"Kivas" Top 5 Page for this destination Acoma Pueblo Local Custom Tip by toonsarah
Acoma Pueblo Local Customs: 11 reviews and 14 photos
In this photo of a typical street in the pueblo you can see the distinctive ladders resting against the houses. The double ladder near the centre of the photo indicates that the building is a kiva or sacred building. Kiva ladders also have pointed tips, believed to pierce the clouds and bring rain. The ladder in photo two illustrates this belief, with a stylised cloud-shaped bar across its three poles.
These kivas would once have been round but our guide told us that after they had been destroyed by the Spanish invaders they were rebuilt with square walls to look more like normal houses and fool the enemy. [I have also read a more practical explanation – that square buildings make better use of the very limited space here on the mesa top]. But you can spot a kiva as it has no door; entry is only by the ladder, whereas in the case of the houses the ladders are used just for access to the upper floors. Look at the main photo carefully and you will see near the drainpipe on the left the second ladder that leads down into the kiva itself.
No visitors are allowed in the kivas and guides are not permitted (even if they would want to) to share anything of what goes on in them. Their use is sacred and even to tell outsiders about them would be seen as a threat to the integrity of the tribe’s culture and beliefs. Please respect this and don’t push your guide for information he/she is unable to provide.
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