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Pablo Abeita

1870 Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico - 1940 Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico

A native of Isleta Pueblo, south of Albuquerque, Pablo Abeita was unique among his peers in territorial New Mexico; he received ten years of formal education, first at the Jesuit School in Old Albuquerque, and then at St. Michael’s College in Santa Fe, NM. For several years, he worked as a typesetter for both the Albuquerque Journal and Tribune.

Beginning in 1905 he operated the family general store in Isleta. He served for many years as governor and tribal council member, as well as tribal judge. He also served on the All Pueblo Council. Historian Joe Sando writes, "Abeita was an able spokesman for the Pueblo people and an avid writer to the newspapers, presenting his views on problems of the day."

In 1909, according to one report, Abeita, then lieutenant governor of Isleta, and President Theodore Roosevelt struck up a friendship close enough that the two of them slipped out of a meeting at the Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque and rode a buckboard to Isleta Pueblo where they had lunch. In 1927, Governor Abeita entered a contest to name a new theater in downtown Albuquerque.

His entry won and the theater became the KiMo, which means "king of its kind." He may be best remembered for a speech he made on the occasion of the Coronado Quatrocentennial on May 29, 1940, at what would become Coronado State Monument. He said to an audience that included the governor, a United States Senator and the Spanish Ambassador to the United States, "I am afraid I will have to contradict some of the things you gentlemen have said. Coronado came by Isleta… was given food and royally received. He came up the valley, and what did he do? Well, we had better say no more about it, for his record isn't good and you know it."

Abeita also used the occasion to say that about 90% of white man's history was wrong. He died seven months later, and was buried in the Isleta Pueblo cemetery.