Las Cerebronas partnered with Harvard Law’s La Allianza to bring y’all three chiquitasodes with amazing Profes that will be sharing their knowledge at the 2018 conference, “Advocating Across Communities: Shared Identities, Struggles, and Imaginations.” In this chiquitasode, we interviewed Professors Christine Zuni Cruz and Margaret Montoya on disrupting white spaces, the overlaps and distinctions between the Latinx and indigenous communities, and the struggles of being Latina in legal academia.
Professor Christine Zuni Cruz
Christine Zuni Cruz (Isleta and Oke Oweengeh Pueblo) established the Southwest Indian Law Clinic in 1993 to provide students with the opportunity to practice Indian Law. She had served as a tribal judge and been in private practice for ten years prior to teaching.
In her research and teaching, Zuni Cruz, a member of Isleta Pueblo, explores law and culture, including the impact of law on Indian families, the practice of Indian Law and lawyering for native communities and the Indigenous legal tradition and modern law of indigenous peoples domestically and internationally. She has taught in Greenland, Mexico, and Canada.
She served as an associate justice on the Isleta Appellate Court for fifteen years. Previously, she was a tribal court judge with the Pueblo of Laguna and the Pueblo of Taos. She also was presiding judge with the Isleta Court of Tax Appeals and an appellate judge with the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals.
Zuni Cruz, the first Pueblo woman to earn tenure as a law professor, is editor-in-chief of the Tribal Law Journal, an on-line law journal dedicated to the internal law of indigenous peoples.
Professor Margaret Montoya
Margaret Montoya was part of the first group of women and men of color who attended Harvard Law School. When she graduated in 1978, she won the prestigious Harvard University’s Sheldon Traveling Fellowship that allowed her to study affirmative action in Malaysia and India.
Professor Montoya was a member of the UNM law school faculty from 1992-2012 and licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, New York, and New Mexico. She worked to create programs and partnerships to increase student and faculty diversity in law and medicine. She served for several years as the Senior Advisor to Chancellor Paul Roth in the UNM Health Science Center. She retired in 2012 but continues to work part time while also babysitting her two grandchildren.
Professor Montoya’s scholarship on issues of identity, narrative, resistance to assimilation, and racial equity in education appears in law reviews, anthologies, and casebooks and is used throughout the U.S. Professor Montoya has been recognized with many awards by her professional peers and by the Latinx community for her academic and activist work.
“My truths require that I say unconventional things in unconventional ways.
Speaking out assumes privilege.
Speaking out is an exercise of privilege.
Speaking out takes practice.”
Máscaras, Trenzas, y Greñas: Un/Masking the Self While Un/Braiding Latina Stories and Legal Discourse, 17 Harv. Women’s L. J. 185 (1994), concurrently published in 15 Chicano-Latino L. Rev. 1 (1994).
Here’s the NY Times article on Genízaros in New Mexico: Indian Slavery Once Thrived in New Mexico. Latinos are Finding Family Ties to It. by Simon Romero.
Support Deb Haaland’s campaign as she runs to represent New Mexico’s District 1 in Congress! If elected, she’ll be the FIRST Native American woman in Congress. Read about her amazing-ness here: The Candidate Who Plans to Be the First Native American Woman in Congress by Leila Ettachfini.