Laguna people and culture

Encyclopedia Article


The Laguna people of central New Mexico consist of a pueblo group that occupies six major villages, of which the political center is Old Laguna (Kawaika) on a knoll above the San Jose River about 42 miles west of Albuquerque on U.S. Route 66/Interstate-40. Both the Spanish word "laguna" and the Keresan word "Kawaika" mean "lake." Living in modular, terraced pueblo communities similar to other regional descendants of the Ancestral Mogollon Puebloans, the Laguna understand that all things in nature are sacred and connected and that relationships between natural elements are both reciprocal as well as cyclical.

Notable members of the Laguna include photographer Lee Marmon, his daughter the novelist Leslie Marmon Silko, and political activist Paula Gunn Allen. Allen is considered the foremother of Native literature.

Photo Credit: 

"Laguna women plastering, Laguna Pueblo," photograph by Lee Marmon. Lee Marmon Pictorial Collection (2000-017-0023). Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico.

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