‘A Dwelling Archive of City Indians’ seems to be on the Native American impression on ABQ Downtown, “Albuquerque Journal

Local artists have been hired to work in the Indian building of the Alvarado Hotel to demonstrate their ceramics, as well as their woven and silver work. (Courtesy of the Indigenous Design and Planning Institute)

After two years of hard work, the journey has only just begun.

The Downtown Albuquerque Arts & Cultural District collaborated with the Indigenous Design and Planning Institute on the project “A Living Archive of Urban Indians”.

The event starts tonight at 8 a.m. at the KiMo Theater. The audience is walked to the Alvarado Transportation Center for a second performance and then ends at the Tricklock Performance Space for a reception and refreshments.

Pottery seller in the Alvarado, date unknown. (Courtesy of the Indigenous Design and Planning Institute)

“This is an interesting event because it has seven community partners and the arts district,” said Erin De Rosa, program director for the Downtown Albuquerque Arts & Cultural District. “There’s not much that shows the urban Indian influence, but it’s a big part of our culture in Albuquerque.”

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The project uses mapping, public art, and urban exploration to showcase the historical legacy of downtown architectural landmarks to and about Albuquerque’s urban Indians and showcase the rich history of the urban Indians in downtown Albuquerque.

According to De Rosa, Albuquerque has served as a home base for generations of indigenous people who have access to centralized government, social services and businesses specific to them.

Public rhetoric routinely focuses on the “Indian problem” – including chronic conditions such as homelessness, alcohol and drug abuse, poverty and illiteracy – rather than recognizing the contributions of indigenous peoples to the culture and economy of the urban community, she says.

In fact, Laguna Pueblo had a large stake in the railroad line that ran through New Mexico.

The agreement between the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railways and Laguna Pueblo states: “Due to the fact that the rail plan was to be transferred to Laguna areas, an agreement was made between the AT&SF Railway Company and the Laguna -Trunk hit. The oral agreement stipulated that the railroad would be allowed to travel through the lagoon land as long as the railroad used that many lagoons to build and maintain the system forever. The governor also had to agree to his people’s participation in the railways. This agreement granted Laguna employment and the railroad assured that there was a right of way through the pueblo. The railroad companies involved in this agreement and the tribe held annual meetings to discuss terms. Laguna men started working on the route and some became department heads while others agreed to work in other locations such as Gallup, Albuquerque, or other locations along the route.

Many workers’ colonies were established along the railway lines, including the Albuquerque lagoon colony. The workers’ quarters were next to the train stations, and many Laguna men were given lifelong employment and their families were given free train licenses.

“Now that we have conversations about what to do in the rail yards, we can understand the story behind it,” she says. “It was an area that was busy and energetic prior to its present state. It can surely rise to be like that again. “

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