Tribes Veto Southwest Mural; Say Use of Images Offensive at New Mexico University

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 18, 2003 | Go to article overview

Tribes Veto Southwest Mural; Say Use of Images Offensive at New Mexico University


Byline: Julia Duin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A noted New Mexico artist's portrayal of Indian artifacts was canceled by the University of New Mexico on the grounds it was too politically incorrect for public viewing.

Two years ago, Tom Baker, a Tijeras, N.M., portrait artist known for his oil renditions of prehistoric art, was commissioned to construct a set of gigantic murals for the lobby of a new archaeology building on the university's Albuquerque campus. He had worked a year on the project when members of a local Indian tribe told the university that the murals contained sacred religious images.

The university immediately canceled the project.

This is not the first time one of New Mexico's numerous Indian tribes - also known as pueblos - have tried to block a project on the grounds that it interferes with their religion. The Zia Pueblo, located northwest of Albuquerque, demanded $73 million from the state in 1999 on the grounds the state had misappropriated its "zia" sun symbol for New Mexico's distinctive state flag.

Frank C. Hibben, a renowned archaeologist who died last June at the age of 92, had used his personal fortune to donate the new archaeology building to UNM along with $10 million for a scholarship fund for archaeology students. He asked the university to install and pay for a mural in the new building that would be made up of images from Pottery Mound, an 800-year-old Indian ruin southwest of Albuquerque that he excavated in the 1950s and '60s.

Even though the tribe that protested the mural project admits its ancestors may have had nothing to do with the original artwork, university officials decided last spring to cancel Mr. Baker's $20,000 commission to design four 20-by-48-foot murals to decorate the new building.

Just conceiving the mural project was a daunting task, says the artist, as it encompassed some 4,000 square feet of wall, all to be painted on the inside of a three-story atrium that extended to a huge skylight. The mural was to have been at the second-story level.

Meanwhile, university officials had informed members of the Acoma Indian tribe, whose ancestral home is about 50 miles west of Albuquerque, about the murals. Three members of the tribe told the university that all art images created by their ancestors were sacred, and use of the images was off-limits to non-Indians even though the university owns Pottery Mound.

"These murals depicted some of our cultural icons or images," said Damian Garcia, cultural preservation director for the Acoma Pueblo. "These images were found inside a sacred chamber."

He added he did not know which tribe created the murals 800 years ago. Marilyn Hibben, wife of the deceased archaeologist, said her husband was devastated to learn the murals would not be used.

"There was no proof the Acomas did the art," Mrs. Hibben said. "Why didn't they call the Zunis [another nearby tribe] who may have been closer to Pottery Mound 800 years ago? Dr. Hibben hadn't seen any proof that any particular tribe was related to it.

"He thought the paintings were so beautiful, that people should have been aware of what [Indians at Pottery Mound] did. It was done to honor them, not to degrade their beliefs. Nowadays things get distorted."

Ever since the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act became law in 1990, some archaeologists have complained that Indians are dictating the fate of too many artifacts by claiming them as sacred burial objects. In a November 1994 article for Archeology magazine, Clement Meighan, an archaeologist at the University of California at Los Angeles, blamed cultural anthropologists.

"Many of them welcome an opportunity to demonstrate their solidarity with an allegedly oppressed minority, especially when it means insisting that the latter's native religion be respected," he wrote. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Tribes Veto Southwest Mural; Say Use of Images Offensive at New Mexico University
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.