Acoma Pueblo, also known as Sky City, has the distinction of being the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. There are other places that also claim this, like St Augustine Florida, and Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, but from what I can ascertain, the experts agree that Acoma takes the prize.
Acoma is only 63 miles from our bed and breakfast in Albuquerque, and I encourage every guest make the time to visit Acoma, as its rich history and knowledgeable guides will give them an experience they will never forget. Many of our guests who have visited Acoma want to go back every time they return to New Mexico.
I have been to Acoma, Sky City more times than I can remember. I practically know the tour by heart, but I am not going to be a spoiler. I’ll just say that the Acoma people are gracious and happy. They have a reputation for creating some of the best pottery in the Southwest, with thin walls and fine, fine line work. They have many other enterprises conducted for their benefit on their land, like a cattle company, two casinos, a museum and more. It is a Matriarchal Society, where the woman own the land and make all decisions regarding family, property and who can marry whom, and the men make the laws and run the government. This balance of power has worked well for them over the ages.
The Acoma ancestors all lived atop a mesa where was easier to protect themselves against waring neighbors. The Spanish were another story and their persistence to overcome and convert these people created a tragic history that the Acoma guides will tell you better than I can. If you have a chance, read Willa Cather’s novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop. Although a novel, it is a very accurate depiction of New Mexico told through the story of a Bishop who was dispatched by the Roman Catholic church to the wilds of New Mexico. The story he tells of Acoma is bone chilling. The character is based on a real life man, Bishop Lamy. If you are wanting to read more about this Pueblo’s history, the wikipedia article about Acoma is very in depth and factual, and has a great comparison photos of the 1641 church on Sky City, one modern day and one from the 1940s by Ansel Adams.
Many families still live atop the mesa where all the festivals and ceremonies take place throughout the year. Many are open to the public and the calendar of these festivities can be found on the Acoma Sky City website. The bulk of their population lives in a modern village elsewhere on their land, not too far from this ancestral home.
I was fortunate that some of my guests left me their photos of their trip to Acoma, and I share them here with you all. Please make this destination a “must see” on your trip to central New Mexico. You won’t be disappointed.
I know the best things to do in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed and Breakfast
Expert on Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!