Alfonso Ortiz was a cultural anthropologist who studied Southwestern Indians.
Ortiz combined scholarship in cultural anthropology with participation in groups that are concerned with the status and welfare of minorities. His fields of interest included ritual drama, myth, comparative traditional histories, and contemporary Indian affairs. He was the author of The Tewa World: Space, Time, Being, and Becoming in a Pueblo Society (1969) and American Indian Myths and Legends (1984); and the editor of New Perspectives on the Pueblos (1972) and of the Handbook of North American Indians (1979, 1983), a two-volume work devoted to Indian cultures of the Southwest.
A professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico since 1974, Ortiz served as president of the Association on American Indian Affairs, the nation’s largest citizens’ advocacy group for Indians (1973-88). He also chaired the National Advisory Council to the D’Arcy McNickle Center for the History of the American Indian at the Newberry Library, Chicago. He was the recipient of the Achievement Award (1982) from the Indian Council Fire of Chicago, and was a fellow of the American Anthropological Association and of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
Ortiz received an A.B. (1961) from the University of New Mexico and an M.A. (1963) and Ph.D. (1967) from the University of Chicago.
Last updated January 1, 2005.