“We have lived upon this land from days beyond history’s records, far past any living memory, deep into the time of legend. The story of my people and the story of this place are one single story. No man can think of us without thinking of this place. We are always joined together.”
Taos Tribal Manifesto
Such is the power of place. The Taos Pueblo is the oldest continuously inhabited community in America, dating back at least one thousand years. Declared the first living world heritage site by UNESCO, it was my favourite place to visit, especially after the weekend crowds and scores of galleries in Santa Fe and Taos. I felt a peaceful alignment with the elements among its simple earth-coloured adobe structures situated in the natural beauty of the plains below the mountains.
With no electricity and running water in the sacred village, many of the Taos Indians make and sell to visitors traditional and contemporary art and crafts, oven bread and other traditional foods. I struck up a conversation with Carpio Benal, owner of the House of Water Crow, when I uttered the Canadian giveaway “eh.” Laughing together, he told me about his Canadian born wife and the “Earthship”-style home he constructed for his family in British Columbia. I purchased a necklace made by them both – it seemed fitting – and he gifted me with a pair of earrings. A miniature painting of the Pueblo by his gallery partner is a reminder of the beauty and power of this special place.