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with indígenos today. She valiantly strove to establish a “democratic visual vernacular” with the painting. The conflicts are found in virtually every aspect of social and political interaction, she contends. At the roundtable, she expressed exasperation as to why issues of discrimination are still being discussed today, decades after the women’s movement began. “I’m not a progressive. I’m not a liberal. I’m a revolutionary,” Rodríguez said. “I was standing in the rain in my 20s for birth control, for civil rights. I’m tired. I’m pissed.” Rodríguez doesn’t consider Coyota to be her magnum opus. That’s something she is working on. Until then, she invites people who read her book to cook a meal, sit down with a few relatives or friends and bathe in the bounty of our good earth.

Anita Rodriquez: Coyota in the Kitchen From Coyota in the Kitchen by Anita Rodriquez. Copyright @ 2016, University of New Mexico Press


apa told stories on those Sunday drives — stories that ignited my imagination and nourished my slowly emerging sense of who I was and where I came from. Brimming with anticipation, I would wait for him to shift into his storytelling voice. That’s when the enchantment would begin. “Tu abuelo, Juan Antonio Ramírez, had vacas. He won ’em in a card game. Every year part of the herd had to be taken over the mountains to the matanza to be butchered. Those mountains way over there.” Pointing, Papa veered sharply to the right, fusing the image in my mind’s eye with the terror of barely missing a horse. “In those days there was no roads . . .” “Were no roads, Tony,” my mother interjected. “There was no roads across the Picuris Mountains to the matanza, where we had our busher chop... ” “Butcher shop, Tony. And it’s shop — not chop.”

“...busher chop. It was my job to take the cows to the matanza. I was only 14 and even more skinny than now. All they gave me for the journey was an old .22 rifle todo fregao, some tortillas to eat and a blanket for bedtime. It got dark and I was scared. I could hear something big following me in the butches...”


cannot, in good conscience, include any recipes from my paternal grandmother because Hipólita was a terrible cook. So instead I will tell a few stories about the woman who definitely did not fit the stereotype of the benign grandmother with a halo of white hair who lulls children to sleep with peaceful bedtime stories.




ipólita’s stories were the color of her grim mood and meant to terrify us cousins into submission. After putting her numerous grandchildren into the huge, sagging bed like so many sardines, alternating us head-to-toe and toe-to-head under layers of heavy Navajo and Chimayó blankets — not to warm us but to pin us down — she would tell us stories of witches who turned into owls and dogs, and of curses that twisted the lives of ungrateful, disobedient children into grotesque tragedies.


er stories were about La Llorona, the weeping mother who searched for her abandoned children along the acequias; about the Devil dancing with disobedient daughters who had been forbidden from attending the baile; about haunted places where terrible things kept happening because of a massacre, suicide or blasphemy that had occurred long ago on that very spot.

Rick Romancito is an award-winning Native American journalist, artist, filmmaker and former motion picture actor. He is editor of Tempo, the arts and entertainment magazine of The Taos News, and shares his time in Taos with his wife Melody, daughter Ella and grandchild Layla, plus three dogs and a cat.