The Pueblo of Jemez has a long history, and its people have overcome many challenges to preserve their culture over hundreds of years, challenges which continue to this day. Traditionally pronounce ‘He-mish’, the Pueblo of Jemez traces its roots back to the late 13th century when ancestors migrated to the Canon de Sand Diego region. By the time of European contact in 1541, the Jemez Nation was one of the largest and most powerful of the puebloan cultures. However, from an estimated population of 30,000, the Jemez people were soon decimated by warfare and diseases introduced by the Europeans. The Towa-speaking people of the Pueblo of Pecos resettled with the people of the Jemez in 1838, bringing diversity to the Pueblo. The two cultures were legally merged by an act of congress in 1936, the Pecos culture still survives to this day at Jemez. The Jemez people are internationally known for arts and crafts. Pottery such as bowls, seed pots, wedding vases and more are in collections worldwide. In addition, Jemez artisans also create beautiful basketry, embroidery, woven cloths and jewelry. Presently, the Pueblo also welcomes the public to certain events and festivals.
The Pueblo of Jemez is a sovereign nation located approximately 55 miles northwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico. As one of 19 New Mexico pueblos, it is a federally recognized tribe with approximately 3,400 Tribal members, with about 58% of that number living in Jemez. Due to the Tribe’s remote location, the Jemez people are faced with appreciable economic and social challenges. There is no public transportation available, and a survey taken in the fall of 2000 found 45% of adults in Jemez did not own a vehicle. At that time, the unemployment rate was 49.2%. The major employer is the Pueblo itself, employing over 200 people. Aside from the Tribal offices and departments, the Pueblo of Jemez also operates a small convenience store. According to 2000 U.S. Census statistics, the median household income in Jemez Pueblo was $28, 889, or $5,244 below the New Mexico median. In addition, Pueblo per-capita income was only $8,045, far below the state level of $17,261. About 27% of all families in the Pueblo of Jemez live below the poverty level. The 2000 U.S. Census also indicated that at least one of every two children under the age of five lived in poverty.
The education levels of Jemez Pueblo are also poor, with only 34.8% of all persons having graduated from high school, according to the census data. Only 23.9% of the people have some post-high school training or education without obtaining a degree; 5.7% have a bachelor’s degree; and less than 2% have a graduate or professional degree.
Jemez Pueblo has a potential labor force of 1.348 individuals over the age of sixteen, according to the same 2000 U.S. Census. However, only 50.8% were in the labor force, and of those who do work, many must commute to Albuquerque (55 miles) or to Santa Fe (75 miles). The reasons for the high levels of unemployment are endemic to the Pueblo’s economic situation, and include: the lack of employable skills; the lack of a high school or GED certificate; the lack of child care; the lack of transportation; and the presence of disabilities such as substance abuse. Many community members have simply given up looking for work because of these barriers. Due to the fact that these individuals are not in the labor force, the actual level of unemployment is estimated to be as high as 66%.
The Pueblo of Jemez is a proud community, cherishing independence and their culture. However, modern economics have diminished the quality of life at Jemez, and Tribal leaders are seeking ways to provide a better lifestyle for its members. By taking advantage of economic opportunities long utilized by other New Mexico tribes, the Pueblo of Jemez hopes to change the lives of the Jemez people for the better.
CIRCLE P - Building Your Community’s Future
Gerald Peters, The Peters Corporation
Businessman Gerald Peters has created a culture of success in his enterprises. His reputation is that of one who can develop dreams into profitable ventures. From modest beginnings, he built his art business, and then spread out into other business ventures, including real estate, banking, and restaurants. His attention to detail and his success in completing large economic development projects has set him apart from others and has resulted in ventures that serve as a positive catalyst for further growth in the community.
Mr. Peters is a controlling shareholder of Century Bank which has more than $350 million in assets. It is a well-capitalized, highly profitable full service commercial and financial services institution.
He is also a controlling shareholder of Santa Fe Properties, a real estate firm with more than 125 agents and $400 million a year in sales.
Mr. Peters’ real estate development credits include 400,000 square foot of commercial, office and of retail space, including Plaza Mercado, a complex of 45 galleries, shops and restaurants in the heart of Santa Fe. He is also involved in a recently opened classic European design, a 33,000-square-foot arcade and shopping mall with three levels of glass store fronts stretching to a skylit ceiling on the world-famous Santa Fe Plaza.
Mr. Peters also preserved and turned the Sena Plaza, a “Territorial” style structure originally built in the 1830s into a successful commercial space. The courtyard is lined with art galleries, shops and offices. Mr. Peters is a historic preservationist who has successfully restored four structures on the National Historic Register including the Bandelier House.
He is developing Suerte del Sur, a residential real estate housing development adjacent to Las Campanas in Santa Fe, and he has been involved in ranching.
Mr. Peters employs more than 800 employees and is the largest private employer in Santa Fe.
He has been involved in the art business for more than thirty years as a dealer, collector, appraiser, and consultant. He is known as one of the foremost and knowledgeable authorities on American 19th and early 20th Century works, on the art of the American West, the Taos Society, and Santa Fe Art Colony; on the work of Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, Albert Bierstadt, and Georgia O’Keeffe; and on American Modernism. Mr. Peters has galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Dallas, Texas and New York City.
The current Santa Fe gallery, which opened in August 1998, is a museum-quality 44,000- square-foot pueblo style building, with 8,500 square feet of exhibition space, a bookstore, a full-scale photography studio and a library.
Beyond his many successful business ventures, Mr. Peters is one of New Mexico’s foremost civic leaders. He is the co-chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education and sits on the Board of Directors of Century Bank. He was a member of the Federal Reserve Small Business Advisory Board, the New Mexico State Board of Finance, the Bank of Santa Fe Board of Directors, the Millicent Rogers Museum Board of Directors, the Colby College Museum of Art Board of Directors, the Independent Association of Colleges Board as a representative of St. John’s College, the Wheelwright Museum Board of Directors, the St. John’s College Board of Directors and the Santa Fe Prep Board of Directors. He is also a founding member and board member of Rancho del Oso Pardo, a land preservation project located at the headwaters of the Chama River. Furthermore, Mr. Peters has received honorable awards from St. John’s College and the Salvation Army.
With his wife, Katie, a Santa Fe native, he founded the Santa Fe Art Foundation in 1981 to contribute to the community in which they live and to the art community in which they work.