Ideas Shared Tribal Culture

Ysleta del Sur Pueblo’s Tribal Empowerment Library, Socorro, TX


From the moment the Powered Libraries team walked into the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo (YDSP) Tribal Empowerment Library, we were immersed in the customs, traditions, and storied past of the Tigua people.

Brenda Gutierrez, MarySue Femath, and countless tribal volunteers start from the ground up, teaching the basics of the Tigua language through their Tuy Pathu Pre-K Language program; elementary students make use of the library space to learn tribal dances and have access to books authored by community members that introduce and reinforce cultural practices, lessons, and Tigua language; adult members of the tribe also take part in full-immersion language lessons hoping that learning simple phrases and greetings will become part of everyday conversations on the reservation; and elders take advantage of the library's central location to share the traditional bread baking techniques in an horno (outdoor oven, adjacent to the library) built by tribal youth.

The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo’s Tribal Empowerment Library exemplifies all that a library can be and strives not only to preserve customs, but to provide a springboard to higher education for the young members of the tribe. Brenda and the rest of the Empowerment Library team have harnessed the power of the age-old adage, "It takes a village."

Just as the sacred drum symbolizes the heart of the Tigua people, this library symbolizes the heart of the Pueblo.

For more information, visit the YDSP Tribal Empowerment Library website.