Taos Pueblo, New Mexico
Русская версия Taos is the oldest continuously populated settlement of the USA, situated about 70 miles away from Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Indians still living here are considered to belong to Pueblo people, although it is important to understand that “Pueblo” is very much of overgeneralization, since its tribes are very different in languages, cultures, and traditions. For instance, the language of Taos, Tiwa, also different from the others, has never been codified and remains only oral up to now.
Taos reservation entrance fee is 10 dollars including the guided tour (although the tip to the guide is also appreciated) which starts from the Taos graveyard.
The graveyard and the remains of St. Geronimo Church (built in 1619) are the evidence of how much the Taos pueblo were persecuted. The Indians were violently baptized into Catolics, forced to adopt Spanish names, and prohibited to practice their own religion. This caused the Pueblo revolution in 1680 (the church was demolished then for the first time) which resulted into the 20 years of Pueblo independence (before they were conquered by the Spanish again).
A century after, when Americans came to power, the relationship with the authorities became heated again; consequently, the leaders of Pueblo were hung, many common Indians were killed, and the restored church was destroyed again.That is when a graveyard formed around its remains, and another church was built outside:
In spite of the persecutions, the Indians in today’s Taos admit how lucky they were: unlike other tribes they were never removed from their settlements (while others were often killed or disseminated around America, which caused their extinction). Today it is difficult to believe that Taos Pueblo received their right to vote only in the middle of the XXth century; only in 1970, the rights for the sacred Blue Lake were returned to them. Still, the Indians do not let the tourists to the lake, since waters and their surroundings are holy for the Taos settlers. ¾ of modern Taos population are Catholics still practicing their own religion in everyday life too though. The non-Catholic objects of worship (including the lake) cannot be accessed by the tourists.
By the way, Taos Indians drink the water from their river (descending from the lake), without filtering it, being proud of not having it polluted by any industrial wastes.
Some general views of Taos:
There is still no electricity, central heating, or running water in the pueblo of Taos, the Indians go to the city of Taos for these. An oven, resembling Asian tandyr, but called horno , is built near almost every house. It is used to bake bread, pastry, meat and vegetables.
The two main buildings of Taos – the Northern and the Southern ones – are more than a 1000 years old. The constructions resemble apartment buildings with individual entrances to each “flat”.
All the houses are built from the bricks made of water, clay, and straw. The walls are very thick, plastered with the while clay inside.
Taos Pueblo has not changed a lot since the first conquistadors came here; among the very few changes is the building of the doorway. Before, people climbed into the houses by the stairs through the special windows on the roofs designed also to let the sunlight into the buildings. In addition, it was more difficult for the enemies to enter in such a way. If they were approaching, the stairs from the lower floors were simply removed.
These constructions have different functions, but primarily they are used to dry meet, corn, pumpkins, beans, berries and animal skins.
After the excursion, it is possible to buy locally produced souvenirs, jewelry, pottery, etc. from the differently priced local shops all over Taos.