New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

Encounter Culture celebrates the 75th anniversary of Native American voting rights in New Mexico

July 18, 2023

Ash Espinoza

“New Mexico’s stories are deep and wide-reaching, and for season four, we took that to heart,” said Charlotte Jusinski, host of Encounter Culture. “We could not have done Miguel H. Trujillo’s story justice in one episode. So, we adapted our approach. The season is dedicated entirely to what Trujillo and his lawyer went through to ensure Native Americans were able to vote, and the major implications that court case had and still has in Native America. We teamed up with curator Stephanie Padilla, who came on as my co-host, to access her wealth of knowledge and resources. Stephanie and her team had great conversations with family members and subject matter experts who understand the ins and outs of the legal and social issues at play. It’s different from anything the show has done before. I hope our listeners enjoy what we’ve put together.” 

 It is not a simple story. Trujillo, born in Isleta Pueblo, served as a Marine Staff Sergeant during World War II. After returning from his service, he decided to register to vote. He found that he was barred from registering to vote because he was an “Indian not taxed,” a phrase in New Mexico’s state constitution (and found in other state constitutions, as well). He challenged this in the courts, all the way up to the New Mexico Supreme Court, and won in 1948. The ruling in his case secured voting rights for Native Americans in New Mexico.  

 Over the course of six episodes, Encounter Culture Season 4 lifts up the voices of educators, community members, and the Trujillo family to explore the significance of voting rights and education to Native Americans, and how studying the history of Native American voting rights influences contemporary Native decision-makers.  

 To cover every angle of Trujillo’s story, Encounter Culture partnered with the Trujillo family, NMHM, and the National Endowment for the Humanities on interviews, the podcast season, and a small exhibition on the museum’s campus, which will open in August.  

 Since 2021, Encounter Culture has been visiting the lesser-known corners of New Mexico’s state-owned cultural institutions and deep diving on the stories they are telling. If you have ever been curious about how an exhibition’s text is developed and edited or wanted to hear a curator’s thoughts on their exhibition, Encounter Culture is the inside scoop for you.  

 Find Encounter Culture wherever you get your podcasts, or at 

 About New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs    

Created in 1978 by the New Mexico Legislature, the Department of Cultural Affairs (NMDCA) is New Mexico’s cultural steward, charged with preserving and showcasing the state’s cultural riches. With its eight museums, eight historic sites, arts, archaeology, historic preservation, and library programs, NMDCA is one of the largest and most diverse state cultural agencies in the nation. Together, the facilities, programs, and services of the Department support a $5.6 billion cultural industry in New Mexico.   


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