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1890 Report on the Pueblos of Laguna, Acoma and Zuñi

By Julian Scott, Special Agent The following report was prepared during September and October 1890, and August and September 1891: Laguna Pueblo Acoma Pueblo Zuñi Pueblo My observation in the 3 pueblos of Laguna, Acoma, and Zuñi is, that the so called control of these people by the United States government makes them expectant, and they hurry to Santa Fe to the United States Indian agent on small matters, Their civilization from an Anglo Saxon standpoint is nominal, still they are more provident than their New Mexican neighbors. These people should at once be dropped by the nation and required to assume the duties of citizenship, to which they are legally entitled. The Indians of Laguna, Acoma, and Zuñi have many intensely interesting traditions. Their religions beliefs are founded upon a theology of their own, which while it is unlike the Christian in most respects it greatly resembles it on the moral side; their superstitions are endless. The Indians of Acoma and Laguna speak the same language as those of the pueblos of Zia, San Domingo, Cochiti, Santa Ana, San Felipe, Taos, and Islets, in New Mexico, and Tema, on the first Mesa, in Arizona. They live by agriculture, and stock raising; besides, they manufacture a large amount of pottery, which they sell to tourists and in the large towns accessible to them and along the Atlantic and Pacific railroad. Their stock consists of horses, cattle, burros, sheep, and goats. They raise corn in their fields. Wheat was once one of their chief products, but it is not now. It is not so reliable as corn, and they are...

Acoma Pueblo

Reaching the open plain, we came within view of the rock of Acoma, and were in a little while watering our horses at the reservoir over which the pueblos are quarreling. The water was very low and there wore evidences of recent neglect. The rock of Acoma, bears the pueblo of that name. It seems unreasonable that such a site should have been selected by its founders for a habitation except for protection against the more warlike tribes that infested the great plains, roaming at will, preying upon their fields, and later their herds. The distance to wood and water, the enormous daily labor required to provide for the necessaries of life, could not have been endured through all the ‘centuries the Indians have lived there but for the absolute security the natural fortress gave them. Its walls of sandstone rise 200 feet out of the plain and are studded with deep recesses and grottoes that look more and more gloomy and forbidding as they are approached. Arriving at the southwest side of the rock, we left our team in the shadow of one of the towering monoliths that have been separated by erosion from the parent mesa and took a short cut along the ridge of an immense sand hill, the upper end of which banks against the rock about halfway up. Originally there was but one path that led to the top, the larger one of two now used; the other has been made practicable by the sand drift which has formed in recent years. The climb from where the sand stops is steep and difficult, and...

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