The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center: Glimpsing New Mexico’s cultural history

By Chase Voirin

Traditional dance exhibition at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM. ©Mr.TinDC

If you look at a map of the city of Albuquerque and surrounding areas, you would likely notice the multiple Native American reservations that dot the landscape north and south of the city along the Rio Grande. These reservations are set aside primarily for Puebloan peoples; a general term that describes the multiple tribes that inhabit villages in the central and northern part of New Mexico and share a common building style and related language structure. Indeed, an argument can be made that Albuquerque lies at the heart of Pueblo country, where the influence of these diverse cultures has left its mark on the landscape for millennia.

These cultural influences, among others, are what make Albuquerque a suitable location for this year’s TWS Annual Conference and its theme, “Wildlife Conservation: Crossroads of Cultures.” To fully experience the cultural crossroads, be sure to take a side trip to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center near Old Town during your visit to Albuquerque this September. Considered the “gateway to the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico,” there are few places better than the Cultural Center to gain understanding of Puebloan peoples and their remarkable history.

Making in-person visits to all 19 Pueblos in the state of New Mexico is a pilgrimage in and of itself, particularly during a short visit to the state, so the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Museum offers the next best thing: a glimpse into each Pueblo’s cultural identity and extraordinary history. If the museum galleries leave you wanting more, take the time to witness one of the traditional native dances that rotate through the Cultural Center year-round. These special events are rare to see outside of New Mexico and beyond the boundaries of a given Pueblo. If you find yourself hungry during your visit you can try one of the delicious and authentic Puebloan dishes at the award-winning Pueblo Harvest Café. When visiting the Cultural Center you’ll also notice the beautiful artistic design and blends of architecture, sculpture, and jewelry that are associated with the Southwest. If you’re tempted to take a piece of that art back home with you, you can purchase fine New Mexico-made jewelry or pottery from the Shumakolowa Native Arts store.

In addition to your experience at the Cultural Center, you are also invited to join one of our three field trips to Acoma Pueblo Sky City as part of this year’s conference program. Situated on top of a 367-foot sandstone mesa just an hour outside of Albuquerque, you’ll be touring the storied village, which is considered the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America.

During your time in the Land of Enchantment, be sure to enjoy the rich cultural history that helps make New Mexico a state unlike any other! Start planning your trip to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center by visiting the website for more information on fees, directions and the schedule of special events. Or, visit our conference website for more information about the Acoma Pueblo Sky City field trips.