Zuni Pueblo Makes Main Street History

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On July 5th, New Mexico MainStreet and the National Trust for Historic Preservation dedicated the Zuni Pueblo as the first Native American Main Street community in the nation.

“As one of the New Mexico Economic Development Department’s Centennial Projects, we believe the [Main Street designation of the Zuni Pueblo] ties in greatly with preserving and protecting New Mexico’s distinct culture and heritage,” said Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela. “This designation will further promote Zuni as a unique tourist and commerce destination."

“The pueblo is honored to be designated an official New Mexico MainStreet site,” said Pueblo of Zuni Governor Arlen Quetawki, Sr., during the proclamation signing ceremony. “We are excited that the eyes of many state and national organizations and communities will be upon us.”

The Zuni Pueblo believes that Main Street’s grassroots economic development matches the community’s needs, which are based on small, individual cottage arts production.

National Trust for Historic Preservation President Stephanie Meeks was excited to add the Zuni Pueblo to the more than 1,200 Main Street communities across the nation. “As our first Pueblo community, and the largest of the 19 pueblos of New Mexico, we are honored that the Zuni Nation has allowed us to join them in their efforts to preserve their history and rich cultural legacy,” said Meeks.

Norma Ramirez de Miess, senior program officer for the National Trust Main Street Center attended the ceremony along with New Mexico MainStreet Director and State Arts and Cultural District Coordinator Rich Williams. “It was an honor to visit the Zuni Pueblo and participate in their designation ceremony as the first Native American Main Street Community,” said Ramirez de Miess. “We look forward to continuing to work with New Mexico MainStreet and the Zuni Nation to support their community-driven efforts to preserve their unique and valuable identity and to develop collaborations that will add resources to enhance the economic opportunities and overall quality of life of the Zuni People.”

New Mexico MainStreet (NMMS) services 23 MainStreet projects and six state-authorized arts and cultural districts. A program of the New Mexico Economic Development Department, NMMS has adopted the National Trust Main Street Center’s Four-Point Approach to help affiliated downtown organizations create an economically viable business environment while preserving local cultural and historic resources.

“Maintaining the integrity of the Four Point Approach while adapting the work of MainStreet to a new cultural community has been both a learning experience and an opportunity for New Mexico MainStreet to grow in innovation and capacity,” said Williams. “We look forward to working with our new partners and the collaborations ahead that are respectful of, and appropriate to, the traditions and beliefs of the Zuni people in order to enhance their work and lives.”

The Zuni MainStreet Project is being driven by a nine-member steering committee made up of business and community leaders, artists, and residents.

“We have our work cut out for us, but Zuni is known for often taking the lead,” said Governor Quetawki. “I welcome everyone to come see how Zuni will realize its very own MainStreet.