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Santa Clara Pueblo

New MexicoSanta Clara Cliffs

Santa Clara Pueblo, "Kha-'Po Owingeh" (Singing Water Village) is a Tewa tribe located twenty-five miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico on the west bank of the Rio Grande. Tewa oral history tells of an emergence of the Tewa to the north, in the Mesa Verde-Chaco area. The Tewa moved south over time and occupied large regions of present-day New Mexico in many villages. Each of the villages remained independent of each other, operating as separate tribes with similar cultures. Santa Clara people trace their ancestors to many prehistoric villages and cliff dwellings west of the current village. The Puye Cliff Dwellings is one of many of these sites and was occupied from around 700 A.D. to the late 1300s. The current Pueblo of Santa Clara was established sometime between the late 1300s and early 1400s.

Spanish explorers came in contact with the village for the first time during the Coronado Expedition (1540-1542). The Spanish did not return to stay until 1598, when Don Juan de Onate invaded the Pueblo region and established a permanent settlement near the present-day Tewa village of Ohkay-Owingeh. In 1610, that settlement was abandoned and the Spanish headquarters was moved near Tano villages at present-day Santa Fe. Under increasing religious persecution, the Pueblo people joined together and revolted against Spanish rule on August 10, 1680. The Spanish were thrown out of New Mexico and did not return until 1692, when Diego de Vargas re-conquered the Pueblos. Santa Clara Pueblo DrawingHowever, residents from Santa Clara and other Tewa Pueblos refused to surrender and took refuge on Black Mesa near present-day San Ildefonso Pueblo. After a nine month siege and multiple assaults, de Vargas was finally able to defeat the Tewas in 1694. After the Reconquest, the Spanish no longer persecuted Pueblo religion to the same extent as before. Pueblo lands were protected as land grants under Spanish and Mexican rule. Their lands were further preserved under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), when New Mexico came under United States rule.

Currently Santa Clara Pueblo has approximately 1,000 residents. The Puye Cliff Dwellings and the Santa Clara Canyon are currently closed to the public due to the devastating Cerro Grande Fire of 2000. The tribe operates a casino, golf course, and a travel center. Annual feast days with traditional dances are open to the public on Santa Clara Feast Day (August 12), and San Antonio Day (June 13).

For more information contact:
Santa Clara Pueblo

P.O. Box 580
Española, New Mexico USA
(505) 753-7326





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