The Santa Fe Indian School is one U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs school where students are taught to go to college and return to their pueblos with newfound knowledge.
The letter sat for days in a stack of tabletop mail, a plain envelope with an Albuquerque return address, as easy to ignore as a credit card offer or cut-rate vacation deal. He figures it was almost a week before anybody noticed it.
“Congratulations,” Russell Sandoval remembers reading, after peeling it open. “You have been admitted to the University of New Mexico as a beginning freshman for the fall 2005 semester.” The institution even sweetened the deal with a scholarship that could save him thousands of dollars in tuition.
His mother hugged him. His father, who was working in the front yard, smiled and congratulated him. Amid all that elation, the son, who was at home on the San Felipe Pueblo for the Christmas holiday, reminded his parents that this was...
This article is available to subscribers only.
To keep reading this article and more, subscribe now or start a 2-week FREE trial.