Albert Alvidrez

Ysleta del Sur Pueblo

Curator Albert Alvidrez is a former Governor of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and a tribal potter, artist, historian, pottery collector, mentor, leader, and community activist.


Tribal Affiliations:

Artwork Affiliations:

Albert chose the following for the Grounded in Clay exhibit:


Juana Ortega Munoz | Ysleta del Sur Bowl
c. 1880–1920
Clay and paint
7 x 16½ in. (17.8 x 41.9 cm)
Collection School for Advanced Research


Pottery is an unspoken voice that tells of the maker, of tenacity, of ceremony, and of the prayers of the family to which it belongs. Molded and shaped by a pair of graceful hands, you were given life. We do not know your journey, so we can only speculate about the stops and visits made along the way. Perhaps you were given life for ceremonial use or to sit on the feast table among family, guests, or royalty. Perhaps you were traded for necessities and traveled many miles to an unknown land, where you sat quietly on a shelf and listened to voices discussing the world. Whatever journey or path lay before you, the Creator protected you and allowed you to represent the people who gave you life, those who mixed your clay and water and shaped you with a purpose.

The people who gave you life took grains of Mother Earth and embedded prayers, thoughts, and traditions as the clay was prepared. You were skillfully shaped and planned for the road that followed. The prayers of Juana Ortega Munoz were strong and resilient; a piece of her became a part of you. You were given breath, set to fire, and became a beautiful symbol, a representation, a being ready to fulfill your destiny.

Your story is not visible to the naked eye but speaks from the inner soul and connects to the traditional way of life. It stems from a common heartbeat, drumbeat, chant, voice, dance, ceremony, and custom that make us a Pueblo family. We were victims of war,¹ separated by necessity, not desire. Our families talk about and remember this separation. This was a difficult time in our collective past. You were given life in our traditional place—a place we call home, filled with teachings and customs that only we know and enjoy. In the distance we can hear our fellow Pueblo family members, connected by common beliefs, landscape, and the majestic Rio Grande.

Today you join your Pueblo siblings and chatter about one another’s journey, comparing the places and voices you encountered along the way, and reminding those who see and enjoy your beauty of the roads you traveled. You continue to serve as a voice for the people who made you. As you enjoy this breath of fresh air and listen to those who speak of you, you remain a physical reminder of the importance of balance, origin, and place.

Your legacy continues, and the journey of your people is told using different hands in a different setting but with a continued belief in practice and prayer. Of the earth we are all made and will continue living. Your natural beauty perseveres and speaks to those who pay attention and study your surface, research your origins, and speculate about the journeys you alone have experienced. Your presence is deeply respected, and your story is heard. You are one, but speak for thousands of ancestors who lent strength during the journey.

¹ The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 was a difficult period in Pueblo history. It was a revolt of resistance and cultural preservation, one that left a transformative mark in our history. The revolt was necessary because our way of life had become disrupted and threatened.