The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center opened its doors to the public on August 28, 1976. The idea for a cultural center originated with the people, Governors, and Tribal Councils of the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico. All 19 Pueblo communities saw the need for creating an institution that would help preserve our cultural inheritance and educate visitors from around the world about our living culture and way of life. Pueblo leaders envisioned a place to support Pueblo and Native American artists, as well as the cultural, social, educational, and economic needs of Pueblo communities.

The Center was built on land that was part of the Albuquerque Indian School, deeded to the 19 Pueblos by the US. Department of the Interior. The central building’s semi-circular shape was modeled after Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, one of the Pueblo peoples' great architectural achievements. Since 1976, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center has seen many expansions, and in 2016 unveiled its new permanent exhibit, We Are of This Place: The Pueblo Story.

Today, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center continues to be a leading artistic and cultural institution, a much-needed educational resource, and a gathering place for Pueblo people and all tribes of the Southwest.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Timeline

1881 – The U.S. Indian Bureau contracts with the Presbyterian Church to operate an Indian School in Los Duranes.

1882 – June 7 – 66 acres of land purchased with funds raised by Albuquerque businesses is deeded to the United States to operate an Industrial School for Pueblos and other Native peoples. School buildings are constructed and the school moves to the new campus in 1884.

1884 – October 3 – President Arthur declares the tract reserved and set apart for Indian purposes.

1886 – The U.S. Indian Bureau assumes full control of the school, which remains in operation until 1980.

1960s – Pueblo Indians request that a portion of the A.I.S. campus be deeded to them for economic development purposes, including the development and operation of a cultural center.

1960 – March 22 – Commissioner of Indian Affairs Glenn Emmons transfers 7 acres of the northwest corner of the Indian School campus to Bernalillo County. In subsequent transactions, Bernalillo County builds a County Extension Service office, the 4-H Club builds a center and rodeo arena, the City of Albuquerque builds the Menaul Extension to connect Menaul Blvd. to Indian School Road, and creates 4-H Park. This land includes the 113’ by 64’ parcel used as a cemetery by the Indian School.

1969 – June 17 – Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs Theodore W. Taylor signs a quitclaim deed conveying 11.6 acres of A.I.S. Property to the 19 pueblos of New Mexico as tenants in common. The site was deeded back to the United States to be held in trust jointly for the Pueblo Indians.

(Above is summarized from “Summary of the Development Agreement between the Indian Pueblos Federal Development Corporation and the City of Albuquerque, October, 1, 2003 and .)

1969 – A feasibility study included: 11.6 acres, previously used for the Albuquerque Indian School, to be held by the 19 New Mexico pueblos as tenants in common; to be a cultural show place; to include a museum, an information center, arts and crafts workshops and sales rooms, and an outdoor theatre for the presentation of dances;  to provide an opportunity for potential Indian leaders to acquire skill and experience; and to encourage tourists to visit the pueblos themselves, to increase arts and crafts sales, and to provide jobs.

1971 – The architects’ plan is made public.

1972 – Federal grant of $1.64 million.

1973 – Incorporation of IPCC.

1975 – March – Capital Fund Drive committee formed.

1975 – May – First meeting of the IPCC volunteers.

1975 – August 25 – Construction starts.

1976 – June 20 – Special pre-opening tour of the IPCC with dancers from Ohkay Owingeh.

1976 – August 28 – IPCC opens. The Center includes a plaza for outdoor events, a gallery hall, an auditorium, and the Indian Oven restaurant.

1976 – November – The Education Plan is completed, and the first docent orientation held.

1976 – Phase one of the Living Village concept is begun, with a federal grant.

1977 – Research center established – to plan and direct programming and research projects. It had the following goals: 1) regular adult education programming; 2) sponsorship of conferences and symposia; 3) development of a Research Library; 4) development of Pueblo archives; 5) development of a program of sponsored research; 6) development of a publications program.

1977 – June – The mural project begins; 39 Pueblo Indians invited to submit paintings for selection by the Murals Committee.

1978 – Mural painting begins in February.

1978 – The theatre murals are also painted.

1978 – March – The Lecture Series begins.

1978 – The restaurant called The Pueblo Kitchen.

1978 – 95th Congress passes a bill transferring the land for IPCC back to the pueblos.

1978 – June/August – The first of the University-level courses offered at the IPCC begins (credit given for UNM students), taught by Dr. Joe Sando, the first titled “Teaching of Pueblo Indian History.”

1978 – September – The Discover America Travel Organization visits the IPCC.

1979 – February 9 – 1st Governors’ Feast Day at the IPCC.

1979 – December – The Research Library is underway.

1979 – The Mural Project is completed.

1980 – A Commemorative Course on the Pueblo Revolt is offered at the IPCC, in conjunction with UNM, for the Tricentennial Celebration.

1980 – August – Work starts on the Children’s Museum.

1981 – The Shalako mural controversy, ending in the Zuni mural being painted over.

1981 – October – IPCC 5th anniversary celebrations.

1981 – The Youth Learning Project starts, under an NEH grant.

1981April 2 – Albuquerque Indian School is relocated to the IAIA campus in Santa Fe.

1981 – The pueblos petitioned the United States to transfer the remaining 44 acres of A.I.S. property on the east side of 12th Street to them.

1981December – Museum renovation is completed.

1982 – March – The Energy Conservation Project is completed.

1982 – The Youth Learning Project operates on its own.

1982 – IPCC becomes a division of the All Indian Pueblo Council, and the IPCC and Indian Pueblos Marketing, Inc. become separate entities.

1983 – The Research Center changes its name to Institute for Pueblo Indian Studies.

1984 – The theatre murals are removed and put into storage during remodeling.

1984 – July 5 – Ken Smith, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, signs a deed conveying the A.I.S. property to the 19 pueblos. The pueblos hold the property in fee simple as tenants in common. The pueblos then quitclaim deeded the property back to the United States and applied for trust status.

1985 – July – Expanded facilities include the museum exhibits being combined into one large exhibition on the lower level, the Pueblo Restaurant being enlarged, with double the space; the Pueblo Gallery being reopened with new exhibits; new extended hours, 9–9 daily.

1986 – An Associate of Applied Science degree is available for AIPC for Pueblo Indian students getting on-the-job training at the IPCC and Indian Pueblos Marketing, Inc.

1988 – The murals are restored and a new one added.

1990 – By this point, support has begun to wane for the children’s workshops, summer programs, and educational activities, leading to discussions (see 1991, and the Pueblo House renovation) about programming.

1990 – A long-range beautification project is begun.

1990 – March 3 – Residents of the neighborhoods around the A.I.S. campus form the Old Indian School Neighborhood Association. They protest a proposed tall office building and hotel, which are rejected by the City’s Environmental Planning Commission.

1991 – March – Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan, Jr. places the Albuquerque Indian School property in trust to the 19 pueblos. The AIPC creates the Indian Pueblos Federal Development Corporation to develop the 44-acre tract on the east side of 12th Street. With the land in trust, the City of Albuquerque zoning regulations no longer apply.

1991 – The Archives and Research Library opens Tuesdays 9–12 and Wednesdays 8–12.

1991 – Plans are made to convert the unused adobe Pueblo House into a hands-on Children’s Museum – the dedication is August 25.  The building needed extensive renovation, including meeting space, bathrooms, water fountains, and eating facilities.

1992 – The Pueblo Sweets Shop opens within the IPCC.

1992October/November – All remaining buildings on the A.I.S. campus are demolished and the trees removed. (One building on the south side of Indian School Road is being used as the United Pueblo Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and is not demolished.)

Among the possibilities considered for the land are a Disney theme park and a Pueblo bed and breakfast, to provide tourists with authentic Pueblo experiences (to include bread fresh-baked in horno ovens).

1993 – January 15 – Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan, Jr. places the A.I.S. Property in trust for the 19 pueblos. Secretary Lujan also approved a federal charter for the Indian Pueblo Federal Development Corporation (IPFDC).

1993 – Fall – A $2.5 million expansion is planned: this is to first phase include replacement and repairs to the sidewalks; expansion of the Sweet Shop; new porches to be installed; the restaurant to be remodeled.  The second phase of the expansion includes to take the Children’s Museum out of the Pueblo House, and install in its place the Pueblo Archives, the Institute for Pueblo Indian Studies, conference rooms, and the focus for a Pueblo Nature Walk.

1994 – The IPCC Gift Shop opened a Pueblo-style outlet at Winrock Mall.

1994 – The theater is made into the Silver and Turquoise rooms, and the theater murals are brought out of storage and rehung.

1995 – The Institute for Pueblo Indian Studies reports that it has: 1) regularly sponsored adult mini-courses and seminars; 2) held several symposia; 3) established a Research Library (noncirculating); 4) created Archives, folded into the Research Center, and including books, monographs, journals, magazines, newspapers, newspaper clippings, government documents, and microfilms.

1995 – Plans are made for a university credit television course on Pueblo History, taught by Joe Sando, in collaboration with the Albuquerque Technical and Vocational Institute.

1995 – IPCC working jointly with state and city school officials on Earth Shuttle, a science education program for at-risk students.

1995 – There were goldfish, water lilies, and irises in the pond in the north entrance to the Center.

1995 – November 18 – The City Public Art Program dedicates the Solar Arc sculpture in 4-H Park. Joe Sando speaks on behalf of IPCC. Sando’s remarks about the A.I.S. students buried in the former cemetery are noted on a commemorative plaque.

1996 – 20th Anniversary Celebration.

1996 – The Friends of IPCC nonprofit corporation is dissolved, though it continues as a committee.

1996November 15 – At a public meeting, the IPFDC and neighborhood representatives discuss current development plans for the A.I.S. site. The pueblos note plans for a hotel, two office buildings, stores, and a soccer field. The neighbors express fears about a casino, and ask that the IPFDC follow City zoning policies.

1997 – June 18 – The 19 pueblos and the IPFDC enter into a Perpetual Ground Lease of the A.I.S. Property, approved by the Secretary of the Interior.

1999 – Expansion – The Living Village, to be a reproduction of a Pueblo home, with realistic lifestyle display, meant for middle and high school students.

1999 – Certification of Recognition for IPCC from the National Congress of American Indians – one of Indian Country’s twenty “Effective Indian Economic Development Projects and Practices.”

2001 – November – A development agreement for the A.I.S. campus proposed by IPFDC and the City of Albuquerque.

2001 – 25th anniversary, the Silver Jubilee.

2002 – July – Groundbreaking for the B.I.A. office building on the A.I.S. campus.

2002 – September 24 – Grand Opening of the Indian Archives of the Pueblo Indian Studies Pueblo Archives and Research Library.

2002 – December 9 – The Albuquerque City Council approves a development agreement for the A.I.S. property.

2002 – December 11 – The City of Albuquerque signs development agreement with the IPFDC. Modifications to the development agreement are made in 2003 and 2004.

2002 – Winter – The restaurant, now named the Pueblo Harvest Café, is relocated under new management.

2003 – Spring – IPCC joins the Tribal Marketing Group.

2004 – April 27 – Pete V. Domenici Federal Office Building is opened to house the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

2004 – April 5 – Expansion completed. This is the new South Wing, with entrance rotunda, conference rooms, and galleries.

2004 – Discussion begins on relocating the Pueblo House and turning the area into a gas station.

2004 – September 21 – IPCC is represented at the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. – a delegation walked in the procession with an IPCC banner, toured the new museum, and participated in various activities.

2004 – October 27 – Groundbreaking for second federal office building on A.I.S. campus.

2005 – January 10 – Announcement that the new gas station will be on the southeast corner of the property, therefore not affecting the Pueblo House, and will be attached to a remodeled smoke shop.

2005 – April 15 and 16 – The Heard Museum, having worked with the IPCC for a year to create the program, helped to present a program that included speakers from each of the five Pueblo language groups, and covered many subjects; there were five monthly lectures at the Heard, and then two dozen senior docents from the Heard drove to Albuquerque for seven lectures given at the IPCC.

2005 – May 14 – Grand opening of the Holiday Inn Express on the A.I.S. campus.

2005 – Spring –  The City commissioned the Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, Inc. – the HOK Planning Group – and Hall Planning & Engineering, Inc. (HPE) to conduct a land use and transportation planning study. The City holds public meetings and workshops to gather input to design a traffic plan in anticipation of the full development of the A.I.S. campus and surrounding properties. The resulting study is called the HOK plan.

2005 – August 5 – City Council adopts the ordinance implementing the HOK Study. (FS O-05-98, Enactment O-2005-56;  “Zone Map Amendment And Site Development Plan For 19 Acres Located On Indian School Road NW Between Menaul and 12th Street; Amending Zone Map From R-1 To Su-1 For C-2 Zoning.”

2005 – Summer – New plans are made for a Pueblo House expansion, to include a meeting room, a bathroom, a small kitchen, a janitor’s closet, and a central plaza.

2005 – Fall – The Institute for Pueblo Indian Studies reports on the original goals it has or has not achieved: 1) the comprehensive education program has been ongoing; 2) the research library has been created; 3) the Pueblo Archives have been created; 4) the publication of an Annual Yearbook of Pueblo Indian Studies has not happened; 5) the creation of centralized archives of the pueblos has not happened; 6) there are not adequate facilities for visiting researchers and students.  They have, however, co-created two important publications; 1) in collaboration with the UNM School of Architecture and Community Planning, they held a symposium, and then published a volume, Pueblo Style and Regional Architecture (1989); 2) with the American West Center of the University of Utah, they published An Inventory of Documents Relating to Pueblo Water Rights, in 20 volumes (1970s – 1990s inclusive).

2005 – September – Grand opening of the travel center/convenience store.

2006 – April 27 – Manuel Lujan, Jr. Indian Affairs Building is opened on A.I.S. campus.

2006 – July – The Pueblo Harvest Café and Bakery opens, with expanded kitchen staff, seating in the courtyard, and an “express” menu; they have visits from the Food Network, and contemplate online sales.  New office space is also created near the gift shop, and the museum is given a new office.

2006 – Fall – 30th anniversary.

2006 – December – Groundbreaking for the new Pueblo House addition (the project had been held up due to a geotech and drainage study and plan).  Also, there is announcement of plans for the next three years – a museum upgrade; an east entrance modification; café expansion with outdoor seating and gas-fired hornos; new second-floor offices; heating and air conditioning repairs; roof repair; and a seasonal cover for the courtyard.

2007 – May – Joe Sando receives an honorary doctorate from UNM.

2007 – June – A series of events and programs – “Community Connections: Native Food and Wellness.”

2008 – August 22 – East Entrance renovation finished.

2008 – October 25 – Inaugural Dr. Joe Sando Day.

2009 – March 19 – The IPCC hosts New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and tribal leaders from all 22 Native nations in New Mexico; Richardson signed Senate Bill 196, the State Collaboration Act.

2010 – January 9 & 10 – Front-page articles in the Albuquerque Journal describe multi-million dollar overcharges by IPFDC and two developers in building the two federal office buildings on the A.I.S. campus.

2010 – July 13 – Pueblo governors transfer management of the IPFDC to Indian Pueblos Marketing, Inc., selecting Mike Canfield to replace Bruce Sanchez as manager.

2010 – The Gift Shop is moved to the east entrance, to the space previously occupied by the Pueblo Café, and renamed Shumakolowa Gifts.

2011 – May – A draft environmental assessment supports the 2007 recommendation of an Army Corps of Engineers evaluation that Building 232, the former B.I.A. Pueblos Agency, be demolished.

2011 – June – Historic preservationists led by UNM Professor Ted Jojola start a “This Place Matters” campaign to save and re-use Building 232.

2012 – Spring & Summer - The intersection of Indian School Road and Menaul Extension is converted to a roundabout.

2012 – August 31 – Ron Solimon announces his resignation as Executive Director of IPCC.

2012 – October 25–26 – the Joe Sando Symposium; IPCC, the School for Advanced Research, and the Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School host a Pueblo Indian Studies Symposium in honor of Joe Sando, at the IPCC.

2012 – Mike Canfield hired as president and CEO of the corporations that manage the IPCC and its surrounding businesses, to clean up the financial difficulties of the Indian Pueblo Federal Development Corporation.

2012 – December 12 – Groundbreaking ceremony for the renovation of Building 232 as a school building for the Native American Community Academy.

2013 – Winter – A second Po'pay statue by Clifford Fragua of Jemez Pueblo is on loan to the IPCC (the 1st is in the Reception Hall of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.).

2013 – The Native American Community Academy brought to the IPCC as a tenant, in the last of the original Albuquerque Indian School buildings. The opening ceremony is held on August 27, 2013.

2013 – March – An Albuquerque Indian School District political subdivision is formed, comprised of the 19 tribal governments.

2014 – June – McDonald’s opens restaurant at 12th & Indian School.

2014 – November – IPMI and Studio Southwest Architects prepare a draft revision of the Development Agreement and related City ordinances.

2015 – January – Santa Fe developer Tom Keesing, and Bruce Sanchez, former governor of Santa Ana Pueblo, plead guilty to federal charges of embezzling nearly $3.6 million from the Indian Pueblo Federal Development Corporation, when the former Albuquerque Indian School property was to be developed.

2015 – April – Plans for groundbreaking for a Starbucks on the east side of 12th Street are announced, along with plans for the 12th street corridor to become a thriving business and cultural corridor. Groundbreaking ceremony is held on July 21, 2015.

2015–16 – IPMI, Studio Southwest Architects and the 12th & Menaul Committee of the Near North Valley Neighborhood Association review and revise the proposed development agreement. They also work with the City’s Municipal Development Department and Parsons Brinckerhoff Engineering on the design of the “12th & Menaul Great Streets” improvement project.

2016 – April – Opening of the new permanent exhibit, “We are of this Place, the Pueblo Story.”

2016 – June 9 – The City’s Environmental Planning Commission recommends adoption with modifications of the IPMI Revised Development Agreement.

2016 – September – Councilor Isaac Benton introduces ordinance O-16-22, “Approving An Amended Site Development Plan For 47.11 Acres, More Or Less, Located On 12th Street NW Between Indian School Road NW And Menaul Blvd NW; Adopting Updated Development Design Standards For The Commercial And Office Tracts; Adopting Updated Development Design Guidelines; And Adopting Updated Authorized Uses For The Commercial And Office Tracts.”  The ordinance is heard by the Council’s Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee on September 14, and is adopted by the Council on September 19.

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