Taos 2023 Winter Fundraiser

"Just enjoy everything because it's a gift from Mother Earth. My heart is full of love and happiness. Animals are happy and more came around to eat. Elk, buffalo. Like the horses talked and said he has free food : ). Thank you again. It's a good feeling. I can't explain."
- Red Sunrise

This year's colder and harsher-than-usual winter has already taken a huge toll in places such as Buffalo, NY, and many regions in Texas. In Taos, getting fire wood is by default a challenge as certain areas with the hardest, hottest-burning wood close between January and May every year so that the animals can have their babies.

This winter, not having enough fire wood can have dire consequences. The bitter, bone-chilling temperatures at 9,000 ft altitude in Taos are no joke.

Red Sunrise has stocked up on as much wood as he possibly could, not just for himself, but to share with those in gravest need (he has encountered tribe members who had in desperation started to break down and burn pieces of furniture to stay warm).

An added challenge this year (in terms of tourism, visitors, and income) has to do with the pueblo closing earlier than usual from January to March so that Mother Earth and her children can rest. The holiday crowds during Christmas break provide the best bet and opportunity for local artists to sell their arts and crafts and stock up on resources for the upcoming lull.

Needless to say, he has been negatively and significantly impacted this year by all the snow storms, travel chaos, and the decrease in visitors and sales. On top of this, a number of loved ones, some old and some tragically young, unexpectedly crossed over to the Spirit World at the start of the New Year right after the festive and very spiritual Deer and Turtle Dances and Ceremonies.

Not only are these loved ones to be watched over around the clock for days to protect them from evil during their transition, the pueblo also closes for the funerals and all other obligations and the already limited ways to make a living are put on hold until all the sacred ceremonies have been completed.

After going non-stop for days on 2-3 hours of sleep, I asked Red Sunrise how he was doing. His sense of defeat, exhaustion, and depletion was palpable and understandable:

“Only Great Spirit knows my future. All I can say is that this year is hard. Very hard. My body is tired. I wish there was more of me to keep going and staying strong but yeah. I’ll do my best to pull my people to happy times. Test of time and love. Thank you again for the gifts. Much love.”
- Red Sunrise

I know what lifts his spirits and would make life easier. Donations for the following items are most welcome during this challenging time when opportunities to bring in $ and income are greatly reduced for reasons beyond their control:

  • A dozen barrels of hay that his horses and wild animals eat every week ($18 a pop) would greatly lighten his financial worries and load, and offer much joy.
  • Gas money for his truck and chainsaw to get and cut fire wood for his people, particularly families who are grieving.
  • Grocery money to keep him healthy, well-nourished, hopeful, and strong so that he can continue being the refuge, anchors, and lifeline for so many–particularly elders and those in need–during this exceptionally tough winter. They often buy groceries for those who run out of resources by the end of the month.

Thank you for your compassion and generosity. Every little bit is much appreciated and will go a long way. Messages of love, support, and community also mean a lot.

Jan 7 message:

“Thank you so much for the love, support, and healing for my family and people during these hard times and for stuff we couldn't get. Words cannot express my thanks. People are struggling to understand why (recent deaths) and it’s hard to even talk. I’m sending love and thanks back to people who care and sent support and $ when they didn’t have to.”

-Red Sunrise

Please visit https://www.redsunrisetaospueblo.org to read more how Red Sunrise is spearheading several Taos Pueblo revival projects. There is a Winter Wishlist with items for girls and boys, women and men, that are most needed to get through the bitter cold months if you prefer getting a gift that he will deliver to the most suitable recipients.


Loraine Van Tuyl
Taos, NM

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