Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nambe Falls Pow Wow July 4, 2010

On the Fourth of July this year we visited Nambe Pueblo's Waterfalls Pow Wow, with Holly, and friends K & E. It couldn't have been a more perfect day and place to spend the fourth. The last time I'd been to this particular event was 21 years ago, so it was great to be told is was still being held when I called the Nambe Pueblo Governer's office the week before. This great waterfall is a short trip from Nambe Pueblo and not far from Chimayo, this is the place where the Avanyu or Pueblo water serpent rests. Knowing to ask and acknowledging respect for the people of Nambe I asked if we could still walk up to the falls, being told we had 2 options, to walk up to the top for the scenic photo op or to walk up river to the pools and go in for a swim.
At such a sacred site I was amazed how welcoming the village is to it's visitors.
With a $5 camera badge pinned to my shirt I took this image of the Corn Dance, normally photography is not allowed during ceremonies, that's a roasted corn cart in the background.
A Comanche style dance was held, the little guy there is wearing a plains style roach Headdress which my neighbor Del Orr still makes and is one of the very last Native Americans making these to this day.
E on a rock taking a break from the FREEZING cold ice melt water, and barefoot. The water runs over the dam into a couple of pools below, but it also comes rapidly straight out of the cliff rocks on each side of the river. If you are to go to Nambe Falls during the summer, wear shoes that are made for walking in the water, something like crocs, anything on your feet will be better than nothing like E here. Flip Flops are not the best choice as the current will sweep them off your feet faster than you can lift a leg out of the water. Again this water is COLD.
I walked all the way up to the first pool in my brand new Puma Neo runners, lots of tread gripping all those rocks on the river bed kept me upright, thankfully, allowing me to take this little camera of mine. With a little more time I'd have gone up to the next pool level, the water is coming too fast and scrambling up and over the rocks would be the only way into it.
The Nambe Falls are a true New Mexico treat, thank you Nambe Pueblo for allowing your visitors to enjoy this great blessing.
At the end of the day and back at home we walked up to the Ponce de Leon Hot Springs for a refreshing natural warm water dip in the pools, a big difference and a great Fourth of July. R


  1. sounds like a great 4th! I cannot beleive you got a photo of the corn dance! man! you should paint that!!

  2. Ah, I remember our visit to Nambe for the 4th very well, indeed. Thanks for bringing back the memories. Was your last trip with me and Kelly (Kelly!) or did you go the next year, too?

  3. Hello.... I'm from Nambe and may have spoken with you. I was at the table where photo permits were sold. I'm glad you were with us that day and that you had a good time. The water IS freezing, and the hike through that water to the falls is a lot of fun.

    A couple of things. It was not a pow wow. It was simply a gathering of Native people, at which some pueblos exhibited some of their/our dances. We have been doing this since the 60s, first started as a fundraiser to rebuild the Catholic church at our village. It was old and in great disrepair. After literally decades, we had sufficient funds to build the church, but by then, a 4th of July at Nambe had become something a lot of people looked forward to, so, we've tried to keep doing it.

    Oh! The roach? I think it's a bit of an overstatement that your friend is one of the last Native people making them. They're all over pow wows and ceremonial dances amongst the Plains peoples.

    I hope you continue to visit us on the 4th of July.