Tortugas, New Mexico


Tortugas, New Mexico or Tortugas Pueblo is a community in
Doña Ana County, New Mexico Doña Ana County is located in the southern part of the State of New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe, New Mexico, Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque, New Mexi ...
, just outside of
Las Cruces, New Mexico Las Cruces (; "the crosses") is the second-largest city in the U.S. state of New Mexico and the county seat, seat of Doña Ana County, New Mexico, Doña Ana County. As of the 2020 United States Census, 2020 census the population was 111,385. Las ...


Tortugas is located just south of the
New Mexico State University New Mexico State University (NMSU or NM State) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisat ...
Interstate 10 Interstate 10 (I-10) is the southernmost cross-country highway in the American Interstate Highway System The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly known as the Interstate Highway System, is a ...
. The community is located near an
oxbow __NOTOC__ An oxbow is a U-shaped metal pole (or larger wooden frame) that fits the underside and the sides of the neck of an ox or bullock Bullock may refer to: Animals * Bullock (in British English), a castrated male bovine animal of any age * B ...

of the
Rio Grande The Rio Grande ( and ), known in Mexico as the Río Bravo del Norte and as the Río Bravo, is one of the principal river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another r ...

Rio Grande
, which in the past had many turtles ("tortugas" in Spanish).


Tortugas was founded in 1852. Tortugas Pueblo, as it is commonly referred to as, was the area of land that was granted to tribal members of the Piro/Manso/Tiwa tribe in Las Cruces. Originally Tortugas was made up of two Native villages, the Pueblo of Guadalupe and the Pueblo of San Juan de Guadalupe. Many of the people living in Tortugas today are members and descendants of the tribe, as well as descendants of various other tribes in the surrounding area including Jumanos, Sumas,
Apaches The Apache () are a group of culturally related Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans ...
, Conchos, and
Rarámuri The Rarámuri or Tarahumara are a group of indigenous people of the Americas The Indigenous peoples of the Americas, also known as Amerindians or Indians, are the inhabitants of the Americas The Americas (also collectively called ...
. Despite being considered extinct
Manso Indians The Manso Indians are an indigenous peoples of the Americas, indigenous people who lived along the Rio Grande,Reynolds 1 from the 16th to the 17th century. Present-day Las Cruces, New Mexico developed in this area. The Manso were one of the indigen ...
are part of the population that make up members of the Tortugas community. The area of land in present-day Las Cruces down the Rio Grande into
, Mexico was the territory of the Manso people before the Spanish came through and before other tribes began moving in. The Tiwa (or Tigua) from Isleta Pueblo and Piro people from near Socorro, New Mexico moved into the area after the Pueblo Revolt, when many Native Spanish allies as well and Native slaves of the Spanish, also known as genizaros, traveled south from Santa Fe into Paso del Norte (present day El Paso) where missions were established for the Natives in the area to attend. Many people in Tortugas are also descendants of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, a pueblo in Texas that was established after the Pueblo Revolt as well. Despite not being federally recognized, Tortugas has maintained its Native cultural heritage and traditions and has thrived as an inter-tribal community. The current cacique is Patrick Narvaez. Tortugas is home of the Tortugas Pueblo Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a feast day celebration observed every year on December 10-12 that incorporates Native traditions with Catholic influence. There are four dance groups in Tortugas that dance during the ceremony, including the Pueblo Indian dancers, the Danzantes, the Danzantes Guadalupana, and the Danzantes Chichimecas. The latter two being matachines dance groups.


Villages in Doña Ana County, New Mexico Populated places established in 1852 1852 establishments in New Mexico Territory Non-recognized Native American tribes {{NewMexico-geo-stub