According to research by Mata Ortiz expert Jim Hills of Tucson, Arizona, indeed several people in the Porvenir neighborhood were making pottery in the 1970s. Porvenir potters Rojelio Silveira, Emeterio Ortiz, Félix Ortiz and Salbador Ortiz all made Mata Ortiz pottery in the early 1970s. In his paper, “Reconstructing a Miracle” in the University of Arizona’s Journal of the Southwest, Hills states, “Spencer MacCallum continually customized his story over the years in an attempt to promote a single narrative, which required omitting, modifying or diluting facts.” The Ortiz and Silveira potters were among those omissions. Thus, according to Hills, “a blend of well-meaning entrepreneurial strategies, reticence, forgetfulness, imagination, exaggeration and romantic notions of reality have shaped the Mata Ortiz narrative.”
Essentially, two U.S. writers shaped an incomplete history of the Mata Ortiz pottery tradition. In 1993 American Walter Parks wrote a book based on MacCallum’s notes. In the book’s acknowledgements, Parks states,
“Spencer MacCallum was especially generous, opening all of his files to me and reviewing the text.”
Based on new voices and evidence, that history is deficient. It tells only part of the story. Many significant families were excluded from their writings.