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Picuris Pueblo, New Mexico
San Lorenzo de Picurís
San Lorenzo de Picurís
Location of Picuris Pueblo, New Mexico
Location of Picuris Pueblo, New Mexico
Country United States
State New Mexico
County Taos
 • Total 0.5 sq mi (1.2 km2)
 • Land 0.4 sq mi (1.2 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 7,323 ft (2,232 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 86
 • Density 192.7/sq mi (74.4/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
Area code(s) 505
FIPS code 35-56810
GNIS feature ID 0928771
Picuris Pueblo
U.S. Historic district
Location of Picuris Pueblo and neighboring pueblos in New Mexico
Nearest city Taos, New Mexico
Area 20.4 acres (8.3 ha)
Built 1776 (1776)
Architectural style Pueblo
NRHP reference No. 74001211
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 13, 1974

Picuris Pueblo (/pɪkəˈrs/; Tiwa: P'iwwel) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Taos County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 86 at the 2000 census. The Pueblo people are from the Tiwa ethnic group of Native Americans. Picurís Pueblo is a member of the Eight Northern Pueblos.


The Pueblo of the Picuris is a federally recognized tribe, whose headquarters is in Peñasco, New Mexico. Their own name for their pueblo is Pinguiltha, meaning "mountain warrior place" or "mountain pass place." They speak the Picuris language, a dialect of the Northern Tiwa language, part of the Tanoan language family. Their tribal officers, led by a tribal governor, are elected every two years.


Located within the Pueblo are the San Lorenzo de Picurís church and the Picuris Pueblo Museum, which displays and sells the works of local weavers, potters and beadworkers. Picuris is particularly known for its micaceous pottery. Excavated dwellings are located within the pueblo. Self-guided tours and permits for photography within the pueblo are available to visitors. Visitors may fish for trout at Pu-La Lake by contacting the Picurís Pueblo Fish & Game and Parks & Wildlife. There are also picnic and campground facilities.


The Picuris people previously lived in an earlier, larger village of about 3,000 people now known as Pot Creek, near Taos. They migrated to the present location along the Rio Pueblo de Taos about 1250 CE. In the 15th century it was one of the largest Tiwa pueblos, influenced by Apache and other Plains Indian cultures, as was the Taos Pueblo.

In the late 17th century people from the pueblos of New Mexico revolted against the Spanish colonialists, particularly during a revolt between 1680 and 1696 when they fought for autonomy and their land. Following this period the people of the pueblo were dispersed and had abandoned their pueblo until 1706. At that time they joined with the Spanish to fight against attacks by Comanche and Apache tribes. Then, the Picuris pueblo people settled into a peaceful period.

Picuris mission
San Lorenzo de Picurís, circa 1915

Spanish explorer Don Juan de Oñate named the pueblo "Pikuria" - which means "those who paint." The pueblo was influenced by the Spanish, particularly adoption of Christian religious practices and letting go of traditional rituals and ceremonies. The San Lorenzo de Picurís church was built of adobe by 1776 and was restored in the 21st century. Having been influenced by the Spanish and then the Americans for centuries, the Picuris adopted telephone and electrical services, paved roads and television. They resumed their traditional customs, which are performed throughout the year, and became self-governing again in the mid 1920s. The pueblo maintains a growing herd of buffalo.

In 1990, 147 of the 1,882 enrolled tribal members lived in the pueblo; however, the number was reduced to 86 in 2000. It is now one of the smallest Tiwa pueblos. Children attend school in a nearby town. Most of the adults are employed off of the reservation.

In 1991, the tribe opened the four-star Hotel Santa Fe and the Amaya Restaurant, serving Native American cuisine, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Their major feast day is San Lorenzo's Day on August 10, during which people of all ages engage in races and the Sunset Dance held on August 9. There are Corn Dances and Buffalo Dances in June and August, which may be private ceremonies. There are also dances held New Year's Day and in late January and early February that are open to the public.

An Arts & Crafts fair of weaving, sculpture, beadwork, and jewelry is held the first weekend in July.


Picuris Pueblo is located in northern New Mexico, on the western slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and 18 miles south of Taos Pueblo. Average elevation in the pueblo is over 7,000 feet.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2), all land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 86 people, 38 households, and 18 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 192.7 people per square mile (73.8/km²). There were 60 housing units at an average density of 134.4 per square mile (51.5/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 10.47% White, 70.93% Native American, 16.28% from other races, and 2.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 26.74% of the population.

There were 38 households out of which 10.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 21.1% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 52.6% were non-families. 42.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 3.33.

In the CDP, the population was spread out with 16.3% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 18.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 95.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.7 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $11,528, and the median income for a family was $16,875. Males had a median income of $21,000 versus $23,333 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $12,492. There were 36.0% of families and 28.7% of the population living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and 45.0% of those over 64.

Notable Picuris people

  • Anthony Durand (1956–2009), micaceous potter
  • Joseph Rael (b. 1935), ceremonial dancer and shamanism writer


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