TAOS, NM—Voters across the country chose Taos Pueblo in Taos, New Mexico as the second “Best Native American Experience” in the United States based on USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice contest. Acoma Pueblo in Albuquerque was chosen as the #1 pick.
In August 2014, USA Today asked readers to choose their top 10 choices for Best Native American Experience out of 20 nominees across the U.S. Half of the top 10 winners are based in New Mexico.
Taos Pueblo has been continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years and is the only living Native American community to be designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. On Sept. 29 and 30, Taos Pueblo will celebrate the Pueblo’s patron saint, St. Gerome (San Geronimo), with their “San Geronimo Eve Vespers” and “San Geronimo Day.”
“San Geronimo Vespers” begins on Monday, Sept. 29 with mass at the Pueblo’s San Geronimo Chapel at 3 p.m. San Geronimo Chapel was built in 1850 to replace the original 16th century church which was destroyed in 1847. Later that evening at 6 p.m., a “Sundown Dance” with a ceremonial drumming ceremony will take place. Then on Tuesday, Sept. 30, traditional foot races will start at 8 a.m. followed by traditional clowns who will climb the poles, as is customary, around 3 p.m. Cameras are not allowed during the two day ceremony.
Entry fees are $16 per person on Sept. 29; discounted rates apply for seniors, students and children. Entry fees will be waived on Sept. 30; however a charge of $10 per vehicle for parking still applies.
Other winners in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice for “Best Native American Experience" include (in order): Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Okla. (#3); Mesa Verde National Park in Colo. (#4); Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, N.C. (#5); Santa Fe Indian Market in Santa Fe, NM (#6); Heard Museum in Phoenix, Ariz. (#7); Gathering of Nation’s PowWow in Albuquerque, NM (#8); American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco (#9); and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, an hour outside of Albuquerque, NM (#10).
USA Today has the widest circulation of any newspaper in the U.S., with a readership of more than 1.42 million. To read the entire article, visit 10Best.com.
Facts about Taos Pueblo.
The entire Pueblo is made of adobe – earth mixed with water and straw, then poured into forms or made into sun dried bricks.
Approximately 150 people currently live at the Pueblo full time, with over 1,900 Taos Indians living on Taos Pueblo lands altogether.
Tiwa is the native language of Taos pueblo. English and Spanish are also spoken.
Catholicism is practiced along with ancient Indian religious rites which are an important part of the culture. Ninety percent of the natives are Catholic.
Traditions dictate that no electricity or running water should be allowed within Pueblo walls. Many members live in conventional homes outside village walls.
Tourist trade, arts and crafts are important employment sources at the Pueblo.
Taos Pueblo is open to visitors daily (except during certain tribal rituals) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please see the website for fees, camera policies and more at TaosPueblo.com or call 575-758-1028.