Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Nineteen Pueblos

Sorry Connecticut – this could be partially our fault.  We moved out here to Santa Fe in 2017 and the UConn Women were eliminated in the semi's of that season's NCAA Tournament.  And now they have lost their first non-tournament game since 2014.  If you see Coach Geno please let him know that we still love him and that we have a guest room should he want to stop by and re-connect with our game-winning mojo.  We might even be able to rustle up a green chile cheeseburger or two for him. 

Meanwhile the Lady Lobos of the University of New Mexico, with whom we we have a slightly unusual personal connection, are twelve and one – including a victory in ABQ over the University of Hartford (at whose "Alternative Public Radio" station we had volunteered.)   In 2004 we anticipated that we might need to also develop an allegiance to a local NM women's basketball team.  So we took advantage of an opportunity to renew our wedding vows on Valentine's Day during halftime of a Lady Lo's game along with twenty other couples and 15,000 cheering fans at "The Pit".  Attached is a picture of us with our wedding party – bridesmaid "Lobo Lucy" and best wolf "Lobo Louie" – after the ceremony.  (Rebecca was not able to attend.)

At the health club the other day Jim was eavesdropping on a conversation between a Physical Therapy Trainer and his client.

PTT: “May family is coming to visit for Christmas and I don’t know what to do with them.”

C: “Why don’t you go to see the Indian dances at one of the Pueblos?  I think there are some at the Okay Whatever-It-Is.  Things were so much easier before they started using those Indian names.”             

There are in fact nineteen Pueblo Tribal Nations in New Mexico: Acoma, Cochiti, Jemez, Laguna, Nambe, Picuris, Pojoaque, Isleta, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Sandia, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo, Taos, Tesuque, Zia, Zuni – and Ohkay Owingeh, which had been re-entitled San Juan Pueblo in 1598 by Juan de Onate during the formal Spanish settling of Nuevo Mexico, but now goes by its traditional pre-colonial name

Each Pueblo is its own community of related people with similar spiritual beliefs and is its own sovereign government.   Some use their “Indian” name (full, Anglicized or abbreviated) – others go by the identifier given them by the Spanish Catholics.  Sandia Pueblo sits at the foot of its eponymous mountains. Laguna (Spanish for lake) is located alongside a man-made body of water – a different type of “rez.”  The town of Taos ("place of red willows") is named after the Pueblo.  Others we have not been able to decipher. 
Populations sizes range from 11,000 at Santa Clara to just over 600 in Santa Ana – and the land sizes run from the Zuni’s 588,000 acres to Okhay Owingeh’s and Pojoaque’s 12,000.  Each Pueblo speaks one six of different languages – Jemez, Keres, Tewa, Tiwa Picurus, Zia, and Zuni.  (Full details at the bottom.)

During the Spanish Colonization in the 1500s there were at least ten distinct Native American language families in and around New Mexico – Hopi, Zuni, Keres (Western and Eastern), Kiowa, Towa, Tewa, Tiwa  (Southern and Northern), Apachean, and Piro.  This set had evolved from the four families and six languages that existed during the period prior to 1 A.D. 

Over time the communities’ vocabularies became less similar.  Which could have made the Native American’s collaborative eviction of the Spanish during the 1680 Pueblo Revolt virtually impossible – except for one thing.
The uprising was planned and coordinated by Tiwa-speaking Popay and his confederates at Taos Pueblo. 

As describes it, “Runners were dispatched to all the Pueblos carrying knotted cords which signified the number of days remaining until the appointed day. Each morning the Pueblo leadership untied one knot from the cord; when the last knot was untied, it was the signal for them to rise in unison. 

“[At the prearranged time] each Pueblo was to raze its mission church, then kill the resident priest and neighboring Spanish settlers. Once the outlying Spanish settlements were destroyed, the Pueblo forces would converge on the isolated capital [of Santa Fe].

“The plan demanded the unprecedented cooperation and participation of all of New Mexico's Pueblos. It would be an extraordinary accomplishment considering the cultural and linguistic differences among the various Pueblos. Ironically, the very people they sought to overthrow may have provided the Pueblos with the instrument that helped them overcome this problem – by 1680 nearly all the Pueblos spoke Spanish.”

But the Spanish returned twelve years later to re-conquer New Mexico, followed in governance by the Mexicans and then the Americans – each in turn wresting the land from its prior owner.  And the Pueblo struggles with their overlords shifted to being less on the battlefields and more in the courts.

As the Santa Fe New Mexican put it in their 2015 review of the book Four Square Leagues: Pueblo Indian Land in New Mexico, “Over more than 400 years, New Mexico pueblos have fought, sued, purchased, negotiated, and bartered for their land under Spanish, Mexican, and American governments…the book chronicles the ways in which pueblos have lost and gained land over the centuries. …[and explains] the origins of the ‘pueblo league’ – a [17th and 18th century] way of measuring pueblo land for land-grant purposes. The pueblo league encompassed 4 leagues (roughly 5 square miles) emanating in each cardinal direction from a pueblo’s central church.”

U.S. Federal Law has for the most part honored the land agreements pueblos had with the preceding Spanish and Mexican governments – ironically unlike how it observed the treaties that other tribes signed directly with the American government.  “Though it has required constant vigilance by the pueblos, the pueblo league [method of measuring property] has also given the pueblos a history vastly different from that of other U.S. tribes or what the writers call a ‘sad tale of treaties broken, homelands lost, and forced migration to federally designated reservations.’”

The Pueblo Indians hold their religious beliefs and rituals very privately.  The “dances” are not performances or proselytizing events, but rather religious ceremonies that they allow the public to witness.   No explanations are provided and no photos are allowed.   This is perhaps an effort to prevent something like what many Puebloans feel happened to the Zia Sun symbol.   According to New Mexico magazine, the image, which appeared on a sacred pot that mysteriously disappeared from the tribe’s Fire Society, showed up thirty-three years later in 1920 – modified and misinterpreted – as the first-place entry in a competition to design the New Mexican state flag.

We are certain that the victorious pennant designers felt they were honoring, rather than disrespecting, the Zia culture.  But apparently they never asked the Pueblo People.  Nor did they seek any explanation for the meaning their chosen symbol.  Currently the Zia are pursuing legal methods to curtail and/or control other (mostly commercial uses) of the pattern. 

The contest winners did however get the name of the Pueblo right.

Tabular display of information about the New Mexican Pueblos:
PuebloTraditional NameLanguage  Population         Acres
Jemez Pueblo WalatowaJemez 1,81589,619
Acoma PuebloHaak’uKeres 3,011378,262
Cochiti Pueblo KO-TYITKeres 1,72750,681
Laguna Pueblo Ka'waikaKeres 4,043495,442
San Felipe Pueblo KatishtyaKeres 3,53648,929
Santa Ana Pueblo TAMAYAKeres 621           — 
Santo DomingoKewaKeres 

Nambe Pueblo Nambe O-Ween-GeTewa1,61119,093
Ohkay Owingeh Ohkay OwingehTewa6,30912,236
Pojoaque Pueblo PO-SUWAE-GEHTewa3,31612,004
San Ildefonso Po-woh-ge-oweengeTewa1,75228,179
Santa Clara Pueblo Kha'p'oo OwingeTewa11,02153,437
Tesuque Pueblo TET-SUGEHTewa841           — 
Picuris Pueblo Pe’ewiTiwa1,88615,034
Pueblo of Isleta Tue-ITiwa3,400301,102
Sandia Pueblo NA-FIATTiwa 4,96522,890
Taos Pueblo Tuah-TahTiwa 4,38496,106
Zia Pueblo Tsi-yaZia737121,613
Zuni PuebloSHE-WE-NAZuni 7,891588,093

Development of Speech Communities 
New “speech communities” were formed when speakers of a single language become geographically separated and over time developed their own dialect and expanded their language as they experienced new locations and created new technologies – i.e. new things require new words.  When communities interacted with each other, new “words and things” were absorbed into each other’s knowledge base.  The attached diagram from the “Southwestern Culture History” course we took at the Office of Archaeological Studies shows one example.

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