Olla Bearers and Indian Detours: New Mexico Indians as Tourist Attractions

Postcard of Acoma Olla Bearer & Painter T. Moran
Acoma Olla Bearer & Painter T. Moran

On Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 2:00 pm, local historian and AHS Member Joe Sabatini will explore how promoters created romantic and stereotyped images of Native American communities “little changed since Coronado first viewed them” to draw tourists to New Mexico. Through books, postcards, pamphlets, maps, pageants, and brochures, entrepreneurs like Charles Lummis, the Santa Fe Railway, the Fred Harvey Company, Erna Fergusson, J.R. Willis, Ward Hicks, and the State Tourist Bureau successfully promoted a growing industry, with mixed consequences for the “colorful” natives.

The program will be held at the Albuquerque Museum in Old Town. Parking is free in the lot south of the Museum. Admission to the Museum and the AHS program is also free.

Photo of Joe Sabatini - Albuquerque Historical SocietyJoe Sabatini was born in the Bronx, but doesn’t admit to it because his family moved to Los Angeles following World War II. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Library Science from U.C.L.A in 1965. He came to New Mexico as a VISTA Volunteer working in Sandoval County. Following 5 years at the U.N.M. School of Law Library, he joined the Albuquerque Public Library in 1973 as Head of Reference. He served as Main Library Manager from 1980 to July of 2000, when he became the library manager at Special Collections, the regional history and genealogy branch. Following his retirement in December 2008, he volunteers in the Archives/Library of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and is active in the Near North Valley Neighborhood Association.

Old Indian Detours pamphlet