By: Bill Whaley
3 November, 2018

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FROM: BILL WHALEY, (575-776-4115)
DATE: 11/3/2018

Dear Carlos and Bobby,

Yesterday I experienced a bittersweet moment at UNM Press’s warehouse in Albuquerque,” thanks to an ultimatum, a “buy and protect order” or we’ll “pulp and pickle” message delivered to Rick Smith at Brodsky Books in Taos by UNM Press. Rick generously bought the following books and I delivered them to his storage unit in Taos.

To wit: Over 400 volumes of “Taos Indians and the Battle for Blue Lake,” 114 of David Witt’s two volumes of Taos Moderns and Modernists, and only 30 of 370 “Spirit Ascendant: The Art of Patrocino Barela.” (Rick’s funds are limited.)

All these legacy books, originally published by Red Crane (Michael O’Shaunessy), which rights were passed on to New Mexico Museum and distribution arrangements made with UNM have been outsourced to distributors in the Midwest and East Coast.

Will New Mexico and Taos culture get “out-sourced” next?

For several years, at UNM Extended University’s Bachelor and Graduate Programs in Taos, I taught Southwestern Literature, emphasis on Taos, including the list below, specifically about Taos either published or distributed by UNM press, including books published by New Mexico Museum, and School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe (SAR) but distributed by UNM Press. These books have been chosen for their “accessibility and relevance” to readers.

Apparently UNM intends to censor and otherwise erase the multicultural history of Taos so that we shall all become part of George I. Sanchez’s “Forgotten People,” another out-of-print book, unless you buy poor facsimile editions from India.

Today, apparently, neither UNM-Taos nor UNM main campus require students to read these books (see above and appendix below). Hence, I teach community history at The Blumenschein Museum, courtesy of Taos Historic Museums.

The books for these classes, however, are becoming increasingly “rare” and cost prohibitive even on Amazon. Yet, I published my own book, Gringo Lessons: Twenty Years of Terror in Taos as a print-on-demand book for about $6 a copy, including freight to Taos. (Even Iris Keltz’s “Scrapbook of a Taos Hippie,” published by the moribund  Punto press, El Paso and “Taos Artists and Their Patrons, 1898-1950” (Snite Museum, Notre Dame) are both out-of-print.

Just as UNM can’t field a winning football team, the administration and Board of Trustees, apparently, can’t keep the books and legacy of New Mexico and Taos alive—despite claims about their role as a “research university.” At the very least, these legacy books could be published as “print on demand” by one of the commercial publishers since UNM has chosen to forego their university press responsibilities.

Furthermore, the UNM administrative bureaucracy re: press and curriculum, mostly newcomers, as I understand it, have no sense of the historic role played by Taos, the Chaco Anasazi era, and Taos Pueblo or the Spanish Conquest, and American Occupation in Taos, not to mention the New Deal, War on Poverty (Forrest) from the territorial days to statehood as well as the poignant history recounted from a Native New Mexican point-of-view during the depression (Sanchez).

As you know, Padre Martinez, who stands in Bronze on historic Taos Plaza (thanks to your lobbying and funding) is symbolic of “education” in the community. He furnished the first printing press in the Territory and published text books for school kids, then loaned the press to the territorial legislature to publish the first laws of the territory.

Below is a partial list of “out-of-print books” despite the technological advances made in the “print on demand” world of publishing, a list I consider fundamental to teaching Taosenos, newcomers and natives, about Taos.

When UNM lobbyists appear before this year’s legislative finance committee and ask for approval of their budget, I urge you to question them closely about why their football team and their administrative staff can’t seem to perform in the interests of citizens and students in the State of New Mexico.

Thanks for your help.

Bill Whaley, MA, Instructor, UNM-Taos and Community of Taos: “trying to keep literature and legacy alive.”

Appendix One: Accessible and Fundamental Legacy Literature:

Forrest, Suzanne: The Preservation of the Village (UNM Press)

Fowles, Severin: An Archaeology of the Doings, Secularism and the Study of Pueblo Religion (SAR).

Gordon-McCutchan, R.C. Taos Indians and the Battle for Blue Lake (MNM Press)
Rodriguez, Sylvia, Acequia: Water Sharing, Sanctity, and Place (SAR).

Rodriguez, Sylvia, “Land, Water, and Ethnic Identity in Taos” features over 100 pages on Taos and includes the Valdez Condo Wars in Briggs and Van Ness’s “Land, Water, and Culture: New Perspectives on Hispanic Land Grants” (UNM Press, 1987).

Rodriguez, Sylvia, “Acequia: Water Sharing, Sanctity, and Place” (School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, NM).

Rudnick, Lois: “Utopian Vision” (UNM Press).
Sanchez, George I. “Forgotten People” (UNM Press et al).

Stuart, David: “Anasazi America” (UNM Press).

Appendix two: Addresses of Senator Cisneros and Representative Gonzales:
• Senator Carlos Cisneros
• District: 6
• County: Los Alamos., Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Taos
• Service: Senator since 1985
• Occupation: Insurance
• Address: Box 1129
Questa, NM 87556
• Capitol Phone: 986-4362
• Capitol Room: 325A
• Office Phone:
• Home Phone: (505) 670-5610
• Email:

• District: 42
• County: Taos
• Service: Representative since 1995
• Occupation: Retired Educator
• Address: 26 Lavender Lane
Ranchos De Taos, NM 87557
• Capitol Phone: 986-4333
• Capitol Room: 327
• Office Phone:
• Home Phone: (575) 758-2674
• Email:

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