Owners of Oldest Continuously Inhabited Community in North America Enters Into Cooperative Agreement with National Trust
(Acoma Sky City, New Mexico January 31, 2007) Sixty miles west of Albuquerque, atop a sheer-walled, 370-foot sandstone mesa, Acoma Sky City has remained suspended in time for hundreds of years. With an eye toward the future, North America’s oldest continuously inhabited community in North America, Acoma Sky City is now the 28th National Trust Historic Site, named by the National Trust.
Overlooking a vast desert-and-mountain sweep of northern New Mexico and dating back to 1150 AD, Acoma Sky City is a vibrant community characterized by its adobe houses, plazas, walkways and the San Esteban del Rey Mission Church, completed around 1640. The Acoma people have long welcomed visitors to their community, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and a Save America's Treasures site in 1999. Today, approximately 15 families live year-round atop the 70-acre mesa.
"The Pueblo of Acoma tribal community is honored to enter into this important partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation," said Jason Johnson, Pueblo of Acoma Governor. "As our country’s 28th National Trust Historic site, we continue to fulfill our inherent responsibility to preserve and perpetuate our traditional way of life while implementing practical and sustainable historic and cultural preservation initiatives centered on safeguarding the integrity of Acoma culture, language, history, and arts for future generations. We wholeheartedly embrace this designation and look forward to attaining the objectives of this momentous partnership."
The Pueblo of Acoma owns Acoma Sky City, and the tribal council is responsible for all decisions and operations. By entering into the agreement with the National Trust, the pueblo will avail itself of the National Trust’s expertise in preservation, conservation and interpretation as well as national standards, best practices and legal advocacy. Furthermore, the agreement allows Acoma Sky City access to technical services, special grant funds and cooperative marketing programs available only to National Trust Historic Sites.
“Native American villages, homes and ways of life are of great interest to our visitors,” said Michael Cerletti, Secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department. “Acoma Sky City’s designation as National Trust Historic Site makes it unique among New Mexico’s pueblos. It is truly one of the most visited and photographed landmarks in New Mexico and a beautiful destination. We congratulate Tribal leaders on their efforts to ensure Acoma Sky City will remain sacred for all New Mexicans and their visitors for centuries to come.”
For the National Trust, the addition of Acoma Sky City adds to an ever expanding group of diverse and cherished pieces of American heritage. From a massive castle overlooking the Hudson River to a tenement on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio to Philip Johnson’s Glass House, National Trust Historic Sites are both a legacy from the past and a gift for the future.
"The sovereign nation of the Acoma Pueblo has been an exemplary steward of Acoma Sky City, and, as the owners of the mesa, it will continue to preserve this captivating community," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust. "Acoma is living history – not a museum – and nowhere else can you better appreciate the full breadth of the American experience. We’re delighted to work with the Acoma people to bring even more attention to this irreplaceable piece of Pueblo Indian heritage."
Hour-long tours of Acoma Sky City are offered throughout the year. Guided by Acoma residents, they provide an introduction to the history and culture of the pueblo as well as an exploration of the church, plazas and residential areas.
The mesa-top village is known worldwide for its unique art and profoundly rich culture. Pottery—hand coiled and tempered with walls so thin that they ring with the clarity of a bell—has been revered by art collectors for more than a century. Visitors can see examples of the pottery at the Sky City Cultural Center and Haak’u Museum or purchase pottery directly from the artists along the tour route in the village or from the expansive gift shop at the Sky City Cultural Center.
Sky City Cultural Center and Haak’u Museum: 800-747-0181
Information and Photo courtesy of:
New Mexico Tourism Department