Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Telesfor Goodmorning



Honored November, 1985

Telesfor Reyna Goodmorning

In the land of sacred mountains, singing streams, countless stars in the sky, where sunset is a nightly work of art, in the place of the Pueblo People, we have been privileged by the presence of elders among us.

"Elders who taught us how to pray, to sing songs to the plants, elders who laughed and cried, and who unselfishly shared their visions--those to whom a listening ear had no particular color, no race, no religion more important than any other, and whose thoughts were generational, not racial. Elders who knew and practiced the legacy of tradition being passed down the generations. Teles Goodmorning was such a gentle elder and great teacher,* wrote Taos photographer Gail Russell about her good friend Telesfor Goodmorning.

Telesfor Reyna Goodmorning was born in 1900. "When I was a kid, we used to live up in the [Taos] Pueblo village. That's where I was born," said Telesfor. "I grew up with my brother, Manuel. My dad used to carry the plow on his shoulder. We had one horse, and we used to plow the south side of the pueblo. My father, Elkhorn, plowed blue corn, white corn, and yellow corn. I would go with him. Toward the middle of the day, my mother would go up there and fix some lunch, and we would eat."

As a young adult, Telesfor found himself doing a variety of jobs. "I worked on farms, down in the valley," he said. "In the 1920s, I worked cowboy jobs. I used to work where it is very popular now, at Angel Fire and Eagle's Nest. There's a lot of people in that valley they call Eagle's Nest today. There's an old trail that goes straight up from Eagle's Nest to the Taos Pueblo. I used to go over there on horseback in the summertime. It used to take me a little while to ride over." Telesfor also worked for fifteen years as a hunting guide in Texas.

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