Last week I was able to attend the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP) conference at the Hyatt Tamaya Resort in Albuquerque, NM. I attend a lot of conferences and just assumed that we would be in downtown Albuquerque and hadn’t taken the time to do any research – rookie travel mistake.
Upon our arrival, Amanda and I hopped in our cab and started driving, and kept driving and then drove a bit more. $75 later we finally arrived at our destination which is at the north end of Albuquerque and when I say north end, I really mean outside of anything remotely considered the city limits.
The resort is actually located near the base of the Sandia Mountains within the Santa Ana Pueblo which is considered a sovereign nation of the Santa Ana Native American people. The reservation is 73,000-78,000 acres and has 500-800 residents and is located along the Rio Grande River.
The Tamaya resort did an amazing job of integrating the Santa Ana Pueblo culture into the hotel. They had a separate culture center that offered daily tours, unfortunately I was unable to take pictures while on the tour.
Our tour guide was a young man who was fluent in his native language of Keresan. He was very proud of his culture and since Amanda and I were the only ones on the tour spent a lot of time explaining what it meant to be a member of one of the 19 Pueblo’s in New Mexico.
I really respected his love for his culture and was fascinated by their integration of native and modern living. Their tribe has been able to revitalize itself by focusing on Native American artwork and sells a mix of pottery, jewelry and the blue corn they are famous for.
The Pueblo communities are also famous for their feasts, which are a mix of traditional celebrations with an emphasis on commemorating Catholic Saints. Feast days are open to the public and are full of dancing and eating. I would love to go back and attend one of their feasts.
We were lucky enough to have a free evening and when we found out the hotel offered a shuttle to the train station decided to take the Rail Runner train to Santa Fe.
We only had a few hours, so went to the Santa Fe Plaza which is over 400 years old and is the historical center of the area. It was a 10 minute walk from the train station. The architecture of the area was based on a mix of Indian and Mexican style.
Unfortunately our time was short in Santa Fe and we were only able to visit the train station and the main plaza. I would love to visit again when I have more time explore the area. Next time, I’ll also take the time to do a bit more research and actually have a plan in mind before visiting.
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