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Taos is New Mexico True
Taos, NM
A woman singing at the Taos Pueblo Pow Wow

The Taos Pow Wow has been cancelled for 2023

On Taos Pueblo tribal land at the base of Taos Mountain, a round arbor made of timber and brush create the majestic setting for the three day event known as the Taos Pueblo Pow Wow. Held annually every July, the community of Taos Pueblo welcomes dancers, singers, and visitors to their celebration of song and dance.

The Pow Wow Grand Entry

The anticipation of the first grand entry of the weekend is palpable as one walks the pow wow grounds. The dancers don their regalia and the drum groups gather their singers to set up their drums in the couple hours before the first grand entry in the early evening. The crowds buzz with excitement as the dancers begin to line up for their entry into the arena. Various drum groups sit underneath the arbor and beat their drums to signal that grand entry is almost near. An announcement is made by the master of ceremonies and thus begins the weekend with the first of four grand entries of the pow wow weekend.

It is always the honor guard to enter the arena first, followed by the dancers. Dressed in colorful regalia unique to each dancer and their respective category, the dancers are proud to show off their regalia. This regalia is created new for the occasion or passed from a past generation to the current. From the very young to the elders, these dancers and drum groups represent tribal communities from the United States and Canada.  It is truly a sensation for the senses. 

The History of the Pow Wow

Pow wows, as we are familiar with the name and event today, likely originated with the native peoples of the Plains tribes. Their gatherings were a means to safeguard their culture after removal from their homelands by settlers and the US Government. Many tribal peoples were forced onto reservations where they suffered greatly and usually died from lack of resources. Despite this, a number of tribal peoples and their culture managed to survive, thanks in part to the pow wows within their communities.

Currently, pow wows occur every weekend in the United States and Canada linking communities and strengthening indigenous heritage.

Birth and Endurance of the Taos Pueblo Pow Wow

The Taos Pueblo people have always had a historical bond with various Plains tribal people. There are many Native American tribes that have adopted the pow wow as their own, despite the fact that the dances and songs of the pow wow are not of their own history. Today, pow wows are contest oriented, which means that dancers and drum groups gather to compete in their respective categories for substantial cash and prizes.

The annual Taos Pueblo Pow Wow began in 1985. Since its inception, it has taken place every July with the exception of the Encebado Fire on tribal lands in 2003 and the Taos Pueblo closure during the COVID-19 pandemic. The people of Taos Pueblo gather to dance, sing, and renew familial ties and community connections. The Taos Pueblo Pow Wow is the only pow wow in the state of New Mexico that is hosted by a tribal/pueblo entity.

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