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Category: Oral Histories

Dancing Her-Story

Dancing Her-Story

In this post, we reveal how there are many ways to tell a story. In this instance, we share how a memory that is passed from generation to generation is taken up by the writer, who inspires the choreographer. Each telling building upon the last, developed to sustain the power of memory and history.

Alabados – Voices of Spirit

Alabados – Voices of Spirit

Today, on this highest of holy days to Catholics, I recall the deeply resonant sounds of the ancient spiritual hymns known as alabados. Recognizing the value and importance of recording these spiritual praises and other musical and religious traditions, folklorist and linguist Dr. Juan B. Rael returned home in the summer of 1940 and recorded the voices of fifteen men and four women from villages in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, including these deeply spiritual hymns. Listening to the alabados in moradas,…

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Recovering Ancestral DNA in Abiquiú

Recovering Ancestral DNA in Abiquiú

As a genetic genealogist, much of my work is done behind a computer screen or amidst a stack of books. In the Fall of 2018, I was invited by Isabel W. Trujillo, the Pueblo de Abiquiú Library and Cultural Center Director, to assist her in conducting work related to a group of Abiquiú community members with long standing genealogical and historical ties to the Pueblo of Abiquiú who also identify as genízaro or genízaro descendants.

The Voices of Our Ancestors

The Voices of Our Ancestors

Recently, I have been thinking about the importance of the human voice, particularly as an instrument for storytelling. It is often said that when an elder passes, an entire archive passes with them. In this piece, I reflect about how important it is to gather these voices, to dedicate ourselves to recording the stories all around us, particularly of our elders. It is also possible that our ancestors were interviewed and that those interviews are held in reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes…

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