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Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico
Pueblo of Laguna symbol
Total population
6,758 (2010)[1]
Regions with significant populations
 United States ( New Mexico)
Keresan language, English language
Traditional tribal religion, Christianity (Roman Catholicism and other)
Related ethnic groups
Acoma Pueblo, other Keres people
(Cochiti Pueblo, San Felipe Pueblo, Santo Domingo Pueblo, and Zia Pueblo)
Laguna Pueblo
Laguna Mission
Laguna Pueblo is located in New Mexico
Laguna Pueblo
Laguna Pueblo is located in the United States
Laguna Pueblo
Nearest cityAlbuquerque, New Mexico
Coordinates35°1′8″N 107°23′04″W / 35.01889°N 107.38444°W / 35.01889; -107.38444
Area108 acres (44 ha)
Built1699 (1699)
Architectural stylePueblo
NRHP reference No.73001154[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 19, 1973
Designated NMSRCPDecember 30, 1971

The Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico (Western Keres: Kawaika [kʰɑwɑjkʰɑ]) is a federally recognized tribe of Native American Pueblo people in west-central New Mexico, near the city of Albuquerque, in the United States. Part of the Laguna territory is included in the Albuquerque metropolitan area, chiefly around Laguna's Route 66 Resort and Casino. The name, Laguna, is Spanish (meaning "small lake") and derives from the lake on their reservation. This body of water was formed by an ancient dam that was constructed by the Laguna people. After the Pueblo Revolt of 1680–1696, the Mission San José de la Laguna was erected by the Spanish at the old pueblo (now Old Laguna) and finished around July 4, 1699.

photo of Laguna Pueblo from airplane
photo of Laguna Pueblo from airplane


Location of the Laguna Pueblo

Their reservation lies in parts of four counties: In descending order of included land area they are Cibola, Sandoval, Valencia and Bernalillo Counties. It includes the six villages of Encinal, Laguna, Mesita, Paguate, Paraje, and Seama. The reservation is 45 miles (72 km) west of the city of Albuquerque. The reservation consists of approximately 500,000 acres (2,000 km2).[3]

The Laguna Pueblo (and the Acoma Pueblo) lie in the river basin of the Rio San Jose.[4] The laguna or lake was historically much larger than the present time and hosted waterfowl of many kinds, including ducks, geese and swans.[5] The Rio San Jose flows into the Rio Puerco near the southeast corner of the Laguna Reservation.



On the 2010 census 6,758 people in the U.S. reported being exclusively Laguna[6] and 8,358 people reported being Laguna either exclusively or in combination with another group.[7]

The State of New Mexico says the population is 7,700.[8]


Grinding maize in Laguna Pueblo, c. 1900s
Ceramic Laguna canteen

The people of Laguna have a long history of residing in and farming along the Rio San José in west-central New Mexico. Laguna history begins long before the advent of written records in the Southwest.[9] It is a common misconception that the Pueblo of Laguna began in 1699, at the time of the construction of the Mission. However, research of 1,449 archaeological sites and an anthropological analysis of the Laguna oral history have firmly proven that people have inhabited the area ranging from 6500 B.C. to the present.[10]

The Acoma Pueblo and Pueblo of Laguna have many ties, including location, language and a shared high school.

The Pueblo of Laguna has a well-established Tribal Law system. The Pueblo of Laguna has participated as a "Weed and Seed" tribe.[citation needed] This Department of Justice program studied the enforcement of law and effectiveness of social programs on Native American lands.

The Irish surname Riley was adopted by many members of the Laguna tribe in the 1800s, for legal use in European-American culture, while they retained their Laguna names for tribal use. [citation needed]


Primary and middle school education is provided by the Laguna Department of Education,[11] which also operates Early Childhood program and adult education programs. The high school is shared with nearby Acoma Pueblo. Lagunas value intellectual activity and education, so a scholarship program has led to many well-educated Lagunas.[citation needed] Uranium mining on Pueblo of Laguna land has contributed to this scholarship program as well as to skilled labor learning among Laguna members. Lagunas and other Pueblos enjoy baseball. Like many Pueblos, the Laguna people are skilled in pottery.[citation needed]


Laguna man and woman in traditional clothing

Lagunas traditionally speak the Western variety of Keresan. Most Laguna elders do not speak English.


The Laguna Development Corporation; founded in 1998, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Pueblo of Laguna. Laguna Development is a federally chartered tribal corporation formed under Section 17 of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act.

The company develops and operates the tribe's retail-based outlets, including two travel centers, a supermarket, a convenience store, an RV park, an arcade, a Superette and three casinos on the Pueblo of Laguna reservation that spans Cibola, Bernalillo, Valencia and Sandoval counties.

Laguna Construction Company, a construction company owned by the Pueblo of Laguna, was one of the largest U.S. contractors in Iraq, with reconstruction contracts worth more than $300 million since 2004. In addition to its headquarters at the pueblo, Laguna Industries, Inc. maintains offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico; San Antonio and Houston, Texas; Baghdad, Iraq, and Amman, Jordan. In 2007, Laguna Construction employed 75 people, most of whom belong to the pueblo.[12]

Several Laguna Pueblo businesses are along tourist and truck route corridors that attract New Mexico tourists, long- and short-haul truck drivers, and residents of nearby Albuquerque. Other Laguna Development businesses provide basic services to local tribal communities.

Notable people

Non-enrolled descendants

See also


  1. ^ 2010 Census American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File - Pueblo of Laguna alone (H45)
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  3. ^ see "Welcome to the Pueblo of Laguna"
  4. ^ "Rio San Jose". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  5. ^ Balduin Molhausen (1858). Diary of a Journey from the Mississippi to the Coasts of the Pacific V2, with a United States Government Expedition (1858). Jane Sinnett (translator). London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, & Roberts. p. 60.
  6. ^ Census 2010 American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File (AIANSF) - Sample Data, Pueblo of Laguna alone (H45)
  7. ^ Census 2010 American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File (AIANSF) - Sample Data, Pueblo of Laguna alone or in any combination (H45) & (100-299) or (300, A01-Z99) or (400-999)
  8. ^ "Laguna Pueblo". New Mexico, Land of Enchantment. New Mexico Tourism Department. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  9. ^ Ellis, Florence Hawley (1979). Handbook of American Indians. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. pp. 438–441. ISBN 978-0874741971.
  10. ^ T.J. Ferguson and Barbara J. Mills, 2012, Supplemental Report: Archaeological Sites on the Laguna Indian Reservation. Unpublished paper on file at the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Historic Preservation Office.
  11. ^ "Laguna Department of Education". Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  12. ^ "Pueblo of Laguna-owned contractor is 15th largest in Iraq : Iraq War : Albuquerque Tribune". November 30, 2007. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  13. ^ Foran, Claire (March 15, 2021). "Senate confirms Deb Haaland as Biden's Interior secretary in historic vote". CNN. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  14. ^ Oxford, Andrew (May 2, 2017). "Haaland, former Dem Party state chairwoman, running for Congress". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  15. ^ Smith, Fran A'Hern (Spring 2013). "A Nursing Legend: Admiral Josephine T. Waconda, BSN, CFNP Assistant Surgeon General February 1935 – January 2013". The New Mexico Nurse. 58 (2). Albuquerque, New Mexico: New Mexico Nurses Association: 9. ISSN 0028-6273. EBSCOhost 86176810. Retrieved August 6, 2023.