Marc Simmons: Zuni Pueblo often retreated to sacred site

"One of New Mexico's most fabled shrines is Towa Yalane, a flat-topped mountain rising a thousand feet above a sandy plain, just three miles southeast of Zuni Pueblo.

The name translates as Corn Mountain, tracing back to antiquity when a massive flood, according to legend, forced the Zunis to seek safety on the summit. The people carried sacked corn with them, enough to last until the waters subsided.

This geographical feature is known, too, by other names: Mother Rock, Thunder Mountain and the Sun Father's Shrine. Traditionally, Zuni priests have gone to the pueblo's rooftops at dawn to welcome the rising sun.

In history, Towa Yalane is most often mentioned as a place of refuge for the Zunis during the Spanish colonial era. In those troubled times, they habitually fled there, on occasion after slaying the resident missionary. "

Get the Story:
Marc Simmons: Shrine in the sky: Zunis' religious sanctuary also served as safe haven (The Santa Fe New Mexican 5/21)

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