Marc Simmons: John Collier motivated to protect Pueblo people

"The long story of Indian-Anglo relations in New Mexico, as elsewhere, has followed an exceedingly bumpy road. One of those active along the way was John Collier, a strong believer in social engineering, or what we would call now, community development.

Born into a prominent Atlanta family in 1884, Collier was drawn in his youth to New York City where he participated in The People's Institute. That was a private body dedicated to educating the poor, especially recent immigrants.

In time, he became friends with Mabel Dodge, whose posh Fifth Avenue residence served as a gathering place for radical intellectuals and social reformers.

In 1918 Mabel left New York for Taos, where she "discovered" Indians and concluded that the still well-preserved Pueblo culture in particular needed saving from a host of harmful American influences.

Collier by this time, having become disillusioned with educating immigrants, had moved to California. There he received a series of letters from Mabel Dodge, urging him to visit remote and exotic Taos."

Get the Story:
Marc Simmons: Trail Dust: Activist helped protect, inspire Pueblo people (The Santa Fe New Mexican 7/16)

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