Joe Sando’s destiny as an historian and writer came to him early in life. He was born in 1923 at Jemez Pueblo northwest of Albuquerque where he learned Spanish after his native language of Towa. Sando began his education at the San Diego Mission School on the pueblo. He had a remarkable aptitude for learning. His early life led to a distinguished literary, academic and administrative career. Preserving the Native way of life became his passion. He pursued an education at the Santa Fe Indian School, Eastern New Mexico University and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. In the 1960s Sando returned to New Mexico to teach and write.
Sando wrote several non-fiction books. Their titles reveal his commitment to his heritage. Included are: Pueblo Profiles: Cultural Identities Through Centuries of Change; Popé: Leader of the First American Revolution, August 10, 1680; Nee Hemish, a History of Jémez Pueblo; Pueblo People: Ancient Traditions, Modern Lives; The Pueblo Indians; and Pueblo Nations: Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History, among others. His books have drawn high praise from several quarters. “The first insider’s story of the 800-year history of the 19 pueblos in New Mexico—an excellent book,” said The New York Times of one.
American History & Culture
The American Historical Review stated: “An important and rare book. Clearly written and fairly presented, a first-hand synthesis of American Indian history and culture.” And one reviewer summed up: “This book is absolutely unique, the most intimate look at 20th-century Pueblo Indian life in New Mexico. A pioneering achievement.”
A Path to Education
Sando taught Pueblo history at the University of New Mexico. He also served as director of archives at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque for many years. In 1992 he became part of a contingency of professionals, educators and scholars invited to speak in Spain in commemoration of 500 years of European history in the New World.