Raptor Enclosure for the Pueblo of Zuni NM



The Zuni Eagle Sanctuary is a place of practical purpose and spiritual presence. Situated on the Pueblo of Zuni in northwestern New Mexico, it is the centerpieces of the natural resources compound, located just off the single paved road that connects the Middle Village to the outlying Black Rock area housing. It is a Place marked by community involvement in the design and construction process, reliance on local materials quarried and milled from Zuni lands, and the reintroduction of traditional building techniques for construction. Originally designed to hold birds and their caretakers, the site has expanded in significance as people from Zuni and elsewhere discover the power of the space inhabited by the eagle. Project History Eagle feathers play a central role in the ritual observances of the Zuni tribe.  In the past, tribal members were free to keep eagles, but today only eagles unsuited to the wild may be held in captivity, their condition monitored by the federal government. Rather than continue to apply to the government for eagle feathers, the Zuni have constructed and aviary to house these injured eagles. As birds molt, their feathers are collected to distribute to the tribe.

aviary interior
aviary interior

The aviaries themselves are essentially flight areas and cages, designed and built with respect for Zuni tradition, placed in relation to the sacred mesa Dowayalanee.  Material from the pueblo lands was used for construction: a sawmill was purchased to produce the 2”x@’ slats made from wood harvested at the pueblo.  Highly skilled Zuni masons have trained younger members to lay the reddish sandstone walls in Chaco style.

The complete compound consists of:

Raptor Enclosures two aviaries to increase the supply of feathers

Portals within the compoundvisitor orientation with Portals for eagle viewing

Speaking and Listening Room: A community meeting Room, constructed of rammed earth, with acoustic panels in walls and ceiling to modulate voices, cool areas to store peaches

Land Maps: Lines in the Desert: Array of land “masses” to contain locations for peach trees, waffle gardens, and benches, these large elements in earth locate significant sites in outlying areas, and place by tribal members