Santa Fe 101 Guide | New Mexico’s 19 Indian Pueblos

Visitors to Santa Fe and New Mexico have the unique opportunity to be in contact with an ancient, indigenous population without ever leaving the country. The Pueblo Indians of New Mexico are believed to be descendants of the Anasazi who populated the Four Corners region of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. During the 13th century the Pueblo Indians began settlements along major rivers, primarily the Rio Grande, which begins in south-central Colorado and flows through to the Gulf of Mexico. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado was the first major explorer to come into contact with New Mexico’s indigenous population at Zia Pueblo in his 1540–1542 expedition. San Juan Pueblo was the first settlement claimed by the Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate in 1598. The next significant date of record in the history of the Pueblo people occurred in the latter part of the 17th century during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Led by the medicine man Po’pay, of Ohkay Owingeh, the neighboring pueblos successfully drove the Spanish colonists out of New Mexico for twelve years.

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More information on the Pueblos can be found in my book:

Below is a list of New Mexico’s nineteen Indian Pueblos with their corresponding feast days. Throughout the year other ceremonies and events are held with many of them open to the public.

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center website is the best place to find this information. Taos and Acoma are the two most widely visited pueblos and are open tourists throughout the year.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center – indianpueblo.org

One of the most widely celebrated dances at the Pueblos is known as Los Matachines, a performance ritual believed to be of Arabic origin that was used by the Franciscan missionaries as a proselytizing instrument to teach Catholicism to the Indians. This dance ceremony, possibly the earliest evidence of the convergence of spiritual practices in this country, arrived from the Arab world via Spain. The Matachín dancers most probably entered Spain from Morocco. In the Diccionario de la Lengua Español, matachín is translated from the Arabic word meaning “masked.”

Southern New Mexico

Northern Tiwa Pueblos

Taos and Picuris Pueblo are the furthest north of the Pueblos along the Rio Grande. These pueblos speak Northern Tiwa a language most closely related to an extinct language of the Piro Indians.

Taos Pueblo – taospueblo.com – 575-758-1028

Language – Northern Tiwa

Patron Saint San Geronimo (St. Jerome)

Feast Day – September 30th


Picuris Pueblo – picurispueblo.org – 575-587-2519

Language – Northern Tiwa

Patron Saint – San Lorenzo (St. Lawrence)

Feast Day of San Lorenzo – August 10

Tewa Pueblos

Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, the largest of the Tewa Pueblos, was formerly known as San Juan Pueblo. In 2005 the Pueblo changed their name back to Ohkay Owingeh, which means “Place of Strong People” in Tewa. It was the Pueblo’s original name during the Spanish takeover in 1598.  Santa Clara Pueblo is the third largest northern Tewa pueblo located on the west bank of Rio Grande between Santa Fe and Taos. It shares a common boundary with San Ildelfonso, the second largest of the Tewa Pueblos. Nambe Pueblo was one of the Rio Grande Pueblos that experienced a significant decline in population due the executions brought on by witch-mania during the 18th century. The smallest and most acculturated of the six Tewa Pueblos is Pojoaque Pueblo. From 1912 to 1934 no one lived on the Pueblo. It wasn’t until 1934 that members of the tribe began to return to the Pueblo. Tesuque Pueblo is the southernmost Tewa Pueblo. During the 1680 Pueblo Revolt two of its members figured prominently in the revolt warning the other Pueblos of the date of the first strike. The first blood of the revolt was shed at Tesuque on August 9, 1680 with the killing of the Spaniard, Cristobal de Herrera.


Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo – ohkay.org  – 505-852-4400

Language- Tewa

Patron Saint – San Juan (Saint St. John the Baptist) 

Feast Day of San Juan – June 24


Santa Clara Pueblo – No website – 505-753-7326

Language – Tewa

Patron Saint – Santa Clara (Saint Clare)

Feast Day – August 11th


San Ildefonso – sanipueblo.org   – 505-455-3549

Language – Tewa

Patron Saint – San Ildefonso (St. Ildefonsus)

Feast Day January 23


Nambé Pueblo – nambepueblo.org  – 505-455-4400

Language – Tewa

Patron Saint – St. Francis of Assisi

Feast Day: October 4th


Pojoaque Pueblo – pojoaque.org  – 505-455-5041

Language – Tewa

Patron Saint – Our Lady of Guadalupe

Feast Day – December 12th


Tesuque Pueblo – no website – 505-983-2667

Language – Tewa

Patron Saint – San Diego (St. Didacus)

Feast Day – November 12th

Towa Pueblo

Jemez Pueblo is located on the east bank of the Jemez River 25 miles northwest of Bernalillo. More than any of the other pueblos they are considered the highlanders because of their location in the Jemez Mountains. They are the only Towa speaking pueblo left in New Mexico. It is believed that their present dialect grew out of a combination of the original dialects spoken at the extinct Pueblo of Pecos and that of Jemez, prior to the surviving members of Pecos joining Jemez Pueblo in 1838.


Jemez Pueblo – jemezpueblo.org  – 575-834-7235

Language – Towa

Patron Saint – San Diego (St. Didacus)

Annual Feast Day – November 12th

Keres Pueblos

Cochiti Pueblo located on the west bank of the Rio Grande in northcentral New Mexico, is the first of the seven Keresan Pueblos. Santa Domingo Pueblo is one of the larger pueblos in the central Rio Grande area. Its first village was established in 1776 but due to floods during the next century, it moved to higher ground where it has been located since 1895. San Felipe Pueblo was unable to hold off the Spanish during the Pueblo Revolt and had to retreat and lived a top Horn Mesa southwest of Cochiti Canyon for many years. The history of Zia Pueblo most succinctly tells the story of New Mexico’s indigenous and Spain’s impact in its first 150 years of rule. From a population of at least 5,000 in 1540, Zia had less than 300 members in 1690, a result of the deaths from diseases that they had no immunity to and the scattering of its members to other areas during the 1680 Pueblo Revolt.

Santa Ana Pueblo is the last of the five eastern Keres speaking pueblos located in the central Rio Grande Valley. The pueblo of Santa Ana, along with that of Zia, was destroyed during the Pueblo Revolt. The revolt and aftermath caused repeated dislocations for the people at Santa Ana, who took refuge with other pueblos in the Jemez Mountains.

Laguna Pueblo was established, mostly by Keresan refugees, who chose not to return to their homes after the Spanish regained control in 1692. They formed their own pueblo 14 miles northeast of Acoma. Laguna Pueblo was formerly established in 1699, seven years before the founding of the city of Albuquerque.

Acoma Pueblo is famous, not only for its sweeping vistas high above its home on the mesa, but more so for the brutal treatment they endured under Spanish rule. Juan de Oñate ordered the execution of many of the Pueblo men, while the remaining ones who survived had one of their feet severed.


Cochiti Pueblo – no website 505-465-2244

Language- Keres

Patron Saint – St. Bonventure

Feast Day – July 14th



Santa Domingo Pueblo – santodomingotribe.org – 505-465-2214

Language – Keres

Patron Saint – St. Dominic

Feast Day – August 4th


San Felipe Pueblo – No website – 505-867-3381

Language – Keres

Patron Saint – St. Phillip

Feast Day – May 3rd


Zia Pueblo – zia.com -505-867-3304

Language – Keres

Patron Saint – Our Lady of the Assumption

Feast Day – August 15th


Santa Ana Pueblo – santaana.org – 505-867-3301

Language – Keres

Patron Saint – St. Anne

Feast Day – July 26th


Laguna Pueblo – lagunapueblo-nsn.gov  – 505-552-6654

Language – Keres

Patron Saint – San Jose

Feast Day – March 19th


Acoma – acomaskycity.org  – 800-747-0181

Language – Keres

Patron Saint – San Estevan

Feast Day – September 2nd

Zuni Pueblo

Zuni Pueblo is the westernmost pueblo in New Mexico located 125 miles west of the Rio Grande and 75 miles away from Acoma Pueblo. It is the only pueblo in New Mexico to speak Zuni, a language unrelated to those of the other pueblos in the state. In 1776 Zuni was the largest village in New Mexico with documentation stating that Zuni had 1,617 souls, more so than the capital city of Santa Fe.


Zuni Pueblo – ashiwi.org – 505-782-7238

Language – Zuni

Patron Saint – Our Lady of Guadalupe

Feast Day – August 15th

Southern Tiwa Pueblos

Sandia and Isleta are the only two pueblos in New Mexico that speak Southern Tiwa. For unknown reasons, Sandia Pueblo has been ignored by historians and anthropologists and there is less documentation on their history. What is known about the Pueblo, which is located 15 miles north of Albuquerque, is that prior to 1680 it had a population of at least 3,000. Many of its people were either killed during the Pueblo Revolt or fled for their safety. By 1733 the pueblo had been abandoned and not until 1748 did they return from Hopi land.

Isleta Pueblo was the only pueblo in New Mexico that did not participate in the Pueblo Revolt. At the time they were on friendly terms with the Spaniards and allowed them to take refuge at the pueblo during the revolt. However, they were not spared from the violence that surrounded them and soon fled south to El Paso and Mexico. Upon their return after 1692 the pueblo once again prospered due in part to their location. Their proximity to the Rio Grande allowed them to irrigate their fields regularly. Unlike some of the pueblos to the west, Isleta was not dependent on dry farming and the advent of rain for their survival.


Sandia Pueblo – sandiapueblo.nsn.us – 505-867-3317

Language – Southern Tiwa

Patron Saint – St. Anthony de Padua

Feast Day – June 13th


Isleta Pueblo – isletapueblo.com – 505-869-3111

Language – Southern Tiwa

Patron Saint – San Augustine

Feast Day – August 28th