My mom enjoyed showing me “her” New Mexico and we took a short trip up to Santa Fe for a few days since it’s a hot spot and the state’s capital.
I enjoyed Santa Fe: there are a ton of art galleries and it actually has a historic center much like a “centro” in an Italian town that is quaint and fun to walk around. Wikipedia says it’s actually the 3rd largest art market in the US after New York, and L.A. but, since I have limited luggage space, and perhaps even a more limited budget, shopping for art wasn’t very appealing to me. The Santa Fe Opera opened its season on Friday evening and though we had an opportunity to buy tickets, they were the last pair at $170 each and since we were lucky enough to go to the Palais Garnier in Paris last September for cheaper than that, we felt we should pass.
What I really enjoyed was the trip we took to Taos, a city about 1 hour northeast of Santa Fe. The highlight for me was visiting the Taos Pueblo, a Native American reservation and World Heritage site.
I am sharing these pictures with you because I encourage you to visit it, and I thought it was a special place. Please note that these pictures are for personal use and will not be published or sold commercially, in accordance with the request of the Taos Pueblo.
We spent quite a long time talking to the inhabitants and families of the pueblo which, though they are not pictured here, are definitely the most interesting part of the pueblo. Each one had a different story to tell about their family, what they do, or something to impart on their Native American heritage.
I spent some time talking with one of the inhabitants about their history and how I felt the Europeans might be more interested and informed about Native American history than some Americans (myself included). I was sad that S couldn’t be there with us, since he’s really interested and educated about it.
I did my part, though, and at a certain point I gave one of the jewelers some photography tips so that he could photograph his work and show his customers on days when he was all sold out (the day we were there). We also took home a CD of “Totemic Flute Chants” by Johnny Whitehorse (pseudonym of Pueblo native Robert Mirabal) which has some relaxing flute compositions and chanting (and it won a Grammy!).
I mentioned the “faux” adobe phenomenon in New Mexico, in which houses are stylized after traditional adobe made of mud and straw. At the Taos Pueblo, this is the real thing. The main buildings are purported to have been constructed between 1000 and 1450 AD, making them the longest continuously inhabited dwellings in the US.
Here’s some detail of the adobe. What I really loved was how every once and a while, some color would pop out at you from the earth-colored adobe. You can clearly see the straw that is mixed in with the mud and clay. Being inside these buildings was remarkably cool when compared to the hot temperatures outside!
Interestingly enough, the Catholic church is still present even on a Native American reservation. The Indians on this reservation are 90% Catholic. I loved these stained glass windows.
One of most interesting parts about the Taos Pueblo is their cemetery. The old bell tower stands at attention in the distance, watching over the myriad of different colors and materials that make up the headstones in this cemetery.
And you know that even on an Native American reservation, I manage to find food. We tried the traditional Indian Frybread / Fry Bread, which was strikingly similar to the Pettole I eat in Puglia at Christmas. They told us that traditionally the frybread was fried in the buffalo lard remaining and that it was eaten during feast days, but now they make it often for us tourists. It was delicious!
This was an apple, prune and pine nut turnover pastry, and it was good, too! It’s nice to enjoy something else handmade other than the traditional jewelry and pottery widely available at the Pueblo.
Have you been to Taos Pueblo, or another Native American reservation?