Friday, March 30, 2012

About The History the New Mexico Pueblo Indians


My survey of the grounds occupied by the aboriginal ruins in the valley of the Pecos indicates, as I have already stated, three epochs, successive probably in time, in which they have been occupied by man; that is, I have noticed these, and beyond these I have not been able to go as yet. Subsequent explorers may be more fortunate. This distinction, or rather classification, is very imperfect in the two earlier stages, and even arbitrary; but between the second and the last there is a marked break,—not in time, but in ethnological development. I shall term the three epochs as follows:— Pictures and Images pf the Pueblo Indians Here
1. Pre-traditional. (Indicated by the presence of the corrugated and indented pottery as its most conspicuous "land-mark.")
2. Traditional and documentary. (Documents in the sense of written records.)
3. Documentary period.


I have not been able to detect as yet among the confused traditions current about the pueblo of Pecos any tale concerning occupation of their grounds by human beings prior to the settlement of which the ruins now bear testimony. It is true that the proper traditions of the tribe of Pecos are now preserved only at the pueblo of Jemez, about eighty miles N.W. of Pecos and fifty miles W. of Santa Fé, and that I have notp. 105 as yet visited that place. But it must be remembered that I now report "up to date," and that subsequent information will, or at least should, come in time.
My reason for admitting a pre-traditional period is, then, simply that I have found human remains at Pecos older than those of the present ruins and different in kind. These remains, as it may already have been inferred from the "personal narrative," are those found on the west side of the arroyo, in the basin (or rather the bank encircling it) opposite the rock carvings.
One fact is certain, the human bones, the walls protruding from the banks, and the grave found by Mr. E. K. Walters, are all above the layer of white ashes, charcoal, corncobs, and corrugated pottery found as a continuous seam along an extent of over 100 m.—327 ft.—from N. to S. Consequently, the walls and graves must have been built over these remains of a people which appears to have made indented and corrugated pottery alone, and consequently also the latter must be older in time than the former. It does not appear that the sedentary Indians of New Mexico ever made, within traditional and documentary times, any other than the painted pottery in greater or less degree of perfection. Even Gaspar Castaño de la Sosa, when he made his inroad into New Mexico in 1590, mentions at the first pueblo which he conquered: "They have much pottery,—red, figured, and black,—platters, caskets, salters, bowls.... Some of the pottery was glazed." The corrugated and indented pottery, as I am asp. 106sured by Sr. Vigil, is rarely met with over New Mexico, except at old ruined pueblos, and only when digging (en cavando).  I feel, therefore, justified in assuming it to have been the manufactured ware of a people distinct from the Pecos tribe or the pueblo Indians of New Mexico in general, and their predecessors in point of time. This pottery, however, is frequently met with among the cliff dwellings of the Rio Mancos and in Utah. Its relation, then, to the painted pottery has, as far as I know, not yet been investigated.
But what could have been the purpose in covering originally a space of over 100 m.—327 ft.—in length with the products of combustion and fragments of one and the same industry in such a manner as to form an uninterrupted layer of 0.45 m.—18 in.—at least in thickness? Those who subsequently buried their dead over the seam certainly did not collect these ashes and spread them there as a floor on which they rested their structures afterwards. The combustion of a large wooden building would not have given the same uniformity on such a large scale. Sr. Vigil has suggested to me the following very plausible explanation: In order to burn or bake their pottery, the present pueblo Indians of New Mexico build large but low hearths on the ground of small wood, sticks, and other inflammable rubbish and refuse, on which they place the newly formed articles, and then set the floor on fire, until the whole is thoroughly burnt. Fragments of broken objects, etc., are not removed. The combustible material is thus reduced to ashes, and the broken pieces remain within them; their convex surfaces, of course, falling outwards, and thus resting on the floor. In this manner a thick layer ofp. 107 ashes and charcoal, with pottery, is easily formed. These "hogueras" are still from 20 to 40 feet in diameter; but, as they accommodate themselves to the size of the pueblo, it is certain that they were formerly much larger. The analogy between such a "potters'-field" and the layer in question is very striking, and the inference appears likely that the people who made this corrugated and indented pottery made it in the same manner as the pueblo Indians now make their painted ware, and as they made it at the time of the conquest.
These very old manufacturers of indented ceramics were also a horticultural people, for they raised Indian corn. The cob found in the ashes, or rather cut out with the knife at some distance inside the bluff, is charred and small. To what variety of Zea it belongs the specialist must decide.
I hold it to be utterly useless, and even improper, on my part to speculate any further on these "pre-traditional" people. Perhaps I have already said too much. Excavations alone can throw further light on the subject.


The term "traditional" is applied to this period, because the people occupying the site of Old Pecos have left some traditions behind them, and not because we know when it commenced. In fact, I am much inclined to divide it, for the sake of convenience, into two periods again, one of which includes the occupation of the area within the circumvallation and its necessary annexes (field, etc.), whereas the other includes the area without. Of the former, we have definite knowledge in regard to its inhabitants; of the latter, we have none whatever. It is therefore also pre-traditional as yet. Nevertheless, I have included it in the second epoch, as its ruins indicate that its people possessed arts identical with those of the present pueblo Indians. Their pottery, wherever exposed,p. 108 was painted, figured, and vitrified in places; its ornamentation is exactly similar to that of the pottery of the interior area, and different from that of Zuñi. They used flint, but no trace of obsidian is found. This may be purely accidental; still, why should it occur at three places so totally different in regard to erosion and abrasion as the slope south of the church, the west bank of the creek directly opposite, and, if thorough examination should confirm the results of my cursory observations, the apron of the high mesa? The graves, wherever found, are identical with those of the mesilla; the plan of building, and consequently of living, appears similar to that exhibited in houses A andB; the material used is the same, but the walls are more ruinous, and apparently of a much older date. The inference is therefore not unreasonable, that the inhabitants of the three areas named, as outside of the great circumvallation, were of the kind now called "pueblo Indians," who preceded the tribe of Pecos proper in point of time. It is not improbable that one or the other of these ruins may have been erected by the Pecos themselves before they settled on the mesilla. Still, there is neither proof nor disproval of this surmise extant.
There appears to be also a slight difference between the different ruins of this period themselves. The ruins south of the church and those along the mesa are similar, in that they are more ruined, and not covered with débris, and in that their surfaces are also devoid of pottery. The space west of the creek has pottery and also heaps of rubbish, and I therefore conclude that it was the most recent of the three locations,—or at least the one last abandoned. To it must be added the small mound or promontory found further south on the eastp. 109 bank of the arroyo. One fact is certain: all these places were deserted, and perhaps as badly ruined as now, at the time when Coronado first visited Pecos. (The partial removal of the surface material may have been effected by the Pecos Indians themselves in order to build their own houses.)
Referring now to the inhabitants of the two houses, whose ruins are situated on the mesilla, north of the church, it is a thoroughly well-authenticated fact that they spoke the same language as the Indians of the pueblo of Jemez. Jemez lies 80 miles N.W. of Pecos, beyond the Rio Grande. It is possible that the Pecos Indians came to the valley from that direction. But it is singular that, while there are no other settlements speaking this same idiom but Jemez and Pecos, these two pueblos should be separated, as early as at Coronado's time (1540), by three distinct linguistical stocks, different from theirs and lying across, intervening between them. Directly W. of Pecos the Queres, S.W. the Tanos, N.W. the Tehuas—all at war with the Jemez and the Pecos, and often with each other—lay like a barrier between the latter two. The point is an interesting one, as the pueblo of Pecos defines (together with Taos at the north) the utmost easterly limit to which the pueblo Indians seem to have penetrated.
Who were first in the valley of the Rio Grande? Did the Queres, Tanos, Tehuas, etc., drive out the Pecos, then already settled to the S.W., into the Sierra, or did the Pecos, migrating from Jemez, force their passage through the other tribes? I conjecture that the Jemez, etc., were thep. 110 first; that they migrated down the Rio Grande, and on the same area, between Sandía to the S. and Santa Fé, were gradually displaced by the others successively coming in,—one branch, the Jemez, recoiling into the mountains towards San Diego; the other, the Pecos, driven up the cañon of San Cristóbal, and finally, when the Tanos moved up into that valley, crossing over to the valley of Pecos.
This is to a great extent conjecture; still there are other singular indications. I give them with due reserve, however, formally protesting against any imputation that they are intended for anything else than to suggest problems for future study.
According to my friend Mr. A. S. Gatchet, of Washington, D. C., an excellent linguist, the Tanos and the inhabitants of Isleta, the most southerly pueblo on the Rio Grande still occupied, speak the same language.The same is asserted here, as a known fact, to be the case with the Taos and the Picuries in the north, and the Isletas at the south. If this be true, then the supposition that the Queres and Tehuas are the latest intrusive stock would become a certainty. More than that: the Tanos prior to 1680, had their chief pueblo at San Cristóbal, N. E. of Galisteo, on the slope of the mesa of Pecos. They also had become dispossessedp. 111 of the Rio Grande valley, and divided into (originally) two branches,—the Picuries and Taos north, and the Tanos, of Galisteo, east. Isleta itself is a later agglomeration. There being no pueblo E. and S. E. of Pecos, then it appears that the Jemez, or rather Emmes, were the first migration, the Tanos the second, and the Queres and Tehuas the last.
The earliest traditions of the Pecos are preserved to us by Pedro de Castañeda, one of the eye-witnesses and chroniclers of Coronado's "march" in 1540. They told him that, five or six years (?) before the arrival of the Spaniards, a roaming tribe called the "Teyas" (Yutas) had ravaged the surroundings of their pueblo, and even, though fruitlessly, attempted to capture it. This tribe was afterwards met by Coronado in the plains to the N.E. and E.
Another tradition, very well known,—so well, indeed, that it has given to the name of the unlucky "capitan de la guerra" of the ancient Mexicans the honorific title of an aboriginal "cultus-hero,"—is that of Montezuma.
I hope, at some future time, to be able to give some further information on this Spanish-Mexican importation. Suffice it to say for the present, that not a single one of the numerous chronicles and reports about New Mexico, up to the year 1680, mentions the Montezuma story! The word itself, Mon-te-zuma, is a corruption of the Mexican word "Mo-tecu-zoma,"—literally, "my wrathy chief,"—which corruption that emip. 112nently "reliable gentleman," Bernal Diez de Castillo, is to be thanked for. He wrote in 1568.
What the Indians themselves say of this tale I have not as yet ascertained; but the people of the valley all assert that the people of the pueblo believe in it,—that they even affirmed that Montezuma was born at Pecos; that he wore golden shoes, and left for Mexico, where, for the sake of these valuable brogans, he was ruthlessly slaughtered. They further say that, when he left Pecos, he commanded that the holy fire should be kept burning till his return, in testimony whereof the sacred embers were kept aglow till 1840, and then transferred to Jemez.
There is one serious point in the whole story, and that is the illustration how an evident mixture of a name with the Christian faith in a personal redeemer, and dim recollections of Coronado's presence and promise to return,] could finally take the form of a mythological personage. In this respect, for the study of mythology in general, it is of great importance. That the sacred fire had, originally, nothing at all to do with the Montezuma legend is amply proven by the earliest reports.
It will also become interesting to ascertain in the future how many pueblos, and which, concede to Pecos the honor of being the birthplace of that famed individual, and how many, as is the case with other great folks in more civilized communities, claim the same honor for themselves.
I cannot, therefore, attach to the Montezuma tale any historical importance whatever,—not even a traditional value.
Of course, Castañeda reports the story which every Indianp. 113 tribe tells of themselves; namely, that the Pecos Indians were the bravest and the most warlike of the pueblos, and that in every encounter they were always victorious.
Historical data, founded upon positive written records, begin for Pecos towards the fall of the year 1540, when Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, then at Zuñi or Cibola, sent the Captain Hernando de Alvarado with twenty men to visit a village called "Cicuyé." Indians from that village, "situated seventy leagues towards the east"from Zuñi, had visited the latter town, and offered to the Spanish leader "tanned hides, shields, and helmets." The hides were buffalo-robes, for the woolly hair was still on them.Alvarado reached Cicuyé, passing, as I have elsewhere stated, through Acoma and Bernalillo. I have already identified Cicuyé with Pecos. Besides the proofs already given, a few descriptive abstracts from the report of Castañeda will add to the strength of the evidence:—
(p. 71.) "Five days' journeys further, Alvarado reached Cicuyé, a well-fortified village, whose houses are four stories high."
(p. 176.) "It is built on the summit of a rock. It forms a great square, in the centre of which are the estufas." (Compare general description and diagrams.)
(p. 177) "The village is surrounded besides by a stone wall of rather low height. There is a spring which might be cut off."
In regard to the wall, I refer to the plans and descriptions; as for the spring, it trickles out beneath a massive ledge of rocks on the west side of the arroyo, nearly opposite to the field. Its water, slightly alkaline, is still limpid and cool, and a great source of comfort. The sketch upon the next page will give an idea of its appearance.
There is no trace of work about it. At sunset of the 3d of September, Mr. Bennet and I saw a herd of many hundred sheep and goats driven to this spring by Mexicans for water, although the creek still had a fillet of clear water running, and the pond in the old field was filled nearly to its brim; they still preferred the old source.
Finally, it must be borne in mind, that the name of Pecos, in the language of its former inhabitants and of those of Jemez, is "Âqiu," and that, in an anonymous report of the expedition of Coronado from the year 1541, Cicuyé is spelt Acuique.[
Castañeda gives some few details concerning the mode of life and the customs of the inhabitants. Aside from those which I have already mentioned, he notices the ladders (p. 176); that at night the inhabitants kept watch on the walls, the guard calling each other by means of "trumpets" (p. 179);p. 115 that the unmarried females went naked until their marriage (p. 177); that the pueblo could muster 500 warriors (p. 176); and finally, that it was situated in a narrow valley in the midst of mountains covered with pines, and traversed by a small river where excellent trout is caught; very large otters, bears, and good hawks are found there (p. 179). The inhabitants received Alvarado with the sound of "drums and flutes, similar to fifes, which they use often." They presented to him a great quantity of cloth and turquoises, which are common in this province (p. 72). I must here add that the turquoise mines of "Serrillos" are, in a direct line, only about twenty miles nearly west of Pecos, in a country between the former pueblos of the Tanos and those of the Tehuas. I have seen splendid specimens of the mineral from that locality, and Mr. Thurston found and I have sent on a perforated bead of bluish color which he picked up among the rubbish of the house B.
When, in 1543, Coronado left Nuevo México with his whole army to return to Mexico, two ecclesiastics remained there,—Fray Juan de Padilla, who was subsequently killed by the Indians near Gran Quivira, and a lay brother called Luis, who took up his abode at Pecos. Before Coronado left Bernalillo ("Tiguex"), he sent to brother Luis the remainder of the sheep. He was then of good cheer, but still expected to be killed some day by the old men of the tribe, who hated him, although the people were friendly to him in general. Nothing was afterward heard of him. Thus Pecos was the first "mission" in New Mexico; perhaps, also, the first place where domestic quadrupeds became introduced.
Forty years elapse before we again hear of Pecos. The unp. 116fortunate father, Augustin Ruiz, who, in 1581, attempted to convert the pueblos, did not reach further north than Puaray, where the Tiguas killed him, with his two companions. But Antonio de Espejo, who, with fourteen soldiers, explored New Mexico in 1582 and 1583, visited Pecos. There can be no doubt but that the pueblos of the "Hubates"—two journeyings of six leagues to the east of the "Quires"—are the Pecos and the "Tamos," the Tanos. Espejo is very liberal in his estimates: he gives to the "Hubates" five towns with 25,000 inhabitants, and to the "Tamos" even 40,000 souls. He says they had cotton cloth; he also says there was much good pine and cedar in their country, and that their houses were four and five stories high. His visit to the pueblo was of very short duration.
In 1590, Gaspar Castaño de la Sosa, "being then Lieutenant-Governor and Captain-General of the kingdom of New Leon," made a raid into New Mexico. It is possible that the pueblo which he came to on the 11th January, 1591, may have been Pecos.
The "Spanish conquest of New Mexico" proper took place in the years 1597 and 1598, under Don Juan de Oñate. He met with little opposition, and his conquest amounted to little else than a military occupation, followed by the foundation of Santa Fé. On the 25th of July, 1598, he went to "the great pueblo of Pecos," and on the 9th of September, 1598, in the "principal estufa" of the pueblo of San Juan, the Pep. 117cos pledged fidelity to the crown of Spain. On the same occasion, Fray Francisco de San Miguel became the first regular priest of the pueblo. Here terminates the second period of the second epoch; and the last one begins where the history of the Pecos tribe, whatever is left of it, becomes almost exclusively documentary.
Before, however, leaving this period, I must recall here two facts elicited by the reports of the forays and travels above mentioned. One is, that the Pecos Indians, however warlike they may have been towards outsiders, still were of an orderly, gentle disposition in every-day intercourse. This is a natural consequence of their organization and degree of development. The other and more important one is, that Pecos was the most easterly pueblo in existence in 1540, and that even at that time it was quite alone.
Castañeda says (p. 188): "In order to understand how the country is inhabited in the centre of the mountains, we must remember that from Chichilticah, where they begin, there are eighty leagues; thence to Cicuyé, which is the last village, they reckon seventy leagues, and thirty from Cicuyé to the beginning of the plains."
Juan Jaramillo, another eye-witness of "Coronado's march," intimates a similar fact.
In regard to Pecos being "quite alone," Castañeda is positive; so is Juan de Oñate, who received and registered its submission. It is true, however, that Castañeda mentions a small pueblo as subject to Cicuyé, which pueblo, however, he says was half destroyed at his time. He locates it "between the road and the Sierra Nevada." This may have been the small ruin noticed near Kingman.
These facts are very interesting in their bearings upon thep. 118 older ruins of Pecos. It goes far towards furnishing additional proof that they were indeed abandoned and decayed already in 1540. In regard to building B, it is ignored in the reports,A, with its vast court and its estufas, claiming exclusive attention. Still there is no room left for doubt that B was occupied during this period. But it is evident, from the statements of the eye-witnesses, that A was the principal abode of the Pecos tribe in 1540 and afterwards.