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Albuquerque Indian Center Fights To Stay Open

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Marisa Demarco / KUNM
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A community center that’s helped thousands of urban Native Americans in this region over the last two decades is facing possible closure. 

The Albuquerque Indian Center is known for providing culturally sensitive services tailored to the needs of Native Americans. On an average morning there, people dig through piles of donated clothes in the main room, look over free bread in the kitchen and drop in to check their mail. 

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Credit Marisa Demarco / KUNM
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Mary Garcia, executive director of the AIC

Executive Director Mary Garcia said funding from the state and the city has dried up. "If you have a home, if you have a car, if you have a job, a computer, then you don’t know about the Indian Center," she said. "But if you don’t have all those things, you know about the Indian Center."

The AIC offers not just the basics like meals but also counseling, help with résumé building and job searches, access to the internet, AA meetings and educational community events. The Navajo Nation may soon be contributing funds, and staffers have set up a crowdfunding page as a stopgap measure. But Garcia said if no new funding turns up, the center will have to shut down at the end of February.

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Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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