Traditional Name: Ka’waika
Laguna Pueblo (pronounced “Lah-goon-ah “) is located 42 miles west of Albuquerque, between Acoma and Isleta Pueblos. It is the largest Keresan speaking Pueblo, with around eight thousand members. They prize thinking above all human attributes and value intellectual activity and education. A scholarship program is conducted by the Pueblo, insuring advanced study for many of the young people, making them among the best educated of all Pueblos.
Laguna Pueblo comprises six major villages, Laguna, Paguate, Encinal, Mesita, Seama, Paraje, scattered over many acres with the political center at Laguna. Livestock grazing was a traditional occupation, but because one of the world’s richest uranium fields is located on the reservation, many men became miners. As an off-shoot of this activity, a large number of men learned mechanical skills and found employment outside the Pueblo.
In the 1970’s, the traditional craft of pottery making was re-established by the efforts of artist Evelyn Cheromiah, who researched ancient techniques and designs to revive the art and then went on to teach other Laguna artists. Laguna pottery shares similarities with Acoma pottery in that is typically covered in white slip with black or black and orange geometric decoration. It is usually slightly thicker and the designs tend to be bolder than Acoma pottery. Laguna Pueblo painters and jewelry makers have begun to work again in the ancient crafts, but they are bringing a modern note in the innovative designs and techniques which set their work apart from many other Indian craftsmen.
The feast of St. Joseph, celebrated on March 19th and on September 19th, brings crowds of people to the pueblo– many of whom come for trading in handiwork and crops, but also for a spirited carnival and a number of sporting events. The most important of these is baseball. Laguna Pueblo has five semi-pro baseball teams which play against Isleta, Cochiti and various other teams in the area. The All-Indian Tournament held at Laguna in September is one of the major events of any season.
Visitors to the Laguna community also enjoy Casa Blanca Commercial Center, a shopping area just off I-40, which has a large super-market and a number of shops where the handicrafts of the Pueblo may be purchased.