Thursday, September 13, 2012

Acoma Pueblo

This post has been a long time coming, and I finally have the time to sit down and write about visiting Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico, also known as Sky City. We went for a festival, and the city was open to the public, which was great, otherwise it would be about $20 a person. The Pueblo Indians performed ceremonial dances to call the rain, and the outfits were simply breathtaking. Cameras were banned from the village, and we were asked not to speak to the dancers or to ask them questions.

Later that day, a woman who lives in the village was telling a few people in our group that the dances to bring the rain can be very emotional as they are steeped in such tradition. I completely understand the reasons for not allowing cameras, and I was glad this woman took the time to explain the dances since we were told not to ask questions.

There were a lot of craft booths and people selling food around the village and I bought some roast corn, which is honestly one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted. On the Rez, it is common to see people just parked alongside the road with a truck bed full, and I mean full, of roast corn, selling it for a dollar or two. It reminds me a little bit of the food trucks I've seen in Philadelphia and New York, and I had to laugh because they certainly aren't selling hot dogs or felafel's. During the Navajo Fair too, there was a lot of street food, and I bought a breakfast burrito from a family stationed across the road from where I was sitting. The cultural differences still continue to amaze me. Where I come from, you couldn't just sit alongside the road and sell food from a cooler. Here, the Navajo Nation police officers were buying the food too!

Back to the festival, I also decided to try something called Kool-Aid pickles, after I saw nine different stands selling them. I figured if so many people had them for sale they must a treat for the local people.

Never. Again.

I am all for trying new things, but I think my taste buds were mad at me for the next week. Maybe it was just the stand I bought them from, but I think I am going to hold off on experimental foods of that caliber.

Acoma has this beautiful chapel dedicated to St. Stephen, which they only open twice a year; for this festival and for Easter. A man who lives in the village pointed out the rainbows painted on the walls, an unusual mural for a church. He explained that there isn't red in the rainbows because red symbolizes war and blood, and rainbows are supposed to be peaceful. I had never thought about that before, but it is certainly something to consider. Again, the cultural differences are really interesting, I would have never considered red to be more than a letter in the ROYGBIV rainbow I learned as a child.

The day drew to a close, and we crammed into our cars for the long drive home. A few miles into the journey though, it started to rain! How awesome is that?

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