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
Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico is located in the US
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
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 of America. 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]

Spanish Colonial Capital[edit]

In March of 1598, conquistador Oñate traveled from north central México, accompanied by a caravan of Catholic missionaries, a thousand soldiers, colonists, and Tlaxcalan Mexican Indians. The expedition included cattle, sheep, goats, oxen and horses, and arrived at Yungeh —Place of the Mockingbird—in present-day Ohkay Owingeh[9][1] 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. In Royal gesture, he baptized and renamed Caypa pueblo (present day Ohkay Owingeh) San Juan de los Caballeros, after his patron saint John the Baptist. He then established the first Spanish-Catholic capital of Santa Fe de Nuevo México at Yuque Yunque pueblo.[10] In local history, it is said the event united the two fragmented families of Caypa and Yuque Yunque. Divided, since their arrival from former homelands in the northwest, and by the river, the two pueblos were split until the expedition party's arrival. As 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 of the most regarded leaders of American Indian history. He would play a major role in the Pueblo revolt in 1680. The community was also formally 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 American Indians. 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 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.[12] 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. ^ National Park Service (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. 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, 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. ^ "Remembering 400 Years of Exile". Matthew J. Martinez. 
  10. ^ "San Juan Pueblo". New Mexico Magazine. 
  11. ^ http://www.library.arizona.edu/exhibits/swetc/spmc/body.1_div.24.html
  12. ^ "Pueblo Feast Days". Matthew J. Martinez. 

External links[edit]