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Nambé Pueblo Historical Highlights

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Feast Day Dances at Nambé Pueblo during the early part of the 20th century.

Nambé Pueblo was one of the Rio Grande Pueblos that experienced a significant decline in population. This occurred due to the executions brought on by witch mania during the 18th century. Until the 1860s witch mania consumed the pueblo. From a population of approximately 350 it dwindled to around 50 people. The Pueblo authorities executed people suspected of practicing the Black Arts.

In the Beginning

The people of Nambé descended from the Anasazi. The ancient Indians migrated to northern New Mexico in search of a better climate. Nambé Pueblo 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 long history. When Juan de Oñate arrived in 1598 he forced the pueblo to pay taxes and convert to Catholicism. It’s no wonder then that the people of Nambé took part in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt against Spanish oppression. Nambé, along with neighboring pueblos, succeeded in forcing the Spanish government out of New Mexico through 1692.

Indian New Deal

Nambé Pueblo is located at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains 15 miles from Santa Fe. It became one of the Native American groups that relocated during the Reorganization Act of 1934. The “Indian New Deal,” forced the people of Nambé to move to California. The premise of the move was to assimilate the tribe members into American society. After two decades many of them decided to move back to their agrarian way of life. Fortunately, fifty of the remaining families kept the community going while the others were away.