In 2009, Santo Domingo Pueblo’s tribal council decided to change the pueblo’s name back to theancestral name Kewa Pueblo (pronounced KEE-wah) and is situated between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Santo Domingo, one of the largest of the northern Pueblos, is one of the best known tribes of the southwest Indians, largely because of their skill in marketing their jewelry and other crafts. The Pueblo is fifth in population of the nineteen New Mexico Pueblos, and is generally considered the most conservative in terms of customs and culture.
Life in the Pueblo has altered little since the arrival of the white man. Santo Domingo people have closely guarded their ceremonies, placing great emphasis on their ancient religious structures and societies which are the center of their social structure. While adhering strictly to tribal authority, much of the Pueblo productivity is devoted to the making of jewelry. They travel all over the country displaying and selling the silver and turquoise necklaces, rings and bracelets which have made them famous They also make fine heishe of turquoise and other stones and silver.
The pottery of this pueblo is strictly traditional, reproducing with care, the ancient forms and decorations. The natural clay at Kewa is quite elastic and lends itself to larger pieces. Traditional designs are bold geometrics where the negative space plays a prominent role. Other traditional designs incorporate abstract floral, animal and figurative motifs. Coloration is equally bold, commonly a combination of black and orange with a cream slip over the buff-colored clay. Traditional pottery techniques involve first digging the clay out of the ground, mixing it with water and sifting out impurities then letting the sifted clay dry to a working state. The pottery is coiled by hand and smoothed. A clay slip (a paintable mixture of highly refined clay and water) is applied and decoration with natural pigments follows. The pottery is allowed to dry and then fired outside in a hand dug pit using available materials.