Mount Taylor and its mesas rise from the desert, and its peak— often capped with snow— reaches 11,301 feet. The mountain can be seen from Albuquerque, 80 miles away, and beckons hikers, hunters, piñon gatherers, and skiers and bikers for an annual quadrathlon.
Members of Acoma Pueblo call the mountain Kawesktima, "a place of snow." To the Navajo it is Tsoodzil, or "turquoise mountain." The Zunis call it Dewankwi Kyabachu Yalanne or "in the east snow-capped mountain."
Members of those tribes, along with the Hopis and Lagunas, made the application for a traditional cultural property distinction for the mountain.
The tribes hold the mountain sacred, and it plays a part in their traditional lives. It is a place where their deities live; where shrines are visited; where feathers, plants and soils are collected for religious uses; and where pilgrimages are made for prayers.
Members of the tribes said they asked for the state designation after they saw a flurry of uranium exploration permits for the mountain and after some exploration activities disturbed religious shrines and ancestral graves.