Native Communities » Indian Advisory Panel

Indian Advisory Panel

The IAP was created in the early 1980s when a small group of tribal members was brought together for a series of brainstorming sessions prior to the construction of the MIAC/Lab. They were followed by another group of advisors for the “Here, Now and Always” exhibit. The present-day IAP was formed during the mid-1990s.

Collectively and individually, the IAP provides technical and cultural advice, guidance and recommendations to the staff of the MIAC/Lab. This ensures that representatives of Southwest Indian communities approve of both the objects and the factual and philosophical approaches and interpretations of various exhibitions, outreach and public programs. Full consideration is given to the recommendations of the IAP whenever subject, object, or other matters are deemed potentially sensitive or offensive to the tribal groups they represent.

The IAP meets several times a year to review and discuss issues related to collections, exhibition plans, and public educational programs for appropriateness and sensitivity to Native American cultures and communities.


Angelo Joaquin, Jr.Angelo Joaquin, Jr. 

Angelo Joaquin Jr. is a Coyote Clan member of the Tohono O’odham Nation. He has served as the acting director  of his tribe’s Water Resources Department and as the executive director of Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tucson. He is the director of The Waila Festival which celebrates O’odham social dance music. Angelo presented his father’s waila band, The Joaquin Brothers, at venues such as the World of Music, Art, and Dance festival in Toronto, Ontario and New York City’s Carnegie Hall. His work with museums includes the Arizona Historical Society, Arizona State Museum, Library of Congress, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the new Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.

Wells P. Mahkee, Jr., IAP Vice Chair

Wells P. Mahkee Jr. is from Zuni Pueblo and is a member of the Yadokkya:kwe (Sun Clan) and child of the Donashi:kwe (Badger Clan). He is a proud alumnus of New Mexico Highlands University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He is currently the executive director/manager of the Zuni Pueblo MainStreet Program, the first Native American MainStreet in the nation. His previous employment includes being a former managing editor of the Navajo-Hopi Observer, a regional newspaper located in Flagstaff, Arizona. He has also worked with the Zuni Public School District, Zuni Cultural Resource Enterprise (ZCRE), UNM-Gallup Zuni Campus, and the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center (AAMHC). Wells is a fluent reader, writer and speaker of the Shiwi (Zuni) language and created the Shiwi'ma A:beye:na:kwe' Wokkwinne (Zuni Language Speakers Group) page on Facebook. He presently assists his family in taking care of a small sheep ranch and partaking in a few hobbies.

Melvin SarracinoMel Sarracino

Melvin Sarracino hails from Laguna Pueblo.  He attended the Institute of American Indian Arts and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Museum Studies in May of 2009.  Hired by the Acoma Business Enterprises as a Museum Specialist at the Sky City Cultural Center & Haak’u Museum at Acoma Pueblo, his responsibilities include exhibit development, installations and de-installations, community outreach with guided exhibit tours, fundraising, archives management, and using best-practices for collections care. As part of his professional development, Mel accepted a 2012/2013 nine-month Anne Ray Internship with the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe. He is also a member of the Cibola County Historical Society.

Christine Sims, Ph.D., IAP Chair

Dr. Christine P. Sims of Acoma Pueblo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. She completed her doctoral work at the University of California at Berkeley, focusing on issues of heritage language maintenance and revitalization among Native American tribes. She specializes in indigenous language revitalization and maintenance issues, providing technical assistance to tribes in Native language program planning, training language teachers through the UNM College of Education’s American Indian Language Policy Research and Teacher Training Center. She has also served as a consultant to many different Native language programs on language preservation issues. Christine is a member of Acoma Pueblo and resides with her family on the Acoma Pueblo Indian reservation in northwestern New Mexico.

Other IAP members with photos and biographies forthcoming:

Edwina L. (Eddy) Abeita - Isleta Pueblo                                                                    

Chris Chavez - Santo Domingo Pueblo

John Garcia - Santa Clara Pueblo

Lee Wayne Lomayestewa - Hopi Tribe

Lenora Tsosie - Diné Nation

Malcolm Yepa - Jemez Pueblo

Ulysses Reid - Zia Pueblo