On October 7 of this year my wife and I were invited to a wedding at Santo Domingo Pueblo, home to one of our very talented and warm Pueblo employees of the Inn. Reyes Aguilar has worked for the Inn for over 20 years, as well as Rachael Morgan, a member of the Tesuque Pueblo who works the front desk. These two ladies are the most complimented employees we have ever been fortunate enough to have with us. They are always welcoming our guests to join their Pueblos for the many dances held throughout the year. This is a rare opportunity to be a guest and not a tourist at these traditional dances and feast days. Today I am focusing on the wedding of Reyes’ friends. A follow up article will focus on Rachael and her Tesuque Pueblo.

You may ask who are the Pueblo Native Americans? They are known for living in compact permanent settlements of adobe homes with plazas. They are believed to be descendants of the pre-historic Anasazi culture. Unlike many Native American Nations of the Plains who followed the buffalo migrations or other Nations that moved up and down the American coastlines harvesting the abundance of the seas, their permanence allowed the Puebolans of New Mexico to create unique pottery, weavings, and turquoise jewelry. Corn, squash, and beans helped sustain these people. This in no way diminishes the great creative and enduring influence of the Plains Native Americans who unlike the Puebloans generally had few permanent villages yet still maintained close familial relationships.

This is one of the key reasons the Puebloans have maintained a rich family tradition without the disruptive relocation endured by many Nations to reservations, often not even located remotely near their traditional and familiar lands. Again, this is not to say that the Apache, Comanche and Cherokee Nations do not have the same strong family ties. In this article, I am focused on Reye’s home of Santo Domingo Pueblo.

Everyone at the Pueblo are Catholics, which is interesting; but it was the Friars of the Catholic Church that represented the religious culture of the European conquerors. This is known as syncretism, adopting and incorporating the dominant culture while preserving the basic fabric of traditional culture. Look at the photos from that wedding day – these good people do not look like Catholics in Rome. But still, they are proud Catholics celebrating this wedding day in traditional garments. `To have been treated like family while we were just one of two non-Native couples was as genuine an American experience like non-other.

Joe Schepps
Inn On The Alameda