My last 'Santa Fe moment' might be my best one.
On Sunday afternoon I got caught up in a pro-immigration march in Santa Fe --a few thousand people coursing through downtown streets wearing white shirts and singing and chanting.
I originally thought the march was some sort of religious procession--it being Sunday, everyone dressed in white, and Santa Fe being a predominantly Catholic city. But then I saw the signs and banners, mostly in Spanish, with fiery pro-immigration slogans.
I was in the Plaza along with hundreds of bewildered tourists watching the boisterous marchers when an olive-skinned man standing next to me leaned over and asked, "What are they shouting?"
Huh? From a quick glance, I had taken him to be Hispanic, and was surprised by his request for me, an obvious Anglo, to translate the Spanish chants. But then I realized that he was an Indian from one of the pueblos (reservations) that surround Santa Fe. He didn't speak Spanish.
"I think they are saying 'Si, se puede,' " I told him. "It means 'Yes, we can.' "
The man nodded and thanked me, and then walked away with his friends past the famous portal where Indian artisans have been selling turquoise and silver jewelry for over 100 years.
I later did some research and learned that the slogan, "Si, se puede," has been borrowed by the immigrant rights community from Cesar Chavez's United Farm Worker (UFW) campaign from a few decades ago. Ironically, the UFW opposed illegal immigration, as incoming low-wage workers threatened the unionized jobs they were trying to protect.
Only in Santa Fe...