The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (IPCC) is located in Albuquerque, just off of I-40. Michael and I are members, though we only get to IPCC once or twice a year. We think the story of IPCC is important, and wanted to share a bit of it with you.
Just over 40 years ago, the 19 New Mexico pueblos got together and decided that they needed an objective, professional way to share the rich history of the pueblo peoples with the rest of the world. In 1976, they opened the IPCC, showcasing not only the story of the pueblo peoples, but also the amazing artistry that has been developed over the centuries by these people.
IPCC carefully and respectfully tells the story of the pueblo peoples, tracing the evolution of the pueblos from the ancestral Native Americans through major paradigm shifts like the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores, and the challenges of preserving Native American culture and belief systems while also living in the Anglo world. The exhibits are very professional, and the contributions of artifacts are rich and stunning to examine.
Unlike many museums, IPCC is constantly alive with interactive events and activities. They feature authentic, traditional dances, often bringing in dance groups on the weekends from not only the pueblos, but also from Native American tribes from around North America. The pageantry, colors, and music are always informative and captivating to watch.
In addition to showcasing historic and current artists, IPCC seriously embraces its role as an educator, hosting frequent talks from experts on subjects as wide ranging as water conservation to traditional pottery making. Fortunately, many of their talks are recorded and available on the IPCC website, and I always seem to learn many new things when I watch the videos.
Numerous events are scheduled every month – there is always something wonderful and informative happening at IPCC. For the month of March one of the events is a “Celebration of the legacy of Lucy Lewis” and how it is carried on by her family and students. Another upcoming event during this month as a continuation of Women as the Creators and Keepers of Tradition is a view into the IPCC collection of Pabilta Velarde, Helen Hardin, and Margarete Bagshaw. Make plans to visit the incredible center and continue to learn more about the pueblos, their history, and their wonderful people.
There are two other things that really make IPCC a wonderful tourist stop for both families and tour groups alike. The first is the Pueblo Harvest Café, where Executive Chef David Ruiz and his staff prepare delicious menus. They often have special features, such as their upcoming Valentine’s Day Dinner, and give us an opportunity to really explore pueblo foods done well.
The second, which is also among my favorite aspects of IPCC, is Shumakolowa Native Arts. This exquisite outlet for Native American works is simply packed with Native American treasures at all price points. Not only authentic pottery, textiles, jewelry, paintings, and other pueblo art, but also books, music, clothing, and wonderful treasures for all pocketbooks. Ask Manager Ira Wilson or anyone on his team about an item, and they can tell you the back story and help you to be a more educated buyer of authentic Native American items. Ira goes out often to buy the items directly from the artists, and he has lovely blogs and lots of photos that really convey the hard work that these artists put into their craft.
IPCC just opened a huge Starbucks as part of their operation, and I can’t wait to see this newest addition. This year, IPCC celebrates its 40th anniversary, and they have a lot of special birthday celebrations planned to mark this wonderful milestone. Stop by and check it out, or if you have been in the past, stop by and see what is new. I know it is well worth your time!
Once again, we will be visiting there soon. And I can’t wait!