Pablita Abeyta

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Pablita Abeyta
Born 1953 (age 63–64)
New Mexico, United States
Died January 31, 2017
Washington, D.C.
Nationality Navajo-American
Occupation Activist, sculptor

Pablita Abeyta (Ta-Nez-Bah, Navajo, born 1953) was a Navajo sculptor and activist from New Mexico, United States. She was the oldest daughter of artist Narciso Abeyta.

Early life[edit]

Pablita Abeyta was born in New Mexico in 1953. Both her parents were artists; her father was Narciso Abeyta. Abeyta was one of seven children. Each child had an artistic skill, ranging from weaving to sculpture to painting. Each child was given a Native American middle name, with the goal of keeping the children connected to their Native American heritage. Her Navajo name, "Ta-Nez-Bah," translates as "One Who Completes a Circle."[1]



Abeyta earned her Master of Public Affairs from the University of New Mexico in 1983. After earning her degree, she became a lobbyist for the Navajo Nation Washington, D.C. office. As a lobbyist for the Navajo, she coordinated a national effort to secure the passing of amendments related to Native peoples such as the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act, and the Superfund act. From 1986 to 1988, Abeyta was a legislative assistant for Ben Nighthorse Campbell. She left Campbell's office in 1988 to join the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 1991, she became a congressional liaison for the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).[1][2] At NMAI she monitored the planned museums funding, and participated in obtaining funding for the museum. She had also worked in developing proposals related to the cultural repatriation. She had also served as the special assistant to the director of the museum.[1]


As an artist, Abeyta created sculptures that are described as "smooth, round and sensuous." Her work is held in the collections of numerous private and public collections, including those of John McCain, Daniel Inouye, NMAI[3][4] and the National Museum of Natural History.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Gretchen M. Bataille; Laurie Lisa (12 June 2001). Native American women: a biographical dictionary. Taylor & Francis. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0-415-93020-8. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Karen Coody Cooper (2008). Spirited encounters: American Indians protest museum policies and practices. Rowman Altamira. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-7591-1089-2. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Ceramic and Turquoise Sculpture, (sculpture).". Art Inventories Catalog. Smithsonian Institution. 2001. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Navajo Sisters, (sculpture).". Art Inventories Catalog. Smithsonian Institution. 2001. Retrieved 1 February 2012.