Moqui Pueblos of Arizona and Pueblos of New Mexico

Search Fold3 for your
Native American Records

The Pueblo Indians have attracted great interest on the part of scientific individuals and societies in recent years. Their dwellings are in Arizona and New Mexico. Those in Arizona are known as Moquis. Such general characteristics as pertain to the Moqui Pueblos in Arizona and the Pueblos of New Mexico may be fitly sketched before giving the specific accounts for each locality.

Under the Spanish occupation the triumph of the church was the triumph of the state because the two were blended.

The mission usually consisted of church school and abode of the clergy. The mission was the central power and government for the whole establishment. The other incidents of a mission were the presidio with a military governor for the protection of the church and its clergy and the defense of the country about; the Castillo covered battery near the presidio; the pueblo or village usually composed of soldiers who had served out their time in the presidio and either had Spanish or Mexican wives or were intermarried with Indian women.

Map of Navajo Reservation
Map of Navajo Reservation

When the Indians were found in villages or communities the Spaniards called them “naturals” or “pueblos” natives of towns as for illustration the Pueblos of Arizona and of New Mexico; when in tribes “salvajos” or barbarous Indians (Indies barbaros). The tribal Indians were gathered up by the military brought to the mission and tarried over to the church. The pueblo or town of the Indian was frequently taken into possession by the church and a mission established the native name of the town or pueblo disappearing in that of a saint.

Failure of Spain to Control the Pueblo Indians.-Spanish power passed away in Arizona and New Mexico after a struggle of 280 years. The Pueblos are today in many things almost as the Spaniards found them. As a study of the development and strength of institutions largely local and self developed their economies and habits will repay investigation.

Map Showing Moqui Indian Reservation and Pueblos and lines of the United States land surveys. The square line shows the present boundary. The oval line suggests the reservation or grant which should be made.

Names Of The Pueblos At Several Period

In the historical works of Hubert Howe Bancroft (Volume I pages 526-528) is an abridged account of the expeditions of the Spaniards to Arizona and New Mexico beginning with that of Marco de Niza in 1539 and with Coronado’s expedition in 15101542 from Mexico following the glowing reports from Cabeza de Vaca of the De Narvaez expedition and giving the names of the pueblos in New Mexico. Some of the names given are of Mexican towns of quite recent origin and in all 26 in number. The present Moqui pueblos in Arizona except Oraibi and Tewa are not known by such names either by the Indians or by white people.

The nonnomadic semi civilized town and agricultural peoples of New Mexico and Arizona the second division of this group I call the Pueblos or “townspeople” from “pueblo” (town population people) a name given by the Spaniards to such inhabitants of this region as were found when first discovered permanently located in comparatively well built towns.

The country of the townspeople if we may credit Lieutenant Simpson is one of “almost universal barrenness” yet interspersed with fertile spots; that of the agricultural nations though dry is more generally productive.

The fame of this so called civilization reached Mexico at en early day first through Alvar Nunez Cabeza do Vaca and his companions who belonged to the expedition under the unfortunate Pamfilo de Narvaez who traversed the continent from Florida to the shore of the Gulf of California. They brought in exaggerated rumors of great cities to the north which promoted the expeditions of Marco de Niza in 1539 of Coronado in 1540 and of Espejo in 1586. These adventurers visited the north in quest of the fabulous kingdoms of Quivira Tontonteac (Moqui) Murata and others in which great riches were said to exist. The name of Quivira was afterward applied by them to one or more of the Pueblo cities. The name Cibola from “cibolo” Mexican bull “bos bison” or wild ox of New Mexico where the Spaniards first encountered buffalo was given to 7 of the towns which were afterward known as the “Seven Cities of Cibola”; but most of the villages known at the present day were mentioned in the reports of the early expeditions by their present names. The statements in regard to the number of their villages differed from the first. Castañeda speaks of 7 cities. The following list according to Lieutenant Whipple’s statement appears to be the most complete commencing north and following the southward course of the Rio Grande del Norte: Shipap Acoti Taos Picuris San Juan Pojoaque Santa Clara San Ildefonso Nambe Tesuque Cochite Pecos Santo Domingo Cuyamanque Silla Jemez San Felipe Galisteo Santa Aria Zandia Laguna Acoma Zuñi Isleta and Chilili. The Moquis who speak a distinct language and who have many customs peculiar to themselves inhabit 7 villages named Oraibe Shumuthpa Mushaiina Ahlelq Gnalpi Siwinna and Tegua.

Moqui Pueblos and Pueblos of New Mexico 1890

The Moqui Pueblos now in Apache County Arizona are the7 in existence at the date of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and are now known as Mishougnavi Oraibi Shimopavi Shipaulavi Sichumnavi Tewa and Walpi.

The Indian pueblos now known to the laws of the United States and in existence in New Mexico in 1890 being the Indian pueblos known at the date of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo February 21848 are 19 in number and are as follows: Acoma Cochiti Isleta Jemez Laguna Nambe Picuris Pojoaque Sandia San Domingo San Felipe San Ildefonso San Juan Santa Aña Santa Clara Taos Tesuque Zia and Zuñi.

Government of the Pueblos From 1540 to 1890.-The Spanish control lasted with varying success from 1540 until 1821 or until Mexico threw off the government of Spain and then the Mexican government assumed control. At the conclusion of the Mexican war by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo February 21848 the United States of America assumed jurisdiction of Arizona and New ‘Mexico and the Pueblo Indians of both became citizens of the United States by the terms of that treaty.

Origin of the Pueblos and their Myths

Turkey Dance, Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico
Turkey Dance, Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico

The Pueblo Indians are probably all offshoots from wild tribes of the northern plains. They were perhaps stream dwellers in the far past and moved south across Kansas to the headwaters of the Rio Grande in Colorado and New Mexico and established their towns along its banks or tributaries reaching out into Arizona. Thus probably driven originally from some other tribe or led by ambitious men or captured in war they moved into the present Pueblo country for homes and finding no plains with game or grass clung to the streams springs and water holes and built their towns. Jackals wolves and mountain lions abounded; so they built their homes without doors with ladders to climb up into them which they drew up and placed within at night. This also made their homes forts because prior to the Spanish occupancy they had neither powder nor firearms and the assaulting party would be armed with bows and arrows spears of bone or stone boulders and clubs. As an evidence of their being of the tribes of the north the stone implements found in the pueblos of Arizona and New Mexico are of the same shape and character as those found with the tribes or in the other portions of the United States; besides 6 of the 7 Moqui Pueblos are of Shoshonean stock. They are probably a part of the southward drift of the American aboriginal Stone Age. The influence of the Saxon is now easily seen at several pueblos where possessing firearms the Indians have the doors of their houses on the ground floor.

The Moqui Pueblos of Arizona and the Pueblos of New Mexico are comparatively the same people the differences between them being those caused by location or surroundings. Probably all are of Shoshonean stock.

The myths of the Pueblos of Arizona and of New Mexico are coupled with natural resources and they can be enlarged at will; there is no limit to their scope. Around the neck of the Pueblo Indian when he travels is his “mystery” or good medicine sometimes a button a bone or piece of stone; any object that he may adore entreat or supplicate. When an Indian goes out to steal horses he fastens the mystery around his neck and propitiates it that he may have success in thieving while the Indian who owns the horses to be stolen propitiates the charm or good medicine about his neck in order that he shall not be robbed With the. Pueblo’s localities arc haunted and friends or spirits good or bad people animals gentle or ferocious inhabit them. Nature’s moods or results which are plain to civilized peoples are incomprehensible mysteries to the Indian. The Indian fills the mountain canyon the roaring leaping river the cave in the rock the mountain top with its tall trees and the distant valley with mysterious life with strange people giants dwarfs and witches. The continuance of a variety of languages among the Pueblo Indians can be accounted for by the fact that they live crowded in small widely separated communities and they thus perpetuate distinct forms of speech. Many of the Pueblos speak Spanish.

Every condition of nature precludes the portions of Arizona and New Mexico now occupied by the Pueblo Indians from sustaining a very much larger population than now especially in a savage condition. Root or nut crops are few and game is scarce. In the past occasionally a few stragglers from the great herds from the game country to the north and east were found; the fish were not numerous. Streams depended for water on springs or snows in the high mountains to the north or in the immediate region. The rainfall was nominal more than usual if 3 inches a year in the valleys with an alkali soil sparse grass in fact a desert condition save where relieved by water courses and then a mere fringe of vegetation as the result of habitation with but 1 acre in 10000 used for cultivation no dews and the really habitable lands at a great altitude in the mountains among the timber.

The section occupied by the Pueblo Indians is the most desert portion of the vast silent land between the mountain walls running the breadth of the republic and which rise on the east and west as natural barriers against the moisture which makes arable lands. Well might the Spaniards call the march across these deserts the “jornado del muerto” or journey of death.

From an elevation the vast and colorless plains of Arizona and New Mexico resemble an ocean. Heat waves pass over them and clouds obscuring portions at times give the impression of distant water; no life; all seems dead so that one feels lost and hopeless while looking down upon them. Only the mountains and water there from make it possible for men to exist there.

Why the Pueblos Were Built

The Pueblo Indians finding it necessary for economical and defensive reasons built their towns in community the houses 1 2 3 and 4 stories high of mud or stone because timber was available only for joists and rafters and because houses thus built were cooler in the climate of Arizona and New Mexico; besides the housetops covered with mud and solid furnished lookouts in peace and war. In addition the people wore forced to this community life by the scarcity of water and the lack of arable lands. In the Morning the men went out into the fields to work returning in the evening; in the meantime a portion of the people watched on the housetops; looking for enemies or game and also as now from the housetops they watched their flocks and herds. They could see the country about for miles and give warning of threatened danger or approaching game. This method of building towns in a community is as old almost as man and is common in countries having much barren or wasteland or intense heat. The governor of the pueblo still assigns men to the field and flocks and the “crier” of each pueblo in the morning calls them to labor. They live in these communities self-governed and are practically free from vice and crime.

Water was the essential and as the towns increased and the water supply was inadequate offshoots may have gone out and new towns may have been built and so the number of pueblos spread and increased.

Pueblo Ruins

The great number of Mills deserted pueblos single houses or small groups of houses has produced a large crop of myths legends told stories of decayed and passed away cities and people in the region now occupied by the Pueblos. Many of these ruins are adjacent to the existing Moqui pueblos or at no great distance from them. A great number are about Zuñi to the west of Acoma also along streams in southwestern Colorado northwest New Mexico and in southeastern Utah.

The fierce Navajo and other wild tribes of the plains were nail a recent date the constant enemies of the usually quiet and peaceful Pueblos and they with the elements are answerable for the well built forts watchtowers and cliff houses above the ruins of the once peaceful homes of the valley and stream dwellers scattered along the rivers and valleys of upper Arizona southwest Colorado New Mexico and lower Utah which attract investigators and adventurers. The people who inhabited the valley houses were undoubtedly the predecessors of the present Pueblos. The cliff houses were for the valley people who when attached or for other causes temporarily occupied them. The pottery found in some of the ruins is similar in form and color to pottery now used or made by the Pueblos; nor can the ruins be very ancient; as 10 feet below the surface of the soil in one of them remains of sheep have been found which do not belong to the American fauna anterior to the Columbian period; moreover the Moqui Pueblos preserve traditions that their ancestors were driven away from those places and it is known that during the Spanish occupancy many of the Moqui pueblos were rebuilt though a number were removed and some died out.

There is evidence of a much greater water supply than that of today once existing in the region of the ruins winch failing the pueblos became uninhabitable and were deserted for newly built houses. No article of moment has been found in these ruins which can not be traced in a degree to a similar one in the handiwork of the present Pueblos except that in their pottery art the influence of the Spanish invasion and settlement and the American succession is apparent. The pottery found in old pueblos or about these ruins differing from the present is simply the original Pueblo pottery prior to Spanish control. The Indian is essentially imitative and so copies all that he sees unusual or peculiar which is plainly seen in the modern Pueblo pottery.

Ancient Pueblos and Cliff Dwellings

Pueblos came and go; their appearance or disappearance is not a matter of much moment to a Pueblo Indian. The pueblo of Acoma the finest and cleanest of all is probably the only pueblo in New Mexico which was seen by Coronado in 1540-1542 or even by Juan de Oñate more than 50 years afterward and of the Moqui pueblos Oraibi is probably the only one seen by Oñate. Awatubi was destroyed by war in 1700-1701. When a pueblo gets too filthy or too small for habitation or the water supply gives out the Indians remove and build a new town the women doing the work. The pueblo of San Domingo New Mexico has been destroyed by water and rebuilt on different sites 4 times within 200 years. Since the Mexican occupancy several pueblos have been rebuilt; others have gone out of existence the people removing and joining another pueblo as in the case of the pueblo of Pecos which was abandoned by its people who moved to the pueblo of Jemez on account of fever.

Building a Pueblo

Time is of but little value to the Pueblo Indians and a new town or pueblo is easily built. The women gather the stones for it will be noted that when the Pueblos build of stone they do not use cut or hammered stone but water washed stone picked up in the beds of arroyos or from along the streams frequently washed from a long distance. They also make adobes or sunburned bricks of mud and straw with which to build their towns. The women are considered the owners of the houses among the Moquis.

Pueblos In 1800

The Moqui pueblos are now generally a mass of filth and dirt the accumulation of years. The streets in some are many feet above the level of the town and houses and one now goes down in entering a house the “building up” being offal and vile refuse since none of these pueblos have any sewerage system or places of deposit. Altitude with them takes the place of a board of health and nature is their scavenger. The pure dry air is their medical corps. At a much lower altitude entire pueblos would be depopulated in a short time by epidemics.

The present adobe bricks were probably copied from those used by the people of Mexico; the stones they found ready prepared for them by nature except some which they chipped with a stone ax or another stone and the anal or the blue or black clay for brick or mortar sticky and tenacious they found in the vicinity of the springs or in the beds of streams arroyos. and washes.

Ancient Appearance of the Pueblos and Country

The occupied pueblos look as old as the decayed or deserted ones. The country adjacent to the pueblos looks as if it had been created old. The artemisia or sagebrush is ancient. It may be called the flower of the deserts as it covers them all. It resembles a giant oak tree of the middle states beaten down into a dwarf of 3 feet in height. Mankind here too seems to have been born old as the adults have an aged and weird look and the children a matured appearance.

The country of the Moquis of Arizona and of the Pueblos of New Mexico produces the fruits and flowers of the tropics and nature insists on aiding the natural laziness of the natives. The native Mexicans make this a land of flowers song and supreme laziness; the quantity of food necessary to sustain life is small and easily obtained wherever water can be found. It is a semitropical country in which all the cereals cotton grapes peaches vegetables and melons grow in common.

Secret Orders

The existence of secret orders among the Pueblos is cited as an evidence of the great antiquity of this people as remnants of a great race still preserving and caring for ancient rites and usages and men and women. American and foreign who have worked themselves into almost a frenzy over the mysteries of these orders are constantly predicting important future discoveries in this line. If these investigators have time money and food the red man will furnish them plenty of mysteries. The secret societies among the Indians merely confirm their relation to other men and show intellectual capacity for in proportion as intellect is developed the love of mystery deepens. The mind once awakened is never satisfied and mystery incites to investigation and thereby aids in the discovery of the facts sought for.

Commerce

Prior to the Spanish occupation and even till today these people traveled much and kept up continual intercourse with each other. The Moquis peddled their tanned skins and rabbit skin robes; also buffalo robes and horns for the buffalo then ranged down to the Pecos pueblo just east of Santa Fe. The Zuñians always the assumptive Pueblos aspired to lead and control the Indians to the west of them and to the immediate east. Salt and pottery and cotton were obtained from the Moqui pueblos. The Moquis cultivated fields with a southern exposure and thus raised cotton. Turquoise was brought from about San Domingo and Sandia pueblos shells from many rivers and the glistening shell of the abalone across the San Diego trail front southern California. There was a commerce among all these pueblos limited it is true because of the few objects which could be wrought or utilized from nature. Sometimes the red pipe from Minnesota was brought to the pueblos. Obsidian and stone arrowheads and stone axes with which they hewed timber chipped stones or fought battles were also exchanged and traditions also were carried along by word of mouth from trader to trader. This commerce was mostly on foot or on the streams in small boats or dugouts because at this time they had no horses and to this clay the Moqui prefers to travel on foot.

Handiwork

The handiwork of this people is generally speaking as rude as are their buildings but though rough it possesses some originality. Their houses are built; roughly; their clothing has neither form nor beauty; they can not handle a blanket with the grace shown by the wild Indians of the plains; their pottery is never glazed with silica but is soft or brittle sometimes as at Acoma and Zuñi it is quaint in form and artistic decoration but it is usually primitive. With all this lack they are however a strong and an individual people and their forms and manner of life are peculiar.

Population and Laws

On June 1, 1890 at the Eleventh Census the 7 Moqui pueblos in Arizona had a total of 1,996 people the 19 pueblos in New Mexico a total population of 8,287; in all 10,283; surely a small raiment for so great a people as some writers picture as having once resided in Arizona and New Mexico and who were the ancestors of the present Pueblo Indians. At no time since 1540-1542 could the above pueblos have contained a greater population than 40,000. No graveyards or depositories of the dead in great numbers are found and there are no ruins or remains of structures of a character to indicate a very large population.

For self protection and development the Pueblos like other people invented and made laws and rules fur their government to which they hold with desperate tenacity. Their system of law and order which originated from necessity shows hundreds of years of development and furnishes a study of rare importance.

Unchangeable Character of the Pueblos

Intermarriage has not thus far changed the essential conditions of Pueblo life. What the immediate future has in store for this people can not be predicted but American civilization will soon entirely surround them and change will surely come. As a feature of this unchangeableness by intermarriage it was found that fit one pueblo the old Pueblo laws had been more rigorously administered than usual and it was presumed that the governor was immovable in his Indian pride. On introduction and inquiry it was discovered that the rigorous governor was a German who had become an Indian as a result of marriage with a Pueblo woman.

Administration Of Justice

The Pueblos all administer justice and punish crimes in their own way. No crimes are recorded against the Pueblos in the courts of New Mexico.

Land and Town Holdings 1890

The Moqui Pueblos live upon lands in Arizona which they were permitted to occupy by the Spanish and Mexican owners and which became grants by reason of town occupation for a long period. These grants are not yet defined but were tacitly recognized by President Arthur in his proclamation of December 16, 1882 when he threw about them the protection of a reservation to keep off white people and the Navajos. The allotment of the lands of the Pueblos (which in New Mexico can only be done by themselves) compelling the holders to reside upon them would abolish the villages and pueblos and disperse these Indians.

Spanish and Mexican authorities respected the Indian pueblos and Spain protected them as early as 1546 when Charles V of Spain not only decreed their protection but ordered that the prelates and officers should gather up wandering Indians and place them in towns or pueblos and on March 21, 1554 the protection of the pueblos was again ordered.

June 4, 1687 the king of Spain by proclamation confirming the above gave instructions for founding Indian pueblos and registers and in ordering “that there shall be given and assigned generally to all the Indian pueblos of New Spain for their farming lands” gave the area of land holdings for each pueblo for farming and grazing. These decrees on the basis of the grants have been confirmed by patent by the United States to 16 of the pueblos and reserved to the remaining 3 of the 19 in New Mexico. The Moqui pueblos of Arizona were recognised pueblos in 1540-1541. From the Spanish authorities the Moqui Pueblos received the right of occupancy of their lauds and were protected in their possessions which were never questioned by Mexico.

Pueblo Indians Citizens of the United States by Treaty

The Moqui Pueblos of Arizona. and the Pueblos of New Mexico are as has been stated citizens of the United States by virtue of the laws of the Mexican republic and the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

The Moquis were inhabitants of New Mexico as well as the other Pueblo Indians. Neither formally after the treaty announced their intention to remain citizens of Mexico but on the contrary they have aided the United States with soldiers in war and by remaining good citizens in peace. The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in its inhibition of citizenship to Indians not taxed does not apply to the Pueblo Indians not taxed because the same could not set aside the contract as to their citizenship made between the United States and the republic of Mexico by the eighth and ninth articles of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Neither the Moquis nor the other Pueblo Indians have exercised the right of suffrage to any extent since they became citizens of the United States.

The United States becoming the successor to the sovereignty by capture and by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of February 1848 is compelled to deal with private land titles and the pueblos as Mexico would have clone had the sovereignty not changed. In the ease of the 19 pueblos in New Mexico this has been done. In the case of the Moqui pueblos of Arizona this has not been done.

After reading the many descriptions of the pueblos of Arizona and New Mexico one upon visiting them feels great disappointment. Sonic like San Domingo Taos and Tesuque built of sundried bricks or adobes are not pretty but the contrary. The pueblos of stone are dead looking dreary and but for the people in their bright costumes the scene presented would be a dismal one. As matters of picturesque effect the people their methods and institutions however never lose interest. Oraibi of the Moquis is the most picturesque and the situation of Walpi the boldest and most striking. Acoma is the best built and probably the best ordered and neatest of sill the pueblos of New Mexico. The pueblo of Zia, New Mexico built of stone on a rocky point above a small river is quaint and its people are clean and neat.

The Montezuma Legend

The sacred fires of the Pueblos can not now be found. The beautiful legend of the Pueblo looking from the roof of his house for the coining of Montezuma with the rising sun subsides upon investigation into the hungry Pueblo on his housetop early in the morning either driven out by sickening unsanitary conditions (there is no practical ventilation in the pueblo houses) or scanning the horizon for his cows goats and donkeys.

The voices heard in the pueblos early in the morning are the pueblo crier calling out the orders of the clay for the governor as to who takes the herds who gets the wood.

A special agent instructed to observe these alleged morning waitings and watchings at Zuñi for several mornings from 2 until 8 a. in. found that the only Montezuma longers were the town crier men hurrying out to work and some old citizens running around as if in search of food. He watched also at Acoma and Laguna and with the same result.

Another special agent saw neither sacred fires nor Montezuma bunters or watchers in the 16 other pueblos of New Mexico. At Moqui the absence of both was noted. The Moquis are the least changed by their surroundings and are the most primitive of the Pueblos and would be the most likely to keep alive ancient customs and forms.

Pueblo Life

The Moqui Pueblos of Arizona and the Pueblos of New Mexico being town dwellers have much in common and in many details of their daily life are virtually one people. Some reported myths and superstitions were either mere inventions or the ceremonials and practices are dead and much detail of former writers can not now be verified. These people differ however in many ceremonies and customs. Their isolation easily accounts for this difference together with the genius of the masters of ceremonies although in some eases ceremonies and dances are entirely local.

Amusements and Dances

The Indian must have amusements and he invents them. The dance always goes hand in hand with all mysteries and rites. Scarcely a year passes but a new dance is invented by some tribe of the American Indians and sometimes the tribe originating it sells it to another. In these dances frequently the participants dress in the skins of animals or the feathers of birds or fowls. The wild turkey was a domestic bird with the Pueblos as noted by the early Spaniards. It was kept for its plumage and not for food. An illustration of a turkey dance at the pueblo of Jemez is given. It is a reproduction of an oil painting by Peter Moran of Philadelphia who witnessed the dance.

The descriptions of the dances and ceremonies of the Pueblos; as given by various authorities some of them running back more than 300 years vary in many particulars and at no time is the variance more marked than during the last 20 years. The priests medicine men and leaders of these dances are in many ways similar to theatrical managers and vie with each other in producing new features or in the revival of old ones brought down by tradition As spectacles the most of these dances are dismal failures. The country about does not afford the material for much display and so mostly natural features and resources are brought tutu play. The music is wretched the howling discordant and grace departs when the dance begins. It is really a poor show but interesting because in many eases of the earnest devotion manifested.

The Moqui snake dance is earnest and sincere yet quite commonplace as to accessories save in the matter of the rattlesnakes and they are not dramatic because they kill no one. The dance pleases the Indians is a part of their devotional ceremonies and awakens the curiosity of white people. It does no harm because it does not incite to war or to immorality. It is simply a curious survival with no pernicious results and to the Indians it is a religious duty. The snake dance is an invocation to the snake deity a water god “Ba-ho-la-con-gua” by name and snakes particularly the rattlesnake as representative of this deity are used hi the dance. The date of this dance in 1891 was fixed for August 17 but the priest afterward decided to have it August 21 and on that day it was held at Walpi. Two special agents of the Eleventh Census were present Julian Scott and John Donaldson. It is a very solemn religious ceremony.

The Roman Catholic Church in dealing with the Pueblos or other Indians never interferes with their harmless amusements games or dances. At the pueblo of San Domingo in the dance of the tablet or corn dance the ceremony began with a service by the priest in the church.

The Pueblos of New Mexico have as many dances and ceremonies as the Moquis some of which are local. At Zuñi they have religious and semi religious observances such as communal burning of pottery planting prayer plumes for rain rabbit hunts and foot races. Rain and other dances are held from time to time some of which are attended with many quaint preceding ceremonies and clowns. The clown is a humorous feature in many of the Pueblo dances including the tablet dance. Indians from the several pueblos attend these dances and return to their homes with notes of new features or of changes in old forms. The forms of these dances depend much upon the genius of the directors. Many ancient customs are now practiced in secret by the Pueblos and some of their very old ceremonies are thus preserved. At the pueblo of Jemez in 1880 the special agent found that the men of that pueblo while nominally Roman Catholic desiring to practice their ancient rites in the estufa picketed the padre out on the hillside with a guard over him until the ceremonies were over. Many or the dances last an entire day and the dancers gorge themselves with food. At San Domingo in 1881 at the tablet dance it was common to see the men and women tickling their throats with turkey feathers to relieve themselves of the oppression caused by too much food.

Many observations of the religious ceremonies of the Pueblos have been recorded by laymen and scientists. Whether they have any connected meaning making them a part of a religious system is yet a question.

Indians hold as mysteries many of their ceremonies. The questioning of Indians about any of their tribal or race traditions and ceremonies in most eases results in several versions of the traditions and various meanings of the ceremonies. The sight of money food or articles of wearing apparel the ownership of which is expected to be soon transferred to them will frequently unlock their memories and mouths. Whether they tell the truth is another question; besides almost all investigators have to approach the Indians through interpreters and receive answers through the same source and interpreters in many cases are ignorant and uneducated.

Investigation shows that the Pueblos are a portion of the North American Indians of the present day. The Indians of 6 of the Moqui towns or villages are of Shoshonean stock; those of the seventh village are of the Tewan or Tanoan stock whose language is also spoken by 11 of the 19 pueblos of New Mexico. Future investigations will probably show that all of the Moqui Pueblos of Arizona and the Pueblos of New Mexico are of Shoshonean stock.



MLA Source Citation:

Department of the Interior. Report on Indians Taxed and Indians not Taxed in the United States, Except Alaska at the Eleventh Census: 1890. Washington DC: Government Printing Office. 1894. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 25 October 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/moqui-pueblos-of-arizona-and-pueblos-of-new-mexico.htm - Last updated on Oct 25th, 2012


Categories: ,
Topics:

Contribute to the Conversation!

Our "rules" are simple. Keep the conversation on subject and mind your manners! If this is your first time posting, we do moderate comments before we let them appear... so give us a while to get to them. Once we get to know you here, we'll remove that requirement.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Page Contents

Newsletter Signup

We currently provide two newsletters. Why not take both for a run?

Genealogy Update: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new, or significantly updated, collection or database on our website.

Circle of Nations: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new (or significantly updated) Native American collection or database on our website.

Once you've clicked on the Subscribe button above you'll receive an email from us requesting confirmation. You must confirm the email before you will be able to receive any newsletter.