Maestro José Montoya


Maestro José Montoya

Maestro José Montoya was part of many circles, but for over 25-years, he was a part of El Círculo de Hombres. El Círculo brought healing and support to thousands of men through the reintegration of ceremony, carnalismo, and kinship. He served on the Board of Directors of the National Compadres Network as the voice of the elders since the organization’s inception. His contributions to the healing of youth, men, families, and communities will continue through the teachings he so generously shared and entrusted to all of us.

Maestro José Montoya dedicated his life to acknowledging and lifting up the beauty and power of culture through art, poetry, music, activism, and spiritual ceremony. His life, from the mountains of New Mexico and the fields of California’s Central Valley, to the halls of higher education influenced all his work. His ability to re-craft words, create songs, and beautifully illustrate what it meant to be Chicano will remain as an example for generations.

El Círculo by Maestro José Montoya (Copyright 2005)

It could not have been any other way

It could not have been any thing else.

It had to be the circle to heal hell.

We all came to it illing, ailing – unwashed.

And the survivors, in twenty years, were rewarded.

And we witnessed four generations

Receive the medicine — emanating, radiating From that focus – up down and the four

Directions- powerful!

Group one, the elders, aging, nursing blown Prostates and livers damaged, slipping and sliding – but Clean.

Group two, clean, but ravages of past abuse Taking toll yet remain stellar role models for Group three, the gang – bangers facing one more Strike now saved, Clean and agile, metamorphosing Jaguars, fire tenders and willow cutters and singer Of lodge songs – saving generation four – now Coming to circle straight from middle school, Grandfather.

We couldn’t all be saved but group three Impressed us all!

Earth water wind and fire came together for ’em, For us – for all.

Ho Ometeot!

Flor y Canto José Montoya Memorial Scholarship

To honor Maestro Montoya’s collective contributions, the National Compadres Network annually awards an academic scholarship to a male and a female student (age 13 – 26) currently enrolled and working to complete their education. The focus of the scholarship is “Flor y Canto”. The scholarship applicants submits a written personal essay and a creative piece (e.g. poem, song, sculpture, carving, video, photograph, etc.) that reflects the applicant’s culture and its beauty and healing strength. The applicants reflect and explain the manner in which their culture has been a source of strength and healing; the way in which culture-rooted strength and healing has affected them personally, their family, and the broader community; and lastly, how the applicant sees culture as being a part of their life as they develop their personal talents and gifts.

2015 Scholarship Recipient Announcement