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Native American Communities

A visit to the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area will always include some reference to Native American communities and culture. Many of the place names retain the native Tewa name reference (though the names may have been Hispanicized for pronunciation, like Pojoaque rather than Po'suwae'geh, or Tesuque rather than Tetsuge). There are eight Tewa and Tiwa pueblos (villages) in the Heritage Area situated from just north of Santa Fe (Tesuque, Pojoaque, Nambe), to the corridor surrounding the Española Valley (San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Ohkay Owingeh), and on north to Taos and Picuris, the two Tiwa pueblos.

All of the pueblo communities are situated on or near their historic territorial homelands. A large portion of western Rio Arriba County includes the Jicarilla Apache Reservation. In addition, there are representative dwellings and communities of the pueblo ancestors in the ruins at the Bandelier and the Puye Cliff dwellings, and a large concentration of images in the Mesa Prieta Petroglyphs preserve, which includes nearly 100,000 identified individual petroglyphs. All of the pueblos and the Jicarilla are represented on our Heritage Area Board of Directors.

Pueblo communities & Feast Days in our Area

San Ildefonso
Patron Saint: San Ildefonso
San Ildefonso Pueblo website


Ohkay Owingeh
Patron Saint: St John the Baptist
Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo website

Patron Saint: St Lawrence
Picuris Pueblo website

Santa Clara
Patron Saint: St Clare
Santa Claran Pueblo website

Patron Saint: San Geronimo
Taos Pueblo website

Patron Saint: San Francisco de Assisi
Nambe Pueblo website

Patron Saint: San Diego
Tesuque Pueblo website

Patron Saint: Our Lady of Guadalupe
Pojaque Pueblo website

Feast Day Etiquette

Tribes value tradition, customs and religion. Some actions and/or questions could be offensive, so refrain from pressing for answers.
Tribal dances are religious ceremonies, not public performances. It is a privilege to witness a ceremony.
On feast days and other public observances, enter a Pueblo home as you would any other – by invitation only. It is courteous to accept an invitation to eat, but not to linger at the table, as your host will want to serve numerous guests throughout the day. Thank your host, but a payment or tip is not appropriate.
Tribal communities do not use the clock to determine when it is time to conduct activities. Acts of nature, as well as the sequence of events that must take place (some not for public viewing), usually determine start and finish times for ceremonies.
Silence is mandatory during all dances and Pueblo ceremonies. This means no questions about the ceremonies or dances while they are underway, no interviews with the participants, no walking across the dance plaza, and no applause during/after the dance or ceremony.

Courtesy of Passport to Pueblo Country: