The Moqui Tribe in History 1780-1820

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Efforts Of Governor Anza To Convert The Moquis 1780

Father Garces reported to Governor Anza his failure at the Moqui pueblos just cited and the governor at once took steps to convert them. H. H. Bancroft (volume xvii pages 265-260) gives the following details translated from the original documents of the efforts of Governor. Anza to convert the Moquis:

Back from this campaign [in 1778] Governor Anna gave his attention to the Moquis A failure of crops had reduced that people to such straits that the time was deemed most favorable for their conversion even Christianity being perhaps preferable to starvation. Many of them were said to have abandoned their towns to seek food in the mountains and among the Navajos and these fugitives were reported as disposed to submit, though the others still preferred death. It was feared that if something were not done now all the Moquis might quit pueblo life and join the hostile gentiles. Anza wrote repeatedly to Croix on the prospects, inclosing letters from the padres and advising that an effort should be made either to establish missionaries at the towns which would require some additional force or to induce the natives to migrate en masse and settle in new pueblos nearer Spanish centers. In reply the commandant general did not favor the use of force, but advised that Anna on some pretext as of an Apache campaign should visit the Moquis, give them some food and persuade them if possible to settle in New Mexico; otherwise the foundation might be laid for future conversion. The governor continued his efforts and in August 1780 a message came that 40 families were ready to migrate if he would come in person to bring them. He started in September with Padres Fernandez and Garcia visiting all the towns, 2 of which were completely abandoned. The 40 families had been forced by hunger 15 days ago to go to the Navajo country where the men had been killed and the women and children seized as slaves. Moqui affairs were indeed in as sad condition. Escalante in 1775 had found 7,491 souls; now there wore but 798; no rain had fallen in 3 years and in that time deaths had numbered 6,698. Of 30,000 sheep 300 remained and there were but 5 horses and no cattle. Only 500 fanegas of maize and beans could be expected from the coining crop. Pestilence had aided famine in the deadly work; raids from the Yutas and Navajos had never ceased. There were those who believed their misfortunes, a judgment for their treatment of Padre Games in 1776. The chief at Oraibe was offered a load of provisions to relieve immediate wants but he proudly declined the gift, as he had nothing to offer in return. Ho refused to listen to the friars and in reply to Anna’s exhortations declared that as his nation was apparently doomed to annihilation, the few who remained were resolved to die in their homes and in their own faith. Yet his subjects were free to go and become Christians if they chose to do so; and finally 30 families were induced to depart with the Spaniards including the chief of Gualpi [Walpi]. I find no record as to what became of these converts but I have an idea that with them and others a little later the pueblo of Moquino in the Laguna region may have been founded.

Not only among the Moquis did pestilence rage but smallpox carried off 5,025 Indians of the mission pueblos in 1780-1781 and in consequence of this loss of population Governor Anna by consolidation reduced the number of missions or of sinodos to 20 a change which for the next decade provoked much protest on the part of the friars

After 1780 the Moquis seem to have been let alone in their faith.

The Moquis in 1799

A translation by Buckingham Smith secretary of the American legation at Madrid, of a manuscript report by Don Jose Cortez an officer of the Spanish royal engineers, who was stationed in the northern provinces of New Spain in 1799 gives the following as to the Moquis:

  1. The province or territory of the Moqui (or Moquino) Indians lies to the westward of the capital of New Mexico. The nation revolted toward the close of the seventeenth century driving out the Spaniards from the towns and from that time no formal attempt has been made to reduce them to submission by force of arms; nor does a hope exist of its being accomplished by means of kindness which on several occasions has already been unavailingly practiced. The towns in which they reside and are established are 7 in number: Oraibe Tancos, Moszasnavi, Guipaulavi, Xougopavi, Gualpi and there is also a village which has no name situated between the last town and Tanos the inhabitants of which are subordinate colonists to the people of Gualpi.
  2. The Moquinos are the most Industrious of the many Indian nations that inhabit and have been discovered in that portion of America. They till the earth with great care, and apply to all their fields the manures proper to each crop. The same cereals and pulse (semillas) are raised by them that are everywhere produced by the civilized population in our provinces. They are attentive to their kitchen gardens and have all the varieties of fruit bearing trees it has been in their power to procure. The peach tree yields abundantly. The coarse clothing worn by them they make in their looms. They are a people jealous of their freedom but they do no injury to the Spaniards who travel to their towns, although they are ever careful that they soon pass out from them.
  3. The towns are built with great regularity the streets are wide and the dwellings 1 or 2 stories high. In the construction of them they raise a wall about a yard and a half above the pave of the street, on a level with the top of which is the terrace and floor of the lower story, to which the owners ascend by a wooden ladder which they rest thereon and remove as often as they desire to go up or down. On the terrace upon which all the doors of the lower story open, is a ladder whereby to ascend to the upper story, which is divided into a hall and 2 or 3 rooms, and on that terrace is another ladder with which to ascend to the roof or to another story should there be one.
  4. Each town is governed by a cacique and for the defense of it the inhabitants make common cause. The people are of a lighter complexion than other Indians. Their dress differs but little from that worn by the Spanish Americans of those remote provinces and the fashion of their horse trappings is the same. They use the lance and the bow and arrows.
  5. The women dress in a woven tunic without sleeves and in a black white or colored shawl formed like a mantilla. The tunic is confined by a sash that is usually of many tints. They make no use of beads or earrings. The aged women wear their hair into 2 braids and the young in a knot over each ear. They are fond of dancing which is their frequent diversion; for it there is no other music than that produced by striking with 2 little sticks on a hollowed block, and from a kind of small pastoral flute. At the assemblages which are the occasions of the greatest display there is not a Moqui of either sex whose head is not ornamented with beautiful feathers.

The Moquis In 1818-1819

The Moquis appear in history again as objecting to the Navajos settling around 5 of their pueblos. On this subject H. H. Bancroft (volume XVII pages 286 287) writes as follows:

In 1818-1819 the Navajos renewed their hostilities. It was reported in Mexico in January 1819 that Governor Melgares had in December forced them to sue for peace; but it appears that they had to be defeated twice more in February and March and that the treaty was finally signed on August 21. A notable feature of this affair is the fact that the Navajos being hard pressed settled near the Moqui towns and the Moquis sent 5 of their number to ask aid from the Spaniards. This was deemed a most fortunate occurrence, opening the way to the submission of this nation after an apostasy of 139 years. It was resolved to take advantage of the opportunity, but of the practical result nothing is known since this is the only mention of this remnant of a valiant and independent people that I have been able to find in the records of the period.




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. 23 April 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/the-moqui-tribe-in-history-1780-1820.htm - Last updated on Oct 21st, 2012


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