The “Poeh” at Pojoaque:  A Pathway to Pueblo Culture

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Just north of Santa Fe a whole new world awaits as you enter the diverse and beautiful cultural landscape of Pueblo country, nestled along the lush Rio Grande Valley, with sweeping horizon mountain views.  Visit The Poeh Center (Poeh) at Pueblo of Pojoaque, known as the “water gathering place,” and it will capture your imagination and offer an authentic Native American experience.

The mission of the Poeh (“pathway”) came about as a comprehensive effort for the Pueblo of Pojoaque to uphold the traditions and revitalize the arts and culture of their people, post Spanish contact in the 16th Century and a later smallpox epidemic, nearly eradicated their community and way of life.  All the more reason that the Pueblo of Pojoaque made it a priority to continue teaching their children the history dating  back to 500 A.D.; cultural traditions, dances, language, arts and crafts. In addition, this fosters education and an understanding of Puebloan culture for non-Native people and visitors from around the world.

Pueblo Architecture 

Visitors enter the Roxanne Swentzell Tower Gallery at the Poeh

The beautiful design of the Poeh building complex is in line with traditional Pueblo architecture and building techniques, and is a monumental work of art.  The entire multi-functional facility was constructed with adobe brick and mud, and then coated with exterior plaster that is eye-catching because it contains mica, also used in pottery, that sparkles gold in the sun.

 

The Poeh Cultural Center

Pueblo of Pojoaque Youth Hoop Dancers

The Poeh Museum features traditional and contemporary art, offers art tours and demonstrations, dances, art markets, classes and workshops.  The Poeh Museum’s rotating exhibitions and the permanent collection will immerse you in the history and culture of the Northern Pueblos told in the voice of the community.

Kathleen Wall (Jemez Pueblo) Koshare Clay Sculpture with Corn

Many world-class living Native American artists have exhibited at the Poeh Museum, some have taught art classes and workshops with the mission of sharing and helping to preserve their cultural traditions and knowledge.  The Poeh pueblo-designed Roxanne Swentzell Tower Gallery, another architectural wonder, and the highest Pueblo structure in New Mexico, features the iconic clay sculpture of this famous Santa Clara Pueblo artist .

Guided interpretive tours of the Poeh are offered, including the exhibitions, the Tower Gallery, gardens and grounds, artist studios, and outdoor sculptures and structures.  The Poeh also has a wonderful gift shop that offers hand-made authentic Native American art, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, textiles, and more. For more information and reservations for all tours, visit www.poehcenter.org

Nah Poeh Meng Exhibition at the Cultural Center

 

More to see and do at Pojoaque Pueblo

Residing on the Pueblo of Pojoaque campus also is one of New Mexico’s finest and largest resorts, the Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, which houses one of the most outstanding Native collections in the world.  A tour of the collection gives visitors a snapshot of the evolution of Native American art over time as well as a regional sampling of the Indian art of the Southwest. The Resort also offers numerous fine dining options, bars, clubs, casual eateries, a luxurious spa, a golf-course, and an inviting outdoor swimming area.

The Pueblo also offers an enjoyable one-of-a-kind hayride tour of the buffalo range, where you can enjoy watching the herd roam.  Valued as important members of the community, the bison offer Pueblo members sustenance as well as the opportunity to continue preserving the traditional way of life.  On the way to the grazing grounds of the sacred buffalo, your tour guides will share the history of the land and the people.

Red Turtle Dancers Dancing the Buffalo Dance at the Poeh

For those seeking fresh produce, the Poeh also hosts a weekly summer farmers market every Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. where you can buy locally grown crops and New Mexico staples such as red and green chile.  Finally, for the bargain-hunter, there is a bustling flea market open every weekend through the summer, located right across the highway from Buffalo Thunder Resort, where many a treasure can be found.

There is so much to see during your stay in The City Different and taking a day trip to visit the “Poeh” at the Pueblo of Pojoaque will enhance your stay. Pojoaque is only a 23 minute drive from Santa Fe. Start planning your trip to Santa Fe by ordering the 2017 Santa Fe Travel Guide. While Santa Fe holds many secrets to be discovered, we want to share with you all the Deals and Specials our Santa Fe businesses have to offer you.

This blog was written in partnership with TOURISM Santa Fe and Rima Krisst, TOURISM Santa Fe Tribal Liaison. Photos courtesy of TOURISM Santa Fe Tribal Liaison Rima Krisst and The Poeh Cultural Center at Pueblo of Pojoaque.

Cover photo: The Poeh Cultural Center at the Pueblo of Pojoaque.

Butterfly Dancer Lauren Chavez-Maestas (Ohkay Owingeh) at the Poeh

 View more beautiful photography from Pojoaque in the slideshow below.

  • Butterfly Dancer Franki Chavez-Maestas (Ohkay Owingeh) at the Poeh

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