Etiquette at Native American Pueblo Events - SantaFe.com Etiquette at Native American Pueblo Events - SantaFe.com
Taos pueblo dancers

In New Mexico it is a distinct privilege to be able to participate in pueblo events as welcomed guests. A little bit of knowledge of customs and cultural sensitivity will go a long way to ensure your experience of the pueblos, and the community’s experience of you, is mutually respectable.

(Read “Native American Pueblo Dances, Feast Days, Festivals and Special Events in New Mexico”)

Here are a few tips:

  • Check in first with the main tribal office. It’s here you will find out about protocol, off-limit areas, and if photography is ok – often it is not.

  • When tribal members are dancing, singing, or partaking in any kind of ceremony, it’s a form of prayer. Just as people don’t clap when you are done lighting the menorah or finishing up your daimoku chant, please don’t clap when a song or dance has ended. Save any questions you have for a more informal moment after the ceremony. Don’t walk across the dance area or between the dancers, singers, or drummers.

  • During ceremonies, if seating is limited, offer your place to any elder or tribal members.

  • Don’t bring your pets. Call in advance if you have a service dog to see if policy allows for them.

  • Families live in the pueblo houses, so use the same courtesies you would in your own neighborhood. Don’t move up close to look into windows or walk into buildings uninvited, stalker.

  • If you have an invitation to eat in someone’s home, don’t refuse. The foodie in you will thank you. Cross your fingers there is mutton and fry bread.

  • Never ever remove pottery shards, and if you ever are unsure about where you can go or what you can visit, just ask. Every tribal member knows – so do the children.

  • Never bring alcohol.

​Postcard reference image from the The Tichnor Brothers Collection of the Boston Public Library

This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead

Please Share!

Heading For Truchas Lakes
truchas peaks

This article originally appeared in 2009 Heading For Truchas Lakes This ledge was narrow, dark and steep….hhmmm wonder what poem that snippet comes from. It does seem to fit the situation. I’m standing on what I think is probably the northern edge of the Truchas Peaks ridge. I headed up a tiny saddle south of North Truchas Peak. Middle and North Truchas Peaks are starring right at me, I’ll need to cross over and down to Truchas Lakes before I’ll … Read More

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Celebrating their 49th year over the course of six weeks, The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival presents more than 40 unforgettable concerts, by some of the best musicians in the industry. Performances take place at the St. Francis Auditorium in the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the Lensic Performing Arts Center, July 17 – August 22, 2022. Among the highlights of this year’s event is the Chien-Kim-Watkins Trio, in their Festival debut, performing a cycle of the groundbreaking Beethoven … Read More

New Mexico’s Ladder Ranch | An Eco-Conscious Expedition
american bison ladder ranch nm

What is your passion: fur, feathers, or flowers and fauna? Or perhaps you are an aficionado of rocks and ruins, or the history of Native Americans, Buffalo Soldiers, ranchers and miners? Maybe you look for adventure in hiking, biking, or hunting? All of these interests can be explored with Ted Turner Expeditions on the 156,439 acres of the Ladder Ranch near Truth or Consequences. We met David Barfield, the activities director for Ted Turner Expeditions in Southern New Mexico, at … Read More

Featured Things To Do