12th Annual Conference Breaks New Ground
Jake Gold, among the first Jews to settle in
Sante Fe, with unidentified Pueblo Indian woman and baby.
Photo courtesy of Museum of New Mexico Neg. #9894.
the first time in the history of the Society, the focus of our annual
conference will be on the relationship between the Jewish pioneers of
the Territory of New Mexico and the Pueblo Indians with whom they became
so close. Authors, journalists and researchers will present unique material
regarding the life of Jews in New Mexico and the greater Southwest.
A special field trip to the Acoma Pueblo
is a highlight of the weekend conference. For the first time, multiple
generations of the Bibo family will gather together to share memories
of family stories and the extraordinary saga of Solomon Bibo, the first
non-Indian governor of a Pueblo. Solomon Bibo spoke English very poorly,
but he was fluent in Spanish and Queres, the native Indian language.
Biboís dealings with the indigenous peoples over many years put him
in a unique and popular position. He was not only the first Jew to be
an ìIndian chief,î but he was also the first white man to assume such
a position. The first public display of Solomon Biboís revolver, which
is owned by collector, Saul Cohen, will take place when we are at Acoma.
Saul will reveal how he came to own this unique artifact of New Mexican
According to keynote speaker, Mel Marks,
author of Jews Among The Indians, the Jews
were important because they helped the Indians assimilate into the society
of the white settler, a role the Jews were able to play because of their
uncanny knack for learning the various Indian dialects. The Indians
helped the Jewish peddlers establish a dynamic market for goods and
services. It was a productive and symbiotic relationship which is interesting
Other conference presentations will include
the remarkable personal journey of Marjorie Weinberg-Berman, who will
reveal a contemporary view of Jewish and Indian relationships. She is
completing a book on the 50-year friendship she has cultivated with
a Native American family. Abe Chanin, emeritus director of the Southwest
Jewish Archives at the University of Arizona, has written five books
on the Southwest. Abe will give an overview of the interactions Jews
and Pueblo Indians had in both New Mexico and Arizona. Abe will describe
both the friendly and the hostile relationships which he has personally
documented in his valuable research. A. David Scholder, current president
of the Society, will present a talk on ìJews, Pueblos, and Pioneers:
Creating The New Economy On The Frontier.î