New Mexico is renowned for its many seasonal celebrations of arts and culture throughout the state, many of which are centered on the beautiful and diverse multi-cultural landscape. As the state capitol and a hub for events, markets and festivals, the City of Santa Fe draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, many of whom are seeking to experience the living Native American culture and traditions that thrive in the area.
One hallmark of Native American culture is the celebration of community as a whole. In that vein, and joining cities and tribes across the nation, Santa Fe officially celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday, October 9, 2017, with a full day of traditional performances, dances, singing and drumming on the historic Plaza. It was a gorgeous fall day with all of the colors of the season on full display.
Santa Feans and visitors joined members of the 23 Tribes, Nations and Pueblos in New Mexico and numerous cultural institutions to honor and uphold its firmly rooted Native American culture. More than 1,500 people attended the event and experienced a convergence of cultural sharing that reflects the Native American way of life in the region, which includes Pueblo, Navajo and Apache peoples.
To commemorate Indigenous Peoples Day, the City commissioned noted Jemez Pueblo artist George Toya to create the “Indigenous World” artwork for the celebration featured in promotional materials, including a poster and t-shirts. Proceeds from the sale of these commemorative items yielded $3,000 to benefit the Santa Fe Indian Center. The Center supports and promotes the needs and values of the local American Indian community.
Santa Fe is deeply proud to embrace its rich history, cultural diversity and the prolific contributions that its first peoples bring to the city. These contributions are interwoven and visible throughout the city, especially in the distinct adobe Pueblo-revival architecture. The influences of Santa Fe’s Native American neighbors are fully integrated into this one-of-a-kind “international small town.” Enchanted by this beautiful and harmonious community of culture, visitors from all over the world come to “The City Different” to experience it first-hand.
Throughout the year opportunities for experiencing authentic Native American culture are plentiful in Santa Fe and the surrounding area. One can visit local Pueblo communities where there are galleries, artist studios, tours, and cultural centers as well as attend traditional cultural events such as dances.
For the eternal student, Santa Fe is rich in Native American history and there are opportunities to visit many historical sites and national monuments. The Rio Grande also weaves its way through the region, offering lush river valley views, and numerous recreational opportunities such as fishing and white-water rafting. In your explorations, you might come across markers of Native culture such as petroglyphs, ruins, and remnants of days gone by such as ancient shards of pottery and arrowheads, which are to be left undisturbed.
Next year, the Santa Fe Indigenous Peoples Day event will be held on October 8, 2018. After the success of this year’s event, plans are to expand the event to include afternoon Native American dances and performances on the weekend days prior, October 6-7, 2018. A full weekend of close access to Native culture on the Plaza is sure to be an enticing reason to visit Santa Fe, during the stunning fall harvest season, which also coincides with the nearby Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Santa Fe Indigenous Peoples Day is brought to you by the City of Santa Fe and TOURISM Santa Fe, in collaboration with the 23 Tribes, Nations and Pueblos in New Mexico. The celebration is free and open to the public.
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For more on Santa Fe Indigenous Peoples Day, please visit Santa Fe Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration.
View more beautiful photography from the Indigenous People’s Day Celebration in the slideshow below.