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Tony Reyna

Tony Reyna


Honored November, 1992

Tony Reyna

Twice named Governor of Taos Pueblo, Tony Reyna has lived a life of service to his people, his community, and his country. While serving in the army during World War II, he spent three and a half years as a prisoner of war. Captured by the Japanese along with hundreds of other New Mexico soldiers in the Philippines, he was sent on the Bataan Death March. He was tortured and forced to bury hundreds of people, his best friend among them. "Determination kept me going," he remembers. "I had a family, a home to come back to," said Tony.

Born in 1915, Tony has pleasant memories of growing up at Taos Pueblo. "By the time we could carry a bucket, we were carrying water and wood for mother to cook. We would run home from school to water and feed the horses. We would ride into town bareback to get kerosene. Those were very enjoyable days. We thought it was very hard, but looking back, it was very worthwhile. We learned to work and to take responsibility." Educated at the Taos Pueblo Day School and the Santa Fe Indian School, Tony graduated from Santa Fe High School in 1936.

"It was so important, the care my father and mother gave us, their commitment to us they said, 'Don't take. Give something back.' That's the philosophy we live by."

Tony's accomplishments reflect that philosophy of his parents. He has been a police commissioner for the town of Taos, a member of the Taos School Board, a trustee of the Millicent Rogers Museum, a judge at Santa Fe Indian Market, and is a lifetime member of the Taos Pueblo Council.

As governor of Taos Pueblo, he took responsibility for the welfare of his people, including the protection of the resources of the pueblo such as water rights and ditches; the preservation of structures; and the construction of a health clinic. To prepare for this job, he first served as tribal secretary and lieutenant governor of the pueblo.

Tony raised four children. One daughter, Diane Reyna, is known for her work in television and as the director of the Peabody Award-winning video Surviving Columbus, about the history of the Pueblo Indians after contact with the Spanish. One son, John Anthony, teaches at the Contemporary Indian School in Rowe, New Mexico; another son, Phillip, is manager of the Tony Reyna Indian Shop at Taos Pueblo. His daughter Marie Anthony teaches at the Children's Arts Center at Taos Pueblo. His wife, Annie Cota Reyna, died in 1993.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes