Explore Native Dance and Culture

New Mexico is home to 23 Native American Tribes, Pueblos, and Nations, which each have their own languages, cultures, and ways of life. The influence of these communities is ever-present across the Land of Enchantment. There are countless Native events and experiences across the state that allow the general public insight into Native culture, art, and tradition. If you do plan to attend any cultural events, please be respectful and aware of recommended visitor etiquette.

Shandien Larance Portrait Vertical

Meet Shandien LaRance

Shandien LaRance is a Native champion hoop dancer and instructor who lives on ancestral lands near Ohkay Owingeh. Inspired by her family with creative underpinnings, Shandien has been hoop dancing since the age of eight. Following her late brother, Nakotah’s, lead, Shandien joined Cirque Du Soleil’s show “TOTEM” and toured across the world with the troupe until 2020. When not touring, Shandien teaches hoop dance to Indigenous youth through her family's Lightning Boy Foundation and is a model, host, and actress.


Visit Taos Pueblo

Located in northern New Mexico near the Rio Grande, Taos Pueblo is comprised of multi-level adobe structures sitting beneath the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The buildings of the Pueblo are considered by many to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States, and it's both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark. The Pueblo is renowned for its local artisans, many of whom are artists that create and sell crafts rendered in traditional styles. There are guided tours of the Pueblo and several major annual events, including dances, powwows, and feast days — but those interested in attending an event or a tour should call ahead to be sure the pueblo isn't closed for other ceremonial purposes. This is Ancestral Puebloan land, so please respect the residents of the Pueblo, their homes, rules, and customs when visiting.


Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo courtesy Larry Lamsa



More Native Events and Experiences

A young native traditional hoop dancer in a dirt circle, surrounded by a large crowd of people cheering

Nakotah LaRance Youth Hoop Dance Championship

Hosted by the Lightning Boy Foundation at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, this championship serves to honor Nakotah Larance's passion and dedication for hoop dancing. Nakotah brought this traditional form of Native dance back to New Mexico and has inspired others to take up the art form. Take the opportunity to experience a unique and sacred form of Native dance.


Gathering of Nations Powwow

Experience amazing world of Native dance and song at the largest Powwow in North America. Featuring Native, Indigenous, and Indian performers from Canada and the United States performing Native dance and song for thousands of mesmerized spectators. Hosted at the New Mexico State Fair Grounds, this is an amazing event for those looking to learn more about Native performance art and ritual.

Gathering of Nations


feast Days and Festivals

Feast Days

There are 23 Native communities in New Mexico: 19 Pueblos, 3 Tribes, and the Navajo Nation. Throughout the course of the year, some of these communities welcome the public to introduce and educate guests on the culture, tradition, and religion behind sacred rituals and observances. Before attending any feast days, festivals, or dances, be sure to contact the respective community to confirm that they are accepting guests and to reinforce any guidelines or restrictions from the community to the observing public. 


Santa Fe Indian Market

Traditional Native art forms and techniques are practiced by many Native artists, and the Santa Fe Indian Market brings artists from all over North America and Canada to showcase art utilizing these traditional techniques. The Indian Market event is the largest juried art show in the world, and it regularly hosts 100,000 festival-goers who come for the great experience and the opportunity to buy authentic Native art that supports Native artists.

Santa Fe Plaza Aerial



Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument exists upon the ancestral lands of many Tribal Nations, with evidence of humans inhabiting the landscape for more than 11,000 years. Featuring ancient cliff dwellings carved into the canyon that cuts through the surrounding mesa area, the national monument allows visitors to respectfully enter some of these dwellings to experience a glimpse into the history of the land, and the surrounding landscape offers hiking on designated trails.