Yesterday we had the privilege of visiting the the Acoma Pueblo and Sky City. Sky City is a pueblo atop a 367-foot mesa which has been inhabited by the Acoma people since the 1100's. Sky City is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States, and tribal members who choose to live atop the mesa do so without running water, electricity and other modern amenities.
As our tour guide informed us, the Acoma people have resisted Spanish Conquistadors and other invaders for centuries. Although the Acoma tribe did indeed adopt some aspects of the Catholic religion in order to appease the Spanish invaders who came to subdue and convert them, they consistently managed to practice their own traditional religion even while under occupation. Unbeknownst to the resident Catholic priests, the Acoma people even constructed a secret kiva beneath the altar of the church, a church that to this day honors both the Catholic traditions and native culture and practices.
The fact that the Acoma people were able to retain stewardship and ownership of their sacred lands and villages after centuries of subjugation and violence is amazing and inspiring. They are obviously proud of their heritage, language, culture and arts, and also welcome outsiders to partake of their gatherings, feasts and festivals in a spirit of openness and hospitality.
Sky City is a sacred and special place, and we were honored to be given a tour by a kind, knowledgeable and welcoming guide. The people, animals and scenery were beautiful, and we left Sky City all the richer for the experience.