Albuquerque’s Pueblo Cultural Centre

Rewatching Breaking Bad made me think of my time in Albuquerque. Which was only a few days really, passing through on our way from the Hopi Reservation to Texas. But one of my favourite memory from there is, well not Los Pollos Hermanos, but the Pueblo Cultural Centre.

As I said here I’ve always been fascinated with Art Deco ever since I was a small kid but also with Native Americans art and culture. I have a thing especially for the Hopi clan but I’ll get back to that extensively. So while in Albuquerque I thought we could check out the cultural centre and I’m very glad we did.

It was extremely educational in a very clever way and interesting. I learned a lot about their history, before and after the arrival of white people and their art. It was fairly quiet and it is a big place where you can take your time and not be disturb by a crowd. We had to let a very loud – even though quite small – group of tourists though. And I think the volunteers working in the centre appreciated how respectful we were. It is a painful but important history and should be treated as such. An older man volunteering started to chat with us and gave us even more informations, he was so clearly passionate about it all. He gave us places to go to and on which dates special event were happening. I find it wonderful how much people there care about sharing the pueblo culture and welcome you into it.

In the centre itself, you will find a lot of pictures and accounts from many different generations of Pueblos. A whole part is about their “integration” into white culture through education which I thought was extremely interesting. There are also a lot of artefacts from centuries ago to today.

We ended up our long visit in the gift shop. They had truly beautiful handmade blankets but unfortunately it wasn’t in our budget. They also had some Hopi Kathinas dolls. As we had just come back from Songopovi and I had bought one directly there, I was curious to see the price tag in a museum. As a I was looking at them a twenty something sales assistant came up to me and asked me if I knew what they were. We started talking and it turned out he was Hopi. We stayed talking to him for quite a while and he shared so many stories about their myth and culture but also about being 20 and being Hopi and still taking parts in ceremonies. He was so naturally friendly – not trying to sell something to us – and proud and happy to share his culture. He told us that anyone is welcomed during their ceremonies and that would should go. I’m hoping to take him on on that one day.

So, is the Pueblo Culture Centre worth going to? It is, no matter if you know anything about Pueblos or Native Americans in general, it is very interesting and beautiful. There is still so much going on today and it’s still a very painful situation. And even being from Europe, i think it is so important to understand their culture and protect it.


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