“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Laguna in Cibola County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)

Trade - Tourism - Economy

Laguna Pueblo & Route 66

Trade - Tourism - Economy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, October 13, 2021
1. Trade - Tourism - Economy Marker

Business Along Route 66

As traffic along the road increased, Laguna community members began to sell or trade items at roadside stands within the Pueblo and on adjoining lands to the east and west. Community members built shade structures where they sold their pottery, beadwork, and other crafts and curios to tourists. They also supplied bread, pies, tamales, and seasonal produce. Tribal member Lee Marmon described how women set up cedar branch shelters where they "would sell property…And then they'd try to sell them [the motorists] bread or corn or things of that sort" (2009). Cash was not the only way of doing business; barter also occurred. Local people traded with tourists for items uncommon in tribal communities such as non-native jewelry. In addition to trading posts, gas stations, garages, convenience stores, and motels emerged as permanent businesses owned by both tribal members and non-tribal members.

Memories of the Road

Discussing the history of Route 66 evokes many unique memories for community members at Laguna. Some recollections extend back to the famous highway's initial
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development, and topics include daily life, special events, national trends, and Indian Policy. Starting in the late 1800s, New Mexican Native American children were forced to attend government-sponsored boarding schools, which were charged with acculturating American Indian youth into mainstream American culture, in addition to their educational mission. Many Native Americans in New Mexico recall travelling by bus on Route 66 to boarding schools.

Traveling to other communities for trade and work was also a memorable part of the Route 66 experience. Laguna community members recalled traveling by horseback, wagon, bus and, in later years, by car to other tribal communities and larger urban centers such as Gallup and Albuquerque - especially after the completion of the Laguna Cut-off in 1937. Although the road facilitated travel, most Laguna residents took trips only when necessary due to the expense. Multiple community members remember traveling with their families to the Pueblos of Santo Domingo, Sandia, Santa Ana, San Felipe, Zia, Jemez, and Isleta to trade. Each Pueblo had its specialties in both art and agriculture. People from Laguna brought their pottery and mutton. They sold or traded squash and pumpkins for alfalfa, wheat, straw, corn, chiles, and fruit. Tribes also traded other important items for use in dances and ceremonies.

Laguna Feast Day occurs
Trade - Tourism - Economy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, October 13, 2021
2. Trade - Tourism - Economy Marker
Marker is underneath a shelter where the Laguna Burger is
annually on September 19 and is one of the largest Pueblo feast-day events in the state. Residents of Laguna recalled that during the Route 66 era, visitors from other communities arrived a few days before the feast day to trade, sell, and socialize. Many Native American families traveled by wagon and set up camp outside the village of Laguna. One community member reported that it was common for several hundred wagons to be camped in the area. Navajos came from Alamo, Canoncito (To'hajiillee), and points west such as Prewitt, Crownpoint, and even Arizona. They brought mutton, weavings, and jewelry. Many Pueblo families came with fresh produce, pottery, jewelry and other handmade wares. The event offered the opportunity to trade various goods with other American Indians and visitors, and to sell to the local trading posts.


During the Dust Bowl times and the Depression, we had a campground out here. There were cabins. The regular cabins used to rent for $1.25 a night, and the deluxe was $1.50 a night. We had a lot of the people from Texas and Oklahoma and back east, Kansas, that were headed west to California, because of the drought. And if you've ever seen that movie, "The Grapes of Wrath," it was exactly like that. And they'd stop here, and some would be completely out of food and money, and they'd have three, four, or five kids, and the
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dog and the grandma and the grandpa. So what local people would do, they would give 'em enough money to get from here to Grants. When they got to Grants, people in Grants would help 'em, they'd get to Gallup, and on the way 'til they got to California. Things were in pretty bad shape. So we saw a lot of people headed west during the Depression era.
- Lee Marmon

Back as a child, the primary mode of travel for most of the Indian visitors to the feast was in wagons, particularly the Navajos. They would arrive by wagon trains several days in advance of the feast and camp to the south and east of Old Laguna, along the sand hills. There were sand dunes more prominent than they are today and they would camp at the base of the sand hills there, and come enjoy the feast. - Roland Johnson (2009)
Erected by New Mexico Department of Transportation, Pueblo of Laguna and the Laguna Development Corporation.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceNative AmericansRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 series list. A significant historical date for this entry is September 19, 1937.
Location. 35° 2.243′ N, 107° 22.431′ W. Marker is in Laguna, New Mexico, in Cibola County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of New Mexico Route 124 and Old Route 66 Road. Marker is located off a roundabout that connects to the two roads, plus Schoolhouse Road and Interstate 40. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2544 NM-124, Laguna NM 87026, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Post World War II (here, next to this marker); San José De La Laguna Mission (approx. 0.6 miles away); a different marker also named San José De La Laguna Mission (approx. 0.6 miles away); Susie Rayos Marmon - Ga-wa goo maa (Early Riser) (approx. 0.6 miles away); Pueblo of Laguna (approx. 0.7 miles away); a different marker also named Pueblo of Laguna (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Battle of Khe Sanh Vietnam, 1968 (approx. 7.9 miles away); a different marker also named Pueblo of Laguna (approx. 10½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Laguna.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 19, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 17, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 82 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 19, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

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May. 29, 2024