One thought on “Foreword to the Second Edition of Don Talayesva’s Sun Chief (2013)

  1. 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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