Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico

Coordinates: 36°3′15″N 106°4′13″W / 36.05417°N 106.07028°W / 36.05417; -106.07028
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Ohkay Owingeh
(San Juan Pueblo)
San Juan Bautista Church
Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico is located in New Mexico
Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico
Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico is located in the United States
Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico
Nearest cityEspañola, New Mexico
Coordinates36°3′15″N 106°4′13″W / 36.05417°N 106.07028°W / 36.05417; -106.07028
Area16.2 acres (6.6 ha)
Built1540 (1540)
NRHP reference No.74001201[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJuly 30, 1974
Designated NMSRCPJuly 28, 1972
Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo in 1896

Ohkay Owingeh (Tewa: Ohkwee Ówîngeh [ʔòhkèː ʔówĩ̂ŋgè]),[2] known by its Spanish name as San Juan de los Caballeros from 1589 to 2005, is a pueblo and census-designated place (CDP) in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. Ohkay Owingeh is also a federally recognized tribe of Pueblo people inhabiting the town.


Ohkay Owingeh was previously known as San Juan Pueblo until returning to its pre-Spanish name in November 2005.[3][4] The Tewa name of the pueblo means "place of the strong people".[3][5]

Ohkay Owingeh has the ZIP code 87566 and the U.S. Postal Service prefers that name for addressing mail, but accepts the alternative name San Juan Pueblo.[6]

The community was also formally known as the San Juan Indian Reservation.[citation needed]


Its elevation is 5,663 feet (1,726 m) and it is located at 36°03′12″N 106°04′08″W / 36.05333°N 106.06889°W / 36.05333; -106.06889.[7] One of its boundaries is contiguous with Española, about 25 miles (40 km) north of Santa Fe.


The pueblo was founded around 1200 AD during the Pueblo III Era. By tradition, the Tewa people moved here from the north, perhaps from the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado, part of a great migration spanning into the Pueblo IV Era.[3]

Spanish colonial capital[edit]

In March 1598, conquistador Oñate traveled north from Nueva Galicia accompanied by a caravan of Catholic missionaries, a thousand soldiers, colonists, and Tlaxcalans. The expedition included cattle, sheep, goats, oxen, and horses, and arrived at Yungeh—place of the mockingbird—in present-day Ohkay Owingeh[8] on July 11, 1598.

The people who met him that day, it is written, were hospitable and offered Yuque Yunque pueblo as guest quarters to Oñate and his party.[9] On July 12, 1598, he baptized and renamed Caypa pueblo (present-day Ohkay Owingeh) San Juan de los Caballeros, after his patron saint John the Baptist. San Juan de los Caballeros became the first capital of the New Spanish region of Santa Fe de Nuevo Méjico.[10] In local history, it is said the event united the two fragmented families of Caypa and Yuque Yunque. Since their arrival from earlier homelands in the northwest, the two pueblos had been divided by the river, split until the expedition party's arrival. When the community offered Yuque Yunque pueblo on the west bank to Oñate, the two fragmented pueblos were made whole again at Caypa.[11] The Spanish capital would be moved in 1610 to La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís.

Popé was a local man who rose to be one of the most regarded leaders of American Indian history. He would play a major role in the Pueblo revolt in 1680.

Modern era[edit]

Ohkay Owingeh is the headquarters of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council, and the pueblo people are from the Tewa ethnic group of American Indians. It is one of the largest Tewa-speaking pueblos.[12]

The annual Pueblo Feast Day is June 24.[5] For all pueblos, the actual feast day includes a Catholic mass that is held in the morning. Because of historical relations with the Catholic Church, all pueblos have a church located near the center of the village. Most Pueblo people practice aspects of both the Catholic religion and Pueblo belief systems.[13] The tribe owns the Ohkay Casino and the Oke-Oweenge Crafts Cooperative, which showcases redware pottery, weaving, painting, and other artwork from the eight northern pueblos.[12]


As of 2017, 1,480 people were estimated to be living in the CDP,[14] with 6,690 in the surrounding Census County Division.[15] The 2010 census found that 1,522 people in the U.S. described themselves as exclusively Ohkay Owingeh[16] and 1,770 as Ohkay Owingeh exclusively or in combination with another group.[17]


It is in the Española Public Schools district.[18] The comprehensive public high school is Española Valley High School.

Notable natives[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico". National Indian Law Library. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Wroth, William H. "Ohkay Owingeh". New Mexico Office of the State Historian. Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2008.
  4. ^ "Pueblo's name predates arrival of Oñate". The Santa Fe New Mexican. November 15, 2005. Archived from the original on February 28, 2006.
  5. ^ a b "Ohkay Owingeh (formerly San Juan Pueblo)". Dancing from the Heart. Mother Earth Productions, LLC.
  6. ^ "87566". Look Up a ZIP Code. U.S. Postal Service. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  7. ^ "Ohkay Owingeh". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved July 19, 2009.
  8. ^ Matthew J. Martinez. "Remembering 400 Years of Exile".
  9. ^ "Parish of San Juan Batista and Tewa Missions". Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  10. ^ "San Juan Pueblo". New Mexico Magazine. Archived from the original on January 5, 2009. Retrieved July 19, 2009.
  11. ^ Etc., BY L. BRADFORD PRINCE, LL.D. President of the Historical Society of New Mexico: President of the Society for the Preservation of Spanish Antiquities: Vice President of the National Historical Society: Hon. Member of the American Numismatic and Archéological Society: Hon. Member of the Missouri Historical Society; of the Kansas Historical Society; of the Wisconsin Historical Society: Cor. Member of the Texas Historical Society, and Minnesota Historical Society: Trustee of the Church Historical Society, Etc. "San Juan". www.library.arizona.edu. Retrieved April 23, 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ a b c "Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo". New Mexico, Land of Enchantment. New Mexico Tourism Department. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  13. ^ "Pueblo Feast Days". Matthew J. Martinez.
  14. ^ U.S. Census Bureau (2017). "Ohkay Owingeh CDP". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  15. ^ U.S. Census Bureau (2017). "Ohkay Owingeh CCD". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  16. ^ Census 2010 American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File (AIANSF) - Sample Data, Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico (San Juan Pueblo) alone (H53)
  17. ^ Census 2010 American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File (AIANSF) - Sample Data, Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico (San Juan Pueblo) alone (H53) & (100-299) or (300, A01-Z99) or (400-999)
  18. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Rio Arriba County, NM" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  19. ^ "Native leader and advocate Joe Garcia dies at 70". Indian Country Today. Associated Press. May 15, 2023. Retrieved May 17, 2023.

Joe Garcia, Pueblo leader, ready to take on NCAI Tuesday, November 15, 2005 https://www.indianz.com/News/2005/011282.asp

External links[edit]