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Pueblos open for ceremonial visits

Navajo women dance during a Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial. This year’s 98th annual ceremonial is Aug. 2-11. (Courtesy of Jamie Arviso)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico immerses both residents and tourists alike in a myriad of cultures and traditions.

Visiting any of the state’s pueblos or tribes offers a way to experience one of the state’s most unique cultural aspects. Several times a year, pueblos open their boundaries to the general public during feast days, which are used to celebrate a patron saint or recognize an important historical event. Visitors can watch traditional dances and share a meal with local residents.

For information, visit newmexico.org/events/native-american/feast-days.

Anyone visiting pueblos must follow certain rules of etiquette. The dances are religious ceremonies and not entertainment and should be respected as such. Silence is mandatory during all dances and ceremonies. Most pueblos do not allow photos or videos and prohibit alcohol and drugs as well. Some photography, painting and sketching may be allowed with a permit. Many areas may remain off limits including private homes, kivas, ceremonial rooms, cemeteries and sacred places.

Access to tribal lands can be restricted at any time for a number of reasons. Travelers are encouraged to phone ahead to confirm event dates and to check pueblo websites for a complete list of rules and etiquette.

Following is a sampling of feast days this summer.

June

Father’s Day weekend: Picuris Pueblo, High Country Arts & Crafts Festival

23: Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, vespers, foot race/buffalo dance

24: St. John Bautista Annual Feast; Taos, corn dance; Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, corn dance, Comanche/Buffalo dance

29: San Pedro Feast; Santa Ana and Kewa, corn dance

July

4: Nambé Pueblo, Celebration of Waterfall

4-7: Mescalero Apache, tribal ceremonial/rodeo

Second weekend in July: Taos Pueblo Pow Wow. taos.org/events/taos-pueblo-pow-wow/

14: San Bonaventura Feast; Cochití Pueblo, San Felipe, Kewa pueblos

Third weekend in July: Ohkay Owingeh, Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Arts & Crafts Fair; Jicarilla Apache, Little Beaver Celebration and Dances with open rodeo/pow wow

25-26: Santiago and Santa Ana Feast; Taos, Laguna, Santa Ana and San Ildefonso, various dances

27: Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast, Pojoaque, traditional pueblo dances

August

2-11: Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial: Red Rock State Park near Gallup. gallupceremonial.com or 505-863-3896

4: Annual Feast; Kewa, corn dances

9: San Lorenzo Feast; Picuris, Mass/sunset dances

10: Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and San Lorenzo Feast; Picuris, Ceremonial foot race, pole climb/traditional dances; Laguna, people named Lawrence/Lorenzo throw items from rooftops to visitors; Acoma and Cochití, various dances

12: Annual Feast; Santa Clara, buffalo/harvest/corn dance

15: The Assumption of Our Blessed Mother’s Feast; Zia and Laguna, harvest/various dances

28: San Augustine Annual Feast; Isleta, Mass followed by a procession/dances

September

2: San Esteban Feast; Old Acoma Pueblo, harvest dances

4: San Augustine Feast; Isleta, harvest dance

8: Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Feast; Laguna, harvest/social dances; San Ildefonso Pueblo, corn dance

15: Go-Jii-Yah Feast; Jicarilla Apache Reservation, Stone Lake

19: St. Joseph’s Annual Feast; Laguna, buffalo/eagle/social dances

25: St. Elizabeth Feast; Laguna, harvest/social dances

30: Harvest feast of San Geronimo; Taos, foot races/pole climb/open air market

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