Snowboarders love the unpisted fissures of Taos, in New Mexico. Off the ascents, countries of the region adobe hamlets render an insight into Native American culture and a chance to support local communities
In the burning cold of the dark, incense-scented St Jerome chapel, tour guide Francisco Velarde, or” Flying Hawk” in his native Tiwa language, is justifying his people’s history to a small audience of tourists squatted in pews in their ski casings. His ancestors, the” ruby-red willow beings”, have lived here in Taos Pueblo for 1,000 times, he says, seeing it one of the oldest endlessly inhabited communities in the US; an singularly successful riot obliged them the only tribe to never be displaced on to certain reservations. It’s a fascinating record, especially from the mouth of this passionate, streetwise student, part of Native American hiphop group Po. 10. Cee, which has 27 books to its name.
As he passes us between the apricot-hued multi-storied adobe buildings- crafted, he says, from” nothing but clay, water and straw”, he points out the square that multitudes dances and greased-pole climbing competitions, and takes us inside shadowy rooms thick with lumber fume, where neighbourhood masters have created tiny galleries and craftsmanship patronizes. I buy a lily-white carved stone suffer to fit in my palm and bring me luck.