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New Book :: The Sign Catcher

The Sign Catcher a memoir by Otilio Quintero published by Arte Publico Press book cover image

The Sign Catcher
Biography by Otilio Quintero
Arte Publico Press, March 2022

As a young boy, Otilio Quintero lived with his family in abject poverty in a labor camp in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Later, they moved to a housing project that exposed him to the madness of violence. Despite his difficult childhood, he managed to go to college. But more important to his development was a trip to Mexico in which he was taken in and taught by the Mayan Chol people. In his memoir, The Sign Catcher, Quintero writes he found his calling at an indigenous ceremony during The Longest Walk, a 3,000-mile march across the country—from Alcatraz Island in San Francisco to Washington, DC—in 1978 by Native Americans to protest federal attacks on their way of life. The marchers carried the sacred pipe to the nation’s capital and ultimately legislative bills detrimental to indigenous people were defeated. His life took a dramatic turn when he found himself in a maximum-security prison facing a possible 20-year sentence.

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