New Mexico’s Couy Griffin Slaps at the Legitimacy of Native Americans Voting and their Struggles and History

“I think the Recall for Couy Committee should look at the legal side of it because those signatures they get on the Mescalero Reservation, I don’t see how they could be used in a recall if I’m already been banished,” Griffin told a local radio station during an interview on July 13 that he questions the legality of the signatures gathered on the Mescalero Reservation since he was banned last fall.

Griffin apparently has forgotten or is unaware of the plight to vote for Native Americans or that there is even precedent for elected officials to be banished from stepping foot onto a reservation, but the Native American Voters still have the right to vote for or against that individual, even if the individual is banished from tribal lands represented.

Native Americans see themselves as patriots. They’re the demographic with the nation’s highest participation in military service. Yet profound differences separate some of their values from those of mainstream America. Many Indigenous people do not support the dominant society’s fiercely maintained system of racial and financial privilege of which Griffins comments allude to. Platforms with health- and community-focused planks are what interest most Native American voters per polling and Mr. Griffins absences from the district, focus on Cowboys for Trump and infatuation with the Trumpian theology don’t bold well for most Native American voters within the district.

The banishment of Couy Griffin from the Mezcalero Apache Reservation was an act, by the tribe, to get his attention. The banishment was to let him know of their displeasure in his actions as a representative in local government. Though driven by his rhetoric, the tribe’s stance of banishment is statement of his ineffectiveness as a leader of the community. The tribe clearly understands the recall is based upon his actions and potential ethics violations and not his rhetoric and as such allowed the signature drive for recall to proceed on their tribal lands.

Leaders build bridges between diverse groups and advocate for their needs. An act of banishment is a statement that he has been ineffective in representing their voice within county government if even at all.

The banishment of a political leader by a Native American tribe is not to be taken lightly and there is precedent for such actions. Couy is NOT the first politician to face a banishment and not the first to question voting rights of Native American citizens.

A most recent example of a tribal banishment is by the Oglala Sioux tribe in South Dakota, Via banishment they told the state’s governor that she was no longer welcome to access the Pine Ridge Reservation, one of the largest in the country, because she signed bills that allegedly target Keystone XL pipeline protesters. The tribe’s president, Julian Bear Runner, informed Gov. Kristi Noem of the council’s unanimous decision in an open letter.

Tribal banishment is a permanent ban from the reservation, and violations are punishable by law with fines or even jail time on their lands. Tribes have sovereign rights over their lands per Federal treaties however they also participate in county and state elections. Federal law allows for what one might deem as dual citizenship the right to participate in tribal elections as per the tribes constitution and the right to participate in local, state and federal elections via rights granted to all citizens within the US constitution.

Voting Rights of New Mexico’s Native American Population:

Miguel Trujillo Sr. had been a Marine sergeant in World War II and was in the middle of getting his master’s degree from the University of New Mexico. But there was one thing he still could not do. Trujillo could not vote. In 1948, the state’s constitution barred American Indians living on reservations from participating in elections. So, that summer, the Isleta Pueblo educator waged a legal battle that culminated in a court ruling 74 years ago that won Native Americans the right to vote in New Mexico.

Even though the federal government had granted citizenship to Native Americans back in 1924, the New Mexico Constitution still barred them from voting. The state’s constitution expressly prohibited from voting “idiots, insane persons, persons convicted of felonious or infamous crime unless restored to political rights, and Indians not taxed.”

That last part referred to Indians living on reservations because they did not pay property taxes on their land. It is unclear whether Native Americans could have registered to vote if they lived outside reservations.

But the provision disenfranchised many and prompted condemnation from the President’s Committee on Civil Rights in its 1947 report. The provision did not make any sense, the committee said. That line in the constitution was written before American Indians were granted citizenship, but they were paying taxes to the state and federal government like other citizens.

Protests against this ban, the report noted, had only gained force as American Indian veterans returned to civilian life after World War II.

It was amid all of this that Trujillo went to the Valencia County Clerk’s Office in June 1948. Family have said Trujillo had grown up with the county clerk, Eloy Garley, but knew he would not be allowed to vote in any event. Sure enough, he was turned away. In turn, Trujillo went to court with the help of Felix Cohen, a former federal official who had become a prominent civil rights lawyer and was working with tribes in New Mexico.

They filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court focusing on that one strange qualifier in the state constitution. For one thing, Trujillo’s lawsuit argued, he paid plenty of taxes. No, he did not pay taxes on his land. But he paid income taxes and sales taxes. There are other voters who don’t pay property taxes, too, such as renters. But no other group has been barred from voting on the basis that they do not pay property taxes.

On Aug. 3, 1948, a panel of three judges in Santa Fe sided with Trujillo granting Native American voting in New Mexico.

“We are unable to escape the conclusion that under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments; this constitutes discrimination on the ground of race,” the court said in its ruling. The cruel irony that Trujillo had just served in the military but was denied the right to vote was not lost on the court, either. Native Americans, the court said, “have responded to the need of the country in time of war in a patriotic wholehearted way, both in furnishing manpower in the military forces and in the purchase of war bonds and patriotic contributions of that character.” “Why should they be deprived their rights to not now because they are favored by the federal government in exempting lands from taxation?” the court asked.

With that, American Indians had the right to vote and petition in New Mexico in any election for any candidate like other citizens.

And vote they do. In the most recent election voters elected a record-breaking six Native American congressional candidates to serve in the US House of Representatives. Native candidates also won dozens of races in state and local elections across the country.

In New Mexico at the state level 9 candidates ran…

  1. WON: Anthony Allison, Navajo Nation, State House 4, Democrat
  2. UNOPPOSED: Doreen Wonda Johnson, Navajo Nation, State House 5, Democrat
  3. WON: Derrick Lente, Sandia & Isleta Pueblo, State House 65, Democrat
  4. UNOPPOSED: Georgene Louis, Acoma Pueblo, State House 26, Democrat
  5. WON: Patricia Roybal Caballero, Piro Manso Tiwa, State House 13, Democrat
  6. WON: Shannon Pinto, Navajo Nation, State Senate 3, Democrat
  7. WON: Benny Shendo Jr., Jemez Pueblo, State Senate 22, Democrat
  8. WON: Brenda McKenna, Nambe Pueblo, State Senate 9, Democrat
  9. LOST: Gertrude Lee, Navajo Nation, New Mexico Court of Appeals, Position 2, Republican

There are almost 3600 members of the Mescalero Apache tribe of which a large percentage live on the reservation and are located within Couy Griffins District. By law each have the right to sign the petition if a registered voter in the county the tribe’s people like ANYONE registered to vote in Otero County District 2 can sign the recall petition, including those registered voters on the Mescalero Reservation.

If Griffin is removed from office, the New Mexico Constitution states that Lujan Grisham may appoint a person from any political party to the seat. The appointee must be from Otero County District 2, Governor’s Office Spokeswoman Nora Sackett said.

The New Mexico Constitution is not as specific as the statement from the Governor’s spokesperson however there is precedent in appointments, and it would be politically prudent for the Governor to appoint within the district thus the statement from her spokesperson.

The Committee to Recall Couy Griffin is setting precedent in New Mexico history as there is not a record of a recall effort that has garnered this much attention nor seen the successes to date of this effort. To learn more about the recall effort visit:

https://www.facebook.com/RecallCouy/

Signatures at the Reservation are being gathered…

Friday, July 16:

Mescalero, Apache Reservation at the Chiricahua Plaza parking lot from 10 am – 4 pm

Saturday, July 17

Mescalero: Chiricahua Plaza parking lot from 10 am – 4 pm

Note: Story Revised on 7/16/21 at 6:09 pm per request the author has remove the call letters and named interviewer referenced in the story per a call request. While the record of the call is in the public airwaves we respect the request and have done so accordingly. 

To hear audio of the interview with Couy Griffin of New Mexico follow the link https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FSgtChez%2Fposts%2F10219254270935110&show_text=true&width=500

Repression to Freedom an Interpretative Art Installation Window Display by Coach & Artist Rene Sepulveda

Repression to Freedom

an Interpretative Art Installation by Coach & Artist Rene Sepulveda

In celebration of America’s freedom Artist Rene Sepulveda presents “Repression to Freedom” an interpretative window display showcasing the natural beauty of the white sand’s region and a natural view of freedom.

The art installation is composed of all-natural elements of fallen tree stumps, recycled metals, and other earthly elements to create a natural desert scene of color and beauty.

The scene begins with a fallen barbed wire fence. The tree stump it is attached to is an actual original barbed wire fallen fence representing the struggle of confinement and the repression of the barbed wire. Within the installation the barbed wire manifests itself into a scorpion representing change in the forms of death and rebirth. The Scorpion indicates there are lessons of our past lives that die off. Note the scorpion is reaching to leave the scene whereas the bluebirds look down from their corner perch onto the desert scene as a symbol of hope, love, and renewal as a part of many Native American legends. They are complimented by the nest of wise desert owls within the turquoise cholla cactus representing the wisdom of the desert. Along the fallen woods nestling into the tree trunks is the colorful gecko representing self-protection and re-growth that humanity and nature goes through. The customary gecko circle symbolizes the natural cycle of life.

The dominance of the turquoise coloring, center to the exhibit represents strength, skill, or even invincibility of the natural elements of the desert.

Center to the exhibit is the manifestation of the Native American designed turquoise accented pot with the turquoise tree root. containing the hanging gourds of sand pouring endlessly into the white sands symbolic of our never-ending unity with nature and the natural elements of the desert.

Throughout the exhibit are Roadrunners. The Roadrunner is a sign of Epiphany, Illumination and that something in our life has been healed on the spiritual and physical levels. The Roadrunner is a sign to the completion of a phase, a transformation of goal in life. The several Roadrunners in the scene symbolizes how we move forward to new and greater horizons. That within the desert we move on with renewed hope.

The scene ends with large moss-covered tree trunk of copper coloring and hanging above it is a Zia with an eagle soaring through the outline of the Zia. The Zia sun symbol represents the four cardinal directions, the four seasons of the year, the four period of each day (morning, noon, evening, and night), and the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, middle age, and old age) paired with the soaring eagle. The eagle caps or completes the artist installation with its acute eyesight, the eagle has come to embody an all-seeing EYE. The eagle is the solar symbol linked to the Zia thus representing the sky gods. It signifies inspiration, release from bondage, victory, longevity, speed, pride; and is the emblem for release from the constraints of the bondage of the barbed wire at the beginning of the installation.

As our eyes pull away from the artistic beauty of the display we are left with a feeling of renewal and hope from the sands of the desert to the vast sky above us.

Alamogordo Town News History Lesson Flag Day, Flag Code and Old Glory by Author Chris Edwards

Bernard Cigrand, a small-town Wisconsin teacher, originated the idea for an annual flag day, to be celebrated across the country every June 14, in 1885. That year, he led his school in the first formal observance of the holiday. Cigrand, who later changed careers and practiced dentistry in Illinois, continued to promote his concept and advocate respect for the flag throughout his life.

But prior to that when the American Revolutionbroke out in 1775, the colonists weren’t fighting united under a single flag. Instead, most regiments participating in the war for independence against the British fought under their own flags. In June of 1775, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to create the Continental Army—a unified colonial fighting force—with the hopes of more organized battle against its colonial oppressors. This led to the creation of what was, essentially, the first “American” flag, the Continental Colors.

For some, this flag, which was comprised of 13 red and white alternating stripes and a Union Jack in the corner, was too similar to that of the British. George Washington soon realized that flying a flag that was even remotely close to the British flag was not a great confidence-builder for the revolutionary effort, so he turned his efforts towards creating a new symbol of freedom for the soon-to-be fledgling nation.

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress took a break from writing the Articles of Confederation and passed a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white,” and that “the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

In response to the petition, Congress passed the Flag Act of 1777. It reads in the Journals of the Continental Congress:

Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.

The date commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. The flag was called the Flag Resolution of 1777 and was the first of many iterations of what would become the American flag we recognize today.

Betsy Ross Didn’t Design the Original Flag

Betsy Ross, born Elizabeth Phoebe Griscom, is widely credited with making the first modern American flag in 1776. Folklore states it occurred after General George Washington visited her home at 239 Arch Street in Philadelphia. Ross was the wife of John Ross, a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Militia. John was killed in the early stages of the war. What is known is that Betsy Ross worked in upholstery and helped war efforts by making tents and blankets.

The story of Ross and her presenting the American flag to Washington after he gave her a sketch of what he wanted didn’t become part of “history” until 1876 at Centennial celebrations of the American Revolution. Around that year Ross’s grandson, William J. Canby, wrote a research paper for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania claiming that his grandmother had made the first American flag.

The real designer of the American flag was Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the the Declaration of Independence as a delegate from New Jersey. Hopkinson was the Chairman of the Continental Navy Board’s Middle Department and also designed a flag for them around 1777, too.

Hopkinson was the only person to make the claim of inventing the American flag in his lifetime until the Betsy Ross apocrypha surfaced a hundred years later. Substantiating Hopkinson’s claims are preserved bills he sent to Congress for his work.

According to the United States Flag Organization:

Apparently acting on a request from Congress, Hopkinson sent a detailed bill on June 6th, and it was sent to the auditor general, James Milligan. He sent it to the commissioners of the Chamber of Accounts, who replied six days later on June 12th that they were of the opinion that the charges were reasonable and ought to be paid.

Flag Day itself was first established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. Wilson was also the first president to recognize Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, the latter of which is this Sunday. However, Flag Day didn’t officially become established until 1949 by an act of Congress.

Flag Day is not unique to the United States and many countries have specific flag days. Dates of flag days vary across the world, but most dates were chosen to mark a significant national event like an independence day, a declaration of independence, an important military victory, the creation of the flag, or something similar to our Armed Forces Day.

Prior to Flag Day, June 14, 1923, neither the federal government nor the states had official guidelines governing the display of the United States’ flag. On that date, the National Flag Code was constructed by representatives of over 68 organizations, under the auspices of the National Americanism Commission of the American Legion. The code drafted by that conference was printed by the national organization of the American Legion and given nationwide distribution.

On June 22, 1942, the code became Public Law 77-623; chapter 435. Little had changed in the code since the Flag Day 1923 Conference. The most notable change was the removal of the Bellamy salutedue to its similarities to the Hitler salute.

The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 prohibits real estate management organizations from restricting homeowners from displaying the Flag of the United States on their own property.

The Army Specialist Greg L. Chambers Federal Flag Code Amendment Act of 2007 added a provision to allow governors, or the mayor of the District of Columbia, to proclaim that the flag be flown at half-staff upon the death of a member of the Armed Forces from any State, territory, or possession who died while serving on active duty. The provision directs federal facilities in the area covered by the governor or mayor of the District of Columbia to fly the flag at half-staff consistent with such proclamations.

The Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (Sec. 595.)allows the military salute for the flag during the national anthem by members of the Armed Forces not in uniform and by veterans.

And how it was to become named Old Glory

Old Glory!”

This famous name was coined by Captain William Driver, ship master of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1831. As he was leaving on one of his many voyages aboard the brig Charles Doggett friends presented him with a beautiful American flag of twenty four stars. As the banner opened to the ocean breeze for the first time, he exclaimed “Old Glory!” (This voyage would climax with the rescue of the mutineers of the Bounty).

Captain Driver retired to Nashville in 1837, taking his treasured American flag from his sea days with him. By the time the Civil War erupted, most everyone in and around Nashville recognized Captain Driver’s “Old Glory.” When Tennessee seceded from the Union, Rebels were determined to destroy his flag, but repeated searches revealed no trace of the hated banner.

Then on February 25th, 1862, Union forces captured Nashville and raised the American flag over the capital. It was a rather small ensign and immediately folks began asking Captain Driver if “Old Glory” still existed. Happy to have soldiers with him this time, Captain Driver went home and began ripping at the seams of his bed cover. As the stitches holding the quilt-top to the batting unraveled, the onlookers peered inside and saw the 24-starred original “Old Glory”!

Captain Driver gently gathered up the flag and returned with the soldiers to the capitol. Though he was sixty years old, the Captain climbed up to the tower to replace the smaller banner with his beloved flag. The Sixth Ohio Regiment cheered and saluted – and later adopted the nickname “Old Glory” as their own, telling and re-telling the story of Captain Driver’s devotion to the flag we still honor today.

Captain Driver’s grave is located in the old Nashville City Cemetery and is one of three (3) places authorized by act of Congress where the Flag of the United States may be flown 24 hours a day.

A caption above a faded black and white picture in the book, The Stars and the Stripes, states that ‘Old Glory’ may no longer be opened to be photographed, and no color photograph is available.” Visible in the photo in the lower right corner of the canton is an applique anchor, Captain Driver’s very personal note. “Old Glory” is the most illustrious of a number of flags – both Northern and Confederate – reputed to have been similarly hidden, then later revealed as times changed. The flag was given to his granddaughter or niece who later donated it to the Smithsonian.

So on this flag day rather you are celebrating in Alamogordo, Nashville or the beaches of California, let us remember no party and no ideology owns the American flag. The American flag is the people’s flag with a long history that is a twist of tales and reverence. 

SIGN UP!

Congratulations to the new owner of Artist Rene Sepulveda’s Abstract Sculpture titled “High Desert Bloom”

Congratulations to the new owner of Artist Rene Sepulveda’s Abstract Sculpture titled “High Desert Bloom.” This original abstract was showcased on exhibition at the Roadrunner Emporium & Gallery at the 2nd Life Art Gallery, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico and is SOLD and enroute to a collector of fine art in Austin, Texas, USA.

About the Piece: “High Desert Bloom” Artist Rene Sepulveda created this one-of-a-kind nod to the New Mexico high desert and white sands located near Alamogordo New Mexico. The piece was crafted with 5000-year-old Lava Rock from the Valley of the Fire Lave Flow, combined with ancient fallen driftwood and replicas of desert flowers that create a unique and inspiring view of natures “High Desert Bloom”. This one-of-a-kind piece is heavy, crafted from ancient lava flow rich in iron and heavy metals. The wood is ancient from the Lincoln Forest and the flowers are replicas of flowers colorized to the artists imagination and found in the High New Mexico Desert.

About the Collection: Artist Rene Sepulveda reaches from his Native American Tarahumara tribal roots and creates works of art from 5000-year-old New Mexican Volcanic Lava Rock paired with recycled metals fallen driftwoods to create art of nature for home, office or outdoor spaces. Highly prized and highly collectable. Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak located in Southern New Mexico erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles. From a distance, the region appears as barren rock but when you visit the nature trails there are many varieties of flowers, cactus, trees, and bushes typical of the Chihuahuan desert. Animals include a variety of desert ants, bugs, bats, roadrunners, quail, cottontails, mule deer, barberry sheep, lizards, great horned owls, burrowing owls, turkey vultures, hawks, gnat catchers, cactus wrens, sparrows, and golden eagles and more.

This collection of works crafted by Artist Rene Sepulveda is inspired by his Tarahumara tribal roots as a tribute to the wildlife, flowers, cactus, and beauty of the region, crafted from recycled lava, woods and metals found from the Tularosa Basin and Sacramento Basin. The molten lava rock is repurposed rock pulled from abandoned homes and abandoned locations; repurposed into a “second life” as an “artistic sculpture” to bring joy and value to the owner of each unique piece.

#2ndLifeMedia#2ndLifeBoutique#LocalArts#AlamogordoArts#ArtistReneSepulveda#RoadrunnerEmporium#AlamogordoTownNews#AlamogordoMainStreet#NewMexicoArts#NativeAmericanArt#AbstractArt#DesertArt#2ndLifeGallery#RoadrunnerEmporiumArtGallery#NaturalArtSculptures

5 Questions An Interview with New Mexico Abstract Natural Sculpture Artist Rene Sepulveda Roadrunner Emporium

Rene Sepulveda former NCAA Award winning Track and Field Coach, Rehabilitative Coach turned artist creates sculptured works. One art critic recently said of his works that they are “incisive meditations of colorishis designs, shapes and composition complimenting natures wonders using lava rocks, tree roots, tree trunks, bark, cholla desert cactus as components of his canvas.”

Artist Rene Sepulveda’s carefully constructed sculptures and art installations are abstract interpretative works that rely heavily on the influence of nature for texture and symmetry, for rural to urban spaces.

We sat down with the man who wears many hats; Former Award Winning NCAA Coach, Rehabilitative Fitness Coach, Author and Artist Rene Sepulveda, to find out more about his processes, inspiration, and his unique artistic journey with the release of his most recent exhibition the “Valley of The Fire Collection” With this interview he is also releasing two sculptured works, a tree trunk abstract sculptured piece called “Baily Canyon” which is a stunning blend of a hallowed out tree trunk textured, preserved and intriguingly colored then placed on a bed of lava rock and combined with local treated and colored natural cactus to make a stunning visual display.

The second piece to be released today he calls “Stark NM” it is a combination natural wood, recycled metals and woods crafted into a one of a kind abstract piece sitting on a Zia stone with lava. This intricate piece is a dazzling array of colors that inspires awe in its bold colors and unusual textures.

How would you describe the sculptures and artwork you create?

“My goal is to create compelling works that draw the viewer in to explore the underlying structure of color, texture and the natural elements created by mother nature. My hope is that the initial reaction is an emotional response to the color relationships, the contrasting textures between the flat and fluid paint and the hard edges and gestural marks that are embedded in the pieces as marks of nature. I want the person to enjoy my sculptured pieces and to be rewarded as they soak into the piece so that the placing of each element, the precise color balance, the textures, and carefully calibrated proportions of my sculptures are revealed to our inner senses. The inspiration comes from both natural and man-made elements and share my preoccupation with patterns, colors, textures, and the natural elements of nature.”

What message do you want to get across with your artistic works?

“I tap into my Native American roots. I believe I’m empowered by my grandfather’s ancestors in how I commune with nature to bring harmony and balance to my art pieces. I believe nature is complex in texture color. I know that harmony can be achieved to create an appealing and interesting work of art when we reconcile vastly different and contrasting colors and textures using techniques and processes that I’ve created to enhance natures work to be placed into an urban or rural household, office, or place of business.

I believe that the artistry of Cholla Art, Tree Trunk Art, Root Art or Lava Rock and Metal works are unique and not well understood, in that most homeowners or business owners don’t have the knowledge of the beauty these pieces can bring to their environment.

Most people have not been exposed to these kinds of sculptured works, very few artists create art with these mediums as a canvas.

Most people don’t know the sense of Zen or harmony that is created by including these pieces into the home, office, or business environment.

I’ve created works where chance takes over as the prominent sense and caused me to be fluid with colors and textures. The colors and textures then take over my mind and through my hands flows the wonder of color and texture. Sometimes it flows through me like a force of gravity down the surface of the art piece showing a series textures and colors from my mind that are then frozen in time to create a timeless piece of art.

Several of my creations become art dense in color and texture with very defined creations begun my nature that eventually show a high degree of control but are complex in their inspiration of color. I see this as the human impact on the natural world that is expressed with the culmination of taking objects from nature such as complex root art systems, tree trunks, unique fallen forest wood pieces, 5000 year old lava rock, unique cholla desert cactus skeletons and using them as the canvas for human expression of color and texture.

Patterns of all kinds fascinate me, including the hidden structures of living things. Tinting, repeat sequences, geometric shapes and grids, pre-historic symbols and pottery designs and the underlying laws that dictate how the natural world evolves influences my craft. The influence of all of that finds a way into my work, which I don’t really consider to be pure color or texture abstraction. Maybe interpretative abstract sculpturing is a better term for my works. I use very defined textures but counterbalance with color and the canvas of nature in my sculptured works. My work is all inspired by something I have seen or felt which has sparked my imagination. Nature is the foundation of hope for the world we live. That hope comes with a responsibility to acknowledge natures role in our daily lives, to embrace it and to appreciate its influence, by its placement, through art into our homes, offices, or businesses.”

How did you come to mixing texturing and color design in your natural art sculptures?

“Textures and colors of all kinds have always intrigued me, most especially the colors and textures of nature. When I was young and an Olympic Trials Athlete, I would run 100s of miles weekly in the mountains, the desert floor and in the woods and always along those runs, I could almost feel the colors and the textures of the natural elements around me.

So when I began exploring my artistic side, the ideas of color and texture were a natural expression of what I had absorbed from my time outdoors. On my travels around the world, I’m always attracted to the colors and textures of our ancient ancestors. The geometric abstraction in colors and shapes of the Inca’s in Peru, the geometry of the Pyramids in Egypt, my travels to my mother’s homeland of Ireland, the imaging of my grandfather’s ancestral tribes of the Tarahumara; each imprinted on my mind. Those influences’ flow through me into each art piece I create with color, textures, and design.”

Do specific colors and forms hold definite meanings in your work?

“For me color complemented with texturing is the most important part of creating art to be enjoyed. The relationship between the size, shape, texture, and color of each art form to ensure it compliments natures handiwork is of highest priority to me. The dominance of each color, the warmth or coolness, flatness, or texture, as well as denseness and fluidity, are hopefully resolved so that there is a restless balance that is appealing to the eyes and inspires the heart of those who are viewing my creations. My appreciation for color and texture began with me, in appreciate of Georgia Totto O’Keeffe’s paintings of enlarged flowers and New Mexico landscapes. O’Keeffe recognized as the Mother of American modernism certainly had an influence on me. Similarly Antoni Gaudi of Barcelona remarkable for his range of forms, textures, and for the free, expressive way in which these elements of his art seem to be composed have always inspired my own appreciation for colors and textures.

The colors and textured in each piece have symbolic meaning for me. The earth colors are often mixed directly with the piece to form the landscaped base and then the real creativity begins. I see color and texture as an evolutionary process, building up layers and design elements to reflect light and darkness differently with each vantage point. In some designs the colors of the urban world show though as they are attached to a piece created in the natural environment of forest or deserts. What is crafted is a contrast that is appealing and inspiring to the observer. Colors of reds and yellows remind me of the sunsets within nature and the natural elements of sunflowers which bring joy. The various grays, blacks and coppers define a more commercial manufactured world but when combined with the textures of nature they then bring meaning of wholeness with nature to me and hopefully the observer.”

Have the goals of your work changed during the Covid-19 lockdown and do you have advice for an aspiring artist?

“I have a hard time viewing myself as an artist. My business partner jokes with me and tells me once I began selling my works, I became a professional artist. I don’t know if I’d ever view myself as an artist, certainly not a professional artist, as I have a Masters in Epidemiology and a Master’s in Public Health. I Coached for over 20 years at the university level and competed professionally. I continue to coach as a rehabilitative coach today. However, the Covid lockdown did provide me an opportunity for reflection and a period of isolation without distractions to explore and expand on the artist within. With the support of family and my business partner, I’ve created some fun pieces that I am immensely proud to have been able to craft. Some people seem to enjoy my work. Some pieces are a bit eccentric, abstract, and sometimes confusing but overall the reaction has been incredibly positive, and we have sold several hundred pieces even with a pandemic going on. For that I am humbled and surprised. Each art piece I create is almost like a child to me. I nurture it and collaborate with it and want to ensure each piece goes to a good home or business where it will be cared for and cherished for years to come.

I can see preoccupations, moods and themes running throughout my artistic journey. My aim is to create a balanced work that is balanced between color, and texture and complimented by the canvas of nature. Those are competing forces which are the canvas that work as the inspiration in my work.

My advice for an artist starting out would be, just do it. It doesn’t matter if you are an art major or an art novice, it doesn’t matter if you are 12, 18, 25, 55 or 70 everyone has art within themselves, but few will ever express the art they have the potential to create. The world needs art, color, complex designs, and simple beauty. If its within you, do it, put it out there and just do it. Everyone of us wants to express ourselves from within, in some way; some write, some create art, some craft music, or performance arts. Whatever is within you, just believe in yourself and just do it.”

Learn More About Coach, Author and Artist Rene Sepulveda. Several of his pieces are showcased online via the 2nd Life Boutique and an Etsy Store. Rene Sepulveda’s more exclusive pieces are showcased on the artist website ArtistReneSepulveda.com. Many of his pieces are showcased and can be seen in person at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo, New Mexico. A few of his largest installation pieces are showcased on exhibition in the yards and homes in and around Northern California and Southern New Mexico. His recently released 9 foot by 8 foot complex root art piece he calls “Ventricle” and his extraordinary 9 Foot Tall sculptured abstract tree trunk artistry sculpture called, “Bailey Canyon” and his other awesome piece called “Stark NM” can be found on exhibition at 2 private residences on McKinley Street in Alamogordo, New Mexico and are available for viewing. All are sold via his website ArtistReneSepulveda.com or at a discounted price when purchased in person and for pickup via the 2nd Life Boutique at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico.

To schedule a viewing in person and a discussion with the artist or for more information contact Mr. Sepulveda’s publicist coachedwards@2ndlifemedia.com or call 707.880.6238

The True Story of Geronimo’s Cadillac, The Song & The Facts – Author Chris Edwards

A million tales in the world of American folklore have been spun from an extraordinary, almost magical photograph: reportedly taken on June 5, 1905 short stories, songs, oil paintings all were spun from that photo. The best known song is a 1972 song  by Michael Martin Murphey, “Geronimo’s Cadillac,” also covered by Hoyt Axton, Cher, and others.

Geronimo ‘s Cadillac Actually A Locomobile Model C (2ndLifeMediaAlamogordoTownNews History Lesson 2021)

In the familiar photo,  which is in truth a relic from a racist chapter of this country’s history as related to Native Americans. But it’s more than that. The photograph was taken in 1905 at the “Oklahoma’s Gala Day” exhibition hosted by the Miller brothers’ 101 Ranch, located southwest of Ponca City, Oklahoma. To gin up interest in its exhibition, the 101 Ranch paid Geronimo to appear. The 101 Ranch staged the scene in the car for the press with the approval of the president, as the great Native American leader was actually incarcerated at the time.

What should we make of Geronimo in the picture from 1905, dressed in a top hat and vest, sitting behind the steering wheel, with another man dressed in Native American Head dress and clothing? Was this meant to be a  humorous curiosity, an Indian dressed up in a suit and sitting in a fancy car? Or was it meant as further humiliation, an aging warrior and medicine man turned into a side show? Geronimo was still in captivity during these years. History tells different tales it most point to him being forced by circumstances and the federal government to parade his defeat and satisfy romantic curiosity about Indians?

The photo specifically is of the Apache warrior Geronimo who sits behind the wheel of an early touring car. He’s dressed entirely in the white man’s clothing, including an elegant top hat, and joining him in the cockpit are three more Native Americans, including the man at Geronimo’s left, Edward Le Clair Sr., wearing a Ponca chief’s ceremonial headdress.

 “The two images together—Geronimo and a Cadillac—just struck me as a song title,” Murphey told Rolling Stone Magazine in 1987. “It was every irony I could ever think of about our culture in two words.”

Like all skilled songwriters, authors, and poets Murphey weaves together fact and legend in telling his story—one of the legends being that Geronimo’s automobile is a Cadillac. In truth, the car in the photo is a 1904 Locomobile Model C.

he Locomobile Company of America was a pioneering American automobile manufacturer founded in 1899, and known for its dedication to precision before the assembly-line era. It was one of the earliest car manufacturers in the advent of the automobile age.

The 1904 internal combustion Locomobile Touring Car had a tonneau and space for five passengers, and sold for $4500, quite a change from the low-priced steam buggies. The front-mounted, vertical, water-cooled straight-4 engine produced 16 hp (12 kW). A three-speed sliding transmission was used, as on the Système Panhard cars with which it competed. The angle steel-framed car weighed 2,200 lb (1,000 kg).

However, Murphey nailed the important part of the story: Despite its whimsical composition, the photo does not depict a happy scene. Far from it. At this moment, Geronimo was a prisoner of the U.S. Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he had lived for years after his surrender to territorial authorities in 1886. He was allowed to leave the fort only when he was trotted out and put on display at exhibitions and wild west shows. At the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt he attended the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, and he rode in Roosevelt’s 1905 inaugural parade.

On the day the photo was taken with the Locomobile, Geronimo was one of the attractions at an exhibition for reporters and photographers at the Miller brothers’ 101 Ranch near Ponca City, Oklahoma. He never owned or drove an automobile. In February of 1909, after falling from a horse and contracting pneumonia, Geronimo died at Fort Sill at the age of 79.

The lyrics of the song tell a real story that is sad in tone and the story weaved…

They put Geronimo in jail down South

Where he couldn’t look a gift horse in a mouth

Sergeant, Sergeant don’t you feel

There’s something wrong with your automobile

Warden, Warden, listen to me

Be brave and set Geronimo free

Governor, Governor, ‘ain’t it strange

You never see a car on the Indian range

Oh boys take me back

I wanna ride in Geronimo’s Cadillac

Oh boys I wanna see it for real

I wanna ride in Geronimo’s automobile

Take me, take me, take me back

I wanna ride in Geronimo’s [Cadillac]

Warden, Warden, don’t you know

The prisoners ‘aint got no place to go

It took ol’Geronimo by storm

They took the badges from his uniform

Jesus told me and I believe it’s true

The redmen are in the sunset too

They stole their land and they won’t give it back

And they sent Geronimo a Cadillac

Oh boys take me back

I wanna ride in Geronimo’s Cadillac

Oh boys I wanna see it for real

I wanna ride in Geronimo’s automobile

Take me, take me, take me back

I wanna ride in Geronimo’s [Cadillac]

They put Geronimo in jail down South

Where he couldn’t look a gift horse in a mouth

Sergeant, Sergeant don’t you feel

There’s something wrong with your automobile

Warden, Warden, listen to me

Be brave and set Geronimo free

Governor, Governor, ‘aint it strange

You never see a car on the Indian range

Oh boys take me back

I wanna ride in Geronimo’s Cadillac

Oh boys I wanna see it for real

I wanna ride in Geronimo’s automobile

Take me, take me, take me back

I wanna ride in Geronimo’s Cadillac

Specific to the song. It was released July 31, 1972 as a single which edited the track’s original 4:39 length to 3:21 “Geronimo’s Cadillac” reached number 37 on the Hot 100 in Billboard magazine. The track also charted in Canada with a peak of number 30 on the Top Singles chart in RPM magazine. “Geronimo’s Cadillac” afforded Murphey his sole Hot 100 charting until “Wildfire” on Epic Records reached number 3 in 1975. The success of “Wildfire” caused A&M to re-issue “Geronimo’s Cadillac” with a new B-side: “Blessing in Disguise” a track from Murphey’s 1973 album Cosmic Cowboy Souvenir, replacing “Boy From the Country.” However this re-issue of “Geronimo’s Cadillac” did not chart, failing to deflect interest from Epic’s follow-up single release to “Wildfire”: “Carolina in the Pines”, which fell just short of the top 20.

While the image and song is interesting and engaging today it is also a reminder of a past that we must learn from. We as a people must be better, respect diversity and respect the values, beliefs, and heritage of the first peoples of America – the Native American people and their contributions and their culture to the tapestry of America.