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City of Albuquerque Seeking Stories, Historical Artifacts from Descendants of Albuquerque Indian School

Community conversations about future of 4-H Park scheduled January 11-14, 2022

January 5, 2022

The City of Albuquerque will hold four community conversations with people who have a connection with the old Albuquerque Indian School, as part of an effort to gather a more complete history to inform the future of the burial site at 4-H Park. The City invites the public to share stories about family members, neighbors, teachers, staff and loved ones who were part of the Albuquerque Indian School.

Since June 2021, the City has been seeking input and guidance from Pueblos, tribes and community stakeholders on how to treat the burial site as a sacred space within a City park, following the disappearance of a plaque that marked the spot where students are thought to be buried.

“As we move through the process of discovering stories about the Indian School and what took place there, we must take the time to ask our ancestors for strength and healing for those who didn’t return home,” said Terry Sloan, Intergovernmental Tribal Liaison for the City of Albuquerque. “The most sensitive areas of the park have been demarcated and closed to public access and we ask the community to be respectful of that space as it is a sacred site.”

On December 2nd, 2021 the City of Albuquerque consulted with leaders and representatives of Pueblos and Tribal Nations to solidify next steps in determining the future of the burial site at 4-H Park associated with the former Albuquerque Indian School. Representatives included Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Cochiti Pueblo Governor Joseph Herrera, Ute Mountain Ute Chairman Manuel Heart, delegates from the Ute Tribe and Laguna Pueblo, Garret Briggs from the Southern Ute Tribe, Quentin Candelaria from the All-Pueblo Council of Governors as well as City Councilor Isaac Benton, in whose district the park is located.

In response to requests from stakeholders, the City conducted non-invasive archeological investigations at the site using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) on December 17th. The results from the survey will be shared first with Pueblos and Tribal Nations and then the City will share the results with the general public.

“A high priority for tribes and Pueblos, and the general public, is learning more about the site,” said David Simon, Director of the City Parks and Recreation Department. “As we conduct additional research in step with Native American stakeholders, we also want to continue to learn about its history from those who were affected by it, and continue working together to forge the future of this sacred space.”

Since the December meeting, a workgroup consisting of City staff, Tribal Government representatives, and native stakeholders have continued to press forward in the planning and continued search for historical information at the local, state, federal, and tribal levels. The community conversations are the first step towards discovering additional information about those who attended the Albuquerque Indian School, individuals who participated in research studies or any additional community members who may have information to share regarding the untold truths about the school.

Untold Truths: Community Conversations About the Impacts of the Albuquerque Indian School:

  • Tuesday, January 11, 2022 from 4:30-6:30pm at Los Duranes Community Center
  • Wednesday, January 12, 2022 from 4:30-6:30pm, virtual
  • Thursday, January 13, 2022 from 1:30-3:30pm, virtual
  • Friday, January 14, 2022 from 9:30-11:30am, virtual

Registration is required. Please click here to register. Login information will be sent to those who register. COVID-safe practices will be in place for the in-person meeting. Members of the public who would like to provide input but are unable to attend a session can email the City of Albuquerque’s Office of Equity and Inclusion at [email protected].

All available information including notes from the first meeting and a detailed action plan can be accessed at cabq.gov/4hpark.

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4H Park is public access land located in the northwest sector in the City of Albuquerque. In the late 1800’s, the site was home to the former Albuquerque Indian School and included a cemetery that was once maintained by the institution. The cemetery and its surrounding area is now known as 4H park and is owned and maintained by the City of Albuquerque.