New Mexico’s history is intriguing in a way that differs from the rest of the country. I could feel it as I looked at the rugged landscape, witnessed the native influences and sampled the traditional cuisine. Nowhere is this feeling more evident than at Taos Pueblo.
Inhabited for over 1,000 years, Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community to receive the designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site and a National Historic Site. The Pueblo is made entirely of adobe. It’s a stroking structure comprised of many individual homes, built side-by-side in layers with common walls.
Today, 150 Native Americans live within the walls of the Pueblo with over 1,900 Taos Indians living on the surrounding Taos Pueblo lands. While the Pueblo evokes the feeling of a living museum, it is actually a living working community. Its residents still speak the native language, Tiwa. They follow traditions which include no electricity or running water within the Pueblo walls.
The church of San Gerónimo within the Pueblo is a beautiful example of Spanish mission architecture. Sadly, the original church was destroyed in the Taos Uprising in 1847—its ruins still stand next to the Pueblo’s cemetery.
The oral traditions and native language of the Taos tribe are unwritten and unrecorded. Sacred traditions are off-limits to non-tribal members. But at the annual Taos Pueblo Powwow—a gathering of spiritual leaders and tribal members—costumed dancers, singers and other ceremonies provide a glimpse into the intriguing story of these remarkable Native Americans.
Terri Marshall is a New York City based freelance writer and editor for several publications. She specializes in multi-generational travel, road trips, and cultural travels for international and domestic destinations. You can find more about her work at www.trippingwithterri.com.