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Viola Cordova Papers

Identifier: MSS-741-BC

Scope and Content

The Viola F. Cordova Papers contain documents concerning Viola Cordova's educational and professional career in the field of philosophy. The collection reflects Viola Cordova?s interest in minority issues and philosophy from a Native American point of view. Files include materials such as essays, notes, articles, poetry, newsletters, research, and correspondence.

Writings consist mostly of essays written by Viola Cordova. Essay topics include ethnicity, ethics, and Native American perspectives. A small portion of this series contains articles, notes, and poetry.

Research consists mostly of articles written by other philosophers on a wide range of topics.

Correspondence consists mostly of professional correspondence from Viola Cordova, some of which are printed email messages from Viola Cordova to other philosophers. This series contains a folder of correspondence from the University of New Mexico which documents a discrimination lawsuit filed by Viola Cordova against the Philosophy Department at the University of New Mexico.


  • 1956-2003


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Viola Faye Cordova, a philosopher and poet, was born on October 20, 1937 to a Hispanic mother and a Jicarilla Apache father. A native of New Mexico, Cordova was raised in Taos. She attended college in Idaho and New Mexico, becoming interested in Native American philosophy. She earned a B.A from Idaho State University, an M.A from the University of New Mexico in philosophy, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of New Mexico in 1992. Her teaching career spanned several universities including the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, University of New Mexico, Idaho Sate University, Oregon State University and Colorado State University. In addition to Native American philosophies, she taught comparative ethics and belonged to numerous professional organizations.

Throughout her educational and professional career, Viola Cordova published many of her writings. Among them were, How It Is: A Native American Creation Story and Who We Are, a book about Native American identity. In 1995, a series of her lectures was published under the title, Ways of Seeing. Bringing a new perspective to philosophy, her writings and poetry gave voice to Native American beliefs. Despite her death on November 2, 2002, her work continues to serve as an important influence in Native American philosophy.


2 boxes (2 cu. ft.)


This collection consists of writings, research, and correspondence of Viola Cordova, Ph.D. It documents her educational and professional career in the field of philosophy.


Three series:

Writings: The first part of this series is arranged by subjects established by Cordova. The rest is in alphabetical order.

Research: The alphabetical arrangement of this series was imposed during processing.

Correspondence: The chronological arrangement of this series was imposed during processing.

Separated Material

"How It Is: A Native American Creation Story and Who We Are: An Exploration of Identity by Viola F. Cordova has been transferred to the University Libraries book collection.

Videos of a luncheon and dedication of Dr. Viola F. Cordova's collection to the Center for Southwest Research: "Notes on identity, time, and place", presented by Dr. Theodore Jojola; and "Philosophy of Native Science", presented by Dr. Gregory Cajete, March 28, 2003, are catalogued in CSWR AV collection: LD3781.N566 C4 2003.
Finding Aid of the Viola Cordova Papers 1956-2003
For Approval
Processed by Jared Vanderpool
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131