Traditional Name: Haaku
I-40, 52 miles west of Albuquerque, exit 108, south 12 miles on CR 12A.
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Like the hillside towns of Italy, the location was chosen for protection from marauding enemies, but the incredible beauty of this panoramic view of the world must have had something to do with the decision for the Indian people have an intense visual sensitivity, which anyone familiar with their art can easily attest.
Acoma, which means People of the White Rock, has been inhabited since before the twelfth century. Most of the present day people have residences in other parts of the reservation or in several farming villages but at no time is the Pueblo on the mesa without several families living in the old houses and caring for the Franciscan mission church of San Estevan, established in 1629 which, with the entire Pueblo has been proclaimed a National Historical Landmark.
The ancient cemetery still stands outside the church, surrounded by an integrating wall surmounted by guardian heads.
The thin walled and delicately decorated pottery of Acoma is among the most prized of Indian crafts. Many fine pieces are on display and for sale in the Visitors Center at the base of the mesa. The Center has a fine museum and features One Thousand Years of Clay, Pottery and History.
There is also a restaurant, shops and an information counter where tours of the Pueblo may be arranged. Throughout the year, there are a number of festivals and celebrations which visitors may attend.
San Pedro’s day is celebrated in June. St. James and the Corn Dances of Santa Ana’s day is in July.
The most popular festival is the feast of San Estevan, patron saint of the Pueblo in September.
Some of the dances are performed in the satellite villages.