Thursday, January 17, 2008

Indigenous Peoples' Publications: A Native American Pueblo Example

Today, indigenous peoples around the world are beginning to speak with their own voice. This is a major step, as up until now many indigenous groups were unable to voice their own stories, histories, and opinions. In today's world, this is all changing very rapidly: indigenous peoples are publishing their own histories, they have their own blogs, and many have their own magazines and tourist publications.

Earlier this fall I was doing some research work in Northern New Mexico, exploring some little visited areas looking for signs of impacts to particular sites and resources. Because it was late fall, I was unable to camp like I normally try and do (to be outside, connect with the land, view the stars), so I ended up staying in several very cheap motels in and around Espanola. This is the heart of the Native American Pueblo area, with eight Pueblos within a 15 minute drive: Taos Pueblo, Ohkay Owingeh, Santa Clara Pueblo, San Ildefonso Pueblo, Picuris Pueblo, Pojoaque Pueblo, Nambe Pueblo, and Tesuque Pueblo.

While I was in the area, I picked up a copy of "Eight Northern Indian Pueblos: 2007-08 Official Guide," published by the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council. This is a great publication, and it brings home just how much indigenous peoples are taking back their culture. The magazine has sections on each of the eight Native American Pueblo tribes, advertisements about Native American businesses and events, and information on the Native Americans of the area - all written by and from the Native American perspective.

You don't have to worry now about trying to figure out what source is best for determining the appropriate times to visit a Pueblo, who is actually selling Native American art and who is selling knock-offs imported from Asia, or any other matter. Native Americans, and many other indigenous peoples, are letting you know via their own voices. The next time you are in "Indian Country" try and see if there is a local publication or resource put out by the indigenous peoples of the area. Most likely there is these days - and by far it will provide information and a perspective that will only enrich your time and experience in the area. I know my travels and life have been greatly enhanced because I look for the local indigenous take on an area - so can yours.

If you know of other great indigenous-based resources, please comment and lets share the knowledge.

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