ClayHound Web - Isleta Pueblo

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Isleta Pueblo is located in north-central New Mexico

  1. Bowl - Isadora Jojola

  2. Bird Effigy - Isadora Jojola

  3. Bear Effigy - Diane Wade

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  6. Plate - historic

  7. Bird Effigy - historic


The Pueblo of Isleta is centrally located in the Rio Grande Valley, just 13 miles (21 kilometers) south of Albuquerque and only five minutes away on I-25 to Exit 215.

Originally established around the 1300's, the name Isleta comes from the Spanish language which means "Little Island." Isleta's current population is over 4000 plus residents and growing. Many traditions, songs and dances are still practiced, and handed down from generation to generation. Historic St. Augustine Church, built in 1612, and located around the main plaza, presents interesting history and traditional architecture.

Sandia Pueblo, 14 miles north of Albuquerque on the east side of the Rio Grande, and Isleta Pueblo, 14 miles south of Albuquerque on the west side of the river, are both Tiwa-speaking pueblos. Their native names are Nafiat (dusty) and Tuei (town). Sandia Pueblo lands comprise 22,884 acres, (93 km2) and the village itself seems to have been occupied continuously since about 1300. Isleta's lands comprise 187,826 acres (760 km2) and the present village site cannot be dated earlier than 1500. The core population of both villages is probably made up of descendants of Puebloan peoples living in the Rio Grande Valley long before European contact.

Both pueblos probably also received population increments from the now extinct Piro Pueblos, which existed before the conquest along the river south of Isleta and from the abandoned Saline Pueblos (Abo, Gran Quivera, and Quarai) of the Estancia Basin. In about 1880, Isleta welcomed and gave land to a group from Laguna Pueblo, a Kersean-speaking pueblo. The immigrants have intermarried with the native Isletans.

The populations of both Sandia and Isleta have grown considerably since the turn of the century. In 1900, Sandia's population was just 74 persons. In 1968, this figure was 248. During the same period, Isleta's population grew from 989 to 2,449. At both villages, there has been a recent trend toward building separate, "American-style" houses, closer to the highway than the older parts of town.  

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