Santa Fe Living Treasures â€“ Elder Stories
Honored May, 2003
When veteran journalist Ernie Millsâ€”who was chosen a Santa Fe Living Treasure just weeks before a sudden attack of pneumonia caused his death this year at the age of 76â€”was memorialized, the ceremony was held in the Rotunda of New Mexicoâ€™s State Capitol, and five former state governors, as well as the current one, came to honor him. Also present were dozens of other politicians, many of the stateâ€™s most influential men and women, and hundreds of other people crowding the main floor and three balconies.
Yet this remarkable tiibute to Ernie Mills was not because he was a big shot. Rather, it was became he was the championâ€”and the voiceâ€”of all the little people. Over nearly four decades of radio and television broadcasts here, Mills, who earned the title "New Mexicoâ€™s Journalist," helped shape the course of state politics and was respected (and occasionally feared) by even the most powerful movers and shakers. His real strength, however, came not from them but from all the "little birdies," "wall leaners" and "gatos flacos" (skinny cats) who trusted him enough to tell him what was really going onâ€”which he promptly passed along to his many thousands of listeners and viewers.