Santa Fe Culture – My brother, Antonio Velasquez, is 25 years old. He lives in Guymon, is married to Erica (Montelongo) Velasquez and they have a two-year-old son, Nathanael. Tonyo, as we call him, is taking a humanities class at OPSU. For their culture project they took a trip last week to Santa Fe , New Mexico . Now they have to put together a scrapbook and an essay on the rich historical culture of Santa Fe and its environment. Since I've been there twice, he asked me if I had any interesting pictures or unique information besides that mentioned in the many official brochures and websites. To make his writing interesting I encouraged him to include the following three hearsay “modern legends”:

Legend One- A New York tourist couple stopped by an adobe hut by the highway on the outskirts of Santa Fe . The sign outside advertised: “92 year-old Indian with phenomenal memory. Ask him any memory question, pay only one dollar”. The man thought it couldn't hurt to blow a dollar so he paid, then asked the Indian, “Hi, we're from New York . What did you have for breakfast on July 22 nd 1967 ?”

“Eggs”, replied the aged Indian.

“Well, so much for that”, thought the couple, and they continued their travels. A year later as they were traveling through the same road on their way to the vista highways of Colorado they spotted the same hut with the same sign out front. “Let's stop and see if that old Indian remembers us”, said the wife. “Then we'll know if our dollar last year was well-spent”. So, they went in, paid their dollar and the city man raised his right hand, palm out, grinned and greeted, “How?”

“Scrambled”, replied the Indian.

(Note: the greeting “how” is not a real greeting in any Native American dialect but the sound of that word is used in some tribes' vocabulary)

Legend Two -In one of the many Indian reservations located outside of Santa Fe , the October council was underway. A member asked the young, newly-elected, college-educated, modern-minded reservation president: “Say, Chief, do you think we'll have a very cold winter this year? If so, how bad will it be?”

The young chief said, “It's better to be safe than sorry. Expect the best but prepare for the worst. Go and collect as much wood as you can.” So the members and their families went out and collected wood. Before the next council meeting the chief got online and searched the National Weather Service site for their prediction of the coming winter. At the council meeting the same question arose: “Chief, how bad is the cold going to be? We haven't seen a cold day yet and we have all that wood stored up.”

The chief replied, “Oh, it will be cold alright. The internet weather sites say it will be extremely cold. The meteorologists study the satellite images and interpret them. You better collect more wood.” So, trusting in their leader, the Indians went out to collect more wood.

The next week the chief decided to call the weather service center directly.

“I haven't seen a cold wind yet. Do you still stand by your prediction that it will be a very cold winter?” He asked.

“Oh, yes. Our satellite images show a pattern of movement towards a very cold winter in your area.” They said.

Once more the young chief advised his people to stock grain, salt or freeze meat, make warm clothing and collect more wood. They did. Before the next council he again called the National Weather Service and said, “We haven't seen a cold wind blow from the north. The birds haven't flown south yet. The rains have been with us into late fall. What makes you say that it's going to be an extreme winter?

The meteorologist replied, “Because our satellite image readings show that the Indians are collecting wood like crazy.”

Legend Three- A politician running for governor of the state of New Mexico made a campaign stopover at an Indian reservation outside of Santa Fe. During his campaign speech he pledged to give the Indians more benefits for their reservation.

“And I promise”, he blared, “to expand funding for your medical clinics in order to keep well-qualified doctors here!”

“Um guala-guala, um guala-guala” murmured the people.

The wannabe governor didn't understand why or what they were saying but he continued: “And, if I get into office I will see to it that your children get a good education by approving more funding for the school system.

“Um guala-guala, um guala-guala” the people murmured.

He continued, “And finally, if I'm elected, I will see to it that you get more autonomy. Every reservation will be approved to run casinos.

“Um guala-guala.” they murmured.

After his speech, the reservation president was giving the visiting politician a tour of the reservation when they came to a bull pasture. The bulls were resting under the shade of the trees which were about 100 yards away. The politician said, “What are those animals?”

“They're bulls.” said the leader.

“I want to get a closer look at them. Can I climb over the fence and walk just a few feet farther in?” asked the politician.

The Indian replied, “Yes, you may, but be careful where you step. You might step in some um guala-guala.”

Have a happy early April Fools Day.