Oñate's Unsettling Effects
[RE: "Letters, "History Lessons," Nov. 17-23] As a volunteer at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, I regret that Conchita Lucero and her league minimize the Pueblo people's suffering at the hands of many Spanish settlers. She is right in saying that Spain had the least oppressive colonial policy among the European powers. Unfavorable comparisons with Anglo colonizers, however, do not absolve men like Oñate. (Citing my pacifistic Quaker ancestors would be equally meaningless.)
I see the Acoma warriors' attack on a Spanish foraging party as the result of a tragic misunderstanding and Royal Governor Oñate's overreaction as equally tragic. Significantly, the King of Spain later recalled Oñate from the governorship, seemingly for poor judgment. The record shows that the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 was provoked by legitimate grievances: forced labor and even slavery, confiscation of crops and prohibition of traditional ceremonies. The best evidence for the existence of uncivilized practices by many settlers was that the practices largely ceased after the Revolt.
Read with Your Eyes Wide Open
I nearly lost my dinner when I opened the Alibi and Steven Robert Allen gave the New Mexico Books & More store at Cottonwood Mall a full page up front! It was great!
All we are saying at the store is you can't buy New Mexico books if you can't see them. New Mexico has some great authors and many of them are at the store this year for the second year. Last year we gave over $5,500 to local literacy programs from the store. We aren't doing it for fun—we want people to appreciate what we know.
This year our friends at The New Mexico Food & Gift Showcase are also at Cottonwood Mall near Foley's on the lower level. They are showing off New Mexico foods. Come over and see New Mexico this Christmas, or go to www.nmbookcoop.com for the whole list of over 100 book signings! And thanks to the Alibi for just being supportive.
Baby Steps to Sweet Victory
I strongly support the governor's plans to "expel junk food for a healthy new year” in New Mexico schools! When I first pitched this idea to legislators in 1999 in the context of creating the New Mexico Nutrition Council with express powers to reject harmful food additives even if they were FDA approved, 14 out of 42 state senators agreed to cosponsor it. It has taken six years to finally emerge as policy from the governor's and Secretary of Health's offices! The corporate opposition and the inertia of ignorance against such an effort is incredible. This battle rages on, specifically now in the Board of Pharmacy's consideration of banning aspartame/formaldehyde in at least 500 children's meds and vitamins; if parents would only start reading the labels!
The world's largest aspartame and M.S.G. manufacturer, Ajinomoto of Japan, has hired several Washington and New Mexico firms to prevent hearings on aspartame in the Environmental Improvement Board and the Board of Pharmacy.
An educated public cannot be bamboozled, if only you will occasionally illuminate your readers to the mountain of medical evidence against aspartame, which is too enormous to sweep under the rug. Ajinomoto will likely ask for a Federal District court writ to deny the five-day EIB hearings on the grounds that the FDA's approval of aspartame preempts all state scrutiny. Ajinomoto's efforts to bludgeon consumer protection will fail if the governor and the attorney general will only rise to the occasion, and soon, to defend the health of all New Mexicans by supporting aspartame hearings by both the EIB and the Pharmacy Board.
Turning the Tables on Minimum Wage
Regarding the recent failure of the minimum wage proposal, I must respond to a letter by Ron Carter ["Lost Wages," Nov. 3-9]. I am a graduate of UNM and have experienced a variety of employment in Albuquerque over the past 15 years. The bulk of my employment has been in social work, as a Medicaid case manager, program director and legal guardian. I have also been employed in positions that pay close to minimum wage, working on the "front lines" of human and animal welfare. I have never relied on the government for support and beyond being a responsible taxpayer I have consistently contributed to nonprofit groups through time or money. Through the years I have had the good fortune of meeting and working with many minimum wage (or very close to minimum wage) employees in Albuquerque. I, along with a number of my colleagues, chose these jobs due to a deep need to contribute to our world and hopefully improve conditions of the underprivileged. The real question is this: Who else is going to provide love and personal care to the sick, frail, disabled or elderly? Who else will risk physical injury and often tolerate emotional abuse daily by the severely disabled and/or mentally ill, convicts or abandoned youth? Who else will care for influxes of hundreds of abandoned/unwanted pets and often have to euthanize those same animals? Who else will wash your car, serve you food or clean your clothes with a smile when you are cranky? Ron asks the question, "Why is anyone's labor worth only the minimum wage?" My question is, "Why has America become the land of the rich and greedy, while many contributing to a healthier, humanitarian world are labeled as ’valueless,' and to add insult to injury, are paid an unlivable amount?" It is time to turn the tables, my friends. No one working full time should worry about how to eat at night.
Letters Comprehension Quiz
Whoever correctly answers the following three multiple choice questions—and is the first to e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org along with their name and contact information—will win a fancy official letter of appreciation from the Alibi, suitable for framing.
Which of the following means: "Of or associated with letters or the writing of letters."
"Why has America become the land of the rich and greedy, while many contributing to a healthier, humanitarian world are labeled as ’valueless,' and to add insult to injury, are paid an unlivable amount?" What's wrong with this sentence?
Which of the following letter writers live in Sandoval County?
Letters should be sent with the writer's name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to email@example.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.