The New Mexico pueblos are great places to go if you want to get in touch with Native American culture and history in the Southwest. These communities with links to both the past and present are among the longest inhabited communities in the United States, and often times, their Native American residents inhabit centuries-old structures. Adobe mud, stones, and other materials that were harvested from the area were used to build many of the New Mexico pueblos, and it is typical for multi-storied buildings to surround a main plaza. In addition to adobe and stone edifices, the pueblos in New Mexico feature fascinating cave dwellings, the likes of which include the renowned Gila Cave Dwellings, and you can hope to include tours of such dwellings on your vacations itineraries.
Native American pueblos, or villages, existed throughout the Southwest and were discovered by the first Spanish explorers in the region. The Spanish began arriving in the 1500s, and as you might imagine, they tried to force the ancient Pueblo Peoples of the Southwest to convert to Catholicism. All of the nineteen New Mexico pueblos that exist today offer evidence that a mission was built, though time would tell just how successful these missions would be. The Pueblo tribes of the Southwest managed to maintain much of their traditional lifestyle in spite of the Spanish efforts to convert, and New Mexico visitors can get fantastic insight into this lifestyle at places such as the Acoma Pueblo.
The Pueblo People have inhabited the American Southwest for centuries on end and are believed to be descendants of three major cultures. These cultures include the Mogollon, the Hohokam, and the Anasazi. Today, there are various subdivisions of the Pueblo People, though all of these subdivisions share a common history and thread. Collectively, the Pueblo People of the Southwest were the first native peoples to successfully revolt against the Spanish, it should be noted, though interesting enough is the fact that many Pueblo ceremonies are tied to Catholic traditions. For example, the main feast days for the various Pueblos are linked to Roman Catholic patron saints.
Many of the New Mexico Pueblos put on annual ceremonies that residents and non-residents alike can enjoy. These include feast days, and should you be fortunate enough, you will be invited to dine with a Pueblo family on a feast day. Also popular when it comes to the Pueblo ceremonies are traditional dance performances, and you are all but guaranteed to see dynamic costumes when attending such events. The Acoma Pueblo, which can be found atop a mesa near Albuquerque, is among the more renowned Pueblos in New Mexico, and it is known to host such celebrations. Its most popular festival is held in September and is known as the feast of San Estevan. If you can't make this event, other Acoma celebrations that are open to the public take place in June and July.
Another example of a New Mexico Pueblo that you can visit is the Taos Pueblo. Appropriately found near the city of Taos, this ancient pueblo is known for its historic multi-story edifices, the likes of which include the North-Side Pueblo. This largest surviving multi-storied Pueblo structure in the US has enticed many a visiting artist to either paint or photograph it, and you might be interested to know that the entire Taos Pueblo was named a National Historic Landmark.
Also worthy of mention when it comes to Pueblo attractions in New Mexico are the various ruins that can be found in the state. Among the more renowned New Mexico Pueblo ruins are the Gila Cliff Dwellings and the ruins that are part of the Bandelier National Monument. Homes that were inhabited by the ancestral Pueblo People are the highlight of these attractions, and they certainly see their fair share of visitors on an annual basis.