Difference between revisions of "New Mexico Pueblos"
Revision as of 22:15, 5 February 2009
This article is a travel topic
One of the primary attractions of New Mexico is its large and diverse collection of American Indian (or, if you prefer, Native American -- both terms are used in the state) pueblos, reservations, artwork, and of course, people. The 19 pueblos are spread across north central, central, and northwest New Mexico. Each pueblo is unique, with their own distinct artistic styles, attractions, and customs.
Many, but by no means all, of the pueblo communities welcome visitors, usually with some restrictions. Following are some tips if you're planning to see the sights of these communities:
There are also several museums across the state that, while not operated by the pueblos, offer a lot of great pueblo-related artworks and information. Here are some of the best ones:
Eight Northern Pueblos
Spread across North Central New Mexico, from north to south:
Just north of Taos on Paseo del Pueblo Norte, +1 575 758-1028, . M-Sa 8AM-4PM, Su 8:30AM-4PM. The pueblo closes late winter to early spring for about ten weeks for tribal rituals. $10 per adult, $5 per student, children under 13 free. Photography/filming allowed; $5 fee. Professional/commercial photographers and artists must apply for a permit beforehand.
Located just outside the town of Taos and the only pueblo which is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Taos is one of the most popular pueblos for tourists due to its strikingly well-preserved multi-story village which looks much the same as it has for hundreds of years. The San Geronimo Feast Day is held on September 30.
On state road 75 just west of the junction with state road 76 near Peñasco, +1 575 587-2519.
The smallest of the pueblos population-wise, Picuris is in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between Taos and Española, near the small community of Peñasco. Picuris potters create an interesting pottery that, unlike other pueblo art, doesn't have much ornamentation. It is made using micaceous clay gathered locally, giving the pottery a faint glitter due to the mica flakes. The St. Lawrence Feast Day is held on August 10.
Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo
Off of state road 68 a few miles north of Española, +1 505 852-4400.
Ohkay Owingeh (formerly known as San Juan Pueblo, which is still a name you will see even on some recent maps) is the headquarters of the Eight Northern Pueblos. Ohkay Owingeh is also the home of the Oke Owinge Arts & Crafts Cooperative, an art center where you can see artists at work. The St. John the Baptist Feast Day is held on June 23-24.
Santa Clara Pueblo
On state road 30 just south of Española, +1 505 753-7330.
Just south of Española along the Rio Grande, Santa Clara operates the Puye Cliff Dwellings, the ruins of an ancient pueblo that was built into and atop the high cliffs above the Rio Grande Valley. Be sure to call ahead though, as Puye is often closed due to fire danger or deterioration of the ruins. Santa Clara artisans are well known for their unique black and red pottery with deep engravings. The St. Clare Feast Day is held on August 12.
San Ildefonso Pueblo
On state road 502 west of Pojoaque, +1 505 455-2273.
Situated on the Rio Grande near "Black Mesa" (a large volcanic outcropping just north of the village), San Ildefonso is most famous for being the home of Maria Martinez, known for her black-on-black pottery style which has become popular for many pueblo potters. The San Ildefonso Feast Day is held on January 23.
At Pojoaque you won't find many historic structures due to the pueblo's often troubled history, having been abandoned and reestablished a few times since the arrival of Europeans. Pojoaque is more of a stop-over between Santa Fe and Española these days, with a casino, resort, and truck stop. However, Pojoaque is the home of the Poeh Museum , which is dedicated to pueblo art and culture in the area. The Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day is held on December 10.
On state road 503 just east of Pojoaque, +1 505 455-2278.
Nambe is a small village with some artistic heritage, and is known for a distinctive style of pottery called "Nambé Polychrome". Nearby is the Nambe Falls , a park operated by the pueblo which contains a beautiful waterfall. The San Francisco de Assisi Feast Day is held on October 4.
On US-84/285 about 10 miles north of Santa Fe, +1 505 983-2667.
Tesuque is a small pueblo most well known for being the home of Camel Rock, an unusual rock formation along the road between Santa Fe and Española which, from certain angles, does indeed look like a camel. The San Diego Feast Day is held on November 12.
Central New Mexico Pueblos
Roughly from north to south:
South of Santa Fe, Cochiti is the home of Cochiti Lake and administers the nearby Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, a scenic park with some lovely geologic formations. The St. Bonaventure Feast Day is held on July 14.
Santo Domingo Pueblo
Just south of Cochiti, Santo Domingo is a very scenic village. The Domingo St. Dominic Feast Day is held on August 4.
San Felipe Pueblo
Along I-25 between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, San Felipe is a small village which also runs a casino on I-25. The St. Phillip Feast Day is held on May 1.
Santa Ana Pueblo
Just outside the village of Bernalillo, Santa Ana Pueblo operates a casino and a luxury resort. The St. Anne Feast Day is held on July 26.
Northeast of Bernalillo, Zia doesn't have much for the tourist but is well known across New Mexico because of the Zia Sun Symbol, which is on the New Mexico state flag. The Our Lady of Assumption Feast Day is held on August 15.
Northeast of Bernalillo and near the Jemez Mountains. The San Diego Feast Day is held on November 12.
Just north of Albuquerque, Sandia runs the Sandia Casino and the Bien Mur Indian Market Center. The St. Anthony Feast Day is held on June 13.
Located south of Albuquerque, Isleta is a scenic village and runs the Isleta Casino. The St. Augustine Feast Day is held on September 4.
Northwest New Mexico Pueblos
From east to west:
East of Grants, Laguna is a small pueblo that is a little off the beaten path. The St. Joseph Feast Day is held on September 19.
East of Grants, Acoma is a striking and very historic village, located atop a tall mesa. Much like Taos, Acoma village has changed little over hundreds of years and could be the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States (a title which is also claimed by Hopi Pueblo in Arizona). The St. Stephen Feast Day is held on September 2.
Located south of Gallup, Zuni is a large and historic pueblo.
All of the pueblos (excluding Zuni) hold feast days, an annual celebration in which the pueblo's patron saint is honored. Many pueblos have succeeded in reconciling their historic religious practices with the dominant Christian (particularly Catholic) practice, and celebrations are open to the general public, with many festivities and food. Dates for feast days are covered above under the individual pueblos.
The draw of legalized gambling brings people (along with their money), so many of the pueblos have built casinos of their own, ranging from regular establishments with slot machines, gaming tables, and an on-site restaurant, to lavish resorts with golf courses and hotels.
In Northern New Mexico there are five casinos. Taos Pueblo operates the Taos Mountain Casino  just outside the pueblo entrance. Just north of Española is the Ohkay Casino  near the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo while Santa Clara Pueblo operates the Big Rock Pueblo  right in the middle of Española. Between Española and Santa Fe is the Cities of Gold Casino  operated by Pojoaque Pueblo. Just down the road, closer to Santa Fe, is Tesuque Pueblo's Camel Rock Casino .
In the Albuquerque area are several casinos to take advantage of the large population of the region. Between Santa Fe and Albuquerque is Casino Hollywood , operated by San Felipe Pueblo. The Santa Ana Pueblo runs the Santa Ana Star Casino  just outside of Bernalillo. On the northern outskirts of Albuquerque is the Sandia Casino , while the Isleta Casino  draws people south of Albuquerque. East of Albuquerque along I-40 is Laguna Pueblo's Route 66 Casino  and Acoma Pueblo's Sky City Casino .