New Mexico: Sandia


The Sandia Pueblo is located 12 miles north of Albuquerque. There is a 700-year-old village where many families still have their homes, in addition to a newer community. Sandia is a Tewa-speaking pueblo and is more assimilated than most pueblo communities. 

The Sandia people who once numbered over 3,000 are descendants of the nearby Kuaua people. Sandia is traditionally an agrarian society, and the pueblo lies directly at the heart of historic Indian trade routes. 

During their infiltration, the Spanish made the Sandia Pueblo an administrative center. Most of the people here fled to live with the Hopi after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. It wasn’t until 70 years later that most of the Sandia reestablished their culture in their homeland. 


The Sandia Pueblo spans 22,800 acres from the foothills of the Sandia Mountains westward to the banks of the Rio Grande. The community is home to about 5,300 people, and the tribe has just under 500 enrolled tribal citizens.  

The pueblo offers plenty for today’s visitors, including a 24×7 casino and an Indian market center, which is one of the largest Native-owned and -operated stores in the Southwest. The market features drums, moccasins and other arts and crafts. The community also offers a variety of recreational activities, including 18 acres of lakes for fishing and 70 acres of picnic sites, natural trails, a playground and group shelters. Protecting their history, the Sandia also operate a buffalo preserve across from the casino. 

The tribe operates a health center and medical clinic and runs exercise classes, a library, child development center and a scholarship program. With an unemployment rate of 8%, about 25% of Sandia Natives live below the poverty line.