Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico

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San Juan Pueblo
Los Matachines de Ohkay Owingeh.jpg
Los Matachines de Ohkay Owingeh, Christmas 2012
Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico is located in New Mexico
Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico
Nearest city Española, New Mexico
Coordinates 36°3′15″N 106°4′13″W / 36.05417°N 106.07028°W / 36.05417; -106.07028Coordinates: 36°3′15″N 106°4′13″W / 36.05417°N 106.07028°W / 36.05417; -106.07028
Area 16.2 acres (6.6 ha)
Built 1540
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 74001201[1]
Added to NRHP July 30, 1974
Ohkay Owingeh potters at work, 1937. Pottery making was historically important in the economy of San Juan, and continues today at Ohkay Owingeh.

Ohkay Owingeh (pronounced [ˈokɛ oˈwiŋɛ]) is a pueblo and census-designated place in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, United States. 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.[2] One of its boundaries is contiguous with Española, about 25 miles (40 km) north of Santa Fe.

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] This ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) had a population of 3,357 at the 2000 Census.[7] The entire pueblo has a population of 6,748.[8]


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]

After taking control of the pueblo in 1598, the Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate renamed the pueblo San Juan de los Caballeros after his patron saint, John the Baptist. He then established the first Spanish capital of New Mexico nearby.[9]

In 1598, Oñate traveled north from México, accompanied by a caravan of a thousand soldiers, colonists, missionaries and Tlaxcalan Mexican Indians, along with cattle, sheep, goats, oxen and horses, and arrived in Yungeh—Place of the Mockingbird—in present-day Ohkay Owingeh.[10]

[1] The community was known as the San Juan Indian Reservation.

Present day[edit]

Ohkay Owingeh is the headquarters of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council, and the pueblo people are from the Tewa ethnic group of Native Americans. It is one of the largest Tewa-speaking pueblos.[8]

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, and often tenuous, 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.[11] 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.[8]

Notable natives[edit]


  1. ^ Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "Ohkay Owingeh". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  3. ^ a b c Wroth, William H. "Ohkay Owingeh". New Mexico Office of the State Historian. 
  4. ^ "Pueblo's name predates arrival of Oñate". The Santa Fe New Mexican. 2005-11-15. [dead link]
  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, NM 87566". NM Home Town Locator. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo". New Mexico, Land of Enchantment. New Mexico Tourism Department. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  9. ^ "San Juan Pueblo". New Mexico Magazine. 
  10. ^ "Remembering 400 Years of Exile". Matthew J. Martinez. 
  11. ^ "Pueblo Feast Days". Matthew J. Martinez. 

External links[edit]