New Mexico: Picuris


Once located in an isolated valley in the northern hills of New Mexico, the Picuris people refer to themselves as the “People of the Hidden Valley.” The Anasazi lived here since 900 AD and the Picuris arrived in about 1250 AD. They historically relied on farming and hunting for sustenance. 

The Picuris Pueblo was once one of the two largest pueblos with over 3,000 inhabitants. European diseases and attacks from the Apache decreased their population dramatically over time. The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 did not fare well for the Indians in this community; however, the Picuris were considered fierce warriors and led much of the attack against the Spanish. 


Located just 24 miles southeast of Taos, the Picuris Pueblo has a population of roughly 2,340, yet only 300 enrolled tribal members as many of the Picuris people have left to seek higher paying jobs off the reservation. 

Culture is everything in the pueblo, and tribal members have restored by hand the 200-year-old adobe church, San Lorenzo de Picuris. Their annual San Lorenzo Feast Day involves traditional dances, pole climbing and a morning footrace. They also hold a cultural arts and crafts fair featuring pottery, beadwork, jewelry, weavings and much more.  

During the 1960s, an excavation project was undertaken at the old village site near the present-day town. Multiple ancient artifacts were found and are now on display at a museum in Picuris. 

The Indian Health Service operates a Taos/Picuris service unit as the primary source of non-emergency care for the pueblo. With a median household income of $35,000, 15% of Picuris Natives live below the poverty line.