In this section

12 Ways to Celebrate Native American Heritage Month in New Mexico

November is National Native American Heritage Month, a tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans. We invite you to commemorate this special month right here in New Mexico, home to 23 pueblos, nations and more than 1,000 years of Native culture. We’re also home to five of USA Today’s 10 Best Native American Experiences.

Here’s how you can celebrate Native American Heritage Month in the Land of Enchantment.

1. Experience a living history at Acoma Pueblo Sky City

Acoma Sky City was voted the top USA Today Native American Experience and is a three-time recipient of the Trip Advisor Excellence Award. Take a Native-guided tour to this mesa-top pueblo dating back to 1100 A.D. Museum exhibits and a gift shop are also on site.

2. Visit one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities at Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo, #2 on USA Today’s Best Native American Experience, is the only Native American community designated both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark. In a community over 1,000 years old, the multi-story adobe buildings remain largely unchanged from what Spanish explorers found in 1540. Native-guided tours depart every 20 minutes year-round.

3. Immerse yourself in culture at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Learn about New Mexico’s Pueblo culture at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, gateway to the 19 Pueblos and #10 on USA Today’s Best Native American Experience. Buy one-of-a-kind Native jewelry and arts, browse the newest museum exhibit “We Are of This Place,” and enjoy new Native American cuisine all in one place. Traditional dances are held every weekend.

4. Take a step back in history at Puye Cliffs Archaeology Day

On November 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., come and be part of a special Archaeology Day at Puye Cliff Dwellings in Española. Puye Cliffs were once home to the ancestors of the Santa Clara Pueblo. The New Mexico Office of Archeological Studies will be on site all day. Pueblo dances and food will also be part of the festivities. Be sure to take a Native-guided tour to the cliffs (first inhabited around 900 A.D.) and revel in the spectacular views. Tours depart hourly.

5. Partake in a Native American feast day

On November 12, join Tesuque Pueblo for the annual San Diego Feast Day. Celebrate culture and tradition in a Puebloan plaza. Hear and see ancient songs and dances. Food, arts, and crafts are also part of the celebration.

6. Participate in an authentic Native American experience at Tamaya

The Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort, owned by the Santa Ana Pueblo, offers spectacular vistas and views of the Sandia Mountains and cultural activities to resort guests. Try your hand at traditional Pueblo bread baking, work with a tribal member to create and paint a pottery piece or make your own dream catcher, just to name a few. Traditional Native dances are held every Saturday and are open to the public.

7. Tour Jemez Pueblo with a “Cultural Ed-Venture”

The Hemish People invite you to the experience of a lifetime with a Native-guided custom tour. Artist demonstrations, bread baking, and a full Pueblo feast are part of your day. You can also take a guided hike through the breathtaking Jemez Red Rocks. Call ahead to schedule and customize your tour.

8. Attend the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction and take home a unique piece of culture

Crownpoint on the Navajo Nation is home to this prime venue for buyers and weavers of genuine Navajo rugs. On November 10 (and every second Friday of the month), come and participate in (or witness) the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction, an event that helps keep the Navajo rug weaving tradition passing from mother to daughter. Rugs are on display after 4 p.m., and the auction begins at 7 p.m. Navajo tacos are also sold on site.

9. Explore one of the most significant archaeological sites of the Southwest at Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Chaco Canyon a UNESCO World Heritage Site was a major Puebloan urban center from 850 to 1250 A.D. It was home to some of the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century. Today, you can experience the ruins of these ancestral Puebloan homelands with guided walks year-round. 

10. Discover Spanish and Puebloan peoples’ early encounters at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument

Just 90 miles southeast of Albuquerque in Mountainair, three sets of Pueblo mission ruins stand as a reminder of a unique era. The ruins (constructed in the early 1600s) of Gran Quivira, Quarai, and Abó sit on the site of historic trade communities of Tiwa- and Tompiro-speaking people. Mission units are open daily, and guided tours are available with advance notice.

11. Climb the cliffs and take in some of the most significant remnants of ancient Puebloan people in New Mexico

Southwest New Mexico was home to the people of the prehistoric Mogollon culture, dating back to 1200 AD. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument north of Silver City offers visitors a chance to explore this ancient place. A half-mile hike takes you to the trailhead.

12. Get a unique perspective of colonial New Mexico at Jemez Historic Site

Established to preserve the 14th-century ruins of Giusewa Pueblo — a traditional village of the Jemez people — and the 17th-century ruins of San Jose de los Jemez Mission, Jemez Historic Site offers a museum and interpretive trail. Ranger-led tours, available daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., offer an intimate experience with Jemez tribal members.