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Originally published Friday, October 14, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Exploring New Mexico pueblos

The 19 pueblos of New Mexico are the oldest tribal communities in the United States, having descended from the ancestral Pueblo cultures...

The 19 pueblos of New Mexico are the oldest tribal communities in the United States, having descended from the ancestral Pueblo cultures that once inhabited Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde and Bandelier.

1. Acoma Pueblo, known as Sky City, was built on top of a sandstone mesa 357 feet high. Location: 60 miles west of Albuquerque on Interstate 40 at exit 102 and 12 miles south on Indian Route 23, exit 108. 505-552-6604.

2. Cochiti Pueblo is known for storyteller figurines and ceremonial drums. Location: 22 miles south of Santa Fe on Interstate 25 and another 14 miles north on N.M. 16 (between Albuquerque and Santa Fe). 505-465-2244.

3. Isleta Pueblo was established in the 1300s. Location: in the Rio Grande Valley, 13 miles south of Albuquerque and five minutes from I-25 via exit 215. 505-869-3111.

4. Jemez Pueblo is located among red sandstone mesas. Location: 27 miles northwest of Bernalillo on N.M. 4. 505-834-7235.

5. Laguna Pueblo has been occupied since at least 1300. Location: 45 miles west of Albuquerque off I-40 and 31 miles east of Grants. 505-552-6654.

6. Nambe Pueblo, at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, served as a cultural and religious center for the Pueblo people. Location: 18 miles north of Santa Fe off U.S. 84/285 and N.M. 503. 505-455-2036.

7. Picuris Pueblo features a museum of local beadwork, weaving and pottery. Location: 24 miles southeast of Taos via N.M. 68, 518, and 75. 505-587-2519.

8. Pojoaque Pueblo includes a cultural center and museum that displays Pueblo art and exhibits, hosts traditional Indian dances on weekends and preserves the traditional arts of the Tewa-speaking pueblos. Location: 15 miles north of Santa Fe on U.S. 84/285. 505-455-5044.

9. San Felipe Pueblo, founded in 1706, is known for beautiful dancing. Location: 10 miles north of Bernalillo off I-25. 505-867-3381.

10. San Ildefonso Pueblo.

11. San Juan Pueblo is home to the Oke-Oweenge Crafts Cooperative, which exhibits the art of the eight northern pueblos. Location: 25 miles north of Santa Fe on U.S. 84/285 and five miles north of Espanola off N.M. 68. 505-852-4400.

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12. Sandia Pueblo got its name from the color of the steep mountains east of the pueblo, which Spanish explorers likened to watermelons, sandia in Spanish. Location: 12 miles north of Albuquerque off I-25. 505-867-3317.

13. Santa Ana Pueblo is an agricultural community located on about 73,000 acres east and west of the Rio Grande. Location: less than two miles west of I-25, exit 242, 15 minutes north of Albuquerque near the intersection of U.S. 550 and N.M. 528. 505-867-3301.

14. Santa Clara Pueblo was established about 1550 when drought caused the residents of the nearby Puye Cliff Dwellings to move here. Location: 1.5 miles south of Espanola off N.M. 30. 505-753-7326.

15. Santo Domingo Pueblo is near the ancient Cerrillos turquoise mines, and its people have a history of making fine jewelry. Location: 25 miles south of Santa Fe, off I-25 at the Santo Domingo exit. 505-465-2214.

16. Taos Pueblo.

17. Tesuque Pueblo may have stood on this site since A.D. 1200. Location: 10 miles north of Santa Fe on U.S. 84/285. 505-983-2667.

18. Zia Pueblo is situated atop a small mesa that offers a spectacular view of the surrounding areas. Location: 17 miles northwest of Bernalillo and eight miles northwest of Santa Ana Pueblo on U.S. 550. 505-867-3308.

19. Zuni Pueblo was thought by Spanish explorers to be one of the legendary Seven Golden Cities of Cibola. Location: 35 miles south of Gallup on N.M. 53. 505-782-7238.

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