Nambe Pueblo, which is located at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains 15 miles from Santa Fe, was one of the Native American groups that relocated during the Reorganization Act of 1934. Known as the “Indian New Deal,” the people of Nambe had to live in California under the premise of assimilating into American society. After two decades many of them decided to move back to their agrarian way of life. When they returned to Nambe the community had been kept intact by the fifty remaining families that had stayed. Today, about 600 people live on the pueblo where they sustain themselves through farming.
Nambe Pueblo Goes Back to the 14th Century
The people of Nambe, like other pueblo Indians are most likely descended from the Anasazi. They migrated to the northern New Mexico in search of a better climate. The pueblo of Nambe has been in existence since at least the 14th century. Many of the residents continue to speak a dialect of the Tewa language, as well as Spanish and English. They are proud of their self-reliance that undoubtedly stems from their proud history. When Juan de Oñate arrived in 1598 he ruled with an iron fist forcing the pueblo to pay taxes and convert to Catholicism.
The people of Nambe took part in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt against Spanish oppression. For the next twelve years the people of Nambe, along with neighboring pueblos, managed to keep the Spanish government out of New Mexico. Their leaders was Po’pay a Native Indian from Ohkay Owingeh (formerly San Juan Pueblo). He served the Tewa people as an Indian medicine man and religious leader. In recognition of the suffering of his people under Spanish rule, he masterminded the Indian Pueblo Revolt of 1680, successfully driving the Spaniards completely out of New Mexico for twelve years. His statue is one of two on display in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.