The Acoma and Laguna Pueblos are located in northern New Mexico. Both communities were settled by immigrants from the North. Before 1699, they were refugees from numerous tribes in the area. Today, the tribe is home to over 5,000 tribal members, occupying more than 250 dwellings. Though they are not equipped with electricity, water, or sewer systems, the dwellings are still a remarkable sight. In 1629, construction began on the massive San Esteban del Rey Mission, a Catholic mission. The mission is now a National Historic Landmark, and Acoma and Laguna Pueblos have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The communities share many similarities. The Acoma Sky City is a walled adobe village, located on a sheer rock mesa 367 feet above the valley floor. It is the oldest continuously occupied community in the United States. In fact, the Pueblos claim that they inhabited the area long before Christ. The Acoma and Laguna pueblos share the same patron saint, San Jose. In 1540, the Spaniard Francisco Coronado attributed this painting with bringing prosperity to the people. In 1540, drought had decimated the Laguna community.
The Acoma Sky City is a walled adobe village situated on a steep rock mesa, 367 feet above the valley floor. The Laguna is the oldest continually occupied community in the United States. In Native history, it was inhabited before Christ. In 1540, the explorer Coronado brought a painting of San Jose to Acoma. Because the painting held supernatural powers, the people of Acoma and Laguna were able to prosper. The cliffside footpath provided a view of the valley floor and allowed tourists to view the ruins.
Acoma and Laguna Pueblos share neighbors, language, and high school. The two communities share the same patron saint, San Jose. In the 15th century, a priest named Father Ramirez brought to Acoma a painting of the saint brought by King Charles II. The people of Acoma and Laguna attributed the painting with its supernatural powers, and credited it with bringing prosperity.
Acoma and Laguna Pueblos are located 60 miles west of Albuquerque, and the population has been inhabited since 3000 BCE. The name means ‘lake’ in Keresan and the inhabitants speak Keresan. Before the Spanish conquistadors arrived, the Kawaik lived on the mesa’s plateau. The region was home to Mogollon and Ancestral Pueblo cultures.
In the year 1680, the Acoma and Laguna Pueblo Indians established a general revolt against the Spanish. During the 1690s, the Acoma Indians were tortured for practicing their religion, and their land was overgrazed by the Spanish cattle, causing famine and erosion. The religious leaders of the Acoma and Laguna Pueblos sent runners with maguey fiber to mark the day of rebellion. The united stand that the Native Americans took against the Spaniards drove the Spanish from the region, and the resulting rebellion was a success. Although many of the Native American deaths were tragic, the Acoma and the Laguna Pueblos are now thriving with a vibrant culture.