Visiting a Pueblo is a special experience. People go about their daily work in the modern world, but tradition is woven deeply through every aspect of life. It is important to go with respect for customs and regulations that are very different from you own. Each Pueblo has a sovereign government, ask at the main office for rules. Pueblos sometimes close for private ceremonies.
DANCES: Dances are deeply sacred to tribal members. Please behave as you would in a church. Religious beliefs are private, so avoid asking questions about the meaning or timing of a dance. FEAST DAYS: Pueblo people gladly share on Feast Days; however, do not enter a home uninvited. It is courteous to accept an invitation to eat, but don't linger, as your host will serve many friends during the day. The only appropriate payment is your sincere gratitude. KIVAS: (a Pueblo Indian ceremonial structure that is usually round and partly under ground). Ceremonial kivas are sacred and should not be entered or leaned or climbed on. This also applies to cemeteries.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Always check at the Pueblo office for possible restrictions on photography.
Please be alert and do not wander onto private property or areas closed to the public.
Alcohol, weapons, drugs and pets are not allowed on Pueblo land.



Photo Courtesy of
New Mexico Magazine

Nambé Pueblo
Nambe in Tewa (the language spoken by the people of Nambe Pueblo), means "People of The Round Earth". Located 18 miles North of Santa Fe , Nambé Pueblo sits at the base of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Nambé was established around the 1300s and served as the primary cultural and religious center for the Pueblo people. It was nearly destroyed when the Spanish conquerors arrived in the New Mexico territory and learned of its importance. Today, there are approximately 1,764 people living at the pueblo. It is a popular stop for visitors seeking beauty and recreation in the stunning foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Nambé Falls Recreation Area, located above the pueblo, offers swimming, lake fishing, a stunning double-drop waterfall and camping for a modest fee (505) 455-2304. The July 4th Nambé Falls Ceremonial, which includes dances and an arts and crafts fair, is a popular festivity for both pueblo dwellers and tourists. June 6, Kings Day Celebration, March 31, Easter Bow & Arrow Dance. July 4, Nambe Falls Ceremonial. Oct. 4, the pueblo honors San Francisco de Asís, also the patron saint of Santa Fe.
Nambé Pueblo, Rt. 1 Box 117-BB, Santa Fe, NM 87506, (505) 455-2036
Picuris Pueblo
Named Pikuria - those who paint - by Spanish colonizer Juan de Oñate, Picurís is located 24 miles Southeast of Taos in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Picurís, once the largest, is now one of the smallest Tiwa Pueblos, with some 1,801 inhabitants. Like Taos, it was influenced by Plains Indian culture, particularly the Apaches.
It took about eight years for tribal members to restore by hand the 200-year-old adobe church, San Lorenzo de Picurís, located in the center of the Pueblo. The Pueblo's San Lorenzo Feast Day on Aug. 10 includes Indian dances, pole climbing and a morning foot race The High Country Tri-Cultural Arts & Crafts Fair is usually held on the first weekend in July, but call to verify (505) 587-2519. Outdoor enthusiasts can spend the day trout fishing at the Pu-na Lake; call the Picurís Pueblo Fish & Game and Parks & Wildlife, (505) 587-1601. The Picurís Pueblo Museum displays and sells beadwork, weaving and pottery crafted by local artists. Picurís is the majority owner of the Hotel Santa Fe located in the capitol city's historic downtown area. Jan 6, Kings Day Celebration. Jan. 25, St. Paul's Feast Day. Feb. 2, Feast Day. First weekend in June, Tri-Cultural Arts and Crafts Fair. June 13, Feast Day. Aug. 10, San Lorenzo Feast Day.
Picurís Pueblo, P.O. Box 127, Peñasco, NM 87553, (505) 587-2519

Photo Courtesy of New Mexico Magazine


Photo Courtesy of New Mexico Magazine

Pojoaque Pueblo
Pojoaque Pueblo, located about 15 miles North of Santa Fe, was almost destroyed by war and disease but in the 1930s survivors returned and fenced off their lands, evicting squatters. Approximately 2,712 people live on pueblo lands today.
The pueblo's revived feast day is Dec. 12, in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There also are dances on Jan. 6. The Poeh Cultural Center features Pueblo art and exhibits, hosts traditional Indian dances on weekends and preserves the traditional arts of the Tewa-speaking Pueblos. It also houses an information center and the largest Indian arts and crafts shop in northern New Mexico, (505) 455-5044.  The pueblo just opened the new Towa Golf Resort for visitors and locals alike, (505) 455-3466, WEBSITE: In addition to its numerous tribal enterprises, the pueblo recently completed a Wellness Center that houses a gym, library, CHR Program and senior citizens center. The Pojoaque Pueblo Tourist Center, (505) 455-3460, displays and sells locally made pottery, rugs, sculpture, kachinas, sand paintings and other souvenirs. Jan 6, All Kings Day. Dec. 12, Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day. Tribal enterprises include the Cities of Gold Casino, (505) 455-3313, WEBSITE: features restaurants, shopping, a sports bar and a hotel (505) 455-0515 or (877) 455-0515.
San Ildefonso Pueblo
Located 23 miles North of Santa Fe the contemporary San Ildefonso Pueblo is a flourishing art community. With an average of 20,000 visitors yearly, this is one of the most visited Northern Pueblos, with a population of approximately 1,524.
Since the early 1900s, this Tewa village has been the center of the Pueblo arts revival. Artisans' homes throughout the Pueblo are open to the public for shopping. San Ildefonso is best known as the birthplace and home of the late María Martínez, who along with her husband, Julian, developed the world-renowned black-on-black pottery with black matte designs. The ancestors of the San Ildefonso people abandoned their original villages of Mesa Verde and Bandelier due to drastic changes in the environment. It was on top of nearby Black Mesa that San Ildefonso, along with other Pueblo people from the area, successfully held off Spanish soldiers, who laid siege on the natural stronghold during their reconquest of New Mexico in 1694. San Ildefonso's fishing pond and picnic areas are along the Río Grande, with permits available on-site, (505) 455-3549 or (505) 455-2273. The pueblo's Jan. 23 feast day starts with a dawn Animal Dance. Visit the María Poveka Martínez Museum or the San Ildefonso Pueblo Museum, (505) 455-3549. The visitor center, (505) 455-3549, sells maps and permits for noncommercial photography, sketching and recording, (permitted except during ceremonials). Jan 23, San Ildefonso Feast Day. Mar. 27, Various Dances. Mar. 31, Easter Bow & Arrow Dance. Aug. - Sept., Corn Dances. Sept. 8, Feast Day. Dec. 25, Various Dances.
San Ildefonso Pueblo, Rt. 5 Box 315-A, Santa Fe, NM 87506, (505) 455-2273


Photo Courtesy of New Mexico Magazine

Black on Black Pottery


Photos Courtesy of
New Mexico Magazine
San Juan Pueblo
Juan de Oñate established the first Spanish capital city in New Mexico near San Juan Pueblo in 1598. Traditionally, San Juan (O'ke in Tewa) was the center of an Indian meeting ground, its people so powerful that only an O'ke native could declare war for the Pueblo Indians. Although called a Taoseño, Pueblo Revolt leader Popé actually was a San Juan native.
San Juan lies 25 miles North of Santa Fe and five miles North of Española. It is one of the largest Tewa-speaking pueblos with a population of 6,748 according to the Census in 2000. Today, the Pueblo is the headquarters of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council and home to the Oke-Oweenge Crafts Cooperative, (505) 852-2372, which exhibits the art of the Eight Northern Pueblos. The main art focus of this Tewa village is redware pottery, weaving and painting. Fishing by permit is available year-round at San Juan Lakes, where many cash fishing tournaments are held, (505) 753-5067. There is a fee for taking photos or videos or for sketching. Feb., Deer Dance. Mar. 31, Easter Bow & Aarow Dance. June 24, Feast Day. July 16-17, Eight Northern Pueblos Arts & Crafts Show. Enjoy a buffet and a round of roulette at the OhKay Casino WEBSITE:, (800) 747-1668. Stay at its hotel, (877) 829-2865, (505) 747-1668, or RV park, (505) 753-5067.
San Juan Pueblo, PO Box 1099, San Juan Pueblo, NM 87566, (505) 852-4400
Santa Clara Pueblo
The Tewa-speaking pueblo of Santa Clara was established around 1550 when a drought forced their ancestors to move into the fertile Río Grande Valley. Contemporary Santa Clarans believe their ancestors first lived in the nearby Puyé Cliff Dwellings, including Top House, a ruined mesa top village built along a stunning cliff face in Santa Clara Canyon. Today, approximately 10,658 people are living on Santa Clara Pueblo lands.
The Pueblo's major attraction is Santa Clara Canyon, a deep, tree-lined retreat with several mountain-ringed fishing lakes, developed campsites and picnicking (all by permit). Puyé and the canyon usually are open to the public seasonally, but a recent fire in the Jémez Mountains forced the Pueblo to work on reclaiming the land. Call to make sure the area is open before planning a visit, (505) 753-7326. Santa Clara Pueblo is also noted for its pottery, such as redware, carved blackware, melon bowls, polychrome and other artistic mediums. The pueblo is located about a mile South of Española. Aug. 12, Feast Day.
Santa Clara Pueblo, PO Box 580, Española, NM 87532, (505) 753-7326


Photos Courtesy of New Mexico Magazine


Photos Courtesy of
New Mexico Magazine

Taos Pueblo
The Northernmost, and undoubtedly one of the most popular, of all the Pueblos, Taos sits at the base of the highest mountains in New Mexico. Its adobe multistoried homes have captivated painters and photographers since the 1920s and helped inspire the Pueblo Revival style of architecture in contemporary New Mexico. Taos, which was designated a World Heritage Site and a National Historic Site in 1992, is credited with spearheading the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 by successfully uniting all of the traditionally rivalrous Pueblo people against the Spanish. Choosing to remain quite traditional, Tiwa-speaking members of the old Pueblo do not use electricity or indoor plumbing. Approximately 4,484 people live at the Pueblo, and its members value their privacy and insist that visitors do the same (visitors can enjoy native foods and browse through shops scattered around the Taos Plaza). The Taos people are very skilled in leather work, evident in the drums and moccasins they make. Taos Pueblo is open daily but closes for ceremonial purposes. San Gerónimo Feast Day on Sept. 30 is the largest event of the year. However, cameras and recording devices are not allowed at any religious ceremonies open to the public. Respect the off-limits signs. Also, don't climb the ladders to the rooftops. The pueblo also operates Taos Mountain Casino with a gift shop and video arcade, (505) 737-0777, (888) 946-8267 WEBSITE: The pueblo charges admission, parking and camera fees. Any sketching, painting or commercial photography requires advance written approval. The Pueblo is located three miles North of the town of Taos and is open daily to visitors most of the year. It closes periodically for special ceremonials, so please call ahead. Jan. 1 , Feast Day. Jan. 6 , Kings Day Celebration. May 3, Santa Cruz Feast Day. June 13, San Antonio Feast Day. June 24, San Juan Feast Day. July 8-10, Taos Puwblo Powwow. Sept. 30, San Geronimo Feast Day. Dec. 24, Christmas Eve at Taos Pueblo. Dec. 25, Deer or Matachines Dance.
Taos Pueblo, PO Box 1846, Taos Pueblo, NM 87571, (505) 758-1028

Tesuque Pueblo
The name Tesuque is a Spanish variation of the Tewa name, Te Tesugeh Oweengeh, meaning the "Village of the Narrow Place of the Cottonwood Trees." The pueblo is one of the state's smallest pueblos with a population of about 806, but its members are proud of their rich heritage. Located in the soft red-brown foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains 10 miles North of Santa Fe, Tesuque Pueblo has an air of centuries-old tranquility. Situated around a large central plaza, evidence indicates the pueblo has stood on this site since 1200 A.D. and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The entrance to the Pueblo lies just South of Camel Rock, a fascinating natural sandstone formation that wind and rain have eroded into the shape of a camel. The Tesuque people are one of the most traditional of all New Mexico Pueblos in observing ceremonies and preserving culture. The annual Feast Day of San Diego on Nov. 12, the Christmas Day Celebration, the Three Kings Day festivities in January and the Corn Dance on the first weekend in June are all open to the public. Photography is not allowed. Today the people of Tesuque speak their native Tewa, English and a few converse in Spanish. The reservation encompasses more than 17,000 acres, including Aspen Ranch and the Vigil Land Grant high in the Santa Fe National Forest. Just across the highway from Camel Rock, Tesuque Pueblo operates Camel Rock Casino, WEBSITE: (505) 984-8414, (800) 462-2635, which also has an arts and crafts gift store. The tribe also operates the Tesuque Pueblo Flea Market on Opera Hill, just off U.S. 84/285 north of Santa Fe, with more 1,200 booths every weekend from February to December, and Camel Rock Suites, 3007 S. St. Francis Dr. in Santa Fe, (877) or (505) 989-3600. The pueblo is closed to the public on certain days of the year so call ahead before visiting. Jan. 6, Kings Day. June, Corn Dance. Nov. 12, Feast Day of San Diego.
Tesuque Pueblo, Rt. 5 Box 360-T, Santa Fe, NM 87506, (505) 983-2667/988-3620, (800) 483-1040



Photos Courtesy of
New Mexico Magazine
















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