Albert &
Josephine Vigil

San Ildefonso


Both Albert and Josephine Vigil were born in 1927. But Josephine was born Josephine Cordova. He was from San Ildefonso, she was from Taos. Contrary to pueblo tradition, when they married she moved to his home at San Ildefonso.

Albert was the son of Juanita Vigil, one of Maria Martinez' sisters. Maria and her sister Clara taught Albert and Josephine how to make pottery. But Maria encouraged them to make polychrome pottery, not the black-on-black pottery that she was famous for.

Albert and Josephine excelled at it, so much so that they earned multiple Blue Ribbons over a quarter century of participation in Santa Fe Indian Market. They started in 1976 and earned a 2nd Place ribbon for a red bowl. The next year they earned a Best of Division ribbon for a painted red on buff pot. That began a long string of ribbons earned at both Santa Fe and the Eight Northern Pueblos Arts & Crafts Show.

Josephine usually made the pots and Albert painted them. His father was Tse-Yu-Mu (Romando Vigil) of the San Ildefonso School of watercolor artists.

Josephine passed on in 2001, Albert in 2009.

Some of Albert's earliest paintings were included in the Away From Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories exhibit at the Heard Museum in the Spring of 2019.

100 West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
(505) 986-1234 - - All Rights Reserved


San Ildefonso Pueblo

Sacred Black Mesa
Black Mesa at San Ildefonso Pueblo

San Ildefonso Pueblo is located about twenty miles northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico, mostly on the eastern bank of the Rio Grande. Although their ancestry has been traced as far back as abandoned pueblos in the Mesa Verde area in southwestern Colorado, the most recent ancestral home of the people of San Ildefonso is in the area of Bandelier National Monument, the prehistoric villages of Tyuonyi, Otowi, Navawi and Tsankawi specifically. The area of Tsankawi abuts the reservation on its northwest side.

The San Ildefonso name was given to the village in 1617 when a mission church was established. Before then the village was called Powhoge, "where the water cuts through" (in Tewa). Today's pueblo was established as long ago as the 1300s and when the Spanish arrived in 1540 they estimated the village population at about 2,000.

That village mission was destroyed during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and when Don Diego de Vargas returned to reclaim the San Ildefonso area in 1694, he found virtually the entire tribe on top of nearby Black Mesa. After an extended siege the two sides negotiated a treaty and the people returned to their village. However, the next 250 years were not good for them. Finally, the Spanish swine flu pandemic of 1918 reduced the tribe's population to about 90. The tribe's population has increased to more than 600 today but the only economic activity available for most on the pueblo involves the creation of art in one form or another. The only other jobs are off-pueblo. San Ildefonso's population is small compared to neighboring Santa Clara Pueblo, but the pueblo maintains its own religious traditions and ceremonial feast days.

San Ildefonso has produced fine ceramic art since early pre-Columbian times. The pueblo is most known for being the home of the most famous Pueblo Indian potter, Maria Martinez. Many other excellent potters have produced quality pottery from this pueblo, too, among them: Blue Corn, Tonita and Juan Roybal, Dora Tse Pe and Rose Gonzales. Of course the descendants of Maria Martinez are still important pillars of San Ildefonso's pottery tradition. Maria's influence reached far and wide, so far and wide that even Juan Quezada, founder of the Mata Ortiz pottery renaissance in Chihuahua, Mexico, came to San Ildefonso to learn from her.

San Ildefonso Pueblo location map

For more info:
at Wikipedia
official website
Pueblos of the Rio Grande, by Daniel Gibson
Photo is in the public domain

100 West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
(505) 986-1234 - - All Rights Reserved