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City Honors Late Historian Tuesday

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center’s annual “Joe Sando Day” will have a little more meaning this year because of the renowned Pueblo historian’s recent death.

The center will celebrate Sando on Oct. 25, which is the city of Albuquerque’s official Joe Sando Day.

Sando, who died Sept. 13 at age 88, was known worldwide for chronicling Pueblo Indian life. Sando grew up on Jemez Pueblo, learned English while attending Santa Fe Indian School and eventually joined the Navy during World War II. He received a degree from Eastern New Mexico University. During his career, he taught Pueblo history at the University of New Mexico, and served on several boards, councils and commissions on American Indian issues.

If you go
What: Joe Sando Day
Where: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th Street NW, just north of Interstate 40.
When: Tuesday, Oct. 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free

But it was his literary achievements that earned him recognition and respect around the world.

Tazbah McCullah, spokeswoman for the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, said when Sando was alive, the center received calls all the time from historians and scholars around the world wanting to speak with him.

“They wanted him to authenticate their work,” she said. “He was the first one to put pen to paper and discuss Pueblo life.”

McCullah worked with Sando at the center for the past decade.

She described him as a funny man who had a generous spirit and never shied away from answering questions.

“He was always happy to sit and talk to anyone,” she said. “He was able to speak to every generation. They all understood him.”

The center started Joe Sando Day three years ago to honor the man, who came to the center at least once a week up until he died.

She said the center has not changed the format of this year’s celebration from previous years, but she expects more attendance.

“I think we will see more people because he has passed,” she said. “They will want to make sure his legacy is known.”

The festivities will start at 10 a.m. with showings of filmed interviews with Sando and tables displaying some of his work.

Guests can tell their personal stories about Sando on a writing wall. This will be followed by a buffet lunch from noon to 1 p.m.

The afternoon will be reserved for guest speakers, readings from Sando’s books and an open microphone.

Admission is free.