Santa Fe, USA – Native American Culture
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
The museum’s major wing, Here, Now and Always, provides a fine introduction to Native American history, art, and culture.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Owned by the 17 Pueblo tribes, this museum presents their culture and customs, in addition as the history of this area, from the Pueblo people’s perspective. Native American dances and artistic events are presented on summer weekends.
The Albuquerque Gathering of Nations Pow Wow and Taos Pueblo Pow Wow great number Native American dances. The Grand Entrance draws elaborately costumed dancers from tribes across North America. Contests are held, and booths offer traditional items.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most visited places in New Mexico. The adobe buildings here have been continuously inhabited by Native Americans for over 1,000 years.
Palace of Governors Portal
This is one of the best places to buy Native American art as it is strictly controlled for quality. It also provides a chance to interact with Native American artists, who enjoy discussing their art.
Every August, 1,200 Native American artists gather in Santa Fe Plaza for an complete weekend to sell their art. This is an excellent place to learn about and shop for Native American jewelry and art and sample traditional cooking at the food booths.
Bandelier National Monument
One of the best places to learn about ancestral Pueblo history. Start at the Visitor’s Center to view the displays and see the short film, The Bandelier Story. Walk the trail to the Long House, and view the ruins of Tyuonyi, the ancient Pueblo settlement.
Petroglyph National Monument
This National Monument, surrounding five extinct volcanoes, has more than 20,000 petroglyph images that were cut into the rocks centuries ago by Native American hunting parties as they traveled by the area.
San Ildefonso Pueblo
Best known as the home of Maria Martinez and her internationally famous black-on black pottery, this pueblo has a thriving arts community that welcomes visitors. Many artists sell their work from their homes or the trading post.
• 23 miles (37 km) N of Santa Fe
• 505-455-3549 • Open 8am-5pm daily, museum 8am-4:30pm week-days
• $3 per means, non-commercial camera permit $10-20
Known as “Sky City”, the pueblo sits dramatically atop a 367-ft (112-m) high mesa chosen for defense. Visitors can analyze one of the oldest continuously occupied villages in the US, and the lovely San Esteban del Rey Mission Church, by taking an hour-long guided tour.
• Off Hwy I-40 • 505-469-1052
• Open early Apr-late Oct 8am-6pm daily, tours 8am-4:30pm; late Oct-early Apr 8am-5pm daily, tours 8am-3:30pm
• $10, non-commercial camera permit $10
• uncompletely dis. Access
Pueblo Feast Days
One of the most interesting times to visit a pueblo is on Feast Days, when you can watch Native American ceremonial dancing and enjoy the festivities. Each pueblo has a feast day nominally honoring the Catholic saint for whom the village was named by the Spanish. However, the festivities are based on ancient seasonal ceremonial rituals that control the speed and rhythm of the event. Festivities usually take place in the plaza, with lines of costumed dancers moving to drums while chanting.
Food booths are often obtainable after the religious events. It is recommended to call ahead to verify date, time, location, and to ask any questions you may have about the ceremony. Photography restrictions are often more stringent than usual, and it is considered impolite to ask questions about a ceremony while it is in course of action.