With a population of about 7,700, Laguna Pueblo is one of the largest Keresan pueblos and upon completion of the mission church was recognized as such by the Spanish government on July 4, 1699. Historians believe the ancestors of the pueblo have occupied the Laguna homelands since at least A.D. 1300. Pueblo history teaches the occupation since time immemorial.
The area around the villages produced evidence that archaic Indians lived there as far back as 3000 B.C. As was Acoma, Laguna seems to have been a boundary between the Ancestral Pueblo people to the north and Mogollón cultures to the south. When the Spanish arrived in the 1500s, they found an agrarian lifestyle and sophisticated system of self-governance.
The pueblo consists of six villages (Encinal, Laguna, Mesita, Paguate, Paraje and Seama) with a total population of 3,815 people, according to Census 2000 figures. The pueblo is located 45 miles (71 km) west of Albuquerque off I-40 and 31 miles east of Grants. Each community within the pueblo celebrates its own feast day and on Sept. 19 all the villages celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph. Dances follow a Mass and hundreds of booths native arts and crafts for viewing and purchase.
The rest of the year pottery and other traditional crafts are available from pueblo members in the village, I-40 scenic view (M.M. 114) and the Dancing Eagle Supermarket located at MM 108. This is also the location of the pueblo-operated Dancing Eagle Casino and Travel Center. http://www.dancingeaglecasino.com/
The interstate and Historic Route 66 bisect the heart of the 42-square-mile pueblo lands. Visitors are encouraged to visit the St. Joseph/San José Mission Church, which can be seen from I-40.
Please note that photography, sketching and audio/video taping are generally not allowed on Laguna land. Ask any of the village officials if permission can be granted for a limited scope or area.