Friday, April 25, 2014

Etiquette for Visiting a Pueblo


The Pueblo people are located primarily in New Mexico, however, at one time the Pueblo's homeland reached into the states of Colorado and Arizona. 

Please follow these rules of etiquette when visiting Pueblos:


Call ahead to confirm event dates, as well as access to tribal lands.

There are times when tribal leaders need to restrict access because of private ceremonies and other reasons.

Tribes value traditions, customs and religion.  Traditionally, all outside visitors to a public dance would be offered a meal afterward in a Pueblo home. Because of the large number of tourists in the pueblos since the late 20th century, such meals are now open by personal invitation only.
Although most Pueblos are open to the public during daylight hours, the homes are private. Like any village, the Pueblos are home to those who live there and should be respected as such.

Some Pueblos may charge an entry fee. Camping and fishing fees are charged where such facilities are available. Call ahead to find out if there are fees associated with visiting.

Most Pueblos require a permit to photograph, sketch or paint on location. Some Pueblos prohibit photography at all times. Please check with the Tribal Office for the permitting process before entering the Pueblo. Once a permit is obtained, always ask for permission before taking a photograph of a tribal member.

REMEMBER: cameras and film can be confiscated.

The carrying or use of alcohol and drugs on Pueblos is strictly prohibited.

Silence is mandatory during all dances and Pueblo ceremonies. 
Tribes value traditions, customs and religion. Some actions and/or questions could be offensive, so refrain from pressing for answers.

Tribal dances are religious ceremonies, not public performances. It is a privilege to witness a ceremony.

"They are, in short, a remarkably sober and industrious race, conspicuous for morality and honesty, and very little given to quarrelling or dissipation..." Josiah Gregg, Merchant, explorer, naturalist, and author of "Commerce of the Prairies"
Silence is mandatory during all dances and Pueblo ceremonies. This means no questions about the ceremonies or dances while they are underway; no interviews with the participants; no walking across the dance plaza; and, no applause during / after the dance or ceremony.

Pueblo villages, including Kivas, ceremonial rooms, and cemeteries are sacred places and restricted for use by Pueblo members only.

Many of the structures are hundreds of years old. Do not scale walls or climb on top of buildings.

Nature is sacred on the Pueblos. Littering is strictly prohibited.

On feast days and other public observances, enter a Pueblo home as you would any other - by invitation only. It is courteous to accept an invitation to eat, but not to linger at the table, as your host will want to serve numerous guests throughout the day.
Hopi piki-bread is blue cornmeal batter baked in very thin sheets and rolled up. Occasionally pink or white piki was made for special dances. By leaving plate of piki-bread on his doorstep, a Hopi girl proposes marriage to a boy. Piki-bread is the original Native American bread.
Thank your host, but a payment or tip is not appropriate.

Please obey all traffic and speed limit signs.  Children and pets play near the roads. Also be cautious of livestock on or near main roadways.

Observe all signage indicating OFF LIMITS while visiting a Pueblo.

If organized tours are offered, please remember to stay with your tribal guide at all times.

Refrain from bringing a cell phone onto Pueblos. Tribal officials could confiscate cell phones if they feel they might be used for photography or recording. Also, the ring tones as well as personal conversations can easily disrupt other visitors’ experiences, as well as daily tribal life.

Do not remove artifacts, pottery shards or other tempting items.

Tribal communities do not use the clock to determine when it is time to conduct activities. Acts of nature, as well as the sequence of events that must take place (some not for public viewing) usually determine start and finish times for ceremonies.


Etiquette information from Indian Pueblo Cultural Center