New Mexico: San Felipe


The San Felipe Pueblo lies at the base of the Black Mesa in the middle Rio Grande valley where their people once lived. Marauding Apache forced the San Felipe Indians to the banks of the Rio Grande where the present-day community is located. 

The San Felipe people were Keresan-speaking and are known as the most conservative of the the Keresan people. Extremely protective of their traditions, they continue to teach and speak their language to this day. 


Composed of about 68,000 acres of land, the San Felipe Pueblo has a population of nearly 1,800 and about 3,600 enrolled tribal members. Agriculture and mining, along with pottery making, are the mainstays of their economy. Most of the people here have retained and speak the Keresan language. 

Just 10 miles north of Bernalillo, the pueblo is well-known for its beautiful dances, particularly on the Feast Day of San Felipe when Natives of all ages participate in the traditional Green Corn Dance. With relatively few shops and amenities, their main attractions are food, traditional dancing, jewelry and other traditional arts and crafts. The pueblo is also home to a San Felipe-operated casino, gas station, motor sports track and restaurant. 

The Pueblo of San Felipe Health & Wellness Department provides services to raise the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of its citizens to the highest level. Following culturally sensitive practices, they offer plenty of services including behavioral health, dental care, a fitness center and a public health nursing program with community health representatives (CHRs). San Felipe also offers elderly services, a head start program, family services and natural resource conservation programs. 

With a per capita income of roughly $14,000, almost 28% of San Felipe residents live below the poverty line – about 1.5 times that of the surrounding state.