The Anglo Revolution


St. John’s College, albeit very small, has operated for many years now on two campuses:

the original campus in Annapolis, Md., and a second campus in Santa Fe, NM. How this came about is another story: suffice it to say here that it is one college on two campuses, with a single curriculum, a single student body and a single faculty. Transfers from one campus to the other are encouraged, and after several years of going out to Santa Fe to teach in the graduate summer program, I moved with my family, including the cats and the dog, to teach full-time on the Santa Fe campus. We arrived just in time for the Bicentennial celebration of 1976, and I found myself appointed to a panel consisting of an Hispanic, a Native American and an “Anglo”. I was to speak for the Anglos. 

To rise to this challenge, I felt it behooved me to learn some New Mexican history as intensively as I could, and my brief lecture was a sort of first report on my findings. I was, to put it in a word, shocked by what I was learning: the abrupt impact of “western” thought and practice on two rich and mature cultures, long established in the region. 

My preparations for that lecture only whetted my curiosity, and on the generous invitation of Pat d’Anrea, I undertook to develop what became a series of three articles. They were to appear in her beautiful new publication, La Confluencia, itself devoted to the relationships among these three cultures. I investigated in effect three case studies: the Santa Rita copper mine, the Maxwell land grant, and coal mining in the Four Corners area.

Thinking that these may still be interesting, it’s my intention to offer all three on this website. We begin with the first, the Santa Rita article published in December of 1978. 

I might add as a postcript that my interest in this subject has only deepened as I have come to realize how much is to be learned by each culture, through careful and sympathetic comparison with the others. Just recently, I was very pleased to be intived to the first, pilot workshop of a new project, the Cosmic Serpent, devoted to this very theme in the area of the sciences; it will be comparing indigenous approaches to the natural world with those of western science. As will appear elsewhere on this website, I have my own questions about “western science” itself which I think must become an important component of any effort to pursue this comparison.


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