Talking Knots: SW Backpacking

September 26- October 2

Location: Four Corners Ecogregion / Pueblo, Diné, and Apache territories

Meetup: Albuquerque, NM

Application: Closed- previous juried participants postponed from 2020 cancelations

Guides: Amy Harwood, Anna Ialeggio, anf Felipe Delfino

Price: None. Artists are responsible for their own travel to and from the meet-up location.

Activities: backpacking

Level of Difficulty: moderate. This trip involves backpacking at altitude in a remote and arid landscape. Hiking days will not exceed an average of five miles with packs on, and we will take some days off. Participants who do not live at high elevation are encouraged to arrive at least 48 hours early for the trip to acclimate to Northern New Mexico.


The Pueblo Revolt was one of the largest Native American uprisings in North America and its significance lives on. Led by Popé, a Tewa religious leader from Ohkay Owingeh, the pueblo people summoned their combined strength in August 1680 to drive the Spanish occupiers from the province. Freedom from Spanish colonial rule was ultimately short-lived, but this victory was an important turning point for the self-preservation of pueblo culture and language, and still resonates today in the social structures of Northern New Mexico. 

Traveling through the Jemez Mountains of NW New Mexico, we’ll center the legacy of the Pueblo Revolt as we immerse ourselves in the deep social and ecological histories of a complex place: not as a linear set of events, but as an entangled field that is still unfolding. This trip combines short but challenging backpacking segments with periods of rest and stillness in the diverse mesas and canyons of the Jemez region. Rolling ponderosa forests open onto the vast grasslands of a collapsed volcano. It is a place of hot springs, wildflowers, and hoodoo rock formations. Evidence of ancestral and contemporary Puebloan culture abounds even in the backcountry, with thousands of unexcavated archaeological sites throughout the area. Troubling aspects of the military-industrial complex are present as well, from the nuclear testing areas of Los Alamos, to the oil derricks and abandoned mines studding the public lands of the high desert.

Our group of artists will share a week together,  immersed in and responding to this ecological and cultural landscape.  Site visits and readings will offer entry points for interpretation and exploration. This “walking residency” is not focused on creative production per se, although we will offer time for reflection and discuss ways to incorporate the experience into our various practices.

*a note on accessibility: This trip will include several days with hikes up to five miles on rugged trails and carrying bags that can weigh approximately 50lbs. We spend our trips hours away from medical help and often cell range. If you have never tried backpacking, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions as you consider applying and we will connect you with an alumni or guide who can best answer your questions. Signal Fire offers various forms of camping trips in order to facilitate a range of physical ability to participate, however we acknowledge that the trips are inherently exclusive to people with a body capable of difficult movement. We are continually in conversation about this with our past participants and community members to keep people safe and approach our work with inclusivity and integrity.