My blog today is a history lesson. I have enjoyed everything native American on this trip, but there is nothing to match New Mexico. There are so many tribes (and casinos), ruins, cave dwellings, stories and art. At the end of this blog are my pictures but I went to wikipedia-and I believe the tour guide who lives at the pueblo with her children and practices the old ways-probably memorized the following to tell us on our walking tour. However, she had charm, humor and incredible pride that made the story 10 times more interesting. Also I met a man my age who was in Washington D.C. when I was back in “69”. He was lobbying for his people and we think we attended some of the same hearings! If you read the notes below you will not understand the power of loosing the blue lake where the “people” came from and go to hold spiritual rituals (That was Teddy Roosevelt building the national park system). You will not read how the army burned down the catholic church with 100 women and children inside. You will also not know that Obama signed the legislation that gave the “people” back their water rights which were deliberately left out when Nixon signed the land back. Can you tell how much I love American History?????
Anyway pictures will be at the bottom of the Wikipedia lesson.
Most archeologists believe that the Taos Indians along with other Pueblo Indians settled along the Rio Grande migrated from theFour Corners region. [Flowers ,my guide says they believe they began there and did not arrive from anywhere] The dwellings of that region were inhabited by the Anasazi, and a long drought in the area in the late 13th century may have caused them to move to the Rio Grande where the water supply was more dependable.
The history of Taos Pueblo includes the plotting of the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, a siege by U.S. forces in 1847, and the return byPresident Nixon in 1970 of the Pueblo’s 48,000 acres (190 km2) of mountain land taken by President Theodore Roosevelt and designated as the Carson National Forest early in the 20th century. Blue Lake, which the people of the Pueblo traditionally consider sacred, was included in this return of Taos land. The Pueblo’s web site names the acquisition of the sacred Blue Lake as the most important event in its history due to the spiritual belief that the Taos natives originated from the lake itself. An additional 764 acres (3.09 km2) south of the ridge between Simpson Peak and Old Mike Peak and west of Blue Lake were transferred back to the Pueblo in 1996.
The North-Side Pueblo is said to be one of the most photographed and painted buildings in the Western Hemisphere. It is the largest multistoried Pueblo structure still existing. It is made of adobe walls that are often several feet thick. Its primary purpose was for defense. Up to as late as 1900, access to the rooms on lower floors was by ladders on the outside to the roof, and then down an inside ladder. In case of an attack, outside ladders could easily be pulled up.
The homes in this structure usually consist of two rooms, one of which is for general living and sleeping, and the second of which is for cooking, eating, and storage. Each home is self-contained; there are no passageways between the houses. Taos Indians made little use of furniture in the past, but today they have tables, chairs, and beds. In the Pueblo, electricity, running water, and indoor plumbingare prohibited.
The pueblo wall completely encloses the village except at the entrance as a symbol of the village boundaries. Now rather short, the wall used to be much taller for protection against surrounding tribes. The river running through the pueblo serves as the primary source for drinking and cooking water for the residents of the village. In the winter, the river never completely freezes although it does form a heavy layer of ice. Because the river moves so swiftly, the ice can be broken to obtain the fresh water beneath.
Three religions are represented in the Pueblo: Christianity, the aboriginal religion, and the Native American Church. Eighty percent of the Taos Pueblo community is baptized; however, only twenty percent are practicing Roman Catholics. The majority of Taos Indians practice their still-vital, ancient indigenous religion (Taos Pueblo Public Tour; 30 July 2010). Saint Jerome, or San Geronimo, is the patron saint of the pueblo.
The deep feeling of belonging to a community, summed up in their phrase, “we are in one nest,” has held the Taos people together. Both men and women are expected to offer their services or “community duties,” when needed. One should be cooperative and never allow their own desires to be destructive of the community’s interest. One of Taos’s strongest institutions is the family. Descent on both the father and the mother’s side of the family is equally recognized. Each primary family lives in a separate dwelling so when a couple gets married, they move to their own home. With relatives so near by, everyone is available to help care for the children. The elderly teach the young the values and traditions that have been handed down, which protects the integrity of the Taos culture.