Alibi V.17 No.8 • Feb 21-27, 2008 


More Than “Windowless Huts”

Dear Alibi,

As the executive director of the Cottonwood Gulch Foundation, I am grateful for the opportunity to respond to Mr. Scarantino’s incorrect and ignorant characterization of our organization [Re: The Real Side, “The Heinrich Maneuver,” Feb. 14-20].

Scarantino implies that Cottonwood Gulch is little more than a rural plot of land with a few “windowless huts.” While he is correct that our 540-acre nature preserve in the Zuni Mountains is located near Bluewater Lake, Mr. Scarantino’s blatant omission of any information pertaining to the Foundation’s activities intentionally distorts not only the role of Martin Heinrich, executive director from 1997-2001, but also the impact Cottonwood Gulch has had on 81 years’ worth of alumni.

The Cottonwood Gulch Foundation sponsors educational wilderness expeditions and outdoor programs in the American Southwest that promote personal growth, scientific, historic and cultural discovery, as well as a knowledgeable environmental ethic among all those who participate.

During Heinrich’s tenure, the Foundation’s permanent endowment was established and enrollment more than doubled. His leadership enhanced the Foundation’s ability to implement its mission, and his wise stewardship positioned the Gulch for continued growth and long-term sustainability.

Gulch Trekkers and visitors have the opportunity to engage in hands-on exploration of the ecology, art and archaeology of the Southwest. Trekkers conduct archaeological surveys, go rock climbing, help collect monitoring data in the Cibola National Forest, learn to cook Navajo fry bread, silversmith a bracelet, identify animal tracks and pit-fire their own pottery. They also find time to write poetry atop a mesa, sniff the bark of a ponderosa pine (smells like vanilla!), assist local ranchers and sleep outside under the stars--which, we might add, is even better than sleeping in a “windowless” cabin (we think Scarantino meant pane-less/screen-less).

Our wilderness expeditions have included countless young scientists and artists, authors like Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and Douglas Preston, and public servants like Congressman Mark Udall. This tradition of inspiring individual thinkers and community leaders is what makes Cottonwood Gulch a unique institution. I invite all readers, Mr. Scarantino included, to explore our website ( or give us a call (800-2-Go-Trek). We would love to tell you more about what we do here at “The Gulch.”

Mike Sullivan

Executive Director, Cottonwood Gulch Foundation

Meet the Immigrant

Dear Mexican,

I am a half bean, or I've been know as a coyote—half Hispanic and half White. I have been a reader of The Mexican [Gustavo Arellano of “¡Ask a Mexican!”] for some time. One issue that always pisses me off is the issue of immigration in our country. We are all immigrants except the Native Americans.

My grandfather is a famous man making guitars. He was an immigrant from the state of Durango in Mexico. He came to Albuquerque with a loaf of bread, his car, his wife and a few kids. He finally raised 11 children and purchased his home and place of business. He paid for all his family's care, food and clothes, never accepting a dime from the government. He did this and created a successful company and became a master at his craft. He is a true reflection of Mexican culture. He has many grandchildren. He taught his children to grow up responsible, respectable, productive and loving people.

Most redneck Americans want to blame the Mexican poeple for being lazy and living off the government at the taxpayers' expense. We should evaluate this. I don't need to emphasize the work ethic of most Mexicans. We all know the Mexican people are hard-working people who just want their children to have a brighter future, getting education and a wealthier life. I believe the rednecks' complaints are a reflection of themselves. Look how many in our country are on welfare, how our local government pushes these programs on everyone. Our country has a welfare problem. The welfare department does not expect individuals to better their lives, just to keep on taking.

I am a 36-year-old married man with my first child on the way. I was raised to work hard and do what is right for your family. I have been at grocery stores in the South Valley. I have seen many young, lazy, White guys break out thier EBT cards, get cash out for their booze and tobacco with thier snot-nosed kids and wife while getting groceries.

I don't mean to emphasize the White man, but my point is the redneck is just as guilty for leeching off of the taxpayer. Yet it is the Mexican that is the issue in our country. We have allowed our citizens and government to become racially discriminatory toward the Mexican people. I thought that was illegal! Yet our congressmen and congresswomen are speaking as though they are racists. I could go on about how much money the Mexican population brings to our country, employees they keep employed and so on. I would probably have to write a book, though.

Gracias, Señor Mexicano, y tenga buena dia.

Hector L. Pimentel


Trust the Results?

[Re: Blog, “New Mexico Goes to Clinton,” Feb. 14] Why not? Just because ballots were sitting unlocked and unsupervised in someone's living room for god knows how long? Come on. Everyone is so persnickety about who's gonna run their country. I mean, really.


And the Winner Is ...

Congratulations to Mike Sullivan, the winner (and only entrant) of last week's Le Chat Lunatique CD giveaway on Nevertheless, your 100 words about the first time you saw this fine quartet was both tender and amusing, and for that we thank you. As for everyone else, see how easy it is to win?

Teambuilding Luncheon Yay!

I first stumbled upon Le Chat Lunatique in the Convention Center while eating lunch at a kids' conference on service learning. I heard them from across that gigantic room and instantly forgot about my students. I still couldn't see them but floated toward their sound like an enamored Pepé Le Pew, stopping only to grab a Styrofoam lunchbox. I kept walking in the right direction by making sure their incredible music flowed evenly past each ear. Then I was there! Stage-side! And I loved it. I'm still very thankful to the band--that was the best industrially catered conference luncheon ever!

Mike Sullivan

Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to 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.