In trying to find information about him through the usual internet sources, I continually encounter the same trite description: “Talayesva was born and reared until the age of ten as a Hopi Indian, and then trained as a white man until he was twenty.” This obviously insinuates that race and culture are malleable and therefore, can be fixed or changed, if someone is just sent to the right schools or camps.

    It’s not surprising that Native Americans – once viewed as historical items to be studied and written about – are still considered pre-Columbian subjects in contemporary U.S. academic circles. Just look at the ongoing battle here in Texas with a now-discredited text book on Mexican-American studies. Written by a group of evangelical Christians from Liberty University in Virginia, the Republican-dominated Texas State School Board approved its usage, but pulled it after enough people screamed loud enough. That would have been unthinkable a mere 30 years ago. Board members would have laughed at the renegade liberals and let the book go through. But the fact people had to raise such a ruckus just to get the matter to be brought into consideration speaks volumes about the inherent bigotry.

    While Indigenous Americans don’t have a Bill Gates or an Oprah Winfrey of their own, we have people like Talayesva who fell into the trap of European-based re-education efforts and then fought their way back into a personal reality to tell the story of the First Nations by those who know it best: the First Nations peoples. We also have people like you, Dr. Sakiestewa Gilbert, who are bringing these issues into the 21st century and giving them the proper treatment they deserve.

    As someone who’s mostly White (Spanish and German), I’m still very proud of my mixed heritage, which includes Mexican Indian blood. And I gladly point out that, despite 500 years of brutality, the Judeo-Christian oligarchs still haven’t destroyed us. I look forward to more of your work, Dr. Sakiestewa Gilbert. Thanks for all you do.


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© Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About the author

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert is enrolled with the Hopi Tribe from the village of Upper Moencopi in northeastern Arizona. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and a Dean's Fellow and Conrad Humanities Scholar in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Foreword to Kevin Whalen’s Native Students at Work: American Indian Labor and Sherman Institute’s Outing Program, 1900-1945

A Second Wave of Hopi Migration (History of Education Quarterly, August 2014)

Sun Chief: An Autobiography of A Hopi Indian by Don C. Talayesva, New foreword by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert (Sept. 2013)

Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912 (Western Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2012). Winner of Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, Western Writers of America (2013)

“Hopi Footraces and American Marathons, 1912-1930”, American Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1, March Issue 2010 (Click image to download article)

Hopi runner Philip Zeyouma’s trophy cups featured on cover of American Quarterly

Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929 (University of Nebraska Press, 2010)

Education beyond the Mesas – Introduction (click image to download)

“‘The Hopi Followers’: Chief Tawaquaptewa and Hopi Student Advancement at Sherman Institute, 1906-1909”, Journal of American Indian Education, (Click image to download article)

The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images From Sherman Institute (Oregon State University Press, 2012)

Arizona English Teachers Association highlights Hopi authors (click image to download)

Constitution and Bylaws of the Hopi Tribe (With all amendments, click to download)

Click to listen to KUYI On-Line

Matt’s Goodreads

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