On this date in 1970, the Taos Pueblo won back Blue Lake through an act of Congress and sixty-four years of struggle.
At 11,332 feet above sea level, the lake reflects the deep dark blue of the bold sky. The firs form the walls of the foyer, while the smooth green grass slope of the mountain forms the base of the altar. Higher up, the brilliant white streaks of snow converge at the summit. The brightest white, the deepest blue, the most vibrant green. A cauliflower tower of cumulus, with a dark gray purple belly, rises beyond the altar. The choir is formed by the sweet warble of the yellow-rumped warbler, the rolling waving flute of the hermit thrush, the steady tempo of the red-breasted nuthatch, and the trill of the junco.
“Blue Lake is the most important of all our shrines because it is part of our life, it is our Indian church, we go there for good reason, like any other people would go to their denomination and like a shrine in Italy where the capital of the Roman Catholics worship is different: people go visit and give their humble words to God in any language that they speak. It is the same principle at the Blue Lake, we go over there and talk to our Great Spirit in our own language and talk to Nature and what is going to grow, and ask God Almighty, like anyone else would do.”
– Severino Martinez, Taos Pueblo