RELEASE FROM CIBOLA
Conquistadores, Eisenhower and Me
By Andres C. Salazar
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Reyes Córdova is a young boy tired of being poor and feeling hopeless. He is a descendant of religious and starry-eyed settlers from Spain that came to Cíbola seeking a fortune but found nothing but an inhospitable climate and an unstable relationship with Pueblo Indians. A stubborn lot, the settlers worked hard to make a living out of farming and ranching in a Rio del Norte valley in what is now Northern New Mexico. Now three hundred and fifty years later, and nearly a century after becoming part of the United States, Reyes’ Spanish-speaking, impoverished culture has made little inroads to assimilating into America. Reyes learns from teachers that mastering English can help him become more American and that will give him an opportunity for a good job. He becomes obsessed with learning the language, a task made difficult by his handicaps—illegitimate, a mother who speaks only Spanish, subsisting on public welfare—in addition to being part of a culture that promotes conformity, immediate gratification, close family relationships and xenophobic rejection of Anglophone society.
Reyes’ story is told in a poignant and picaresque series of journal-like portraits that trace his emergence from the mystical realm of Cibola that is a blend of an ancient Pueblo culture, an archaic Spanish heritage, and an encroaching American dominion in the age of Eisenhower and its cataclysmic events—the hydrogen bomb, the Communist Menace, Sputnik, accelerated farm-to-urban migration, and momentous protests for minority and women’s rights.
Release from Cibola is the first novel in a trilogy on the life of Reyes Córdova.
Andres C. Salazar is author of numerous journal articles and an editor of a trade press book. He is a bilingual native of Northern New Mexico who received a doctorate at Michigan State University and then spent decades on the east coast working in industry. He returned to New Mexico as chaired professor at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and went on to teach at two other universities in the state over a ten year period while remaining a UNM research professor. He is also the author of Seasons, Some Amorous Observations, a book of poetry. Dr. Salazar resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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