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United States > Pictures and travelogues > Pictures from New Mexico > Native Americans

Pictures from Native Americans (American Indians), New Mexico (USA): Pow Wow in Albuquerque and Taos, Gallup Red Rock Park.

 Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, New Mexico
The Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA).

Indians living as hunter-gatherer have inhabited the territory of New Mexico for thousands of years. About 1,500 years ago, many of them joined together to establish permanent settlements, commonly known as pueblos, while other groups, such as the ancestors of the Navajo and Apache, continued their nomadic lifestyles. 

New Mexico is home to 22 Indian tribes: two Apache tribes (the Jicarilla Apache and the Mescalero Apache) and part of the Navajo Nation (which spreads through New Mexico, Arizona and Utah), and 19 pueblos comprising Acoma, Cochiti, Isleta, Jemez, Laguna, Nambe, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque, Sandia, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo, Taos, Tesuque, Zia, and Zuni.

The Navajo Nation is the largest American Indian tribe in North America. They consist of more than 300,000 members, about 107,000 of whom live in New Mexico. Nomadic in nature, the Jicarilla Apaches wandered and traded as far east as Kansas until they settled mainly in northern New Mexico in the mid-1720s. The Mescalero Apaches reside now in southern New Mexico. Most of the 19 pueblos are located within an hour’s drive of Albuquerque.

Each American Indian tribe is unique and they have their own traditional language, customs, values, prayers, songs, ceremonies, traditional attire, and way of life. The Albuquerque area is the best starting point from which to explore the American Indians heritage.

Albuquerque is home to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, a 10,000 sq. ft. museum providing an overview of pueblo life and the differentiating characteristics of each pueblo in New Mexico. The museum features exhibitions, daily dances, live entertainment, art markets, native food, and more. Created in 1976, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is located at 2401 12th St. NW, minutes away from historic Old Town. It offers guided and unguided tours of the Exhibits and the newly renovated Pueblo House (the interactive wing of the museum).

The Sky City Cultural Center featuring mainly the history of the Acoma Pueblo Indians is located only 113 km (70 mi) west of Albuquerque.

The Gathering of Nations, probably the largest pow-wow in the United States, is held annually the fourth weekend in April in Albuquerque. A pow-wow consists of are celebrations, social gatherings and friendly dance competitions of North America's Native people. Over 3,000  American Indian dancers and singers representing more than 500 tribes from Canada and the United States come to Gathering of Nations pow wow annually. Native musicians perform in all genres of music. Dancers often follow the clockwise pattern of the sun, a circle representing the unity and the cycle of life.

Taos Pow Wow, New Mexico
Taos Pow Wow, New Mexico (USA).

Taos pueblo, also known as the place of the red willows, is one of the settlements established in the 13th century in the valleys of the Rio Grande and its tributaries that have survived to the present day. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in North America. It is situated at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico.

Taos pueblo continues to be a thriving community with a living culture. In 1970 the people of Taos obtained the restitution of lands usurped by the government, which included the sacred site of the Blue Lake (Taos people believe that the Taos natives originated from the lake itself). At the same time, their ritual ceremonies include both a Christmas procession and the Hispano-Mexican dance of the Matatchines. Taos Pueblo shows the traditional method of adobe construction: a massive system of construction but one well suited to the rigors of the climate.

The Taos pueblo was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. It has been a World Heritage Site (UNESCO) since 1992.
 Taos Pueblo is open daily but closes for ceremonial purposes. San Geronimo Feast Day on Sept. 30 is the largest event of the year. However, cameras and recording devices are not allowed at any religious ceremonies.

Another pueblo, San Felipe, is well-known for its beautiful dancing, particularly for the Feast of St. Philip on May 1, when hundreds of men, women and children participate in traditional Green Corn Dance.

Gallup Red Rock Park, New Mexico
Gallup in New Mexico (USA). Red Rock Park.

Gallup is a city that was founded in 1881 as a railhead for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. Route 66 runs through Gallup. The city is located a two hour drive from Albuquerque. 

Red Rock Park is the core of Gallup's recreation system. Cradled by spectacular red cliffs formed over 200 million years ago, it presents a full slate of sports, entertainment (outdoor activities such as trekking, horse riding, and more), and cultural events near Gallup. The Park offers comfortable campground facilities.
 
Gallup is known as the "Indian Capital of the World" for its location in the heart of Native American lands. Every year for nearly a century, Gallup has been the site of the world famous Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial celebrated in August. Native American tribe members attired in colorful dress perform traditional dances and music. Furthermore, the Red Rock Museum chronicles the lives and culture of the Anasazi as well as the present-day Zuni, Hopi and Navajo.


Throughout the summer months, famous rodeo events occur in Red Rock Park. The Red Rock Balloon Festival takes place the first weekend of December each year.


 

Links

Gathering of Nations
Official web site of the annual Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA) - North America's biggest PowWow.
Taos
Find here the official Raos vacation guide.
Chamber of Commerce of Gallup
Official web site of tourism in Gallup in New Mexico (USA).

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Travel guide to New Mexico (USA) with many nice pictures.