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Isleta Pueblo Review
Of the pueblos in New Mexico when the Spanish first arrived, Isleta Pueblo is one of two Tiwa-speaking communities left in the middle of the Rio Grande Valley. It was also one of a handful of pueblos that didn't participate in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, during which Isleta was abandoned. Some of the residents fled New Mexico with the Spanish to El Paso, where their descendants live to this day on a reservation called Ysleta del Sur. Other members went to live with the Hopi of Arizona but eventually returned and rebuilt the pueblo.
Facing the quiet plaza is Isleta's church, St. Augustine, built in 1629. One of the oldest churches in New Mexico, it has thick adobe walls, a viga-crossed ceiling, and an austere interior. Legend has it that the ground beneath the floor has the odd propensity to push church and community figures buried under the floor back up out of the ground; bodies have been reburied several times, only to emerge again.
Polychrome pottery with red and black designs on a white background is a specialty here. The pueblo celebrates its feast days on August 28 and September 4, both in honor of St. Augustine. The tribal government maintains picnicking and camping facilities, several fishing ponds, and a renowned 18-hole golf course. Although Isleta is wonderfully picturesque—beehive ovens stand beside adobe homes bedecked with crimson chiles—camera use is restricted here. Only the church may be photographed.
The Hard Rock Casino & Resort, which ranks among the state's most popular gaming facilities. It was known as Isleta Casino up until summer 2010, when the tribe formed a branding agreement with the popular Hard Rock hospitality brand and reopened the entire resort with a sleek new look. It's a large and handsome space with more than 1,600 slots and myriad gaming tables; the concert hall hosts a mix of oldies, pop stars, and country-and-western acts—past numbers have included Tom Jones, Vince Gill, and Tony Bennett. There's also boxing held throughout the year, and local bands as well as comedy acts often perform at the resort's two nightspots, Fusion and Lucha. Additionally, Hard Rock operates Albuquerque's largest rock-concert venue, the Hard Rock Pavilion. The resort also includes a snazzy, 201-room Hard Rock Hotel, with a full-service spa, making Isleta more competitive with other high-profile Native American resorts in the region (i.e., Sandia Resort & Casino; Santa Ana Pueblo, with its Hyatt Regency Tamaya; and Pojoaque, with Buffalo Thunder Resort). 11000 Broadway SE , 87105. 505/724–3800 or 877/475–3827. www.hardrockcasinoabq.com.
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