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Pueblo of Pojoaque member honored with roadside marker

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PUEBLO OF POJOAQUE, N.M. – On Friday, June 11 at 11 a.m. at the Pueblo of Pojoaque O’ Eating House, the New Mexico Historic Women Marker Initiative will unveil the Official Scenic Historic Marker honoring Feliciana Viarrial, a matriarch of the modern Pueblo of Pojoaque. Members of the Feliciana Viarrial family, her friends and members of the community are invited to the ceremonies. The marker is located on U.S. Highway 84/285 near mile post 179.5, in front of the O’ Eating House.

The marker honors Feliciana Viarrial as a founder of the modern Pueblo of Pojoaque. Pojoaque or Posuwageh, “water drinking place,” is a Tewa village founded circa A.D. 900. By 1913, the Pojoaque homelands were severely diminished due to encroachment. Most members left for the neighboring Pueblos and Colorado. The families, including Feliciana’s, returned after 1932 when the federal government restored their homelands. Mother of 11, including long-time Gov. Jacob Viarrial, Feliciana was a matriarch of the community as it revitalized its culture.

The ceremony will include an unveiling and ribbon cutting of the marker with a blessing by a community leader of the Pueblo of Pojoaque. A reception will follow at the O’ Eating House. The Pueblo of Pojoaque Dancers will perform. Family and friends will share stories about Feliciana Viarrial.

Special guests from the Pueblo of Pojoaque, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Indian Affairs, County Commissioners and members of the New Mexico Women’s Forum will also be on hand.

The marker is one of 64 honoring the contributions of New Mexico’s women and is sponsored by the New Mexico Historic Women Marker Initiative, a project of the New Mexico Women’s Forum. The Initiative received funding from Gov. Bill Richardson and the 2006 New Mexico Legislature to work with New Mexico communities to develop nominations of historically significant women for placement on new roadside markers. Prior to the initiative, none of the state’s more than 620 Official Scenic Historic Markers directly honored women and their contributions to state history.