The Myth of Santa Fe: Creating a Modern Regional Tradition by Chris Wilson

By Chris Wilson

A wave of exposure throughout the Eighties projected Santa Fe to the realm as an unique vacationer destination—America’s personal Tahiti within the barren region. the parable of Santa Fe is going in the back of the romantic adobe facades and mass advertising stereotypes to inform the attention-grabbing yet little recognized tale of the way the city’s pleasing photo used to be fairly consciously created early during this century, basically via Anglo-American newbies. via investigating the city’s trademark architectural sort, public ceremonies, the ancient renovation circulation, and cultural traditions, Wilson unravels the complicated interactions of ethnic id and vacationer image-making. Santa Fe's is a noticeably smooth good fortune story—the tale of a group that remodeled itself from a declining provincial capital of 5,000 in 1912 into an across the world well-known vacationer vacation spot. however it is additionally a cautionary story concerning the commodification of local American and Hispanic cultures, and the social displacement and ethnic animosities which could accompany a vacationer increase.

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The second interlude, "Coyote Consciousness," proposes a form of contemporary mythmaking to counteract the potentially destructive overemphasis of ethnic purity. The conclusion continues this speculation on the ways the residents of Santa Fe and those of us living elsewhere might better harness the mechanisms of modern tradition and mythmaking for the social health of our communities. Throughout this second part of the book, the focus remains on the active construction of the myth of Santa Fewhich historical and cultural elements have been appropriated for tourist, civic, and ethnic purposes, and which aspects have been distorted or wholly repressed because of the unsettling questions they raise.

9 This was a major concern, since the conversion of Indians was the crown's stated motivation for expansion in the New World. Spanish towns were also to be defensible and permanent in appearance so that the Indians would be impressed with their intention to stay. Each male settler received farmland, as well as a town lot, where he was expected to build a house and dwell. Unlike Oñate's fortune seekers at San Gabriel, Peralta's colonists established a permanent new community at Santa Fe. "10 While Santa Fe would be the sole permanent Spanish community during the 1600s, the Franciscans also built nearly fifty mission complexes at Indian pueblos (fig.

The elevation of selected traditional cultural details as symbols of group identity reaches a new level when ethnic music, celebrations, food, costumes, arts, and architecture are packaged as tourist commodities. As modern society compresses past differences, mass culture often pays lip service to the very folk and ethnic traditions that are being transformed. 3 Our very notion of culture is bound up with this mid-nineteenth-century world of industrialization, urbanization, and colonialism. " This was culture with a capital C, what we still mean when we speak of the symphony as a cultural institution.

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