When Nora Naranjo Morse, of the Santa Clara Pueblo, was a little girl, she watched her mother, a potter, defer to the white man who sold her pottery at a local curio shop. It’s a memory that haunts the Española-based artist to this day. Naranjo Morse said her mother “was a grand presence” in their household. But when she walked into the curio shop to negotiate with the white owner, Naranjo Morse could see the angst on her mother’s face. “The way the curio shop owner treated her was as someone who was less than,” Naranjo Morse told NM Political Report.
In the early months of the Civil War, Confederates took armed control of New Mexico Territory for just six weeks. But a stroll through the heart of Albuquerque’s Old Town 150 years later suggests a more permanent stay for the Confederate States of America. Though Southern imagery here may seem subtle—no famed Confederate Battle Flag flies over Old Town plaza, for example—multiple monuments commemorating aspects of the Confederacy’s brief hold of Albuquerque are on public display. A “Stars and Bars” banner, the Confederacy’s first official flag, flies over the west side of the Plaza next to Spanish, Mexican, New Mexican and United States flags. Two plaques, one dedicated to the Skirmish of Albuquerque—when Confederate troops held off Union troops for a day and a half before fleeing themselves—and one dedicated to buried Confederate veterans, decorate the east side of Old Town’s Viejo Gazebo.