Dora Esquibel

April 11, 1937 - May 7, 2012

DENVER-On May 7, 2012 the community lost a longtime Matriarch of the Genizaro Apache Tribe when Maria Isidorita “Dora” Equibel, Mni Wiconi Winya crossed over.  Over a hundred friends and family members attended a traditional ceremony at Sisters United for Education in Denver today.  Traditional alabanzas, prayer songs and a sharing of food took place as members from many sectors of society appeared to honor her through participation in ceremonies.


Dora Esquibel was a University of Colorado alumna, activist, and was active in the Chicano and Migrant Rights Movements.  She was a member of the United Mexican American Students (UMAS) at CU from where she  graduated in 1982.  Early on in her CU career she was involved in a student take-over of one of the campus administrative offices.   She and the administrator whose office was taken over would later become family.  Her son David Atekpatzin Young, MA, Curandero explains when he talked about his mother.

David:  There was a time when my mother had to go to work but also wanted to go to work.  And she ended up working for the War on Poverty, [President} Johnson’s War on Poverty.  I think part of the intent of the War on Poverty was to get activists off of the street, to give them a job and in some way control them but also employ them and then you don’t have to worry about them.  What it did for my mother, because she ended up working in the Tri-County area in Southeastern Colorado, she got to see the horrendous the absolutely horrendous treatment of migrants by the farmers in Southeastern Colorado.  It opened her eyes.  And in opening her eyes, what it did was, it did something inside to where she realized she had to do something.  She had to do something about it.  And she became very involved in the Chicano Movement.  In so becoming involved, took a step forward.  I remember the first time that she got up and spoke at a Chicano conference that was held in Rocky Ford, Colorado.  Corky Gonzales came down and a number of other people came down.  And her voice was trembling, absolutely trembling but she was up there anyway.  I know she was terrified to be in front of people.  But she found her voice and this is something that women didn’t have at that time.  So the movimiento for her gave her an opportunity to find her voice and to speak her voice and she always spoke on behalf of women.  And not like the women’s lib, like the white women’s liberation.  She had a lot of issues with that because she said, “If all we’re going to do is liberate ourselves from our men, then that’s not enough because our men are also oppressed.  Our men in our community are oppressed.”  she said, “So we have to look at the bigger picture.”  And that’s what my mother did.  She stepped forward.  She did that kind of work.  She created a name for herself across the state and across the nation, actually.


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