What Is “Other?”

The Old Pecos Trail Standoff


I’ve watched the ethnic drama unfolding on Old Pecos Trail for over a month now.  It’s been rather like watching kids on a seesaw.

First a property owner who supports pro-Palestinian commentary, Guthrie Miller, allowed the Navajo artist Remy to erect a mural depicting Israeli troops threatening Palestinian women and children on the wall surrounding his property.  Then some neighbors objected and started ripping down Remy’s powerful images.  I was accosted myself when I arrived to take photos shortly after the images appeared. The young mother who stopped me wanted to know whether I was responsible for the images.  When I told her no but I appreciated the message, she informed me that “this sort of thing should be displayed downtown or somewhere else—not in a neighborhood where it can upset children and young families.”  Hoping to arouse her sympathy, I noted that her own children were about the same age as those depicted and said so—but that comment fell flat as a burnt pancake, so I let it go, continued shooting the photos, and the “young family” departed in a cloud of righteous indignation.  Next the City of Santa Fe ordered Remy’s art removed from Miller’s “historic” property.  All but one of the images had been torn down by then—there wasn’t much left to remove.  Then a few days later, a banner (made out of a sheet and painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag) appeared:


After that, there was about a week of silence while Miller apparently initiated an appeal to reverse the City’s decision.  And today, as we drove past the controversial site, the entire mural was back up, thanks to the efforts of Miller, Remy, Jewish Voice for Peace, Friends of Sabeel, and Red Nation from Albuquerque.

I have no idea who’s going to win this battle, but I do applaud it, on four points.

First, highlighting the plight of Palestinian women and children in the face of Israeli oppression does not constitute anti-Semitism.  I was raised Catholic.  That doesn’t make me someone who hates Jews, though I do happen to be someone who deplores and resists oppression of any minority in any form.

Second, if the Navajo artist Remy sees a correlation between the oppression of the Palestinians and that of his own people, he has every right to express his views.  Anglos have suppressed Native beliefs, religion, and practices for centuries—six centuries to be exact, ever since 1492.  High time someone spoke up about it.

Third, what happened to free speech?  Just as Remy is entitled to express his views, so too is Guthrie Miller, on whose property the mural appears.  Should the opinion of his neighbors (several of whom, I dare say, have pressured the City’s historical preservation society to address their complaints) outweigh his right to speak out in his own way?  After all, he didn’t urge Remy to put the mural on his neighbors’ walls—only on his own.

Fourth, and finally—citizens of the City Different (my home for the past 30 years) now have an opportunity to engage in an honest and open conversation about differences—who is “different” from whom, and why?  For decades Anglos, Indians, and Hispanics have danced around the issue of who got here first and who gets to make the rules.  Thanks to our Mayor Alan Webber, the Entrada standoff was eventually and peacefully resolved—perhaps not to the liking of all parties, but as Abe Lincoln is said to have stated:  “You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time.  But you can’t please all of the people all of the time.“

Humans are tribal by nature.  Tribes have many faces:  there are tribes based on skin color, on religious practices, on cultural background, on wealth (or the lack thereof), on politics, ethnicity, professions, etc..  As a mixed blood person, I belong to several tribes myself:  I’m Irish, Scots, French, and Native American.  I’m a former Catholic, a “born-again” Pagan, and a shamanic practitioner.  I’m an artist, author, publisher, psychologist, healer, wife, mother, grandmother, and so on.  Which group, should I choose to do so, would I affiliate with?  Who would be “my people?”

Wake up, Santa Fe.  We’ve become much more than we were 30 or 50 or 300 years ago.  We are truly a melting pot now, with more people coming as the world around us changes.  It’s past time to acknowledge our responsibilities as global citizens—not as Jews, Palestinians, Natives, Anglos, Blacks, Christians, or anything else.  The world’s children, no matter where they are, are as much our responsibility as that of their parents. When one is hurt, we are all hurt.  It’s time to listen to each other, not just with our ears but with our hearts—to truly hear each other, to acknowledge the cultural pain and begin to heal the generational wounds we have all sustained.



FWJ Early Bird Sale!

This issue—third in our series on Sustainability—is one you won’t want to miss!

Photo: Mirror Shield Project. Concept Artist: Cannupa Hanska Luger. Drone Still Image Credit: Rory Wakemup. Oceti Sakowin Camp, Standing Rock, ND 2016

Four Winds Journal (FWJ) Spring/Summer 2019, Voices for the Earth, features provocative articles, poetry, and art work exploring sustainability through the eyes of First Nations people, women, animals, and other sensitive souls.  The writers and artists whose work you will see here have each chosen a voice, and all speak for the Earth in powerful ways.

Four Winds Journal always looks great online, but it’s even more amazing in print—a perfect gift for friends and family members!

Pre-order your printed copy of FWJ’s Spring/Summer 2019 issue at a 15% discount now!  Sale runs from April 15 – May 31

Four Winds Journal Issues


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Winds of Change Press Logo Contest!

Our Winds of Change Press Logo Contest starts today!

Anyone may enter this open contest!  The lucky winner will receive FREE

The logo should reflect the power of wind to effect change, to clear out old, outdated ways of being, to introduce hope and belief in a positive future, and whatever else you think may fit this description. Logo submissions should be your own original work of art in banner format.  Please do not submit someone else’s work.  Please send a high resolution jpeg photo of your work, including your name, contact information and mailing address, and a brief bio with recent head shot (high resolution jpeg photo) via email attachment to:

Art Editor

 Let us know if you have any questions!
Winds of Change Press  
The Voice of Orenda Healing International
Valentine McKay-Riddell, PhD

Four Winds Journal Fall 2018 now in print!

If you’ve enjoyed reading our Four Winds Journal online over the past few years, you’ll love it in print!  This semiannual  literary magazine is often provocative, always insightful, and a pleasure to read–  a great addition to your collection and a perfect holiday gift for family and friends.

We launched the Journal in Fall 2016* (theme: Winds of Change) and decided this past Spring to begin printing it as well.  Our printer is Jason Russell Poole– photographer, videographer, and owner of Image Ratio Productions here in Santa Fe.

Click here to order a copy of the current issue (theme: The Sociopolitical Challenge) and/or the previous issue (theme: Seven Generations and Counting).  Please indicate which issue(s) and how many copies you want, and be sure to fill in your mailing address.  Prices may vary depending upon the size of a specific issue.  Standard shipping rates apply.

*Back issues of the digital Journal are available in Archives.

Four Winds Journal Fall 2018 – The Sociopolitical Challenge

Four Winds Journal’s Spring 2018 issue introduced a few of the many facets of sustainability.  We touched briefly on human/animal relationships, our relationship with Nature, our relationships with each other.  However, sustainability is necessary—and possible to achieve—in every aspect of our lives, and it is currently missing, both here in America and around the world.

Four Winds Journal’s Fall 2018 issue investigates the real challenges that we face in resolving our society’s systemic dysfunction and how we might begin to benefit from thinking “out of the box” in order to arrive at a truly sustainable society here in this country and throughout the world.

Follow this link for your copy of Four Winds Journal Fall 2018:  The Sociopolitical Challenge

Four Winds Journal: Important Update!

The Fall 2018 digital issue of Four Winds Journal will be out around the middle of October, with the theme Exploring Sustainability: The Sociopolitical Challenge.  This issue is chock full of exciting and inspiring articles, poetry, fiction, and art by Joanna Macy, Starhawk, Ricardo Cate, Bill Peters, and more.  Watch for the publication announcement in your email and social media feed—you won’t want to miss it!

As an added bonus, we’ve extended the deadline for pre-ordering your printed copy of the Journal. You can still enjoy the Journal in print at a 15% discount—only $7.65 plus shipping*—through October 15!

Follow this link to pre-order your copy of Four Winds Journal in print, and be sure to include your name and mailing address on the order form.

Happy Autumn!
The Editors:
Katrina Rahn, MLIS
Valentine McKay-Riddell, PhD
Guest Editor Alan Levin, MFT

*Shipping cost anywhere in the US is $3.  Foreign shipping costs may be a bit more.

Letters to the Editor, Santa Fe New Mexican

My View:  David B. Van Hulsteyn

The 2018 mid-term election will be a referendum of historic significance, a referendum on whether or not Donald John Trump will be given free rein to continue his assault on our democracy.

Whenever one political party controls both houses of congress as well as the executive and judicial branches, the situation is rife for political mischief. This time around, with a rogue president who neither understands nor appreciates his responsibilities and a compliant congress which neither understands nor appreciates its duties, the situation is dire. All concerned citizens must do whatever we can to make our renegade ruler accountable to us.

In November we, the voting public, will have an opportunity to elect senators and representatives who will make Trump aware that it is totally unacceptable behavior to separate the children of immigrants from their parents and incarcerate them; that it is not acceptable to cater to dictators of other countries while at the same time alienating our long time allies; that it is not acceptable to defile women, to embrace bigots and racism, to create chaos with lies and deception.

The presidential election of 2016 was a disaster that could and should have been avoided. This year, we have the opportunity to begin the process of putting this abomination known as the Trump Administration behind us. The ball is in our court.

David B. Van Hulsteyn is an 84-year-old retired physicist who has lived in Santa Fe since 1974.



Sociopolitical Sustainability – Call to Action!

As we mentioned in our recent Call for Submissions, the Fall 2018 issue of Four Winds Journal will explore ways in which we, as Americans, can create and sustain a more equitable and universally supportive society than what is currently in place.

After reviewing multiple conversations with friends and colleagues, dependable media updates, and our own and others’ research, we realized that the topic of sociopolitical sustainability covers a lot of territory.  So we asked each other the following questions.

  1. What exactly is wrong with our current system?
  2. What would we like to see in its place?
  3. How do we get there?

In order to make it easier for you to determine which of your articles, poetry, or art work best fit the theme of this issue of the Journal, we’ve created a short list of action points:

  1. Identify the various problems:  what isn’t working?
  2. Envision in detail the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.1
  3. Discuss appropriate strategies and begin to implement action plans for reaching this goal.

Your interests and work in the world may include more than one of these action points.  However, we suggest you pick the one that you’re most passionate about in choosing what to submit.  Again, please be sure to visit our Submission Guidelines page for details on how to submit your work.  Please send your submissions or questions via email to:

The Editors
Four Winds Journal

Please note:  We’ve extended the deadline for submissions to August 31, 2018.  The Journal will be released on or shortly before October 15, 2018.  A printed version of the Journal will become available in early November.  Participating authors and artists will receive a free copy of the printed version.  Others may purchase printed copies through our website, and we are taking advance orders at this time.

Enjoy the Summer!

The Editors:
Katrina Rahn MLIS
Valentine McKay-Riddell, PhD
Alan Levin, MFT

1 Quoted from the title of Charles Eisenberg’s recent book, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. (2013).  Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.