Poeh Cultural Center’s Art Festival Celebrates an Indigenous Future
PUEBLO OF POJOAQUE, NM – Only a century ago, people thought Native Americans were vanishing, and that notion has changed as the Poeh Cultural Center (Poeh) is declaring the “Future is Indigenous” at its second annual Pathways Indigenous Arts Festival (Pathways). The event, sponsored by the Poeh Cultural Center at Posuwaegeh (Pueblo of Pojoaque), will be held at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino on August 19, 20, & 21, 2022. Pathways organizers are pleased that the Festival will be hosted on Indigenous land as an Indigenous-led event.
Launched in 2021, Pathways was established to provide economic opportunities to local and regional Indigenous economies impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Tourism is a great source of revenue for individual Indigenous artists and tribal institutions like the Poeh. Like many tribal communities, the Poeh had to close its doors to the public for nearly two years. Several grants awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services enabled Poeh to reach out to the community through projects like Pathways that promote Native American entrepreneurs.
“We’ve been actively promoting ways we can assist Indigenous artists and entrepreneurs since the beginning of our traditional arts program at the Poeh, and the need became even more pressing due to the economic slowdown in the wake of COVID,” said Karl Duncan, Executive Director of the Poeh Cultural Center.
Despite the slowdown, the Poeh staff continued to plan ways to train and promote Native creatives through entrepreneurial training, online sales, and traditional arts classes. As the Poeh reopened its doors to the public in the Spring of 2022, it already had solidified plans for the upcoming Festival.
“We engaged artists and the community to find projects to regain momentum. Our first festival seemed like a great way to celebrate their efforts while consciously creating the potential for the future,” said Macario Gutierrez, one of the festival planners. “We featured artists, demonstrations, performers, fashion design, and panel discussions funded by the National Museum of the American Indian and Indigenous short film screenings by Sundance Film Festival.”
The festival has grown in size and popularity. Pathways will showcase more than 350 Indigenous artists and dozens of musical performances, including an event in collaboration with Native Guitars Tour. Other events include film and panel discussions, a Tewa-centered fashion show, a variety of food vendors, and activities for kids.
Pathways’ success can be attributed to an array of arts, culture, and economic entities like the National Museum of the American Indian, First Nations Development Institute, Sundance Institute, the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe Arts & Culture Department, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the United States Department of Agriculture.
“We are asserting our role in creating a future for Native American art defined by Native creatives, as well as artistic and Indigenous entrepreneurism,” said Duncan. “We’ve been using ‘The Future is Indigenous’ as our mantra. The festival is only one of several projects we have initiated to provide or promote venues for Native creatives to succeed.”
Face masks are optional but are highly encouraged for guests. Festival highlights will be shared on Poeh’s Instagram page: @poehculturalcenter
“More than a market, we want to emphasize our sense of indigenous community, locally, regionally, and even nationally,” Duncan said. “We want to claim a new space beyond the commonly known downtown Santa Fe spaces and bring indigenous community talent to a new generation.”
For more information on Pathways Indigenous Arts Festival and tickets for the Native Guitars Tour, please visit: https://poehcenter.org/pathways/ . The Poeh Cultural Center can also be reached at 505-455-5041.
ABOUT THE POEH
Founded in 1988, the Pueblo of Pojoaque established the Poeh Cultural Center as the first permanent tribally owned and operated mechanism for cultural preservation and revitalization within the Pueblo communities of the northern Rio Grande Valley. The Poeh has since become a resource for Pueblo people to learn the arts and culture of their ancestors. The facility resembles a traditional Pueblo village with its adjacent art studio buildings and outdoor gathering areas. The Center emphasizes the arts and cultures of all Pueblo People, focusing on the Tewa-speaking Pueblos of Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Ohkay Owingeh, Santa Clara, Tesuque, and Nambé.
SOURCE The Poeh Cultural Center