Taos - Settlements

Taos Pueblo itself is divided into two massive adobe house blocks by the Rio Pueblo de Taos. This small river, spanned by three-foot-long bridges, flows mainly from Blue Lake, which now symbolizes not only the native religion but also the total integrity of the culture. The north-side Pueblo is five stories high, while the south-side is four. As the population increased, what had been summer houses near the corn and wheat fields became year-round residences. Many people still reside in the old pueblo apartment buildings (109 units were occupied in 1971), and they remain the center of the people's on-reservation activity. No other Indian settlements have appeared since Spanish contact, although Taos Valley is now dotted with many small towns and communities inhabited by Hispanics and White Americans. Most important are the town of Taos, New Mexico, 3 miles south of the Pueblo, which is the hub for local commercial and government activities, and the community of Ranchos de Taos three miles farther south. Although there is daily interaction between the Indians and their neighbors, the physical, cultural, and psychological separation between the two groups is profound. Aboriginally, coursed adobe was used to construct Taos Pueblo and later supplemented by Hispanic-introduced sundried brick. Most dwellings in the old apartment buildings have two rooms, one serving as a kitchen and eating area and the other for sleeping and socializing. Government-sponsored housing projects have introduced other house styles and building materials in recent years, but all of these units are well out of sight of the old Pueblo. Electricity and running water are not allowed in the old Pueblo.

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