IF YOU GO
“100 Years Pueblo Exhibition”: Through Feb. 4, 2013, at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th St. NW, Albuquerque, N.M., Visit www.indianpueblo.org. Hours; Monday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: Adults, $6, children under 18, $3, children under 5, free.
Updated: August 17, 2012 6:14AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico’s pueblos have a history with the federal government unlike any other American Indian tribe.
They never signed treaties, and with that came decades of a dual existence. On one hand, they didn’t fit the mold the government had established for native people. Still, they were Indian enough to be subjected to policies that called for them to give up their native languages and send their children to boarding school.
For the first time, the pueblos have come together to offer their own historical perspective on the effects of 100 years of state and federal policy as part of an exhibit at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque.
Simple black and white designs meant to represent turkey feathers form the basis of a timeline that runs through the museum. Photographs, letters, pottery and other crafts fill the space, while touch screens and QR codes link to more videos, audio interviews and documents.
“The timeline and the points along the timeline are really elements of challenges our pueblo people have faced and how pueblo people through education and through perseverance have risen through these challenges. It’s important to teach a younger generation the foundation of why certain things are the way they are,” said Travis Suazo, exhibition project manager.
Scattered along the Rio Grande Valley and parts of west-central New Mexico, the pueblos have a storied history that stretches from the conquest of the Spanish to Mexican rule and eventually the westward expansion of the United States. Each decade has brought with it challenges to tribal sovereignty, pueblo leaders say.
The exhibit starts with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican American War in 1848. After that, things began changing for the pueblos. The Mining Act came in 1872. It was followed by the Religious Crimes Code, New Mexico statehood in 1912 and nearly three dozens of other laws that would affect everything from land ownership to education and civil rights.
With each law, exhibition organizers summarized the intent and the actual effect on the pueblo’s core values.
On one wall is a photograph of Marine Corp. veteran Miguel Trujillo of Isleta Pueblo. He’s in uniform standing with his young daughter. The image marks a key point on the timeline. Not mentioned often in textbooks, it was Trujillo who made it possible for members of New Mexico’s tribes to vote in state and national elections. Before 1948, a state constitutional provision had put suffrage out of reach. AP