The Letter to My Granddaughters by Juliana Aragon Fatula

Dearest Granddaughters,

I’m a mother, an aunt, a great aunt, and a great-great-aunt, but I’m not a Grandmother. Not yet. Maybe never. But my sisters have shared their grandchildren with me and my nieces have shared their grandchildren with me; therefore I am a tia abuelita. This letter is to these granddaughters of other women who are included in my circle of love. The generations of women leading us into the new world.  I want to share with you not only my love but my knowledge and what I’ve learned from my mistakes. 

Juliana 2021 age 64

One of my great-great-grandmothers, Abrana Quintana was born in the 1800s in New Mexico Territory before it was a state. We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us. We’ve always lived in this land. She was a full-blooded Ute woman who married a white man, a traveling preacher from Maine. He moved to Santa Fe and converted indigenous people to Christianity. She may have been his translator through Indian country. They had several children and my great-grandmother, Abrana Jacobs, was born in New Mexico. 

She was half Ute and half European by way of England and indigenous New Mexico ancestors. She married a full-blooded Navajo and became Abrana Gomez. They had several children and my grandmother, Phoebe Gomez, was born in Alamosa, Colorado in 1890. 

She married a man from Alamosa and became Phoebe Mondragon. My mother, Eloisa Evelyn Mondragon was born in Howard, Colorado in 1923. She married my father, Julian Aragon, and became Louise Aragon. 

My father and mother were known as Jack and Louise. I was born in Canon City, Colorado during the blizzard of April 1957 and was named Juliana Aragon. This is my story of my ancestors and how I came to be during the 1950s and lived to be 65 years old and discovered my heritage and DNA. Many of my ancestors were indigenous to the Southwest and their bones are buried here. 

My son, Daniel, hasn’t married or had children and so the story ends with him. Except, I have you, my granddaughters, to carry on my story of being a Corn Mother and how I came to this world and how I left. You will tell my story to your children and they will tell their children and so my name will be heard and my stories will be told by you and your descendants. 

I have had the blessing of being born into a world where women had the right to vote and to make decisions about our bodies, but it wasn’t always true. Our Corn Mothers weren’t allowed to vote, practice family planning, or even wear pants. They were ruled by the patriarchal society and were told what to do, who to marry. Today, we can wear whatever we want, and we can vote for whoever we choose, so don’t forget the sacrifices made so that we have this freedom.  

What I discovered in tracing my ancestors’ journey is that we are all related. We are all a combination of DNA from many people and from many places. My mother’s people were mixed and included Ute, Navajo, and European blood. My father’s people were mixed and included Pueblo, Navajo, and Spaniard blood. But I can trace my DNA back to Africa, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, South America, and North America. We are all related. Remember this. 

What I learned from my journey in life is that I have the blood of warrior women coursing through my veins and so do you. We are survivors. We are Corn Mothers who brought everything holy into the world and we created life and gave love to all our children. I have loved thousands of children in my lifetime. I have taught and held and hugged countless children who needed hugs and love. I am blessed to have the ability to love not only my son but everyone’s children. 

I will be honored as a Corn Mother in the Return of the Corn Mothers 2022 Exhibition at the Colorado History Center this October, and I’m proud of the work I’ve done in my lifetime. I honor my Corn Mothers who did not get recognition in their lifetimes but led the way for us. Go into the world and teach the children to love everyone and to be kind to those in need.  You will be blessed in your life and you will learn what it is to truly love and be loved. 

Corn Mothers Aimee Medina Carr and Juliana Aragon Fatula 

2 replies
  1. Kathryn Lane
    Kathryn Lane says:

    I enjoyed reading about your honorary Abuelita status. You had to do in-depth genealogy to get that far back into New Mexico history!

    Reply
  2. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Oh, Juliana, I love this. Go into the world and teach your children to love everyone. What a beautiful picture of you! What lucky granddaughters you have. How fascinating that you have such a rich understanding of your ancestors!

    Reply

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