Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Herman Agoyo



Honored December, 1991

Herman Agoyo

I think being involved in sports opened a lot of doors--to education--to recognition--to travel," said Herman Agoyo of San Juan Pueblo. "My dream was to play professional baseball."

Born at the Santa Fe Indian Hospital in 1934, Herman grew up with his "grandpa and Aunt Juanita." He had "no education and didn't really promote education" because the mindset of the times was that Indians should learn a vocational skill. "That was drilled into the system at Santa Fe Indian School, too, because educators basically all the way from Washington on down saw the Indian people as being good with their hands. There was an emphasis on art and various vocational trades."

But Herman had other ideas. In the 1950s, the teachers at the Santa Fe Indian School didn't encourage students to go to college, he said. "By the time you reached ninth grade, you had to make a choice of what vocation you were going to specialize in. Some of us weren't interested in that. We wanted to go to college.... As I look back, I'm very grateful that the principal and some of the teachers listened to what we were saying. We asked for chemistry, foreign language, and typing."