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Sandra Hale Schulman
Special to ICT

The latest:  Interactive sci-fi characters are unveiled in Santa Fe, a pop songstress releases a new album, and an Oscar-winner narrates a classic book on spirituality and religion

ART: Sci-Fi warriors rise in Santa Fe

Virgil Ortiz,Cochiti Pueblo, is an artist of the past and the future, creating a world of warriors in the year 2180 who also time-travel to the past. Ortiz envisions a gang called the Watchmen who wear spiked onyx helmets and carry shields with sharp edges and turquoise circles.

Their weathered gray faces show the strain. These Recon Watchmen live in both a dystopian future and in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt.

This dark vision is now on exhibit at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, as Ortiz brings his Revolt 1680/2180 series to life in an interactive format. Opened in mid-October, the exhibition will be up indefinitely.

Ortiz and his fellow Watchmen carry with them pottery shards, tribal dances and ancestral knowledge. As the Spanish attempt to destroy Native Pueblo culture, the Watchmen are there to safeguard it for the future.

Behind it all, Ortiz wants to educate people about an ugly time in history when Spanish colonizers persecuted and killed Pueblo people for 100 years.

“The revolt is not taught in schools; it’s not in our history books,” Ortiz said in a statement. “It’s been swept under the carpet because of the genocide that happened to our people. Nobody wants to talk about that. Nobody wants to talk about the real history. It’s the erasure of Indigenous people who are here to begin with. It happened here in Santa Fe, and people living in Santa Fe don’t know about it. It’s embarrassing.”


Ortiz worked as a consultant with Meow Wolf prior to his invitation to open a permanent installation there, encouraging the art company to incorporate more stories and works by people of color. His ability to ground himself in his ancestral lands and share that vision fits with Meow Wolf’s goal for guests to see ideas and stories through a new lens.

“Virgil’s work is literally born out of the ground he grew up on — he learned about his history and the art of his ancestors by working in clay,” said Kate Daley, marketing manager for Meow Wolf.

“His sense of place — that rooted, physical approach to his art — in combination with both a forward and historic vision of his people, makes his installation an incredible lens through which others can examine themselves, their concepts of Native art and the importance of Indigenous artists in the future.”

Ortiz created 19 groups of characters to represent the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, with their stories intertwining with real people who fought the Spanish during the Pueblo Revolt.

“It’s easier to understand it when you turn the tables and say, ‘Imagine if these were your ancestors. How is that right?’” Ortiz said. “Sometimes looking in the mirror is the best medicine for everybody.”

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MUSIC: Award-winning Inuit singer releases haunting new music

Award-winning Inuk songwriter, throat-singer and educator Angela Amarualik has released her second album, “Uvannik ᐅᕙᓐᓂᒃ,” with a new single, “Stranger Of My Kind.”

Inuk songwriter, throat-singer and educator Angela Amarualik  released her second album, “Uvannik," in October 2022. (Photo courtesy of Hitmakerz)

Incorporating both Inuktitut and English lyrics, Inuit melodies and pop instrumentation and production, the single blends conflicting worlds with Amarualik’s sweet, emotive vocals. The song reflects her experience of leaving her childhood home of Igloolik, Nunavut, moving to Montréal and missing home.

If I can go back to those I remember/ I would be with them/ if I could go back. Leave my worries behind/ or is this my life?

“It paints the picture of being stuck between two worlds and figuring out where you belong,” Amarualik says about her new work.

It is one of a number of songs that explore leaving home to discover identity, loneliness, uncertainty, and ultimately hope for the road ahead.

Helmed by hit-making producer Chris Birkett, who has also worked with Buffy Sainte-Marie and Sinéad O’Connor, Amarualik’s new album builds on the success of her 2018 self-titled debut, which reached the top of the Indigenous Music Countdown and earned her a Best Inuit, Indigenous Language Album honor, and three other Indigenous Music Award nominations, including Best New Artist. 

BOOKS: Classic book now available in audio format

Author Vine Deloria Jr.’s pivotal work, the nonfiction book “God Is Red: A Native View of Religion,” will be available for the first time in audio format, set to be released exclusively on Audible on Nov. 13.

Author Vine Deloria Jr.’s pivotal work, the nonfiction book “God Is Red: A Native View of Religion,” will be available for the first time in audio format. It is set to be released exclusively on Audible on Nov. 13, 2022. Deloria, Standing Rock Sioux, who also wrote, “Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto,” died in 2005 at age 72.

The audiobook is read by Academy Award-winning Cherokee actor Wes Studi.

The book by Deloria, Standing Rock Sioux, links Christianity’s human-centered belief structure with American economic issues and increased environmental climate change and upheaval, reminding readers that “we are part of nature, not a transcendent species with no responsibilities to the natural world.”

When “God Is Red” first hit bookstores in 1972, it had a profound impact on American consciousness, asking questions about our species and its ultimate fate. It discusses traditional Native religious views and their relation to Western Christianity.

The book remains powerful today.

“Vine didn’t hold back when the book was first published,” said Indigenous audiobooks producer Bobby Bridger, “and it has just as much power today given the critical global issues facing our species.”

Deloria, who also wrote, “Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto,” died in 2005 at age 72.

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