Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Sandia Pueblo
  English Pronunciation: "San-dee-ah"
Traditional Name: NA-FIAT
I-25, 8 miles north of Albuquerque, exit 234, northwest 2 miles on NM 556 to the junction with 313, north 3 miles on 313. There is a sign on the highway.
505-867-3317 |
Learn more about the distinctive art forms of Sandia Pueblo at Shumakolowa Native Arts.

Sandia PuebloSandia Pueblo is perhaps the least known and understood of the dozens of Pueblo cultures than once dominated the Rio Grande Valley.

It has been a bustling and thriving community dating centuries before Europeans entered the area and Sandian ruins in the area date to a time before Charlemagne ruled Europe as “Emperor of the West”.  The Tiguex Province, as it is known, once included as many as 20 Pueblo cultures, with Sandia being the largest.  Juan de Onate, in 1598, referred to Sandia as “Napeya” a corruption of the native name “Nafiathe”.  The full native name for Sandia is “Tuf Shurn Tia” or “Green Reed Place”.  Sandia Pueblo, located 15 miles north of modern-day Albuquerque and three miles south of Bernalillo, has been in existence at its present site since 1300.  It was first “discovered” by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, who camped with his conquistadors along the banks of the Rio Grande in 1539.

Sandia became a settlement for Spanish explorers in 1617 when it was established as the seat of the mission of San Francisco.  Less than five decades later, Sandia participated in the Pueblo Revolt, a bloody rebellion that exploded simultaneously among the northern Pueblos on August 10, 1680.  The revolt culminated decades of resentment of religious persecution, demands for tribute payment, involuntary labor, and conflicts between religious and civil authorities who demanded obedience from Pueblo Indians.

Antoinio de Otermin, Spain’s governor of what is now New Mexico, ordered the burning of the Pueblo of Sandia several times during the Pueblo Revolt.

The Spanish repeatedly attempted to reconquer the Tiguex Province in 1681, 1688, and 1692.  During each attempt, Sandians abandoned their Pueblo and eventually fled to Hopi lands in Arizona where they resettled in the village of Payupki. Their requests for resettlement were ignored until Father Menchero petitioned Spain’s governor to allow settlement at Sandia and permission for resettlement was granted in 1748.

On May 24, 1762, Governor Tomas Cachupin ordered the Pueblo of Sandia be completely rebuilt and that the Indians were not to be worked as laborers for Spanish farmers until the Pueblo and church were reconstructed.

Sandians were allowed to resettle in their original Pueblo to create a buffer against raiding tribes, such as Navajos and Comanches.  In 1775 Sandia acting as that “buffer” lost 30 sons in an attack from the Comanche.  Sandia was constantly raided by Apaches, Navajos and Comanche until a truce was struck near “Poi P’a Huth” or Friendship Arroyo” in the Placitas area.  During the peace ceremony, a hole was dug to the depth of an elbow.  The representatives spat and dropped half-smoked cigarettes into the hole and vowed never to fight one another.

Historical Boundaries
Sandia’s boundaries were designated by Lt. General Bernardo de Bustamante to be a minimum of one league or about three miles in each direction form the Pueblo’s church, which is now the area of the cemetery.  That edict established the Rio Grande as the western boundary, which measured only 1440 varas from the church.  As one league equaled 5,000 varas, General Bustamante compensated for the western shortage by increasing the distance of the north and south boundaries equally.

The east boundary is the “Sierra Madre called Sandia” which translates the entire mountain.  The original boundaries contained 24,034 acres.  Today, the Pueblo’s acreage is 22,877 as land has been lost to encroachment and condemnation.  The Pueblo is now repurchasing its land and has 1,700 acres in farming and 1900 acres for grazing.  It also leases areas for sand and gravel mining operations and other businesses to more fully utilize land within the Pueblo’s historical boundaries.

Physical Area and Climate
“Mountain arid” characterizes the climate of Sandia and the surrounding vicinity. Community water is pumped from a 530 foot well and another is used for backup.  Water for irrigation of crops is stored at El Vado Lake and ultimately flows into the Rio Grande River where is it fed into irrigation ditches or “acequias” for use by farmers.

Business Enterprises
The 2200 acres of tribal land that stretch from the Rio Grande River to the  Sandia Mountain has a tremendous economic potential that tribal leaders are committed to use for the benefit of their community.  In addition to agriculture, the Pueblo has a diverse economy featuring four major enterprises;
Sand and Gravel mining leases provide royalties on the tonnage extracted
Gaming Enterprise tribal-owned is the largest revenue enterprise.

The 19 Pueblos of New Mexico are renowned for their unique and historic art forms, from the striking polychrome pottery of Acoma Pueblo to the mosaic inlay jewelry of Santo Domingo Pueblo. Learn more about the distinctive art forms and renowned artists from each Pueblo at Shumakolowa Native Arts.Shumakolowa Native Arts