Celebrate Native American Heritage in New Mexico
New Mexico’s Native presence can be felt from the northwest to the southeast, and everywhere in between.
It’s a presence which dates back more than two centuries, when early tribal tribes lived as hunter/gatherers in the Southwest. More than 1,000 years ago, some of these groups joined together to establish permanent settlements, commonly known as pueblos. It’s a way of life that continues to this very day among New Mexico’s 23 pueblos, tribes, and nations.
Bandelier National Monument (Los Alamos)
Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back over 11,000 years. The Ancestral Pueblo people lived here from approximately 1150 CE to 1550 CE. They built homes from volcanic tuff and grew crops in mesa tops fields. Their diet consisted mainly of corn, beans, squash, and native plants. They also ate meat from squirrels, deer, rabbit, or rabbit. Domesticated turkeys were used to provide their feathers and meat, while dogs provided companionship and hunting assistance.
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument (Silver City)
For thousands of years, nomadic groups used the caves at the Gila River to shelter their temporary needs. In the late 1200’s, people of the Mogollon Culture decided it would be a good place to call home. The cliff dwellings were home to about twenty years of construction, pottery, and children. The Mogollon left the walls behind as a glimpse into the past, and moved on.
Chaco Culture National Historic Park
Today, the enormous buildings of the Ancestral Puebloan People still bear witness to the extraordinary organizational and engineering skills that are rare in the American Southwest. For a deeper contact with the canyon that was central to thousands of people between 850 and 1250 A.D., come and explore Chaco through guided tours, hiking & biking trails, evening campfire talks, and night sky programs.
Native Cultures Feast & Float with Los River Runners (Taos)
Float is a peaceful section of the Rio Grande. It has two guides: one to row it and one who is a Native American interpretive guide. They share Pueblo history with you. The Native guides’ stories and unique views of the land they live on offer a glimpse into a very special and ancient culture.
After floating for approximately an hour and a quarter, you arrive at your destination to find a traditional feast meal prepared and served by a Pueblo Indian family. This special meal includes red chili stew, blue corn posoles, oven bread or fries bread, Indian pie and Indian tea.
Indian Pueblo Kitchen (at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque)
The Indian Pueblo Kitchen focuses on Indigenous cuisine education, exploration, and continues our tradition of creative, Native American food artistry and Pueblo hospitality. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center offers guests an unforgettable Indigenous dining experience. It features culinary events and education as well as a bakery, teaching and cooking kitchens, and the famous Pante Project meal pick-up.
Laguna Burger (multiple locations)
An iconic spot for green-chile burgers, it is owned and operated by Native Americans. People from all over the country have praised the World Famous Laguna Burger as the best burger they’ve ever eaten since its inception ten years ago.
When Ben and Debbie Sandoval began construction of Tiwa Kitchen & Bakery in September 1992, they gathered friends & family and used the ancient tradition of Pueblo adobe making. Then they carefully placed over 3,000 adobes and created a solid structure that will now last hundreds of years.
Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. (Albuquerque)
The first Native Woman-owned brewery. They recently announced a Native Land Beer campaign; they developed the IPA recipe and label for a beer collaboration with other breweries across the country, with releases beginning in November during Native American Heritage Month and a window to participate over several months, through the end of March 2022. Participating breweries will 1) acknowledge the ancestral land they are on and 2) place a place on their labels to recognize the Tribe(s). This is done to increase awareness of Native people and to provide resources for Native organizations that focus on ecological stewardship and strengthening Native communities.
Turtle Mountain Brewing Company (Rio Rancho)
Located in the heart of one of New Mexico’s fastest-growing communities, Turtle Mountain Brewing Company was founded by Nico Ortiz in 1999, whose father was born and raised at Oke Owingeh Pueblo and who supported and inspired Nico to pursue his dream of opening a brewery. “Turtle Mountain” is a Tewa name for Sandia Peak in the east.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.