In the legends of the Acoma (OCK-o-ma)
peoples, a story is told of the sacred twins leading their ancestors
to Ako, the magical white rock which became their permanent home. The
twins also discovered and shared with their people, the whitest,
finest clay in all the Southwest. Sky City, the old pueblo of Acoma
claims to be the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the United
States. They may, however, get an argument from the Hopi peoples of
Old Oraibi village who also claim this distinction.
Thin-walled, large ollas,
slipped in pure white and decorated in red and black set the standard
for Acoma fine pottery ever since the 18th-century. But that hardly
begins to describe the intricate and dramatic designs which
characterize modern Acoma pottery. In 1880, the railroad caused a
major change in the pottery market. Traders and tourists were unable
to travel with the larger ollas, so potters turned to making smaller,
eccentric, more manageable pieces.