Taos Pueblo

The Soul of Taos

New Mexico has a long and storied history – only becoming a state in 1912. Prior annexation of the region by the U.S. in 1846, the area was “ruled” for nearly 300 years by Spain and then Mexico.

File Photo, Taos Pueblo My job took us on a tour to the Pueblo and we were lucky to go the day after a big snow and see the area covered in fresh snow.

But going back more than 1,000 years, the Red Willow people of Taos Pueblo have called this place at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains home. It’s, in fact, the oldest continually inhabited community in the U.S. (it’s actually a sovereign nation), and in 1992, Taos Pueblo was admitted to the Heritage Society as one of the most significant historical cultural landmarks in the world, making it a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. The Pueblo was closed to the public at the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, but reopened in the fall of 2022.

File Photo

Ceremonies

Unchanged and unmatched in wonder and drama, Taos Pueblo holds the annual Procession of the Virgin Mary celebration on Christmas Eve. The scent of burning ocote wood fills the dark winter air and gunshots ring out as part of the tradition of welcoming La Nocha Buena (The GoodNight) and La Navidad (Christmas). Once the riflemen signal the birth of Christ, a procession including drummers, dancers and singers returns a statue of Mary to the historic San Geronimo Chapel. And on Christmas day, visitors are invited to respectfully observe the day’s celebrations.

Shopping

Visit often, and make your way around this historic place and the many unique shops within featuring Native-made handcrafted works from jewelry to pottery to paintings. The tribe takes extra care to be certain that all arts and crafts sold are Native-made, and all sales are tax-free.

Visiting

Taking a guided tour at Taos Pueblo is highly recommended. Tours touch on the highlights of the culture, history and people of the region. Tours last about 30 minutes. The pueblo takes seriously its rules and regulations, which visitors must abide by. It’s prohibited to take photographs of tribal members without their permission, as well as the San Geronimo Chapel. Any photographs taken must be for personal use only.

taospueblo.com
File Photo