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Cochiti Tribe

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Cochiti Indians (Ko-chi-ti’). A Keresan tribe and its pueblo on the west bank of the Rio Grande, 27 miles south west of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Before moving to their present location the inhabitants occupied the Tyuonyi, or Rito de los Frijoles, the Potrero de las Vacas, the pueblo of Haatze on Potrero San Miguel or Potrero del Capulin, and the pueblo of Kuapa in the Cañada de Cochiti. Up to this time, which was still before the earliest Spanish explorations, the ancestors of the present San Felipe inhabitants and those of Cochiti formed one tribe speaking a single dialect, but on account of the persistent hostility of their north neighbors, the Tewa (to whom is attributed this gradual southerly movement and through whore they were compelled to abandon Kuapa), the tribe was divided, one branch going southward, where they built the pueblo of Katishtya (later called San Felipe), while the other took refuge on the Potrero Viejo, where they established at least a temporary pueblo known as Hanut Cochiti. On the abandonment of this village they retired 6 or 7 miles south east to the site of the present Cochiti, on the Rio Grande, where they were found by Oñate in 1598. The Cochiti took an active part in the Pueblo revolt of 1680, but remained in their pueblo for 15 months after the outbreak, when, learning of the return of Gov. Otertnin to reconquer New Mexico, they retreated with the Keresan tribes of San Felipe and Santo Domingo, re-enforced by some Tewa from San Marcos and by Tigua from Taos and Picuris, to the Potrero Viejo, where they remained until about 1683, when it was reported that all the villages from San Felipe northward were inhabited. Between 1683 and 1692 the Cochiti, with their San Felipe and San Marcos allies, again took refuge on the Potrero Viejo. In the fall of the latter year they were visited in their fortified abode (known to the Spaniards as Cieneguilla) by Vargas, the reconqueror of New Mexico, who induced them to promise to return to their permanent villages on the Rio Grande. But only San Felipe proved sincere, for in 1692 the Cochiti returned to the Potrero, where they remained until early in the following year, when Vargas, with 70 soldiers, 20 colonists, and 100 warriors from the friendly villagers of San Felipe, Santa Ana, and Sia, assaulted the pueblo at midnight and forced the Cochiti to flee, the Indian allies leaving for the protection of their own homes. The force of Vargas being thus weakened, the Cochiti returned, surprised the Spaniard, and succeeded in liberating most of the Indian captives. Vargas remained a short time, then burned the pueblo and evacuated the Potrero, taking with him to Santa Fe a large quantity of corn and other booty and nearly 200 captive women.

Cochiti was the seat of the Spanish mission of San Buenaventura, with 300 inhabitants in 1680, but it was reduced to a visita of Santo Domingo after 1782. These villagers recognize the following clans, those marked with an asterisk being extinct: Oshach (Sun), Tsits (Water), Itra (Cottonwood), Shuwhami (Turquoise), Mohkach (Mountain Lion), Kuhaia (Bear), Tanyi (Calabash), Shrutsuna (Coyote), Hapanyi (Oak), Yaka (Corn, Hakanyi (Fire), *Dyami (Eagle) *Tsin (Turkey), *Kuts (Antelope), *Shruhwi (Rattlesnake), *Washpa (Dance-kilt), *Kishqra (Reindeer?). In addition, Bandelier notes an Ivy and a Mexican Sage clan.

Present (1905) population 300. The Cochiti people occupy a grant of 24,256 acres, allotted to them by the Spanish government and confirmed by United States patent in 1864.


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