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Some Recent Articles You May Have Missed

Not wanting to deprive you of other articles I’ve written the past few months but didn’t post on my website…. I kindly offer a few that were published here and there on the innertubes recently that you may have missed.

The four articles I’ve linked to below run the gamut from a photo essy on Finland’s Kvarken World Heritage Site to my analysis of the controversy we see here in Taos, New Mexico over the historical legacy of Kit Carson.  I also go on a hunt for a bar in Taos I went to when I was underage and that I’ve never been able to find…..but first is my article on the impact of tourism on local arts and culture.

This article as gone somewhat viral over the past week getting a lot of comments and discussion on various websites.  I make that case that if we need to be honest about the massive impact our purchases have on the very process of culture and that “authenticity” doesn’t really exist….well…maybe…read on and join the debate……

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Tourists’ Tastes Craft Culture – Vrai Magazine

“I leave the good stuff at home,” the man said to me. “It doesn’t sell.”

“What do you mean it doesn’t sell?” I asked him.

Just last June I was at Zuni Pueblo in western New Mexico. On a ridiculously windy and hot afternoon I stood inside Murphy’s Trading Post out of the stinging swirls of red dust that raced between the layered mesas of the tribal lands. In the back of the store a few artists were haggling over blankets and bowls of turquoise while I watched in awe as massive chunks of pork ribs dangled from a rotisserie dripping glorious fat. I was literally drooling. Three girls came in and asked for ice-cream. Oh yes, I thought. Ice-cream, that’s why I’m here.

One of the artists came from the back of the store and asked if I’d like to buy some of his hand-made traditional Zuni fetishes. He was a large man with absurdly gigantic hands. He wore a Zuni Fire Crew baseball cap and his shirt sat high on his belly so that his navel stuck out.

“Well, I make real art for me but visitors, they don’t want real art, they want traditional stuff, you know? So I make fetishes to get by.” Zuni fetishes are small animal carvings that customarily served a ceremonial purpose for their owner. “Come to see.”  …………


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Kit Carson: A divisive figure long after his time – Taos News

History can be uncomfortable. Likewise, the future can be more than a bit nerveracking. It is the future, however, that offers much more opportunity than the past ever will.

Most of us have a vague idea of who Christopher Houston “Kit” Carson (1809-1868) was as a historical figure. An illiterate man who abandoned American society for a life in the wilds of the West. He was at once a trapper, a scout, allegiant soldier, adventurer, loyal husband and father, devoted friend, cold-blooded killer and ultimately a legend whose life defines the America of “Manifest Destiny”.

One of the things that makes Kit Carson the human being so uncomfortable for us in the present is that his life represents the larger forces at play during a very difficult time in our nation’s history and certainly in the history of the Southwest. For some, he is a sort of national hero while for others he is the devil incarnate.

The fact is, he was neither devil nor hero. He was……


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The Ghost Bars of Taos – Taos News

A building can be haunted but can a building haunt a person?

Sometime in the early 1990s there was a bar in Taos that served pretty much anyone of any age without any questions. The bar was in a basement with one window at ground level that looked out, through metal bars, onto a road. It was a dark place full of old men and a musty smell. I never got a welcoming smile but they served my friends and my eighteen-year-old self without ever asking our ages.

After a 10-year hiatus from Taos, however, I could never find that bar again. I’ve asked numerous people and no one knows of the place. I’ve walked around town looking for it. I’ve searched for it in Ranchos and Seco, never with any luck. I’m not crazy. I went there many times.

Can a bar itself become a ghost?


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Where World Heritage Rises from the Sea – Vrai Magazine

A feast for the eyes. That is how I think of the Kvarken World Heritage Site. In fact, that is how I think of all of Finland. But it took me awhile to get there.

Coming from the truly stunning Colorado-New Mexico borderlands where high plateaus crash up against volcanic mesas and towering 14,000 foot snow-capped peaks that glitter in the blue sky — my first impression of Finland was….blah. Really? It is flat!  That was 15 years ago. Over time, Finland’s subtleties became more apparent in my eyes and over time I’ve come to find Finland breathtaking – in a totally different way than my homeland steals your breath.

Earlier this month I posted portraits of seven individuals working in eco-tourism in the Kvarken World Heritage Site of west central Finland. Now I give you the landscape those people live in.


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I’ve slowed down on the blog stuff because I have a number of other projects going on.  I’m writing a guide and website for the new El Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, preparing to teach a class on anthroplogy and creative writing at Eastern New Mexco University and trying to get a big article on Tatras National Park published sometime early next year.

Coming up next week, more from Slovakia and Finland as well as some photography advice!  Tell ALL your friends!


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