Zuni farmer, museum director, and interrupted artist Jim Enote spoke at the University of Colorado at Boulder September 17 as part of the Center of the American West’s Modern Indian Identity series.

The talk, “Stranger than Paradise: Is There a Medicine Man in the House?” examined the paradoxes present in living on Indian reservations. The lecture was free and open to the public and took place at 7:00 p.m. on the University of Colorado campus, in Benson Earth Sciences room 180.

As Enote explained it, indigenous people are on a fulcrum of truths. “Life on a Southwestern reservation with wireless internet and outhouses makes me think I should write a book and title it, ‘Keep It Simple for Me.'” Enote feels he is constantly out on a limb. Whether it’s debating the difference between science and indigenous wisdom or challenging Zuni farmers to relearn ancient farming methods, Enote has plenty to say about the meaning of resurrection and the art of double talk.

Jim Enote has explored to a large degree such varied subjects as cultural pattern languages, Zuni architecture as fluxus art, Japanese art after 1945, and, since 1999, creating map art. Born in Zuni, New Mexico, Enote considers his career an odyssey of hitchhiking, watermelon picking, and writing. Besides currently serving as Director of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center, he is also a Senior Advisor for Mountain Cultures at the Mountain Institute, a New Mexico Community Luminaria, and E.F. Shumacher Society Fellow.

Professor Charles Wilkinson of the University of Colorado at Boulder remarked, “Farmer, scientist, philosopher, and cultural elder, Jim Enote at once tends his corn and chili on his fields at Zuni; directs the tribal cultural center and its extraordinary mapping project; and keeps up with colleagues around the world in his quest for global sustainability. What a rare, valuable person.”

The Center of the American West’s Modern Indian Identity series features contemporary Indian speakers telling their stories in ways that confirm the compatibility of tradition with innovation. The speakers have a profound tie to their peoples’ pasts, and they have also adapted with agility and enterprise to the conditions of our times.

This event is made possible by the generosity of Nancy and Gary Carlston.