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Taos, New Mexico, United States
Taos Pueblo (or Pueblo de Taos) is an ancient pueblo belonging to a Taos (Northern Tiwa) speaking Native American tribe of Pueblo people. It is approximately 1000 years old and lies about 1-mile (1.6 km) north of the modern city of Taos, New Mexico, USA. Taos Pueblo is a member of the Eight Northern Pueblos. The Taos community is known for being one of the most private, secretive, and conservative pueblos. A reservation of 95,000 acres (384 km²) is attached to the pueblo, and about 4,500 people live in this area.
The Rio Pueblo de Taos, also called Rio Pueblo and Red Willow Creek, is a small stream which flows through the middle of the pueblo compound. It comes from headwaters in the nearby Taos Mountains of the Sangre de Cristo Range. Taos Pueblo's most prominent architectural feature is a multi-storied residential complex of reddish-brown adobe divided into two parts by the Rio Pueblo. The Pueblo's website states it was probably built between 1000 and 1450 CE. The pueblo was designated a National Historic Landmark on October 9, 1960, and in 1992 became a World Heritage Site. As of 2006, about 150 people live in the historic complex full-time.
Pre—Columbian: Most archeologists believe that the Taos Indians along with other Pueblo Indians settled along the Rio Grande migrated from the Four Corners region. The dwellings of that region were inhabited by the Ancient Pueblo Peoples (Anasazi), and a long drought in the area in the late 13th century may have caused them to move to the Rio Grande where the water supply was more dependable.
Post-contact: The early contact history of Taos Pueblo includes the plotting of the Pueblo Revolt in 1680 against the Spanish invaders. The American period includes the Siege of Pueblo de Taos by U.S. forces in 1847. "The Padre of Isleta", Anton Docher first served as a priest in Taos before his long time spent in Isleta.
Taos Mountain: The Pueblo's 48,000 acres (194 km²) of mountain land was taken by President Theodore Roosevelt and designated as the Carson National Forest early in the 20th century. It was finally returned in 1970 by President Nixon. An additional 764 acres (3.09 km2) south of the ridge between Simpson Peak and Old Mike Peak and west of Blue Lake were transferred back to the Pueblo in 1996.
Blue Lake: Blue Lake, which the people of the Pueblo traditionally consider sacred, was included in this return of Taos land. The Pueblo's web site names the acquisition of the sacred Blue Lake as the most important event in its history due to the spiritual belief that the Taos natives originated from the lake itself.
Wall: The pueblo wall completely encloses the village except at the entrance as a symbol of the village boundaries. Now rather short, the wall used to be much taller for protection against surrounding tribes.
Main structure: The north-side Pueblo is said to be one of the most photographed and painted buildings in the Western Hemisphere. It is the largest multistoried Pueblo structure still existing. It is made of adobe walls that are often several feet thick. Its primary purpose was for defense. Up to as late as 1900, access to the rooms on lower floors was by ladders on the outside to the roof, and then down an inside ladder. In case of an attack, outside ladders could easily be pulled up.
Homes: The homes in this structure usually consist of two rooms, one of which is for general living and sleeping, and the second of which is for cooking, eating, and storage. Each home is self-contained; there are no passageways between the houses. Taos Indians made little use of furniture in the past, but today they have tables, chairs, and beds. In the Pueblo, electricity, running water, and indoor plumbing are prohibited.
Water: The river running through the pueblo serves as the primary source for drinking and cooking water for the residents of the village. In the winter, the river never completely freezes although it does form a heavy layer of ice. Because the river moves so swiftly, the ice can be broken to obtain the fresh water beneath.
Religious practices: Three spiritual practices are represented in the Pueblo: the original indigenous spiritual and religious tradition; Roman Catholicism; and the Native American Church. The majority of Taos Indians practice their still-vital, ancient indigenous religion. [not in citation given] Eighty percent of the Taos Pueblo community is baptized; however only twenty percent remain practicing Roman Catholics. Saint Jerome, or San Geronimo, is the patron saint of the pueblo for some.
One nest: The deep feeling of belonging to a community, summed up in their phrase, “we are in one nest,” has held the Taos people together. Both men and women are expected to offer their services or “community duties,” when needed. One should be cooperative and never allow their own desires to be destructive of the community’s interest.
Family: One of Taos’s strongest institutions is the family. Descent on both the father and the mother’s side of the family is equally recognized. Each primary family lives in a separate dwelling so when a couple gets married, they move to their own home. With relatives so near by, everyone is available to help care for the children. The elderly teach the young the values and traditions that have been handed down, which protects the integrity of the Taos culture.
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