Santa Clara Pueblo
Santa Clara Pueblo, one of the 6 Tewa-speaking villages located in Northern New Mexico extends from the top of the eastern Jemez Mountains to the floodplains of the Rio Grande River. The current day reservation encompasses 90 square miles of tribal land and is home to 3,500 residences. Descended from the Ancestral Pueblo peoples of the American Southwest, the people of Santa Clara Pueblo are deeply connected to the land, water, air, and animals of the region. They have a profound respect both for the landscape and for the places associated with the farming, hunting, and gathering of our ancestors who occupied areas in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.
One of the important values of the people of Kha’P’o (the people of the Valley of the Wild Roses or Kha P’o Singing Water. As the Santa Clara people refer to themselves) is that of the respect and protection of the important places, objects, and intangibles associated with their traditional lands and use areas, including their oral and written history; the Tewa language; archaeological sites and other traditional properties; music; and traditional knowledge of the flora, fauna, and waters of our traditional homelands.
The Pueblo of Santa Clara’s first documented contact with the outside world came in 1540 A.D during the Coronado Expedition. During this expedition, the Europeans travelling north along the Rio Grande River “discovered” our ancestors residing at the ancestral village of Puje’. Current oral traditions, customs, and Pueblo lifestyles stem from our connection to the ancestral village, and have interconnected through multiple adaptations, uprisings, and hardships that Santa Clara Pueblo people still face today. The village of Puje is approximately 10 miles from the current Santa Clara Pueblo village and still holds an irreplaceable, and unique bond to the current residence. Today, guided tours are provided throughout the year to showcase the perseverance, knowledge, and customs of our ancestor’s livelihood before migrating to our current location.
Resiliently, the Pueblo people of Santa Clara have withstood and expressed their tribal sovereignty through multiple changes in government beginning with Spanish rule in the late 1600s, the Mexican government in the 1800s, and the United States of America as of current.
In 1905, by Executive Order of President Teddy Roosevelt the current Santa Clara reservation was created by the United States government and included adjacent ancestral homelands which were previously recognized by Spanish and Mexican governments.
Today, the people of Santa Clara still speak the Tewa Language, practice the religion and customs, and cultural activities while respecting and valuing the irreplaceable natural resources from the surrounding area.