Southwest Discovery ECS | Traditional Puebloan Life

March 12, 2017

On our second night in Taos (actually Arroyo Seco, a small town just north of Taos), three native American artists (Jarro, his son Grayson, and Francisco) came to our lodge to perform some of their social traditions: drumming, chanting, and dancing. These gentlemen perform frequently all around the country with award-winning groups such as the “1680 Singers.” Francisco is also a member of a local group that performs a blend of hip-hop and traditional music. After a small introduction, the two young men played the drums and sang, with the adorable accompaniment of a four-year-old drumming and singing apprentice. Their voices were able to transmit feelings and years of traditions to make for a truly incredible experience. They explained that the songs were a mixture of words and vocal tones expressing their feelings. They also told us that several songs and chants are kept private only for Pueblo people while others, including those they performed for us, are shared as social songs. At various points in the singing, the men also taught us the traditional Round Dance of friendship, allowing us to dance in circles holding hands. It was so much fun!

The next morning we went onto an organic Native American farm near the Taos pueblo. We worked in the green houses, preparing the earth for new plantings and learning a lot about organic agriculture. The farm’s manager showed us different types of organic farming techniques such as thermodynamic heating and solar panels without a motor. After a great morning on the farm, we came back home to eat the great lunch that the Yazzie family (Cris CA., Hayden H., Tiffany J., and Bijan S.) prepared for us.

After lunch, we hiked near the Rio Grande Gorge, and we were able to sketch the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and the Rio Grande Canyon as we journaled about our time thus far in the American Southwest.

We spent the evening on Puebloan land with the Gomez family who graciously served us freshly baked bread and cinnamon sugar cookies from their traditional adobe horno. Mr. Gomez also taught us the skill of hatchet-throwing, and Katherine H., Leggatt K., Hayden H., and Cris CA. proved to be quite adept at throwing!

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