Topic: Pueblo

Use Of Tobacco Among North American Indians

Tobacco has been one of the most important gifts from the New World to the Old. In spite of the attempts of various authors to prove its Old World origin there can be no doubt that it was introduced into both Europe and Africa from America. Most species of Nicotiana are native to the New World, and there are only a few species which are undoubtedly extra- American. The custom of smoking is also characteristic of America. It was thoroughly established throughout eastern North and South America at the time of the discovery; and the early explorers, from Columbus on, speak of it as a strange and novel practice which they often find it hard to describe. It played an important part in many religious ceremonies, and the beliefs and observances connected with it are in themselves proof of its antiquity. Hundreds of pipes have been found in the pre-Columbian mounds and village sites of the eastern United States and, although these remains cannot be dated, some of them must be of considerable age. In the southwestern United States the Basket Makers, an ancient people whose remains are found below those of the prehistoric Cliff Dwellers, were smoking pipes at a time which could not have been much later than the beginning of our era.

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Indian Mounds throughout North America

Charlevoix and Tantiboth speak of Indians who inhabited the region of country around Lake Michigan, who were well skilled in the art of erecting mounds and fortifications, Charlevoix also states that the Wyandots and the Six Nations disinterred their dead and took the bones from their graves where they had lain for several years and carried them to a large pit previously prepared, in which they deposited them, with the property of the deceased, filling up the pit with earth and erected a mound over it. A string of sleigh-bells much corroded, but still capable of tinkling, is said to have been found among...

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Indian Hostilities in California and New Mexico – Indian Wars

The Indian tribes of California are in a degraded and miserable condition. The most numerous are the Shoshonee, the Blackfeet, and the Crows. Many of them have been brought to a half civilized state, and are employed at the different ranches. But those in the neighborhood of the Sierra Nevada are untamable, treacherous, and ferocious. They wander about, for the most part going entirely naked, and subsisting upon roots, acorns, and pine cones. Since the discovery of the gold, they have acquired some knowledge of its usefulness, but no clear conception of its value, and they part with their...

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One Offense of the Pueblos

On the 30th of June, 1846, the advance of the “Army of the West,” under Colonel Stephen W. Kearny, inarched from Fort Leavenworth for New Mexico. Two troops of dragoons followed in July, and overtook the first division at Bent’s Fort. The remainder of the army, consisting of a regiment of mounted volunteers from Missouri, under Colonel Price, and the Mormon battalion of 500 men, did not march until early autumn. None of the troops followed the regular Santa Fe trail, which led in an almost direct line from Independence to the Mexican settlements, but left it at the...

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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...

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Zuñi Pueblo

Zuñi lies in a great plain, or valley, through which the Zuñi River flows. On account of the severe storm that had prevailed for a number of days the streets of the town were in a horrible condition, and looked as if they were never cleaned. They are now higher than the ground floors of the houses, though they were evidently once on the same level. Some of the terraced buildings are 5 stories high, reached by clumsy ladders and narrow partition steps of adobe or stone. All those visited were very clean inside, but as a general rule...

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Acoma Pueblo


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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...

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Laguna Pueblo

The night of October 17, 1890, found me a lodger in the railroad station at Laguna. The day after my arrival I went to the pueblo, which is but a few minutes walk west of the station, and was introduced to the Principal men of Laguna, who, learning the nature of my visit, received me with every expression of respect. The town is built upon a sandstone ledge, the southern base of which is washed by the San Jose. The streets are narrow and winding, and in some places very steep, requiring stone steps. The houses are constructed of...

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The Tablita or Corn Dance

The question of physical condition is one less dependent upon diet than the mode of life which renders general development a result, No better test of a high grade of physique could be found than the prolonged and fatiguing dances, lasting for the greater part of as day, indulged in at all of the pueblos. I have witnessed three of these great dances and several minor ones. At San Domingo, August 12, 1890, 200 dancers, male and female, participated, led by 2 choruses, each of 40 male voices. This display being regarded the finest to be seen among pueblos,...

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Observations of the Census of the Pueblo Indians, 1890

For various reasons statistics compiled from schedules of enumerators as applied to the area under cultivation would be misleading. Upon the ordinary blanks used for agricultural statistics the instructions were that no entry was to be made of farms under 3 acres. Very many farms among these villages do not contain that amount, awl were therefore not included. Again, in a number of cases enumerators were not faithful either in inquiries or entries. On the schedules of Jemez, Cochiti, and San Domingo the number of farms and not their area was given. The, enumerators of San Felipe, Sandia, Santa Ana, and Zia put down 5,000 acres as the amount cultivated by each. Even as the amount available for cultivation this estimate is highly exaggerated. In the foregoing comments on these pueblos I have noted the area actually cultivated and that available for cultivation, At Zia, for instance, less than 100 acres are tilled, and more than 900 could be irrigated and utilized. At San Juan most of the holdings were placed at 5 acres, giving the impression that great equality existed. In fact, it is a community of rich and poor, and there is a great disparity in actual possession. The schedules from Nambe, Pojoaque, Tesuque, San Ildefonso, and Santa Clara I believe to be as correct as faithful endeavor and long experience in dealing with Indians could make...

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Picuris Pueblo

The following report was furnished by Mr. Frederick P. Midler, of Taos, New Mexico, February 20, 1891 I have just returned from the pueblo of Picuris. On the journey I and my horse came near freezing, The snow on the mountains and on the trail is 4.5 feet deep. No human being has passed through there this winter, The Indian land under cultivation at Picuris amounts to 555 acres. Out of this every family owns an average of about 15 acres. The sanitary condition can not be called good, as the statistics of the pueblo show that they are every year decreasing. They have never had any school at the pueblo, nor do they send their children to school unless they arc compelled to do so by the government, The main occupations of these Indians are farming in the summer and deer hunting in the winter, The pueblo is situated at the foot of the Picuris Mountain, about a mile west of the little town of Penasso, whence they get all their groceries and provisions from the sale of their grain. The amount of land that could be cultivated by the Indians is 2,055 acres. They can also get a sufficient supply of water to irrigate all this land, but, not being at all industrious, they are satisfied with cultivating only the acreage necessary to produce grain or crops...

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Isleta Pueblo

On arriving in Isleta one immediately marks numerous points of difference between this community and the more northern pueblos in matters of dress, building, and customs. The town is composed entirely of 1 story dwellings, for the most part detached, though not isolated from neighboring habitations. These are always commodious and built frequently after the Spanish custom, about a court, or plaza.. Tables are generally found within, though not always dined upon, and chairs of Americain manufacture are usually to be had to offer a stranger; but the ease of a roll of blankets on the floor is not...

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Sandia Pueblo

Like San Felipe, the Sandia Pueblo community holds more land than it can improve. The large Mexican town of Bernalillo presses upon the north side of its tract of 24,187 acres, In 1824 the Indians of the pueblo gave the land on which the town stands, but no patent of this transaction is inexistence. Sales are consummated in the town and await confirmation, Passing 1,200 acres of open land, here and there developing weak traces of alkali, left as a pasture open to the use of the town, cultivation begins half a mile from the pueblo. The acequia, at a high level, is supplied from a source 2 miles above. Bernalillo lies just south of the line of the ranches of Santa Ana. The water flows for 6 miles before it is utilized, most of the forming being done south. of the pueblo. I found the governor alone setting a worthy example to his people, working in the mud to his knees at the point where the Rio Grande forms a junction with his ditch. The office of governor, he informed me, after he had gained solid ground and had reduced the weight of his legs by kicking off the chunks of clay, was an honorary one, yet so exacting in its demands as to compel a neglect of one’s own interest by any who accept the preferment. The...

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San Felipe Pueblo

At my first visit to San Felipe I was denied entrance to the pueblo, owing to a secret dance which was in progress. The next day, coming on invitation, I found the council of principals already assembled and anxious to make amends for the inhospitable treatment of the day before. We discussed 2 large tracts of land, each available for cultivation, one needing an extension of the acequia and the other a boom in the river, Upon leaving the line of San Domingo, along which every foot was cultivated, one enters a tract of the same sort of land,...

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Santa Ana Pueblo

One leaves Zia to follow the Jemez River directly east toward the Sandia range of mountains. The soil from this point rapidly becomes sandy and untillable, and at Santa Ana, 9 miles below, it is entirely unproductive. The inhabitants of this town have long since abandoned it as a place of slimmer abode, and use it only for autumn and winter residence. The town is built upon 2 streets running parallel with the river, and out its bank a single cottonwood tree is the only one seen in a range of many miles. Half a mile back of the town, to the north, the mesa rises to a height of 1,200 feet. On the top of this the cattle find scant pasture. They roam without herders, returning by a trail down its precipitous side every 2 days for water. They remain in the river for several hours, and then return to other dry tablelands. To the south, beyond the river, as far as the eye can reach, lie undulating plains of wind-swept sands, clotted by stunted cedars growing at intervals, and often forming the nucleus of new mounds during wind storms. This tract is given over to coyotes and rattlesnakes. The trail through it to Bernalillo is almost obliterated by the shifting of the surface. While the tribe is farming its ranches on the Rio Grande below, 1 man,...

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