Items stolen from a visiting dance group in Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A Native American dance group traveled to Albuquerque this weekend to perform, but they left empty-handed after the thieves flew off with all their turquoise jewelry, moccasins, feathers and Moreover. Not only are these items important to dancers who need them to perform, but they also have sentimental and spiritual value having been passed down from generation to generation.

A weekend filled with prayer, song and dance ended in grief for the Acoma Buffalo Dance Group. “Everything means a lot to us, and we just want it to come back,” said 12-year-old lead dancer Mercedez Martinez.

It comes after a black tote filled with $ 15,000 to $ 20,000 of their dance gear was stolen on Sunday night. The tote was full of jewelry, dresses, moccasins and more. Martinez said she was devastated. “Our hand feathers, these meant a lot to me and the necklaces,” Martinez said. “They were passed on to [my grandmother]. When she leaves, they will be sent to me. I don’t know if I will ever use them again. I don’t know if they’re going to be pledged.

Mercedez’s grandmother, Wynema Garcia, said the group was made up of several children, all from the family, from the Acoma Pueblo and Hopi tribe. They perform regularly in Albuquerque. After their Sunday performance at the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center, they returned to their hotel, the Hampton Inn near the airport. Garcia said the tote was stolen from their truck while it was parked at the hotel. “There’s a lot of stuff in there that we need,” Garcia said. “It is not only for our group, but also for our traditional activities.”

Garcia said they have another performance next week, but she said they won’t be able to continue dancing if they can’t collect their items. “Whoever has that tote, please give it back to us,” Martinez said. “It really means the world to us.”

The group reported the theft to the police. The APD said while the report was still being processed, investigators would look for any available evidence, such as surveillance, that may have captured what happened on video. APD also said hotels are targets for thieves because they know people have valuables. The APD said anyone staying in a hotel should bring all of their important personal belongings inside.

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