Norteño David Fernandez de Taos is a deeply spiritual person.
Of the Fernandez y Quintana families who first came to this valley nearly 600 years ago, Fernandez has participated, intimately, in every aspect of Taos - El Norte, as he refers to the area. Fernandez has been a part of Taos' arts, politics, spirituality, religion and culture throughout his life.
He now joins Tempo for the ninth installment of In the Valle: Prejudice and Reconciliation in Taos.
Fernandez is a consummate and experienced citizen of our community, and it shows. In a recent (April 4, 2020) article published by the Santa Fe New Mexican, Fernandez wrote, "Christianity came to El Norte in the 1500s and clashed with the millennial Native religious traditions. By now there has occurred much spiritual accommodations among the diverse cultures and there is some blending of faith ways and familial bloodlines as well." It's clear from this statement, Fernandez had some unique insights to add to our ongoing conversation about prejudice in Taos.
According to Fernandez, he has been a regular Spanish and English columnist and writing contributor with El Crepúsculo Inc./Taos News since 1972. He also hosts a couple of radio programs. Fernandez serves our community through various organizations like the Taos Historic Museums board. In 2018, Fernandez organized an event called "Reconciling for peace in the valley of the Río Pueblo de Taos," which was hosted by La Hacienda de Los Martinez.
Presently, Fernandez is a board officer with the Northern Río Grande National Heritage Area. "The purpose of that organization is to help along our cultural and spiritual blood seed traditions, that we are used to. Whether it might be from the acequias to matters of religion or faith or intercultural relations," said Fernandez.
In one article for Taos News, Fernandez wrote, "Areas and cities like Taos, Santa Fe and indeed all North New Mexico share similar stories." In another article, published by the Associated Press, Fernandez tells readers, "On a beautiful summer day in August 2018, it is hard to remember or imagine that not so long ago there raged on our lands a fearful and bloody conflict between the peoples and their deities and civilizations from opposite sides of the world." This kind of poetic wisdom echoes in our conversation with the grandfather of four.
When asked about our main topic, whether or not systemic racism exists in Taos, Fernandez replies, "Yes, yes, and no," Fernandez's deep and practical knowledge, along with his familiarity of the natural and supernatural elements of Northern New Mexico, are evident throughout the conversation. "The people who are Taoseños, over time, and over circumstance, have been able to show a way of being together, in some very special ways, and to overcome, and even to heal, among themselves," said Fernandez, of his beloved community.
Listen to the complete interview with Fernandez and Tempo on the Taos News YouTube Channel, and listen to the blessing he bestows, in the name of healing and reconciliation.
• Support In the Valle: Prejudice and reconciliation series
• Part 1: Interview with John Nichols
• Part 2: Interview with Larry Torres
• Part 3: Two Taos Natives have one crazy conversation in the Couse House
• Part 4: Anita Rodriguez talks systemic racism in Taos
• Part 5: Writer Bill Whaley goes full disclosure
• Part 6: Interview with Nikesha Breeze
• Part 7: Anne MacNaughton gives a thorough schooling
• Part 8: Iris Keltz expounds on our multicultural bonds
• Part 9: David Fernandez de Taos speaks of blending faith ways