The first Native Americans arrived in the Southwest thousands of years ago. Yet, these local tribes are still incredibly important to Santa Fe’s spirit and community. From their influential art and jewelry to their adobe-style structures, indigenous people have left an impressive mark on this city. Keep reading to learn 4 fascinating ways explore Native American culture in Santa Fe, NM.

Beautiful Native American pottery.

Although the Apache and Navajo Nations have both left their mark on New Mexico, the Pueblo people are the most prevalent near Santa Fe. In fact, their tribal communities are among the oldest in the nation. While they are known to have put their roots down approximately 1500 years ago, many believe the Pueblo people arrived long before that.

1. The Pueblo People

There are 19 Native American Pueblos in New Mexico, and many of these sovereign communities are just outside of Santa Fe. If you would like to visit one of these communities,  we suggest researching and calling ahead of time. The locals are warm and welcoming people, however some Pueblos only allow guests on certain days. We strongly urge visitors to respect each person’s customs and rules, which will vary. Typically, feast days and celebrations are the most popular times to go so you can also experience their cultural music, dancing, storytelling, and delicious food.

2. The Artwork

Artwork is a deeply important part of Native American tradition and has been for at least 3,000 years. Clay pots, jewelry, blankets, and clothing are a few of the beautifully, unique creations handmade by local tribes. The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in downtown Santa Fe is a great place to learn more about the people’s history, culture, and techniques.

3. Handmade Goods

Another great place to learn Native American history is under the portal of The Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe Plaza. In fact, this is one of the best places to purchase authentic Indian wares. For decades, they have been displaying and selling their goods under the portal of The Palace. The Native American Artisans Program offers buyers the chance to interact with artisans who display their handmade wares. The ever-changing array of handcrafted items includes pottery, textiles, and jewelry made of traditional materials such as turquoise, coral, and silver.

4. The Palace

The Palace itself is an historic, adobe structure dating to the early 1600s. The architecture is just as much a part of Native culture as the exhibits inside. The Pueblo people have been building adobe structures in New Mexico for centuries. As a matter of fact, adobe  architecture has become absolutely synonymous with Santa Fe.

These are just a 4 fascinating ways to explore Native American culture in Santa Fe, NM. There are many more ways to learn about their culture. which has helped define our city, state, and entire country. We encourage everyone to learn more about the practices, traditions, and history of indigenous people directly from Native American sources. We also encourage you to support them through buying only authentic American Indian goods and art.

Historic Lodging in Santa Fe

If you are interested in exploring the museums, seeing the architecture, or taking a day trip to visit the Pueblo communities, book a stay with Inn of the Turquoise Bear. Located just minutes from downtown Santa Fe, The Bear offers guests an opportunity to experience an authentic adobe-style home. Choose from our nine luxurious rooms, and then kick back and enjoy the lush gardens and best breakfast in town.

Published July 6 2021