Kaila Cogdill

Publication Date



This dissertation investigates how the Pueblo of Pojoaque went from near desertion to a community that in contemporary times (and with the assistance of nearby Tewa communities) has worked to retain its culture and art, in an important example of cultural revitalization. Pojoaque Pueblos Poeh Cultural Center and Museum provides a unique perspective on cultural revitalization in the 21st century. The Poeh Center has been used by Pojoaque Pueblo to strengthen its identity and its economic and social status in the area, and as a result is considered one of the most progressive Pueblos in the Southwest. I address the role the Poeh Cultural Center and Museum plays within the Pueblo of Pojoaque's attempt to recover and strengthen its identity as an indigenous or Indian Pueblo through a contemporary lens. As part of that effort, I examine 'Pueblo' culture as opposed to 'Hispano' culture in order to define 'Pojoaque Pueblo' culture and identity in contemporary times. Through participant observation, semi-structured and unstructured interviews, archival research, and visitor questionnaires, I explore and identify how exhibits, programs, and art classes contribute to the revival of the Pueblo of Pojoaque's culture and traditions. Furthermore, I look at how the Poeh Cultural Center and Museum is used and viewed by community members, tourists, museum staff, art students, and local artists. For comparative purposes I also examine regional and national museums in the United States and Mexico, including two tribal museums located within the state of New Mexico, Acoma and Zuni. I compare these two last museums to Pojoaque's cultural center and museum as well as to non-tribal museums in terms of heritage, tourism, and representation. The basic contribution of this research is to show how an indigenous identity, (more specifically a Tewa Pueblo identity) is expressed in a tribal museum in contemporary times. This research also serves as an example of a federally recognized Native American tribe that is taking advantage of technological advances to be seen as a progressive Pueblo by tribal members, other Pueblos, and outside visitors.'


Poeh Cultural Center and Museum

Document Type




Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Anthropology

First Advisor

Singer, Beverly

First Committee Member (Chair)

Field, Les

Second Committee Member

Phillips, David Jr

Third Committee Member

Watkins, Joe

Included in

Anthropology Commons