TRIBUTE

Francis Phillip Montoya, otherwise was known as “FM” passed away on May 8, 2011. FM was an alum of Native American Studies and a
long-standing member of KIVA Club at the University of New Mexico. He was known for his kindness and willingness to help others, along with
his love of a good joke or two.

FM was from Isleta Pueblo/San Felipe Pueblo. He was an inspiration to many. We would like to honor his memory by sharing a commentary FM wrote for the May 2007 edition of the Dawn of Nations Today. FM sheds light on the early days of KIVA Club and how the organization inspired him..

Viewpoints | Commentary: Dawn of Nations Today
May 2007 Reprint

Qua tsina, qua tsi, Hopa Hano. I have been a student off and on for
decades, but it was March of 1973 which had an enormous impact on
my life. KIVA Club members were concerned about threats to sacred
sites and our environment. Back in those days, Black Mesa was our
primary focus. Today, the mining activity has ceased and the Mohave
Generating Station is shut down. Other victories have come to be since then and the protection of the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona is the latest and greatest.

In the 1970s KIVA Club began to address major issues impacting
Natives Americans in Gallup, New Mexico. In 1973 Larry Casuse
was president of the KIVA Club and he led a crusade to improve
how Natives Americans were treated in Gallup. The appointment
of then Gallup Mayor Emmett Garcia to the University of New
Mexico’s Board of Regents by then Gov. Bruce King caused an
immediate reaction. Garcia owned a number of bars which were
frequented by Native Americans in the Gallup area. KIVA Club and
others marched to protest Garcia’s appointment, but more importantly
to raise the issue of local bars profiting off the alcoholic additions
of our people. Unfortunately, the cost was high and Casuse sacrificed
his life at Stearn’s Sporting Goods on Gallup’s main drag. March 3
commemorates our fellow KIVA Club member and his valiant efforts
to right the wrongs afflicting our Native people.

The “People’s March for Humanity” brought together a force
who marched from the ceremonial grounds to the downtown
courthouse in Gallup. Hundreds of people joined together en masse to
celebrate our collective humanity and Casuse’s message. Security
forces were on hand in the case of possible violence but we are and
were peaceful.

Those early days of KIVA can’t be replaced. Initially, we had our own house on Las Lomas where Dane Smith Hall is now located. No value can be placed
on having our own home away from home. Granted, I may have spent too much time shooting pool in the basement, but I and my fellow students did have a solid foundation academically. The decolonization process had less formal ideals then. Today, Native American Studies has grown into the field of study for our youth and the department serves students in many ways. The degree program is symbolic of where we stand on this diverse campus and it was not accomplished without a lot of sincere dedication by professors and support staff over time.

Today the KIVA Club is active and open for your participation and gatherings are held on a weekly basis. One way to get involved is to take part in Nizhioni Days and don’t forget to tune into “Singing Wire” on KUNM 89.9 FM on Sundays from noon to 4:00 p.m. You’ll hear about area events, music and maybe join in the conversation. You might even catch the Boy Wonder from San Felipe Who Made Good aka “FM” who is otherwise known as Francis Montoya. Thanks for hearing me out, Peace!

Francis Montoya, Isleta Pueblo/ San Felipe Pueblo, is a senior majoring in Native American Studies at the University of New Mexico.

Dawn of Nations Today May 2007 Reprint

 

Download Article as a pdf

 

Dawn of Nations Today Volumn 6; Issue 1; May 2011, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M.

Dawn of Nations Today is a special edition published by the Native American Studies Department, University College, University of New Mexico
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