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fresh air | aire libre


Black Mesa Golf Club Puye reopened in 2008, after an eight-year closure in the aftermath of the Cerro Grande Fire. Before the closure, visitors were allowed to wander freely through the dwellings, something many people miss. But the lack of restrictions led to looted artifacts and damage ranging from erosion to graffiti. “Every person makes an impact on the land. That’s been one of the hardest things to teach people,” Williams said. “We want this for the next 100 generations, so we need to preserve this now for the future of our community. We decided upon tours to minimize the impact and provide a more meaningful experience for people.”

Galleries emphasize personal touch The Santa Clara people left the cliff dwellings for fertile ground by the Río Grande more than three centuries ago. Santa Clara village is open to visitors, but do not expect a tourist haven in this quiet village. A few tribal members still occupy homes in the village, but most live in new housing developments on Pueblo lands. The church and cemetery are off-limits to visitors. An “open” sign indicates someone selling pottery from his or her home. A stop at one of those or at two artistowned galleries might inspire a treasured memory. Merrock Gallery, owned by Paul and Rosalda Speckled Rock, carries pottery by Paul and other Native artists, American Indian jewelry and Rosalda’s paintings. The gallery occupies the house Paul’s grandmother lived in and serves as the artists’ studio. “This is our retirement,” Paul said. “This is like our garden or our little fishing place.” Paul always has a table set up where he can demonstrate, with the help of photographs, how traditional pottery is hand coiled and fired. He may tell stories of learning the art from his grandmother or explain the pottery designs. This type of personal interaction is rarely found at busier pueblos. But it also is available at Naranjo’s Pottery, located in Sammy Naranjo and Melony Gutierrez’s home. Sammy learned pottery making from his mother Flora when he was 12 years old and is known for his two-toned sgraffito (etched) pottery. Melony is one of the few artists still practicing red willow basketry. She also learned pottery making from


guided tour, and many Taos people have established

images of American Indians in mind. They may

galleries in their ancestral homes.

visit the pueblos expecting either a theme park

But visiting a sleepier Puebloan village may reap

experience of multistoried pueblos (remembered

other rewards. Artists selling from their homes

from grade school lessons) or Plains Indians wearing

may tell stories of learning pottery making from a

feathered headdresses and living in tepees.

grandmother or an aunt. Galleries are less crowded,

Many are disappointed to find that most Puebloan

and the artists who own them are often generous

villages are very similar to any other Northern New

with their time and willing to educate visitors about

Mexico village, comprising single-family adobe

the ancient art of pottery making.

homes with residents engaged in the same activities their contemporaries engage in elsewhere. “When

Santa Clara and Picuris pueblos in some ways exemplify contemporary Puebloan life. Both

they see me in my Nike shirt and Nike shoes, they

offer experiences ranging from quiet villages to

sometimes ask if I’m an Indian,” said artist Melony

contemporary hotels, providing opportunities to

Gutierrez of Santa Clara Pueblo. The villages are usually quiet, with few people about, because most pueblo members live in

learn more about Puebloan people and the world they inhabit today. Those planning to purchase pottery or artwork

contemporary homes away from the older village and

at the pueblos are advised to carry cash. Galleries

work at day jobs. Most villages have a few “open”

usually accept credit cards, but individual artists

signs indicating families selling pottery or other

often do not.

artwork from their homes and maybe a family-owned gallery or two. Those wanting to see more traditional Puebloan structures should visit Taos or Acoma. Taos has two multistoried pueblos inhabited for more than 1,000

Many pueblos are offering other venues for interacting with Puebloan people and aesthetics — modern enterprises ranging from hotels to golf courses. Resort/casinos such as Sandia Resort & Casino

years. Acoma’s multistory structures are smaller, due

or Santa Ana Pueblo’s Hyatt Regency Tamaya

to the pueblo’s perch on a mesa top, but they also

Resort and Spa offer luxurious accommodations

hold centuries of history.

with a contemporary Puebloan aesthetic. Buffalo

Taos and Acoma have also embraced tourism.

Thunder Resort & Casino is filled with museum-

Acoma offers only guided tours of the ancient

quality contemporary American Indian art. Puebloan

pueblo, with pueblo members selling pottery along

golf courses are often masterpieces of landscape

the tour route. Visitors at Taos may wander the

architecture. Casinos are often worth visiting for

village on their own or enrich their experience with a

their interior design and architecture.

2012 Bienvenidos 7 7

Profile for The New Mexican

Bienvenidos 2012 Summer Guide to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico  

Bienvenidos 2012 Summer Guide to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico

Bienvenidos 2012 Summer Guide to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico  

Bienvenidos 2012 Summer Guide to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico