More on "Ultima"

Posted by DanielleGaines on February 25, 2009 

I wrote an article earlier this week on the controversy surrounding a decision to remove the Chicano novel "Bless Me, Ultima," at Orestima High School in Newman.

Several readers commented on the story and some of you asked for more information. 

Orestimba High School is just beyond the coverage area of the Sun-Star (we covered the Monday event because it was at UC Merced), but our sister paper, The Modesto Bee, has written several articles on the issue.

One of the things you asked for was more information about the parent complaint and what particular passages were at issue. 

According to The Modesto Bee stories, listed on this site, here is some additional background:

The Modesto Bee identified the parent as Nancy Corgiat. According to the article, Corgiat reportedly told the school board in January that the book’s themes “undermine the conservative family values in our homes.”

The precise passages Corgiat complained about could not be found in various news articles.  

Superintendent Rick Fauss Fauss banned the book from instruction in October after Corgiat's complaint of anti-Catholic content and sexually explicit material. 

School board members backed the removal of the book due to concern over numerous profane words in English and Spanish.

The book was included on The American Library Association's Most Banned and Challenged Books list in 2004-2005. According to the association, which promotes library services, the book was "pulled by he Norwood, Colo. Schools superintendent (2005) after
two parents complained about profanity in the book. The superintendent confiscated all of the copies of the book and gave them to the parents, who “tossed them in the trash.” The superintendent later apologized. Students organized an all–day sit–in at the school gym. President George W. Bush awarded Anaya the National Media of Arts in 2002. First Lady Laura Bush has listed the book as ninth on a list of twelve books that she highly recommends."

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