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Albuquerque's Gateway to the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico

Posted by Leslie Endicott on August 13, 2012

Road Journals Blog—One of the best places to be introduced to the 19 Pueblo cultures (Pueblo means people) of New Mexico is the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. The center hosts exhibits, feast days, dancing, art classes, and other activities, that celebrate the various Pueblo cultures. When our group of journalists arrived on a hot day in June, we stood in a semi-circle in the inner courtyard and watched the Soaring Eagle Dance Group perform the corn dance, a native dance that asks for an abundance of crops. The three dancers—dressed in traditional clothes—held a corncob in each hand as they stamped and swirled to the rhythms of drums and the chant-like songs performed by drummers and singers.

The Pueblo Harvest Cafe & Bakery offers Native fusion cuisine, which may include corn porridge for breakfast, blue corn bread with a stew for lunch, and pecan crusted rabbit loin for dinner. We sat out on the patio, under the cool misting system as the chef set out three breads for us to taste: green chili bread, raisin bread, and horno (a local bread; the Spanish word means oven). Behind him stood a horno, a hump of an adobe oven that we would see in various places in Albuquerque. We spread butter whipped with piñon and lemon on the bread, drank lemonade, and listened to the chef talk about the three sisters: corn, beans, and squash—indigenous crops for Pueblo farmers. Back inside, the gift store carried museum-quality art, including beautiful Pueblo pottery. Mostly decorated in red, black, and white, the pieces have intricate paintings—geometric designs representing weather and crops, as well as figures important to the Pueblo cultures, such as the dragonfly. In cases in the middle of the room, handcrafted silver and turquoise jewelry stood on display. For kids, children’s books tell traditional tales, helping the Pueblos carry on their history. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th St., NW Albuquerque. What's another great cultural center that you've been to?

This blog post was first published in August 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.