The inspiring story of Geronima Montoya, artist, educator, and San Juan Pueblo cultural leader, begins in northern New Mexico and culminates at the Smithsonian Art and Cultural Achievement Award ceremony in 1994.
Like many other Native American children of the 1920s, Montoya became a boarding student at the Santa Fe Indian School, where assimilation to American culture was a primary goal.
She discovered her love of painting while studying under Dorothy Dunn, who heavily influenced Pueblo Indian easel painting. Succeeding Dunn as the head of the controversial Studio, she later went on to obtain a college degree, create an adult education program fro the northern Pueblo villages, and found the first Native American crafts cooperative. Through this period of cultural and political change Montoya has been sustained by Pueblo and Catholic religious and ceremonial life.
Shutes and Mellick tell her story in her own words, gathered from 17 years of interviews and friendship. The book is enriched by period photographs of village and school life, letters between Montoya and Dunn, and photographs of Montoya's art.