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Preserving the Culture of the Pueblo People of New Mexico

Where does one begin in preserving the history, artifacts, narratives, and stories of a people?

This is what librarians and museum curators from New Mexico tribal communities learned when they participated in library workshops through the Archival Professional Development Training for Tribal Communities last June.

With grant money awarded by the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (IPCC) in Albuquerque arranged preservation workshops with the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah. Workshops were conducted by Randy Silverman, Head of Preservation at the Marriott Library, and Eileen Hallet Stone, public historian and author who has published oral histories widely. Organized by Jonna Paden, Librarian and Archivist at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Library & Archive, the workshops ranged from topics of “Introducing Preservation and the History of Paper” to “The Art of Oral History Interviewing.”

Eileen Hallet Stone and Randy Silverman conducting a virtual workshop.

“The objective of this partnership was simple,” Randy Silverman explains. “It was to assist in training staff in the preservation of rare, treasured cultural materials, as well as provide the foundation for capturing the stories of the people of the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico.”

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Library is the only special collections research library targeted toward the lives, histories, traditions, and culture of the Pueblo people and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo located in El Paso, Texas. The Archive documents and preserves the history and lives of the Pueblos and the IPCC. The vision of the Library and Archive is to promote Pueblo identity, while ensuring a place for Pueblo people in the national historical narrative.

“The intent of the workshops was to provide professional training to introduce attendees to various preservation processes and provide examples of essential archival tools, supplies, and environmental conditions,” comments Jonna Paden. “In a post-workshop evaluation, one attendee wrote, ‘I am soaking up all I can learn.’ A common statement on evaluations was that the information provided was useful.”

Catch the Recorded Workshops

Jonna Paden, Librarian and Archivist at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Library & Archive
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