Acoma Pueblo Things to Do

  • Street in Acoma Pueblo
    Street in Acoma Pueblo
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  • San Esteban
    San Esteban
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  • San Esteban
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Most Recent Things to Do in Acoma Pueblo

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    Sky City Cultural Center

    by goodfish Written Aug 16, 2009

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    Entrance to Acoma
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    Your visit starts here! This excellent 40,000 ft. facility was built in 2006 to replace a previous visitor center destroyed in a fire, and to provide both a quality experience for tourists and an archival/educational center for the tribe. The structure was carefully and beautifully designed to blend in with its natural surroundings and was built largely from traditional materials such as wood, stone, mud and pottery.

    Cultural Center facilities include:
    • Ticket desk for tours and camera permits

    • Haak’u Museum - 22,000 feet of pueblo pottery and works by famous Southwestern Native American artists. The museum also
    includes Ts’ikinum’a Theater - a video room with short films about pueblo history and culture - and temporary special exhibits.

    • Main hall exhibit that chronicles the story of the pueblo

    • Yaak’a Café - serving both Acoma traditional and American family favorites at reasonable prices

    • Gaits’i Gift Shop

    • Classrooms for educating Acoman children in traditional craft and language

    • Public rooms available for special events and business meetings

    • Private tribal facilities

    • Restrooms and ATM

    • Large outdoor courtyard

    The pueblo website has exhibit schedules, cafe menus, short videos about pueblo history and culture and lots of other good stuff.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

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  • kymbanm's Profile Photo

    Walk the ancient way ....

    by kymbanm Written Mar 6, 2006

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    Feet first ... sometimes :)
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    After your guided tour of Acoma, you are given several choices. You can ask for the vendor guide to go back to the local artist's homes and make purchases ..... you can take the bus back down from the pueblo to the visitor center .... or (my personal favorite) take the walking trail down the side of the mesa back to the visitor center and your car :)

    This is a short walk, and supposed to take only 10 minutes or so for your descent. If you are afraid of heights (like moi), or love taking pics along the way (moi again) it will take you a bit longer. I take closer to 30-45 minutes as I take deep breaths and try to center my nervousness. You'll need 2 hands on parts of the path and might need to go down some sections feet first. Between stabilized paths, stairs carved into the rocks, and easy hand holds, it really isn't bad :)

    The view is what makes me take this journey ..... despite the fear in my chest as I crawl down the mesa. My imagination takes root as I think of the Acoma ancestors crawling up and down the sides of this mesa as part of their daily lives.

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    Acoma Water Supply

    by kymbanm Updated Sep 18, 2005

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    A low level cistern in the spring .....
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    Being almost 400 feet above the nearby valley, there is no regular water supply in Sky City. All water is brought up from the surrounding area.... except when it rains. There are three natural indentations, or cisterns on the mesa. During the rare rainfall, water used by the inhabitants is collected. With only 11-13 inches of annual rainfall ..... every drop is precious.

    This lonely tree's ability to survive is probably enhanced by it's location at the edge of one of these cisterns.

    Though today, the Culligan Man does make deliveries ........... he doesn't deliver to the tree.

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  • kymbanm's Profile Photo

    Acoma Pueblo Kivas

    by kymbanm Updated Jul 1, 2005

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    Acoma Kiva

    Though most Kivas, or spiritual buildings for ceremonies, in this region are round ... here in Acoma they are square, to concerve the limited space found at this site. Despite blending in with the other buildings on the mesa, there are no doors on the outside. Entrance to the Kiva is through the opening in the roof.

    The ladders which allow participants to reach the entrance are different that other ladders in the pueblo. The Kiva ladders have pointed tips - in the direction of the sky - to pierce the clouds and bring rain.

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  • kymbanm's Profile Photo

    Saint Esteban Church Cemetary

    by kymbanm Written Jul 1, 2005

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    Cemetary Wall - St Esteban del Rey

    The cemetary next to the church is older than the church itself. Surrounded by a 40 foot adobe retaining wall, the interred have been placed in layers. The original layer was simply the decedents being placed into natural crevices with their blanket and then covered with a layer of rock.

    After the acceptance of Catholicism, it was deemed necessary to bury the dead under dirt. The women of Acoma brought the dirt up in tightly woven baskets - one basket at a time. As one layer of the cemetary filled, another layer would be begun. At this point, the cemetary is on it's 5th and final layer. No further burials will be able to occur here once this layer is complete.

    At the end of the cemetary closest to the door of the church is a raised area with a large cross. This cross is to honor the unknown ancestors contained in the lower levels ... whose names are only known to their decendents as legend.

    There are humps on the top of the cemetary wall. from the outside, that is all they appear to be. From the inside, they contain faces ... eyes, noses, ears and all. They are the sentinels who watch over the dead and protect them. There is also a hole in one wall to allow the spirits of the deceased a way to exit into the afterlife.

    Photography is prohibited in the cemetary, as well as the church. But limited photography of the wall is permited .....

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  • kymbanm's Profile Photo

    Acoma National Forest :)

    by kymbanm Updated Jul 1, 2005

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    Acoma 'forest'

    There is only one tree within Sky City .... it is unique as it has taken root in the rock of the mesa itself. This is taken to represent the tencious nature of the Acoma people, and the love of Mother Earth for these people ... and is jokingly referred to their National Forest.

    Related to:
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    • Historical Travel

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    Saint Esteban Church

    by kymbanm Updated Jul 1, 2005

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    Saint Esteban del Rey Mission

    This mission/church was built to symbolize the love of the Acoma people for their beloved Friar Juan as well as for their patron saint.

    Legend has it that after warring with the Spanish, the Acoma people were distrustful of strangers. So when this non-native man in a dress approached the mesa, the people of the mesa believed him to be up to no good. As he was approaching, a child fell from the mesa, and was considered lost.

    As they grieved for their loss, the inhabitants of Acoma were surprised to see the Friar emerge from the stone steps that lead up to the top of the mesa with the lost child in his arms. Considering this a miracle, they honored Friar Juan and welcomed him into their community. As a result of this miracle, the Acoma people began to learn about Catholicism.

    The beauty of the Catholic Church here in the southwest is so obvious here at St Esteban. Catholic, and traditional Native beliefs, have blended into a wonderfully unique version of this faith. Mother Earth, Father Sky, Corn, and other aspects of Acoma tradition have been blended with Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and Mother Mary ... all seperate entities, all equally powerful.

    According to the Spaniards, the Acoma people traded 4 children for the bell in the tower in the picture .... according to the people of Acoma, the Spaniards sent the bell after stealing 4 children from their families.

    Related to:
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  • Ken_Weaver's Profile Photo

    You must take the Guided Tour

    by Ken_Weaver Written Aug 29, 2004

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    Pueblo View from Tour Center

    The only way that you will be allowed to go on to the mesa and see the pueblo is by guided tour which leave the tour center every hour on the hour except June 24th and 29th, the first and/or second weekend of October, and the first Saturday of December. You will ride up to the top of the mesa in a modern air conditioned bus.

    Hours:

    November- March 8am-4:30pm
    April- October 8am-6:00pm

    Cost:
    Adult......................................$10.00
    Senior....................................$ 9.00
    Youth......................................$ 7.00

    Still Camera Permit.............$10.00
    Video cams are not allowed

    Call ahead to confirm hours and dates of operation

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  • Ken_Weaver's Profile Photo

    The Cemetery

    by Ken_Weaver Updated Aug 29, 2004

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    Cemetery from a Distance

    In front of San Esteban, is a cemetery. The only people that are buried here are people who were permanent residents of the Pueblo or Acoma who were killed in battle. Again, photography is prohibited in the cemetery, so I could only take this one from a distance. The cemetery is built behind a 40 foot wall and the deceased have been buried over the years in 5 layers. On top of the walls of the cemetery are heads made of adobe that scare away bad spirits. The wall took over 40 years to build...all of the adobe for the walls and the fill dirt had to be carried up the narrow steps to the top of the mesa.

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    Mission de San Esteban del Rey

    by Ken_Weaver Updated Aug 29, 2004

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    Mission de Esteban del Rey

    The Mission is a 21000 square foot building atop the mesa. It is of adobe construction and the roof is about 50 feet above the floor. The roof is supported by massive cedar log beams that were cut about 20 miles away and carried, without touching the ground, to the top of the mesa and placed on the adobe wall structure. Logs that did touch the ground on the way were abandoned...the Acoma believed that the logs must be pure.

    The interior of the church is very interesting but photography is prohibited in both the church and the cemetery. While this is a very big building, there are only about 3 rows of pews in the sanctuary. The worshippers typically lay blankets on the dirt floor when celebrating Mass.

    The dirt on the floor is always repacked down and not swept out as it becomes loose from tourist and worshipper traffic. The thought is that the dirt represents the presence of souls and the Acoma want that presence to always remain there.

    Several of the art pieces on the wall are almost 400 years old, painted on buffalo skins.

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  • MarkJochim's Profile Photo

    Enchanted Mesa

    by MarkJochim Written Mar 29, 2003

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    looking towards Enchanted Mesa (M. Jochim 6/1/93)

    Kadzima, or Enchanted Mesa, rises 400 feet above the surrounded plain to the east of Acoma. According to legend, it was inhabited by ancestral Acomas. One day, the people were tending to the fields in the valley when a violent rain storm broke out and washed away the access to the mesa. A young girl and her grandmother were stranded on top; rather than die from starvation, the two jumped from its cliff walls.

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  • MarkJochim's Profile Photo

    Sky City

    by MarkJochim Written Mar 29, 2003

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    (Mark Jochim 6/1/93)

    Many people consider the location of Sky City as an ideal site for defense against enemies. The oral heritage of Acoma tells of the origin and migration of Acoma people in search of HaK'u. It was prophesized from the beginning that there existed a place ready for the people to occupy. HaK'u means in a sense to prepare or plan.

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    Acoma Pueblo

    by MarkJochim Written Mar 29, 2003

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    San Esteban Mission (Mark Jochim 6/1/93)

    According to legend, Friar Juan gained entry to Acoma when he saved an infant from a fall off the edge as he approached the mesa. His delivery of the child back to the mother was considered a miracle.

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  • MarkJochim's Profile Photo

    Sky City

    by MarkJochim Updated Mar 29, 2003

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    (Mark Jochim 6/1/93)

    Coronado described Acoma as: "One of the strongest ever seen, because the city was built on a high rock. The ascent was so difficult that we repented climbing to the top. The houses are three and four stories high. The people are of the same type as those in the province of Cibola (Zuni) and they have abundant supplies of maize, beans and turkeys like those of New Spain." (Minge, Ward A. Acoma: People In The Sky. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1976. p.4)

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  • MarkJochim's Profile Photo

    San Esteban del Rey Mission at Acoma Pueblo

    by MarkJochim Written Mar 29, 2003

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    Mission church at Acoma (Mark Jochim 6/1/93)

    The Mission of San Esteban del Rey which rests high atop the Acoma Pueblo mesa was built in 1629 under the direction of Friar Juan Ramirez. It was completed in 1640 and occupies the area of a previous settlement. The mission is on the list of National Historic Landmarks.

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