View from the Sandia. Photo by: Ryuta F. / unsplash

While hiking, bird-watching, and cross-country skiing are possible in parts of New Mexico if you bundle up, there are also other possibilities you might not have thought about.

The Transfer of Canes happens in many of New Mexico’s 19 Pueblos at the first of the year, combined with dances. This ceremonial event establishes and honors the new tribal leaders. The first canes (like scepters) given to the Pueblos were in 1620 from Spain’s King Phillip and indicated the blessing of the Catholic Church. In 1821, when Mexico became free from Spain, Mexico presented canes. Then in 1863, President Lincoln presented canes in recognition of Pueblo sovereignty and the authority of their governments. Other tribes have not been presented canes. There are six Pueblos in the mid Rio Grande watershed: Isleta (505-869-3111), Sandia (505-867-3317), Santa Ana (505-771-6700), San Felipe (505-867-3381), Kewa (505-465-2214), and Cochiti (505-465-2244). Some of the dances at this time of the year are open to the public, but the Transfer of Canes is probably not open to non-tribal members. Call the tribal governor’s office at the numbers listed above to get the latest information a day or two before planning to visit.

The legislature begins on January 17th this year. The Roundhouse is open to visitors. There are tours of the extensive artwork collection and educational booths in the Rotunda, and the committee and floor sessions are all open to the public.

There is also a Legislative Reception on January 23rd at the Santa Fe Convention Center where you may mingle with the legislators, cabinet officials, and the governor. The cost is $45.00 and tickets have to be purchased in advance by calling 505-988-3279.

And then there is eating all the leftovers of New Mexican traditional holiday food: tamales, posole, and biscochitos!


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