Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico

Written by on July 3, 2016 in NM History & Heritage - 1 Comment

Nearly 1,000 years ago, the Acoma people were being raided by their Apache and Navajo neighbors, particularly during harvest time or to take women and children for slaves. The Acoma abandoned their valley homes and built an impregnable barrier against enemy attack. Called Acoma Pueblo, the 70-acre mountain settlement means “Place of Readiness” or “Place Prepared.”

Acoma legend says that they were led to this stunning valley, with its huge sandstone weathered shapes, and their aerie mesa by the gods. As they wandered the lands of Colorado and New Mexico, the ancestors would stop to all out the word “Haak’u.” When the call echoed back to them, they knew they had found the place prepared for them … the place of their destiny.

Built atop a sheer-walled 400 foot sandstone bluff, Acoma Pueblo has stood the test of time since 1150 A.D. It is the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. The Acoma Pueblo is actually more than just the pueblo — the tribe owns more than 431,664 acres which is home to 4,800 tribal members with more the 250 dwellings. The Pueblo was named the 28th National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) site in 2007 and is the only Native American site in the nation so designated.

Visitors to “The Sky City,” can still see how the Acoma people lived centuries ago. Many tribal members still live in the Acoma Puelbo and the nearby villages. While most don’t live in the ancient pueblo full time, as none of the dwellings have electricity, sewer or running water, they do return for special cultural occasions, and the Acoma potters still carry on their centuries-old tradition of making finely crafted Pueblo Indian Pottery. So you can easily capture the feel of what it must have been like to live there 900 years ago.

In order to tour the Sky City itself, you must have permission from the Acoma Tribal Council and Tribal Administration, and daily escorted tours are offered throughout the year, except for certain dates sacred to the Acoma. It’s best to check the website for closure dates.

The Sky City Cultural Center and the Haak’u Museum at the base of the mesa, offer an in-depth look at the lifestyle and culture of these amazing people. The Cultural Center is an education and research institute focusing on the preservation of Acoma history, as well as a place to revitalize art forms and to help the tribe retain their traditional language. The Haak’u Museum showcases the southwest Native American culture of the Acoma Pueblo Indians. As well as chronicling the history of the people, the museum also displays Native American artwork, both ancient and modern, for the Acoma people still practice many of the artistic talents passed down through the generations. There is a gift shop as well as the Yaak’a Cafe (Corn Cafe), an airy eatery opening to the outside courtyard featuring a diverse menu of Acoma foods as well as traditional native American cooking and contemporary American dishes.

Acoma Pueblo is located about a forty minute drive east of Grants, New Mexico.

Other attractions in the area include:
Top 10 Things to do in Albuquerque
El Malpais
Bandero Volcano and Ice Cave

Acoma Pueblo General Inquiries:
Toll Free: 1-800-747-0181PO Box 310
Pueblo of Acoma, NM 87034

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