We did take a break from eating our way around Santa Fe and made a day trip to the Taos Pueblo. Taos itself is a pretty, artsy town with lots of shops and galleries to explore but we were there to see the Pueblo, one of 19 in New Mexico, and a great place to gain insight into authentic and traditional Native American society.
The Taos Pueblo is the oldest continuously occupied site in the country. The ancestors of the current occupants first settled there a thousand years ago and they survive today despite invasions of both the Spanish and Anglos. They still live the same way, with no electricity or running water. Entry to the homes on the upper level is via ladder and a hole in the roof. The Rio Pueblo runs through the land, providing all their water for daily living. The river originates at Blue Lake, a sacred site for them, that was part of 60,000 acres taken from them in the early 1900′s. They fought a battle with the US Government for 60 years for the return of this holy land and recognition of their religious right to it. Richard Nixon finally signed it back to them in 1970.
Now a World Heritage Site, they still speak their native Tiwa language (although in deference to their current and past neighbors they also speak Spanish and English) They revere the land around them. They work at, display and sell their crafts and artwork. We enjoyed ur tour and learned a great deal. We’d love to go back when they have one of their feasts.
We drove the high road from Sante Fe to Taos, through the mountains and some very pretty country of forested hills, deserts, rivers shaping canyons. On the way we ran across some wild horses, playing alongside the road. Leaving the Pueblo we stopped for one more great New Mex meal before heading back to Santa Fe.