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Movie Tells Story of Laguna Pueblo’s Grab Day

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Billy Luther wanted to provide an intimate portrait of the little-documented “Grab Day” in the villages of Laguna Pueblo tribe. After following three families around for a year to gain perspective on this annual event, Luther was able to produce the hourlong film “Grab.”

It will be shown one final time in New Mexico at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

One of the families chronicled in the film is Del Carrillo’s family, who live in Seama in Laguna Pueblo. He says every July 26, the pueblo celebrates Saints Day or Feasts Day and “Grab Day.”

If you go
WHAT: “Grab,” a film by Billy Luther
WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th SW
HOW MUCH: $6 for adults, $4 for N.M. residents, $3 for students and children. Screening is free with paid admission to the center.

On “Grab Day,” food and gifts are thrown from the rooftops to a crowd below. Representing hope and blessings, this tradition stems from the core cultural values of generosity and giving, reciprocity, redistribution and respect.

“We buy food and daily items that can be used by anyone,” he says. “Usually if you catch something that you don’t want, just give it to someone else. It’s a real community event, and it’s about acceptance.”

Carrillo says the event is open to anybody, and it’s a laid-back social setting for those who attend. There are prayers for veterans, the elderly and the sick.

“This all started as a way to help the less fortunate,” he says. “It’s evolved to us climbing to the roofs of our house and throwing the goods down.”

Carrillo says he wanted to participate in the movie because, as a teacher, he wanted to let non-Native American students get a glimpse of the pueblo lifestyle.

“I thought it would be a great segue to introduce many of my students to the culture,” he says. “I asked my family if they would be open to it, and they agreed.”

Carrillo says Luther chose three very different families, and each one had a different tradition.

“It was important for him to show various angles,” he explains. “I think that it was very well done.”

Carrillo and his niece, Josie Seymour, will conduct a question-and-answer session after the screening. An accompanying photo exhibit will run at the cultural center until Nov. 6.
— This article appeared on page C02 of the Albuquerque Journal