New Mexico: Santa Clara


The Santa Clara people came from the Puye Cliff Dwellings about 10 miles away from the current Pueblo. The people lived at these dwellings for approximately 300 years before lack of water pushed them out in 1550AD. At that time, the Puye community housed up to 1,500 Indians. 

The Santa Clara Pueblo is the second largest of the Tewa-speaking pueblos. Until recently, the Santa Clara relied on agriculture as their economic base when the fertile valley near the Rio Grande provided all the necessary water for irrigation. 

The Santa Clara people returned to their traditional homeland after the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, but soon returned to the present-day pueblo. 


With 54,000 acres of land located a mile and a half south of Espanola, the Santa Clara Pueblo is home to 3,800 residents with just shy of 1,000 tribal members. 

Thanks to the Santa Clara’s cultural pride, many of their values and traditions have been preserved including the importance of education. Dances and community festivals are also very common, including Harvest Dances, Corn Dances and St. Anthony’s Feast Day featuring the Comanche Dances. 

Santa Clara is most renowned for its arts, crafts and pottery. Aside from scenery alone, the pueblo offers visitors a range of diverse attractions from tours of the Puye Cliff Dwellings to sightseeing, fishing and camping nearby.  

Health care services are mostly provided by the Santa Clara Indian Health Center, operated by the Santa Clara Pueblo Health Council. Though many Santa Clara people find employment on the reservation and in nearby cities, there is still a poverty rate of roughly 21% in the pueblo.