In addition to the academic paper sessions and discussions within Tamaya, on Sunday, November 12th, the Jemez Native American pueblo, only 30 minutes north of the Tamaya by private vehicle, is having a Feast Day. This includes a Native American religious ceremony of 1,000 or more pueblo members, sequentially emerging from an underground religious kiva and ritualistically “dancing” to the sound of tom-tom drums and rattles and chanting, with coyote skins wrapped around their waists, natural orange-red ochre die pigments rubbed onto their bare chests, and bells on their ankles above their moccasins. The dancing and chanting, which starts at 10:00 am, goes on for many hours on Sunday. Transportation to and from this ceremony will be arranged by the conference for those interested in attending. This very special event will give interested attendees a unique opportunity to witness and compare a traditional Native American, old tribal religious ritual to the religious expressions of larger, world religions.
A bus will leave Tamaya at 9:15 am on Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 9:15 am for the 30 minute ride to the Jemez pueblo. It will leave the Jemez pueblo at 12:15 pm to return to Tamaya. One can pay the $20.00 for the bus transportation on the Registration page
All of the Native American pueblos along the Rio Grande in New Mexico have religious creation myths of coming out of the supernatural underworld into this world, which is ritualized in the religious ceremony of coming out of the underground kiva and dancing, which why it is a sacred ritual to them, somewhat analogous to the reenactment aspect of the Roman Catholic Mass. Relatively few non-Native American outsiders go to this out-of-the way Jemez pueblo and even fewer ever attend the ceremony, which will be very memorable for anyone who has the privilege of being there. Most of the non-Jemez people who will be in attendance are other Native Americans from the nearby pueblos.
Because it is a sacred reenactment ceremony to the Jemez people, absolutely no photos or videos are allowed.
Compared to the Santa Ana pueblo, the Jemez pueblo is less prosperous economically. They don’t have a casino or other successful economic enterprises. The approximately 2,000 tribal members living in the pueblo are also more traditional.
In addition to a visit to the Jemez pueblo, a short walk south from the Tamaya, along the banks of the Rio Grande, is the Coronado Historical Site, which contains the ruins of the Kuaua pueblo that was abandoned in the late 1500s or early 1600s shortly after the arrival of the Spanish to the area. The Coronado expedition to North America, from what is now the Mexico City area in Old Mexico, camped very near Kuaua between 1541 and 1542. There is a small museum at the Coronado Historic Site with some of this history and artifacts. The Kuaua pueblo ruins has an unconsecrated, reconstructed underground kiva with religious murals on the walls that non-tribal members can enter with a guide. A visit to the Kuaua kiva will be a part of the conference for those interested.
To put the experiences of visiting the Jemez pueblo ceremony and the unconsecrated Kuaua kiva into a broader evolution of religion perspective, one of the talks at the conference will be on traditional Native American religions.
To make the Jemez experience more meaningful, a book has been written about the Jemez pueblo and its people, Nee Hemish: A History of the Jemez Pueblo, by Joe S. Sando, a native of the pueblo. To purchase the book, click on the picture.
For more information about New Mexico Native American Feast Day religious festivals, click here