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Project Archive

Highlights from Previous Ortiz Center Programs, Events, and Activities


First Annual Hopi Pottery Festival, April 29, 2017

Hopi Wellness Center, Third Mesa, Arizona

The Pottery Festival was a joint collaboration among Mesa Media, Inc., a Hopi non-profit dedicated to language preservation; the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office; and the Recovering Voices program of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.  The festival was developed to convene potters and youth to explore the social values of Hopi pottery. The program three presentations: Tracing Hopi History through Hopi Pottery by the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office; Museums and Community Collaboration by the Recovering Voices Program and UNM’s Maxwell Museum; and The Social Life of Hopi Pottery, with a roundtable of Hopi potters sharing their knowledge and experience with the audience. The Ortiz Center supported the well-attended by assisting in generating community participation in the roundtable.

 Hopi Carvers’ Consultation and Public Presentation

This project was undertaken by graduate student Leon Natker as part of his fulfillment of the Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies.Four consultants were invited to view the Maxwell Museum’s Dorothy Maxwell Collection of Hopi katsinam tihu (katsina dolls) and offer comments and notes. They included Leigh Kuwanwiswma, Director of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office; Ramson Lomatewama, ritual leader and artist from the Third Mesa village of Hotevela; Randall Mahle, Sr., ritual leader from the First Mesa Hopi-Tewa village of Hano; and Joseph Day, who with his wife Janice owns the largest shop dealing with traditional Hopi Katsinas on Second Mesa. The consultants identified tihu, corrected the orthography of their names according to the current Hopi dictionary, and provided information to form the basis of an emic interpretation of the collection. With support from the Ortiz Center and the Museum Studies Program, the consultants also provided a Maxwell Museum public program on August 24, 2017 addressing the history, current trends, and future of their tradition of Hopi katsina doll carving with reference to the Dorothy Maxwell collection.

(Derek Samaras, videographer)

 UNDRIP Forum, October 5, 2017, Kiva Classroom, UNM Campus

Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

 El Centro de la Raza, in collaboration with the Native American Studies Department and supported by the Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies, presented an Academia-Community forum to discuss the First Decade of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples. A living document for the common future of humanity, the effective implementation of the Declaration benefits 370 million Indigenous Peoples across the world. Ten years after the adoption of UNDRIP, Indigenous Peoples still face challenges to the recognition of their human rights. The anniversary offers the opportunity to reflect on the achievements of Indigenous Peoples using the declaration’s provisions to advance human rights, and encourage a dialogue about the obstacles faced by Indigenous Peoples in protecting Mother Earth from extractive industries and accelerated Western development. The forum fosters understanding about the use of this document to safeguard the well-being of future generations.

 An audience of over 50 students, staff, faculty and community members attended the forum.

Prof. June Lorenzo, from the UNM Law School, spoke about the legal implications of UNDRIP and the importance of having legal language that can be used to protect Indigenous Peoples; Mr. Shannon Rivers, Tohono O'odham leader and UCLA Master’s student, discussed the politics of resistance that emerge from the affirmation of Indigenous Peoples rights; Dra. Teran, Postdoctoral Fellow at UNM’s Native American Studies department, addressed the role of women in developing this important resolution of the UN General Assembly, as well as the participation of Indigenous Women in the creation of the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge associated to Biodiversity; Jorge Garcia, Senior Program Manager of UNM’s El Centro de la Raza, gave a brief overview of the Indigenous Continental Movement and its 30-year effort leading to the resolution

 Reception and Preview Screening: Secrets of Spanish Florida with discussion

December 7, 2017, Hibben Center Auditorium, UNM Campus

 A special reception and free preview screening of a new PBS “Secrets of the Dead” special, “Secrets of Spanish Florida,” was presented at UNM’s Hibben Center on December 7 2017. The 60-minute preview on the history of America’s Spanish colonists who settle in Florida in 1565 was followed by a discussion with Dr. Kathleen Deagan, Distinguished Research Curator of Archaeology and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology and History at the University of Florida, whose work is profiled in the episode, and Dr. Amiee Villareal, Director of Comparative Mexican American Studies at Our Lady of the Lake University. The panel was moderated by a correspondent for New Mexico PBS. The Alfonso Ortiz Center supported Dr. Villarreal’s participation for this Maxwell Museum program that filled the Hibben Center auditorium.


July 13-August 2, 2015 Cesar Chávez- Cultural Preservation, Educational & Tourism Conference Forty-five years after the signing of the first United Farmworker’s Union Contract, the Town of Taos will be commemorating the work of Cesar Chávez and others – while looking forward to the future of agriculture and culture preservation – with the first-of-its-kind Cultural Educational Tourism Incentive and Revitalization Intervention Panels.

May 2013 Photo Voice Youth Project, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, opening in May 2013, Sean Bruna-Lewis, served as coordinator.


March 8-10, 2013:International Workshop on Biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples
organized by El Centro de la Raza, VP for Student Affairs and UNM Law School.



January 17, 2013:Return of the Horse (2012)
film screening co-hosted by Dept. Of Spanish & Portuguese, Center for the SW, Interdisciplinary Film & Digital Media. Featuring filmmaker Sharon Eliashar, Dr. Dan Flores, Univ.of Montana, and  Cochiti advisor Lorencita Taylor.

Oct 2012: Support and co-sponsorship of the Joe Sando Symposium, Oct. 2012 organized by School for Advanced Research  and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the Historias Conference: Statehood in Northern New Mexico organized by Northern New Mexico College Pueblo Studies Institute.


Dec. 6, 2012:Mesoamerican Calendars & Different Quests for Understanding Maya. Featured Dr. Geraldine Patrick-Encinas, University of Mexico, Dr. Edward Barrett, University of Kentucky, and Dr. Keith Prufer, UNM. Conversations on Maya time, language and climate change. Co-sponsors Indigenous Nations Library & El Centro de la Raza.

Fall 2012: Ongoing sponsorship of Dept. of Anthropology Colloquia per semester; co-sponsor of public programs w/ Department of English for John Nichols Lecture, Women Studies 40th Anniversary; American Studies Graduate Students Assoc.


October 17, 2012: Film screening of “Weaving Worlds” by filmmaker Bennie Klain
Weaving Worlds highlights the untold stories of the people involved in the making and selling of Navajo rugs. Question & Answer with Bennie Klain follows the screening.


October 12 & 13, 2012: HistoriasHistorias de Nuevo Mexico – Histories of New Mexico Academic and Community Conference
Northern New Mexico College El Rito Campus
This academic and community conference is dedicated to contesting, celebrating and cultivating the many perspectives of New Mexico History.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Joseph Sanchez, Director, Spanish Colonial Research Center National Parks Service
Reading: Dr. Arturo Madrid Trinity University, Author, In The Country of Empty Crosses:  The Story of A Hispano Protestant Family in Catholic New Mexico
Plenary presentations by Dr. Glenabah Martinez (UNM, Taos Pueblo) and Dr. Myla Vicenti Carpio (ASU, Laguna/Isleta/Jicarilla Apache), community, faculty, students and organized by Dr. Patricia Trujillo and Dr. Matthew Martinez (Pueblo Studies Program)


April 12&13, 2012: Indigenous Book Festival
The Institute for American Indian Research and the Alfonso Ortiz Center hosted the Indigenous Book Festival to celebrate contemporary Native American writers, scholars and storytellers in the growing field of Indigenous studies. Litery figures from across the region took part in the event; the only festival of its kind in the U.S. and featured 30 authors.


Spring 2010:An exhibition co-curated by Patricia Greenfield (author), Kathryn Klein, Ortiz Center Director, and Amy Grochowski, Curator of Education. The exhibition planning includes built-in educational family activities to enhance visitor experience by learning about the process of learning and contemporary Maya family life in Chiapas, Mexico. Ortiz events include “Passport to People Program” in collaboration with the Natural History Museum’s “Celebra Ciencia” program and Maya visitors from Chiapas. Weaving demonstrations and Maya Theater.


September 2008:
In September 2008, the Mayordomo Project was spearheaded by a collaboration between the New Mexico Acequia Association and the Ortiz Center. Its purpose is to address a situation the NMAA calls the “mayordomo crisis,” involving knowledge loss, attrition, and inadequate replacement of New Mexico’s mayordomos de las acequias, or ditch bosses. The Mayordomo Project employs a methodology of community-based participatory action research (PAR), whereby a community of interest defines a problem it faces and seeks to solve through a collaborative, group process of investigation and action. The project seeks to investigate and record the practical local knowledge of living mayordomos in order to develop a method and program for the transmission of this knowledge to a new generation of mayordomos. This project represents a new component of the Governance Project sponsored by the NMACC.

November 7-9 2007: Fostering Indigenous Business and Entrepreneurship in the Americas
Sponsored by Anderson School of Management Marketing and Heritage. Cultural Heritage and Tourism Session, Session Chair, Brian Vallo Director Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Cultural Preservation through Tourism; Vernon Lujan, Director Poeh Cultural Center and Museum Tribal Museum and Cultural Center Management. Jim Enote, Executive Director of A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center, Zuni, Walking Straght on a Crooked Path, and K. Klein Collaborative Partnerships and Community Projects: UNM’s Alfonso Ortiz Center.

May 2007: Native American Leadership Institute Conference
Native American Leadership Institute Conference is a joint project with the Leadership Institute, Santa Fe, to conduct a two day discussion with community leaders on Native American language retention. Co-coordinated by Professor Louise Lamphere, of UNM Department of Anthropology, and Curator of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Tony Chavarria.


April 2006 – January 2007: El Rio
An exhibition exploring the relationship between traditional knowledge, local culture, and a sustainable environment in the Rio Grande/Bravo Basin produced by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Events included the El Rio Roundtable, a discussion by visiting scholars and UNM faculty members to address environmental and cultural issues pertaining to acequias in New Mexico and Northern Mexico. Highlights of the Ortiz “Passport to People Programs” included demonstrations by artisans represented in the exhibition such as the Bernalillo Matachina Dancers, music by Chuy Martinez, Cochiti drum-making, and Weavers from Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico. Co-sponsored and developed with Enrique LaMadrid, Director of UNM Chicano/Mexicano/Latino Studies Department.


May 2006: Haaku – A Plan to Prepare: The Sky City Cultural Center and Museum Initiative
An on-going collaborative project with the pueblo of Acoma to support the development of exhibitions and programming at Acoma and for the Ortiz Center. The initial goal of the project was to develop and install an exhibition of rare Acoma textiles for the opening of the Sky City Cultural Center in the Haak’u Museum titled “Sribuka Maestra Cotton Girls.” Co-curated and coordinated by Acoma’s Haak’u Museum Curator, Damian Garcia, the Ortiz Director, Kathryn Klein, Maxwell Museum graduate student staff members Ruth Burgette-Jolie and Gwendolyn Saul, and the conservation staff of the National Museum of American Indian.


November 2005: Po’pay Commemoration Symposium
In celebration of the dedication of a sculpture of Po’pay as gift from San Juan Pueblo installed in the Statuary Hall of the Capitol Building in Washington DC, Native American scholars met to discuss the history and significance of Po’pay, the leader of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. Alfonso Ortiz recognized Po’pay’s legacy as central to Native American scholarship and identity. Coordinated by Beverly Singer of the UNM Department of Anthropology and the Department of Native American Studies.

December 2004 – June 2005: Shaping Spirit: 25 Years of the Arita Method of Porcelain at UNM
An exhibition highlighting porcelain works by Japanese Masters and UNM students. UNM is the only university in the United States where this ancient art is being taught. Co-curated with Kathy Cyman of UNM Education Department. Inoue Manji Sensei, a living National Treasure of Japan, visits UNM along with 30 Japanese dignitaries view the Arita exhibition, meet with students, and are hosted by the Ortiz Center and UNM President for a dinner reception honoring his contributions to the Arita porcelain class at UNM. June 2005.

June 2003: Maya Weavers Free Trade Tour
Maya Weavers Free Trade Tour, lectures, discussion with Maya weavers, sale of Maya textiles, children’s activities. Co-sponsored with UNM Latin American Institute.


The Maxwell Museum houses a collection of children’s drawings, photographs, and writings that originated from the Zuni Day School dating from 1920s through the 1950s. The collection was put together by the former Principal and teacher Claire Gonzales and eventually was donated to the Maxwell after she past away in the 1970s. The writings and images reveal the continuity of Zuni everyday and ceremonial life from 1920s to present day, as well as offer a reflection on the dramatic changes in Zuni life. The drawings and writings by the students represent interesting perspectives of identity and history learned through Western perspectives and education practices.

The Zuni Day School collection is being examined by the staff members of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center. This collection is being scanned at the Maxwell Museum and put into digital formats that can be used within the Zuni community to collect descriptions, narratives, comments, identifications, and biographies. Another goal of the project is to share the digital images with students  at the Zuni Public Schools and create a dialog among students about their elders’ experiences while they were school aged children. This project will provide the foundation for a community inspired collaborative exhibition curated by the Director of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum, Jim Enote to be shown at Zuni and in the Ortiz Gathering Space at the Maxwell Museum.


In collaboration with Cultural Energy, the OC will produce a series of radio shows based on interviews with academic, community-based, and independent scholars about their research on topics of deep and abiding interest to New Mexicans. The series is entitled “People, Culture, and Place: Conversations from the Ortiz Center.”



Ortiz-CNM Emeritus Academy
A three-week Emeritus Academy on Acequia History, Governance and Water Rights held at the South Valley campus of CNM. The class was collaboratively taught by a unique combination of instructors, each with his/her own area of expertise: James Maestas, Community Organizer and President of the South Valley Regional Acequia Association, Sylvia Rodríguez, and Amy Ballard, CNM Professor and Chair of the Geographic Technology Program. Twenty South Valley residents enrolled in the class. In early March the Ortiz Center and CNM co-sponsored a public lecture presented at the South Valley campus by Kenneth Orona, Ph.D., entitled “Muddy Water: Power, Contest and Identity in Central New Mexico, 1848-1963.” The lecture was about the history of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, based on Dr. Orona’s forthcoming book by the same title.

The OC sponsored a workshop at the annual conference of the Society for Applied Anthropology held in Santa Fe on March 18, entitled “Moving Off Campus: Cross-subfield Student Projects in Public Anthropology.” Community participants included James Maestas, President of the South Valley Regional Acequia Association; John Shipley, Executive Director of the Rio Grande Valley Farmers Guild; and Carlos Bustos of the New Mexico Rural Water Association. Student participants included Patrick Staib, the 2008-09 Ortiz Public Policy Fellow, Scott Worman, Heather Richards, Judith van der Elst, and Sam Markwell, who have been engaged in community outreach activities.

October 2000: Inaugural Celebration of the Ortiz Center
Hosted by the Department of Anthropology, the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, and University of New Mexico’s Provost Brian Foster. Special events included a luncheon honoring the Ortiz family of San Juan Pueblo, the first meeting of the Ortiz Center Advisory Board, and presentation of the first Alfonso Ortiz Memorial Lecture given by distinguished historian and University of Illinois Professor Fred Hoxie.

On the UNM campus, the OC sponsored two lively faculty symposia that focused on research proposed by Anthropology professors Keith Hunley and Heather Edgar, entitled “The Social and Scientific Implications of Biological, Cultural, and Linguistic Variation in New Mexican Hispanics.” The first symposium brought together department colleagues from different subfields (Ann Ramenofsky, Archaeology; David Dinwoodie, Les Field, and Sylvia Rodríguez, Ethnology) to discuss the proposed project. Participants in the second symposium included the New Mexico State Historian (Estevan Rael-Galvez, Ph.D.), Director of the Northern NM Family Practice Residency Program, (Mario Pacheco, M.D.), and professors from the UNM School of Law and American Studies (Laura Gomez), Spanish and Portuguese (Enrique Lamadrid), and Anthropology departments (Rodríguez). Both seminars were also attended by gradate student Meghan Healy, whose dissertation research will be based on the project. Three additional guests sat in on the second symposium: Dr. Robert Valdez, Executive Director of the UNM Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center, Dr. Jennifer Hartley of UNMH, and Sam Markwell, an undergraduate Honors student in Anthropology.