Pueblos, Ojo Caliente and Santa Fe

               I’ll be passing through this area again soon. Maybe you can join me- more details coming soon.

                     Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

Welcome back. Ohkay Owingeh is a pueblo sixty miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico that dates back to 1200 A.D. Historians say that the Tewa people moved here from the north during a great migration to the area known as the “Pueblo IV Era.” This was the next leg of our trip after we left the UUBar Ranch.

According to Wikipedia “Pueblo is a term used to describe modern (and ancient) communities of Native Americans in the Southwestern United States of America. The first Spanish explorers of the Southwest used this term to describe the communities housed in apartment-like structures built of stone, adobe mud, and other local material. These structures were usually multi-storied buildings surrounding an open plaza. There are 21 currently federally recognized Pueblos that are home to different tribes.

In 1598 Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Onate captured the pueblo and renamed it “San Juan de los Caballeros”. Over time the pueblo became known as the San Juan Indian Reservation until in 2005 the Tewa Indians who still inhabit the pueblo reclaimed its original name Ohkay Owingeh which means “place of the strong people.”  Today Ohkay Owingeh is the headquarters of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council and is home to one of the largest Tewa-speaking populations in the country.

Traditional arts and crafts such as pottery making are still an important part of the pueblo’s economy. And like so many tribes around the country, they also operate a hotel and casino just outside Espanola. During my travels I had the opportunity to stay at the hotel for a few days and I discovered that it was perfectly situated for day trips. Ghost Ranch and Georgia O’Keefe’s home in Abiqui are just about 20 minutes north, Ojo Caliente is thirty minutes to the west and Santa Fe is less than 1 hour south. Rooms start at just $39 per night and combined with a great pool and restaurant you really can’t beat it- especially in a tourist area.

With flute music playing gently in the background, Indian artists selling their wares on the shaded porch of the historic Palace of the Governors and tourists from around the world going from shop to shop, my next stop was Santa Fe.  The town was founded ten years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock and prior to that the Anaszi people had settlements that dated back to 1610. These settlements have been excavated in areas underneath present day Santa Fe and the structures and artifacts are protected by law.

On January 6, 1912 as President William Howard Taft signed the bill that made New Mexico the 47th state, looking out over the Jemez, Ortiz and Sangre de Cristo mountains he must have known that more people would come in search of the natural beauty and spiritual aura that had been attracting travelers since 1610. For us it’s an easy eleven hour drive to this magical place.

Although I have visited Santa Fe many times, every time I go I always find something new of interest. On this trip I took my first Pedi-cab ride around the plaza which was fun and informative and would go great in Bartlesville. If you haven’t heard of them, a Pedi-cab is a small cart with a bench seat that is powered by a person on a bicycle. For $20 I got a tour of the major sights around the heart of town and a good spiel about the history of each one.

I also discovered an arts district which I hadn’t been to before. Canyon Road is one of the original main roads in Santa Fe and it is home to numerous art galleries, artists’ studios, shops and restaurants. I only had time to sample a few but you could definitely spend an entire day checking out the area.

Before I go I need to mention that Bartlesville resident Doris “Coke” Meyer has just published her much anticipated memoir about her uncle Will Rogers. I Called Him Uncle Will is available on amazon.com and Coke will also be having several book signings in the area.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road……..





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