Another so-called documentary by producer John Valadez comes under fire!
Editor’s Note: The following letters from members of the New Mexican Hispanic Culture Preservation League (NMHCPL) express their anger and sense of betrayal by Producer John Valadez on yet another so-called documentary.
The Last Conquistador released in November of 2007 was produced with all the characteristic omissions, distortions, and beguiling promises Valadez used in making The Longoria Affair, released in October of 2010 and currently nominated for an Emmy. Both films are presented as documentaries, neither meets the standards for unbiased and balanced historical documentation set forth by the National Endowment for the Humanities (see Violations of NEH Standards).
How should future documentaries produced by John Valadez be viewed? You decide after reading what members of the New Mexican Hispanic Culture Preservation League have to say about Valadez’s misrepresentation of don Juan de Oñate, the first colonizer of New Mexico.
Visit NMHCPL’s website at http://nmhcpl.org/News_Letter.html.
Valadez Is Neither a Historian Nor Investigator
My name is Melvyn Montano. I am the President of the New Mexico Hispanic Culture Preservation League. I am writing this letter to discourage the nomination of The Longoria Affair for an Emmy.
I have read the reasons to cancel any consideration for nomination and concur that our experience with producer John Valadez was similiar to those the people of Three Rivers, Texas, are experiencing. We view this individual as nothing but a con artist skewing history to sell his inaccurate product.
Our experience was with a PBS film Valadez produced regarding the first colonizer of New Mexico, don Juan de Oñate. The name of the film was The Last Conquistador.
When Valadez first asked our organization to co-operate with him in this endeavor he assured us he would tell the story historically accurate. This proved to be an outright lie. I am sure you have received letters citing the inaccuracies portrayed in the film The Last Conquistador. John Valadez is neither an educated historian nor investigator, but merely an individual making up scripts to market and sell. He beguiles to get access for interviews and news stories.
One point I would like to make: the film title, The Last Conquistador, is also a copyrighted title of the book of the same title by Marc Simmons, a noted Spanish Colonial historian who lives in Cerrillos, N. M. Simmons’ book, The Last Conquistador, Juan de Onate and The Settling of the Far Southwest, was printed and copyrighted by the University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, Publishing Division of the University in 1991. All rights reserved. There may be a copyright infringement in the use of this title. I cite this issue to illustrate Valadez’s proclivity for deception.
Please withdraw the nomination of John Valadez’s film, The Longoria Affair, for an Emmy. It is as seriously and deliberately inaccurate and as biased as The Last Conquistador produced by Valadez.
Major General U.S. Army, Retired
Lies and Manipulations to Produce Preposterous Documentaries
The Longoria Affair should not have been nominated for an Emmy in the historical documentary category. This nomination is a preposterous acknowledgement for a producer/writer supported by PBS and Independent Lens who has been dishonest, manipulative, and self-promoting in a prior so-called documentary, The Last Conquistador.
Producer/writer John Valadez's cunning, factually dishonest and manipulative manner was certainly experienced firsthand by the Board and members of the New Mexico Hispanic Culture Preservation League beginning around 2006. He beguiled with misleading promises to have access to filming league members as subjects. He then manipulated the story to show a distorted and deceitful production that perpetuates hate and lies about the founding of New Mexico. The Last Conquistador is a disgrace, for it promotes division among Americans with different cultural heritages and perpetuates centuries old hate propaganda called the "Black Legend” (see, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Legend).
Any fair and balanced minded individual who seeks truth through historic fact clearly sees the lies and manipulation of people and information Mr. Valadez uses again and again to produce his films.
S. Pauline Anaya
A Charming Fraud Saying Anything to Get Us Involved
The Last Conquistador directed and filmed by John J. Valadez and Christina Ibarra is a fraud. The producers charmed their way into my confidence saying anything it took to get the New Mexican Hispanic Culture Preservation League (NMHCPL) involved.
When I first met with the pair I asked out right, if this was going to be a biased portrayal of our ancestors once again as villains as assigned by the Black Legend. Valadez assured me that because of their Spanish Roots they would do a fair job. As far as I was concerned when a person gives his or her word it’s a bond; unfortunately I was not dealing with people of honor.
I apologize to the members of NMHCPL and those especially who donated funds to help produce the “documentary.”
I use the term documentary loosely because it is far from a documentary. It shows great editing skills with deliberate attempts to bias an unsuspecting audience. A letter sent to these two asked for a refund and to have the NMHCPL removed from the sponsors list; neither had the decency to respond. The money received from well-intended people was used to denigrate the very people who gave valuable time, money, support and advocacy.
I was lead to believe that the film would be strength-based and show the intense labor and human spirit it took to create such a fabulous sculpture. Shamefully even John Sherrill Houser, the sculptor, was used and cheated out of his well deserved recognition and honors for his years of labor and sacrifice.
El Paso Twelve Travelers was horrified by the film. My final comment to John J. Valadez is: “There was a beautiful story here; sorry you lost your way and hurt a lot of nice people who worked hard to help you and Mr. Houser.” This end product shows a deliberate taking from well intentioned people, who worked hard and gave so much to help you. Now I understand why you were vague in talking about the end results. Even Mr. Houser is victimized.
Like The Longoria Affair, The Last Conquistador succeeds in cheating the public of a “documentary” that could have provided a balanced, historically correct view. Instead of showing human strengths, another protest by a revisionist has little to do with equitable truth.
Incapable of Being Fair and Objective, No Documentarian
I am a member of the New Mexican Hispanic Culture Preservation League and have held every office in this organization. I am currently the treasurer. I must add my comments on the treatment we received by Mr. John Valadez.
We were hoping that he would provide the crown to our celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the New Mexico colony by the Spanish led by Don Juan de Oñate. Both Albuquerque and El Paso had commissioned statues dedicated to this occasion.
To this end, we of the NMHCPL opened our minds, our hearts and our homes to Mr. Valadez. Instead He produced a "documentary" denigrating the colonization. All that we had patiently explained to him was ignored, apparently because it did not coincide with his intentions.
The movie, The Last Conquistador, created such anger and rancor that we in Albuquerque were not able to dedicate our statue grouping now visible in Old Town and the people of El Paso had to retitle their statue to The Equestrian, rather than Don Juan de Oñate. This was a great disappointment.
I view Mr. Valadez as incapable of being fair and objective. He is not a documentarian, but a propagandist.
Pablo Ricardo Quintana,
La Verdad con orgullo de ser Hispano