Ruins of San Jose de Los Jemez Mission, Jemez Historic Site, New Mexico. Courtesy/New Mexico Historic Sites
SANTA FE ― The village of Jemez Springs is the site of the 15th annual Pueblo Independence Day Celebration Sunday, Aug. 12.
The event commemorates the events of Aug. 10, 1680— when the Pueblo People of New Mexico—aided by Apache and Navajo allies—launched a successful rebellion against Spanish colonization.
Commemorative activities will begin with a pilgrimage run from Walatowa plaza in Jemez Pueblo to Giusewa Pueblo kiva at Jemez Historic Site (approximately a half-marathon or 13 miles).
“Participating in this run, or supporting a runner, is a way to pay tribute to the Ancestors and show appreciation for the sacrifices they made,” said Marlon Magdelena, ranger at the Jemez Historic Site. “Their brave resistance helped preserve the Pueblo way of life: our culture, our languages and our right to one day reclaim our aboriginal lands.”
The run begins at 7 a.m., and the public is welcome to participate. Volunteers will provide water stations at 1 mile intervals, and a shuttle service for slow runners will be available.
At 10 a.m., guest speakers will welcome all the runners and their sponsors to the site. The following festivities, between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., will feature: Jemez traditional dances and Native American flute music. There will also be authentic Native arts & crafts and Native food. There is no admission fee for any of the activities related to this event.
A short drive from Albuquerque and Santa Fe, Jemez Historic Site is one of the most beautiful prehistoric and historic sites in the Southwest. It includes the stone vestiges of a 500-year-old Indian village and the San José de los Jémez church dating to 1621. The village of Giusewa was built in the narrow San Diego Canyon by the ancestors of the present-day people of Jemez (Walatowa) Pueblo. The name Giusewa refers to the natural springs in the area.
In the 17th century, the Spanish established a Catholic mission at the village. The mission was short-lived, and, in time, the people abandoned the site and moved to the current location of Jemez Pueblo. San José de los Jémez church is unusual for its massive size and rare, octagonal bell tower. Colorful frescos that once decorated the interior walls were revealed during archaeological excavations in 1921 and 1922. The massive stone walls were constructed about the same time the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. The heritage center contains exhibitions that tell the story of the site through the words of the Jemez people. A 1,400-foot interpretive trail winds through the impressive site.
Jemez Historic Site is open Wednesday–Sunday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.(Closed Monday & Tuesday). Admission $5. Free to NM residents on first Sunday of each month, and to NM Seniors with ID on Wednesdays. Children 16 and under are always free. A combination ticket, good for admission to both Jemez and Coronado Historic Sites is available for $7.