Gallup, New Mexico

Encyclopedia Article


Gallup is the most populous city along I-40 between Flagstaff, AZ and Albuquerque, NM , which is the interstate overlay of "the mother road," Route 66. The city was founded in 1881 and named for David Gallup, an employee of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. Gallup is also located just to the southeast of the Navajo Nation and has become known for its Native population, "trading post" pawn shops, and its high rate of alcoholism, among other things. As one of the U.S.'s last remaining frontier outposts, intercultural exchanges seem intensified in this border railroad town, as it's the last stop before entering reservation country. In many senses, Gallup maintains a thriving intercultural population, despite the poverty, and the violences associated with poverty, that afflict a great portion of the city's population. Often referred to as the capital of Indian Country, Gallup has also been, and remains, an ideal location for creating cinematic representations of an iconic Southwest, because of its natural scenery as well as the rich Native American cultural traditions that have coalesced in the city.

Photo Credit: 

"Intertribal Ceremony, Gallup, New Mexico, 1983," photograph, Eduardo Fuss Photograph Collection (2011-001-bp-f4-0009). Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.