Topic: Pueblo

Zia Pueblo

Approached from any direction the little town of Zia stands forth boldly against the sky, a low line of gray white buildings capping the stony promontory, which rises abruptly from the river to the height of 250 feet, and finds its connection with the mesa beyond in a narrow ridge to the north. The church of the Jesuits, occupying the highest site, is not large, but built for a much larger population than is to be found here. Evidences of shrinkage are everywhere apparent in the ruined foundations of houses long since deserted, as well as in the dilapidation of vacant tenements. From the church to the plaza at the other end of the town, a distance of 200 yards, stand the houses that now remain. Little regularity in construction is observable, save that the buildings have been placed in parallel lines and face the 4 cardinal points. They are constructed of cobblestones and volcanic scoria, great care being observed in the selection of stones of one size. These are joined in rows of adobe mud. Occasionally the surface is plastered, and the whole whitened. To the west of the town is a series of stone corrals. Every Saturday night the stock is driven into these and the herders are changed. Up the rocky sides come lines of horses, burros, mules, and cattle in headlong precipitation, hurrying to escape...

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Jemez Pueblo

The village of Jemez is situated at the mouth of one of the most romantic, canyons of New Mexico. Just above, the northern boundary of the pueblo grant the walls of the mesa on either side rise suddenly to a height of 1,900 feet. The remains of the ancient pueblo of Jemez are still seen 13 miles above, and upon the mesas between that and Jemez appear the ruins or more recent pueblos, built by insurrectionary communities. Approaching from the terminus of the valley, which penetrates the mountains for many miles, we cross the Viaceta Creek, dry in sunnier, and 2.5 miles below this line the pueblo, inclosed on the northwest by numerous little orchards of apple, plum, mid apricot trees, emerges from beneath this deep tangle of green. On entering from this direction, the Presbyterian mission schoolhouse, corral, and dwelling, built of adobe, are passed, and shortly after a line of cedar corrals extending entirely along the east and south sides of the town. At the extreme end of these is a Catholic Church, and near it a 2-story frame building of the Catholic mission, its schoolroom below and dwelling apartments above. The plaza of Jemez is irregular and unusually narrow. The houses, built closely about this, are 1 of 2 stories; On either side, north and south, are 2 other streets, upon which the houses have been...

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Cochiti Pueblo

Cochiti has an extremely favorable site. It times the river at a height of 95 feet and is surrounded on 3 sides by tillable plains. The buildings in the town, 50 in number, are generally separated, not more than 3 dwellings being contiguous. The larger portion are of 1 story. Bight Mexican families dwell here and fraternize with the Indians. As long ago as 1820 the Mexicans acquired land here. They are regarded as under the jurisdiction of the pueblo, and perform communal work upon irrigating ditches and roads by command of the governor of the tribe. This community has made several removes since the beginning of the seventeenth century. The town was abandoned in 1681 on the approach of Don de Otermin with a small force, the tribe returning to the mesa of Portero Viejo, there constructing a new pueblo. Don Diego de Vargas 13 years after took this new pueblo by surprise and compelled the Cochitinos to resettle on their old site. In June of 1696, after participating in the uprising of the Jemez, Tehaas, Taos, and other tribes, they fled to the highest mountains; but through negotiations with the Spaniards, they again occupied the town of Rio Grande. Here they remained under the surveillance of Spanish and Mexican regiments unti11846, and here they continue to the present time. The arroyo De la Peralta joins the river...

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San Domingo Pueblo

This pueblo touches Cochiti on the north and San Felipe on the south, where its line runs at an angle of 50 degrees with the river and invades the square northern comers of the latter. Its population of nearly 1,000, is industrious and utilizes all available land. Hundreds of acres, however, are wasted in the riverbed, as they are unwilling to risk crops upon it. An island overgrown by cottonwood trees serves no other purpose than that of a great park for the pueblo. Including this and the river bed, which varies from 1.5 to 1 mile wide, there are about 10 sections within the reach of water. I calculated that less than one-fifth of this is under cultivation. At the village notable changes have been wrought since my visit to it 10 years ago. The church, which then stood some distance from the river, has since dropped into it, shoving the rapidity with which the water invades the clay banks. Many houses have disappeared, their owners removing to higher levels at the other end of the village. On the left bank of the river, surrounding the pueblo, are numerous little orchards, lately planted, but already bearing plums, peaches, apples, and apricots, a sale for which is found at the railroad station of Wallace, 3 miles below. Small plots only of fruit, vegetables, and corn are found on this...

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Nambe Pueblo

Nambe is found by following the bed of the Pojoaque River for three miles after leaving the government road. Its difficulty of access causes it to be rarely visited, The hills surrounding it to the north and east are fast crumbling by disintegration, showing some of the best sculptured forms of geological structure to be seen among the pueblos. The town is situated at the intersection of a small stream with the Pojoaque River, affording an unfailing supply of water and abundant crops. The population numbers 79, with farms covering about 300 acres. There are 20 landholders, the largest having 40 and the smallest 6 acres, The average size of farms is 15 acres, larger than in most of the pueblos. Save a few beans and vegetables, their crops are entirely of wheat and corn. Alfalfa, harvested 3 times a year, is grown by all those owning stock. The wealthiest Indian in the pueblo has realized $360 from his 40 acres, and few Indians in this section do better than this. This man has assistance on his farm, and, selecting him as an extreme example of Indian industry. I state his crop for the present year as follows: wheat, 38 bushels; corn, 100 bushels; alfalfa, 30 tons. He owns 2 horses, 2 burros, and 20 cows, which bore 8 calves last year. From this herd he was able to...

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Tesuque Pueblo

One approaches Tesuque, situated on the left bank of the river of that name, over a road winding through small orchards fenced by an abatis of cedar boughs driven into the ground, while apple and peach trees tangle their branches overhead. Small patches of wheat and corn lie on either side of the road. The village is built about a quadrangle 240 feet long by 150 feet broad. The houses are mostly of 2 stories. The Catholic Church is small and in a neglected condition. Methods of farming are crude. Both wooden and steel plows are used. Corn is...

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Pojoaque Pueblo

The grant to this pueblo originally contained 13,520 acres. Owing to shrinkage in population the inhabitants have parted with most of their land. At present they have but 25 acres. The pueblo, situated a mile east of the junction of the Pojoaque and Tesuque Rivers, contains 20 persons, They have been in litigation for 4 years with two Mexicans who have settled on the river a mile below the village. This land was not farmed by the Pueblos. The Mexicans therefore appropriated it. The governor says he has wasted much time at count during harvest season over this ease. He has attended sessions for 4 years. The sum total of property in Pojoaque is 8 Cows, 12 burros, 2 wagons, 7 pigs, 1 set of harness, 1 ox cart, 1 small wagon and 4...

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San Ildefonso Pueblo

Santa Clara’s neighbor on the south is San Ildefonso. The village lies on the opposite side of the river, 5 miles below, and at the intersection of Pojoaque River, which meets the Rio Grande at right angles from the east. The dwellings are built upon a large, well kept plaza of rectangular shape, and the only plaza in the pueblos having shade trees. From this center the buildings are found variously placed. Close to it on the acequia are several Mexican houses and in the fields at a distance several others. Inquiries developed the fact that years ago these families were allowed to enter the pueblo, and land was sold to them. By degrees they have enlarged their boundaries. No land, however, has been sold them for a number of years. All acts of violence are tried by the justice of the peace, the Mexican alcalde court. The available land for cultivation remaining to this pueblo is a strip on the east bank, and between one-third and one-sixth of a mile wide. The largest plot, 7 acres, under cultivation is owned by a widow, growing corn and wheat and a few fruit trees, the only fruit trees in the village. This land is tilled for her by the community, and her gratuities in return have won for her the name of the “Mother of the Pueblo”. The size of...

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Santa Clara Pueblo

Santa Clara is poor. The valley which widens toward San Juan closes again on its approach to Santa Clara. The pueblo occupies a site on the right bank of the river at its junction with the canyon. The stream running from this is apt to dry up before the end of the summer. A system of acequias has been constructed here, and corn was planted this year. But little water was flowing daring my visit in the middle of August, and most of the acequias were dry and dusty, The corn was not mature. A reservoir in the canyon would relieve much anxiety and prevent frequent loss of crops to the Indians. From the northern boundary of the grant toward the town (the town invariably occupies the center of pueblo grants) little or no farming is done, the mesa here running close to the river. Below the village on the right bank lies most of the tilled land. Three hundred and fifty acres are here, devoted to corn, wheat, alfalfa, and a variety of vegetables. There are but few orchards. The largest plot owned by one man is 30 acres. From this the holdings decrease in size to 3 and. 2 acres. There are 22 horses, 4 oxen, and 30 burros in the pueblo. Some who have horses have no harness and no money to purchase. The agency granted...

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San Juan Pueblo

San Juan lies upon the sand dunes, 20 feet above the left bank of the Rio Granule. From this slight elevation the fields stretching to the north, west, and south show by their different colors that a variety of crops is produced. Compared to Taos, the character of San. Juan is more that of it great garden. Crossing the broad acequia, one leaves the arid sands to enter milk verdure. Trim fences of cedar limbs driven into time ground in close line or-dry brush Fastened upon posts with thongs of leather inclose little holdings of half tin acre or more, growing cabbages, melons, beans, squashes, oats peppers and corn. Dense and diminutive orchards of apple and plum trees alternate with these garden plots. Branches overhang and trail upon the hard clay floors beneath. Children play here, and old people on couches enjoy the coolness of the shade. The acequia close at hand spreads its waters by a labyrinth of sub-channels and lesser courses through the verdure, losing itself among tall grasses and reappearing to inclose in its sinuous lines hillocks of pease and beans. Little houses of adobe or of wicker, often adorned by a booth of boughs on top, where the family partakes of its meals, surprise one at almost every exit from the dense shrubbery. At San Juan, out of a population of 406, there are 80...

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Taos Pueblo

Taos, the most northern of the New Mexican pueblos, lies between the Rio Lucero and Rio Taos. Both streams furnish never failing supplies of water, As a consequence, the crops raised by the Indians are remarkably fine. Corn and wheat are produced in about equal quantities. Fruit and vegetables are rarely seen. The farms range in extent from 9 to 13 acres, though’ some members of the community having large families manage as many as 35 acres, and others variously 30, 24, 18, 16, 10, 8, 6, and 3. These farms yield, when well managed, 30 bushels to the...

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Condition of 16 New Mexico Indian Pueblos in 1890

The accompanying report covers 15 pueblos of New Mexico, visited in July, August, and September 1890, namely, Taos, San Juan, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Pojoaque, Tesuque, Nambe, San Domingo, Cochiti, Jemez, Zia, Sandia, Santa Ana, San Felipe, and Isleta, with a report on the pueblo of Picuris. by Mr. Frederick P. Muller, February 26, 1891. A comparison of the population of the Pueblo villages of New Mexico, with the extent of their land tenure, leads naturally to the conclusion that they have an abundant opportunity for subsistence from the ground. With but two or three exceptions, grants of at...

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An Odd People at Home

By Charles P. Lummis “In this view of the ‘Strange Corners’ we ought certainly to include a glimpse at the home life of the Pueblos. A social organization which looks upon children as belonging to the mother and not to the father, which makes it absolutely imperative that husband and wife shall be of different divisions of society, which makes it impossible for a man to own a house, and gives every woman entire control of her home, with many other equally remarkable points of etiquette, is surely different from what most of us are used to; but lathe neglected corners of our own country there are 10,000 citizens of the United States to whom these curious arrangements are endeared by the customs of immemorial centuries. “The basis of society in the 26 quaint town republics of the Pueblos [Mr. Lummis includes the 7 Mogul pueblos of Arizona and the 10 pueblos of New Mexico in the 26 pueblos], communities which are by far the most peaceful and the most governed in North America, is not the family, as with us, but the clan. These clans are clusters of families, arbitrary social divisions, of which there are from 6 to 16 in each Pueblo town. In Isleta there are 16 clans: the sun people, the earth people, the water pebble people, the eagle people, the mole people, the antelope...

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Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and their Customs

Whatever changes have been made in the daily life, manners, and customs of the Pueblos are shown in the reports of the special agents, but change is the exception with these people. Comparing present conditions with the descriptions for 30, 50, or 300 years ago, one finds the Pueblos in many details now about as then. Marriages are performed in some of the pueblos after courtship and are celebrated by a priest when there is one at hand, but the old ceremonies of the Pueblo faith are also performed, either before or after the marriage, by the priest. H. H. Bancroft, in his works (volume I, pages 548, 540, 1880), writes of marriage and other customs among the Pueblos as follows: Among the Pueblos the usual order of courtship is reversed. When a girl is disposed to marry she does not wait for a young man to propose to her, but selects one, to her own liking and consults her father, who visits the parents of the youth and acquaints them with his daughter’s wishes. It seldom happens that any objections to the match are made, but it is imperative on the father of the bridegroom to reimburse the parents of the maiden for the loss of their daughter. This is done by an offer of presents in accordance with his rank and wealth. The inhabitants of one village...

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Report on the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico

The report on the 19 pueblos of New Mexico to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, June 30, 1864, by United States Indian Agent John Ward, after taking the census, is as follows: Much has been written and a great deal more said about the Pueblo Indians, their origin, enigmas, religion, eta., a great portion of which is mere speculation. The Indians have few memorials, if any, to which they can refer for information, while their traditions, from all that can be learned, are rather limited; besides, they have a very imperfect, knowledge of time, distance, or numbers, which readers them incapable of giving correct information in regard to important particulars relative to their history. Notwithstanding all this, however, the Pueblos (or village Indians) are certainly an interesting people. The different dialects spoken by them and the many ruins of ancient pueblos found scattered through the various parts of the country are evidences that the present race is the fragment of once numerous and powerful tribes and confederations. Another interesting fact is, that although speaking different dialects and often located many miles from each other, their habits and customs are so similar as to be hardly distinguishable. Even their governments and mode of conducting local affairs are nearly the same throughout. These and many other peculiarities offer all ample field for research, but as I consider a task of this...

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