Picuris Pueblo


It took eight years for tribal members to restore by hand the 200-year-old adobe church, San Lorenzo de Picuris, located in the heart of the Pueblo.

Picuris village has occupied its present location since around 750 A.D. The pueblo is located in remote, high mountain terrain. The people are thought to be descendants of the prehistoric Anasazi from the Mesa Verde region. The Pueblo was first visited by Coronado in about 1540. The Pueblo name derives from by Spanish colonizer Juan de Oñate, who described the tribe as Pikuria – those who paint – around 1598 around the same time the San Lorenzo Mission was established at the Pueblo by Fray Francisco de Zamora and the Pueblo became fully occupied by Spanish soldiers and priests.

After years of subjugation by Spanish colonial rule, the Picuris people participated in the organized Pueblo Revolt. In 1680, the northern Pueblo peoples, led by Popay of San Juan, organized an organized and covert revolt against the Spanish soldiers and priests who had taken over their villages for over 100 years. On August 10, 1680, over 8,000 warriors killed or drove out the Spaniards until 1692. After the Revolt, the pueblo peoples’ reclamation of Santa Fe, the Picuris burned the church, abandoned their village, lived for a time with Jicarilla Apaches, and did not return until 1704, and began to rebuild the Pueblo.

Picuris was one of the largest northern Pueblos early in the fifteenth century but today the population has declined to approximately 85. Today, most of the adult population works off the reservation and the children go to school in a nearby town of Peñasco.

Picuris life is marked by many traditional ceremonies which have been revived and are celebrated throughout the year. Picuris is the majority owner of the highly-regarded Hotel Santa Fe located in the capitol city’s historic downtown area. The Pueblo also has a thriving bison herd that provides healthy, low-fat meat products to the community and surrounding towns, and a charcoal production plant that manufactures high-quality charcoal briquettes.

Picuris Pueblo is located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains 24 miles (38 km) south of the Town of Taos, New Mexico via N.M. 68, 518, and 75.

Pueblo de San Ildefonso


Black Mesa

The traditional name, Po-woh-ge-oweenge, meaning “where the water cuts through” refers to the Rio Grande River’s passage through San Ildefonso lands. The Pueblo de San Ildefonso history dates back to 1300 A.D. when the people from Bandelier migrated to the current location next to the Rio Grande. It is thought that the ancestors originated in the areas of Mesa Verde in Southern Colorado.

Spanish conqueror, Don Juan de Oñate first visited the Pueblo in 1598 and, with Catholic priests, built a mission church with local materials and Pueblo labor. San Ildefonso joined and fought in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, and the New Mexico Pueblos had over 12 years of relative peace and self-rule. During DeVargas’s reconquest of 1694, it was on the top of nearby Black Mesa that San Ildefonso warriors, along with other Pueblo people from the area, fought Spanish soldiers until relative peace between DeVargas and the Pueblos was achieved.

The people of San Ildefonso maintained a traditional agricultural economy until the early 20th century when Maria Martinez rediscovered how to make the black-on black pottery for which San Ildefonso Pueblo has become world famous. According to the Museum of New Mexico, “The legacy of Maria Martinez extends far beyond the world of art. By helping to create a demand for well-made pottery, she enabled others in her community to make a living at the pueblo. At the time of her birth, just thirty families lived within the pueblo of San Ildefonso. Today, artists and galleries thrive there and at other nearby Pueblo communities, where many of Maria and Julian’s techniques and designs have been adopted.” [1] With an average of 20,000 visitors yearly, San Ildefonso is one of the most visited northern pueblos.

The Pueblo de San Ildefonso is located 23 miles (37 km) north of Santa Fe, New Mexico via U.S. 84/285 then west off N.M. 502.

Tesuque Pueblo


Camel Rock

The name Tesuque is a Spanish variation of the Tewa name, Te Tesugeh Oweengeh, meaning the “village of the narrow place of the cottonwood trees.” Situated around a large central plaza, evidence indicates the pueblo has stood at its site since 1200 A.D. The plaza is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1680, the northern Pueblo peoples, led by Popay of San Juan (now Ohkay Owingeh), organized a clandestine revolt against the Spanish conquistadors and priests who had abusively subjugated them for over 100 years (The Pueblo Revolt.) The Plaza, or central area of the Pueblo, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is still the central gathering place for tribal feasts and ceremonial dances. The Mission church was built by Spanish and native laborers in the early 1600s was the focal point of the Plaza until 2004 when it was lost to a fire; a new church building now stands in its place.   Each August 10, the “Independence Day” of the Pueblos, Tesuque Pueblo celebrates the Pueblo Revolt with ceremonial races and dances in the Pueblo’s Plaza.

The reservation encompasses more than 17,000 acres high in the Santa Fe National Forest. Just across the highway from a natural sandstone formation known as Camel Rock, Tesuque Pueblo operates Camel Rock Casino, a gas station and an arts and crafts gift store. The tribe also operates a trailer park and the Tesuque Pueblo Flea Market on Opera Hill, north of Santa Fe, with more 200 booths every weekend for much of the year.

Tesuque Pueblo is located in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains 10 miles (16 km) north of Santa Fe, New Mexico off U.S. Highway 84/285.