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The soul of Taos

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If Taos Mountain (aka Pueblo Peak) is the heartbeat of Taos, then Taos Pueblo is its soul.

Native energy

The power of Native Nations is as strong as ever, an energy that is clearly evident at the annual Taos Pueblo Powwow. The 32nd gathering of Native Nations for three days of singing, dancing and drumming begins Friday (July 7) at the powwow grounds located at the end of Ben Romero Road in El Prado. Turn at the designated entrance north of the Overland Ranch off U.S. 64 west/Paseo del Pueblo Norte and follow the dirt road. The road will lead to the Taos Pueblo Reservation Lands.

This is where the powwow has taken place on the second weekend of July for more than 30 years.

During that time, the powwow has become well known throughout the nation for its high quality drum groups, dancers and scenic beauty. As many as 8,000 visitors have been logged each year.

A powwow typically begins with a Grand Entry of the dancers. All participants dance into the circle in their respective categories, led into the arena by a tribal elder or veteran carrying a staff of eagle feathers. The eagle feather staff is the universal symbol and “flag” of Indian people throughout North America. When all dancers are in the circle in their respective categories, a flag song or the national anthem of the Indian people is sung, followed by an invocation by a tribal elder. Then the dance begins with intertribal dancing. This is a time when all dancers, competing or not, can “strut their stuff” displaying their best dancing abilities.

In addition, the powwow features a variety of arts and crafts vendors that will be offering items such as: Navajo silver jewelry, contemporary Hopi art, paintings, shawls, beadwork, organic soaps, pottery, etc. Food booths include crepes, corn dogs, turkey legs, mutton, fry bread, Mexican food, Frito pies and other goodies.

Admission to the Taos Pueblo Powwow is $15 per person/per day; $20 per person/2-day pass; $25 per person/3-day pass; and children 10 and under admitted free. Fees include camera/video charge. Cash only. No refunds due to inclement weather. Admission does not include entry to Taos Pueblo. Tickets available only at the gate. Grounds open at 10 a.m. each day. The powwow ends at approximately 10 p.m. on Friday (July 7) and Saturday (July 8); 6 p.m. on Sunday (July 9). 888-285-6344, taospueblopowwow.com.

Celebrations of faith

Feast days were introduced by the Spanish colonization and represent the celebration of the Patron Saints of the Catholic religion. Feast Days also coincide with the traditional Pueblo beliefs, which allows the people of the Pueblo community to practice both the Catholic and Pueblo religions. Feast days are not only a celebration of faith, but allow tribal members to come together in a renewal of their language and culture. A typical Feast Day is a day of eating, visiting with family, friends and enjoying the traditional dances that are allowed to be witnessed by public spectators. Feast days are an integral part of the Pueblo culture.

Although feast days are open to the public, one must be invited into a home to visit and/ or share a feast day meal. Please use common courtesy and do not walk into a home uninvited. Other common courtesies include: After a dance is over please do not applaud for these are not performances. Native dances are part of a ceremony and it is an honor to see them. Please, while watching the dances, do not talk to community members regarding what is the significance of the dance nor speak with the dancers, and please don’t applaud after the ceremonies. Cameras and cell phones are not allowed during religious ceremonies; they could be confiscated and won’t be returned. Feast day hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Call for ceremony times, (575) 758-1028. taospueblo.com.

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