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How a Tribe Found Greener Pastures around the Card Table
The Santa Clara Indian tribe has made their home at the Santa Clara Pueblo, one of the Eight Northern Pueblos. it's located near Santa Fe. All of the people who are a part of this group are of Tewa descent. The Tewa people traditionally lived in New Mexico and Arizona. The people of Santa Clara lived in New Mexico for hundreds of years before they came into contact with Europeans in 1541. They were known for their incredible pottery, which had a distinctive black and red polychrome design on it.
Today, the Pueblo still stands near State Road 30, and a number of Santa Clara Indians still live there. However, while they may still live on the same land their ancestors did, they have become very modern. The reserve, which spans some 50,000 acres, is the largest reserve set aside for one of the Eight Northern Pueblos people. The tribe has taken advantage of that, using the area to build and operate casinos and other businesses.
When the Santa Clara people decided to follow the lead of a number of other tribes and open a casino, they began drawing up the designs for the Big Rock Casino. This casino was fairly small, taking up only 18,000 square feet. However, it did offer 420 slot machines and six gaming tables where players could play poker, blackjack, and craps. This casino put the reservation on the map.
However, as the tribe's ancestors had once moved from the Puye Cliffs to the Espanola Valley, so too did the modern tribe find themselves in need of more space. The Big Rock Casino was closed, and today, the tribe operates the much larger Santa Claran Casino and Hotel. This new complex includes two restaurants, a Starbucks coffee shop, and much more. The casino itself is 27,000 square feet and is home to more than 650 slot machines and a number of table games, including roulette.
A visit to the Santa Claran Casino is perfect for those who want to get away from it all while still having fun and winning some extra money. There's even plenty for those who aren't that interested in gambling--the casino is near the Puye Cliffs and the original tribe's dwellings, plus there are a number of tribal shops and stores nearby.
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