New Mexico Historic Sites

Jemez Historic Site 16th Annual Commemoration of 1680 Pueblo Revolt & Letters from the Reservation Series at Bosque Redondo

August 01, 2019


(Santa Fe, New Mexico) – New Mexico Historic Sites are hosting two major commemorative events in August. The 16th annual Pueblo Independence Day celebration will be held Sunday, Aug. 11, in the village of Jemez Springs. The event commemorates the events of Aug. 10, 1680— when the Pueblo People of New Mexico and Arizona launched a successful rebellion against Spanish colonization. Later in August, the Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner launches Summer Letters from the Reservation, a series of letters and oral histories on the lives of the people at Bosque Redondo reservation. (*Media resources for both events available.)

Commemorative activities will begin with a pilgrimage run from Walatowa plaza in Jemez Pueblo to Giusewa Pueblo kiva at Jemez Historic Site (approximately a half-marathon or 13 miles).

“Participating in this run, or supporting a runner, is a way to pay tribute to the Ancestors and show appreciation for the sacrifices they made,” said Marlon Magdalena, ranger at the Jemez Historic Site. “Their brave resistance helped preserve the Pueblo way of life: our culture, our languages and our right to one day reclaim our aboriginal lands.”

The run begins at 7 a.m., and the public is welcome to participate.

At 10 a.m., guest speakers will welcome all the runners and their sponsors to the site. The following festivities, between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., will feature Jemez traditional dances. There will also be authentic Native arts & crafts and Native food. There is no admission fee for any of the activities related to this event.

A short drive from Albuquerque and Santa Fe, Jemez Historic Site is one of the most beautiful prehistoric and historic sites in the Southwest. It includes the stone vestiges of a 700-year-old village and the San José de los Jémez church dating to 1621. The village of Giusewa was built in the narrow San Diego Canyon by the ancestors of the present-day people of Jemez (Walatowa) Pueblo. The name Giusewa refers to the natural springs in the area.

In the 17th century, the Spanish established a Catholic mission at the village. The mission was short-lived, and, in time, the people abandoned the site and moved to the current location of Jemez Pueblo. San José de los Jémez church is unusual for its massive size and rare, octagonal bell tower. Colorful frescos that once decorated the interior walls were revealed during archaeological excavations in 1921 and 1922. The massive stone walls were constructed about the same time the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. The heritage center contains exhibitions that tell the story of the site through the words of the Jemez people. A 1,400-foot interpretive trail winds through the impressive site.

On Saturday, Aug. 17 Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner hosts Summer Letters from the Reservation, a series of letters and oral histories read in chronological order, to represent the lives of the people on the Bosque Redondo Reservation, as well as the policies employed by the U.S. government toward Navajo and Mescalero Apache people from the summer months of June, July and August 1863 to 1868.

A free light supper will be served (first come first serve) from 4- 5:30 p.m. green chile cheese brats, a Texas BBQ hotdog, an Italian style hotdog (bell peppers, onions and a cream sauce), baked beans, chips/salsa, iced tea, coffee with a twist, and fry bread with honey or powdered sugar for dessert.

Supper will be followed by the letter reading in the site auditorium until 7 p.m. The event and food are free and are sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Members of the public who want to participate in the program may volunteer by contacting the site.

For more information, call Fort Sumner Historic Site at 575-355-2573.

Media Resources approved for use by NM Dept. of Cultural Affairs:

*Jemez Historic Site Pueblo Independence Day: interview with Marlon Magdelena, b-roll of Pueblo Independence Day (*Note, there are 2 jump cuts in this interview.)

*Bosque Redondo Memorial Letters to the Reservation: interview with Aaron Roth (approx. 3 minutes), stills of Navajo students’ letter, signatures and assignment. Vintage stills of old visitor’s center. Approx. 6 minutes of Ft. Sumner Historic Site and interior/exterior of Bosque Redondo Memorial.


About New Mexico Historic Sites:

New Mexico Historic Sites are a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, through the generous support of donors.

On March 14, 1931, the New Mexico Historic Site system was established by an Act for the Preservation of the Scientific Resources of New Mexico, to "declare by public proclamation that historic and prehistoric structures and other objects of scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the State of New Mexico, shall be state monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof such parcels of land as may be necessary to the proper care and management of the objects to be protected." Under the direction of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, eight sites are open to the public: CoronadoFort SeldenFort Stanton, Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo Memorial, Jemez, Lincoln, and Los Luceros.

In 2004, the J. Paul Taylor Family bequeathed the Barela-Reynolds House and Property on the Mesilla Plaza to the Department of Cultural Affairs.  Still serving as J. Paul Taylor’s private home, the property will become a Historic Site after his passing. Events, news releases and images about activities at New Mexico Historic Sites, and other Department of Cultural Affairs divisions can be accessed at​


Related Photos

Bosque Redondo Memorial
San Jose Mission Church. Photo courtesy of Richard Hasbrouck.

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