The Taos Pueblo was a real cool place to visit. Especially for me coming from Switzerland, I had never seen a real Indian "village" before and how they live. We took a guided tour, which was great. I learned a lot.
The tribe is called Red Willow, they still talk their own language (Kiowa-Tanoan) and have their own traditions, which the guide was a little secretive about.
Houses are very interesting looking, made by hand out of reddish brown adobe, they also have hand made ovens, (see picture) and a cemetery that was bombed during one of the wars to keep their land against US territories.
You can buy fried bread and other goodies...we bought some from a very old sweet little indian lady. she was so cute.
Drying chillies, using chillies in food, and using them in decoration-it's all part of New Mexico. The people love the little buggers and I would think they would make them their State flower if they could! I like spicy food but I learned that when locals say it isn't hot it's probably a bit hotter than you are used to. So, when in New Mexico you can go with mild and get something pretty tasty.
Driving in Taos: The main highway through town tends to get crowded because there is no official Taos bypass (there are back route bypasses used by the locals). This causes some locals to adopt kamakazy driving tactics when trying to get onto the highway. Some locals go out of thier way to let side traffic merge into the highway. Tourists are advised to do the same. Auto insurance is high in Taos because of the many traffic accidents.
Try the back routes too. Get a Taos map from the Taos Info Center. You will get a more complete picture of Taos if you get off the main drag. As bad as the main highway traffic may seem it really only takes 15 minutes to get across town, nothing like a Southern California Freeway.
built in 1850 is a Registered National Historic Landmark. It is one of the youngest buildings in the village. It is an extroadinary example of the architectural achievements of the natives. As you enter, note the fine carved wooden beams of vigas and choir loft. The thickness of the adobe walls that the support the high ceiling offer the best natural insulation making the summers cool and the winters warm within the thick walls. The central altar figure or Santo is the Virgin Mary, along with other Santos that were brought by the early Spanish missionaries. The Virgin Mary within the native religion depicts the parallel of Mother Nature. The outfits that drape the saints are changed according to the seasons. The Natives incorporated their values into the altar to remind themselves of cultural values. To the right is a symbolic casket, which were placed in missions throughout the New World to convert the natives to Catholic funeral practices. Today about 3/4 of the population shares in some of the Catholic practices while the native rituals perseveres 100% in daily life. The Native religion is verbally passed down from generation to generation. The Kivas are just one of the sacred religious shrines. They are off limits to non-members. Mass is conducted each Sunday morning at 7 am by a priest that is shared with the catholic Church in the Town of Taos. The Taos Pueblo Governor's Officials known as Fiscales maintain the Church.
Taos Pueblo requests that visitors abide by these rules:
1. Please report, and pay the appropriate fee for, each camera you carry into the Pueblo area.
2. Please respect the "restricted area" signs as they protect the privacy of our residents and the sites of our native religious practices.
3. Do not enter doors that are not clearly marked as curio shops. Each home is privately owned and occupied by a family and is not a museum display to be inspected with curiosity.
4. Please do not photograph members of the tribe without first asking permission.
5. Absolutely no photography in San Geronimo Chapel.
6. Do not enter the walls surrounding the ruins of the old church and our cemetery.
7. Do not wade in the river -- their sole source of drinking water.
Engage locals in conversation or greeting before making requests; people are very open and you will get your answer eventually. Staring or pointing is considered rude and will evoke a hostile response.