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dustry Traditional Descent from Montezuma Their Lan-
guages Former and present Population The Pueblo of Pe-
cos Singular Habits of that ill fated Tribe Curious Tradi-
tion Montezuma and the Sun Legend of a Serpent Reli-
gion and Government Secret Council Laws arid Customs
Excellent Provisions against Demoralization Primitive Pas-
times of the Pueblos Their Architecture Singular Struc-
tures of Taos, and other novel Fortifications Primitive state
of the Arts among the Pueblos Style of Dress, Weapons,
etc. Their Diet The Guayave.

ALLUSION has so frequently been made to
the aboriginal tribes of New Mexico, known
as Los Pueblos, that I think I shall not be tres-
passing too much upon the patience of the
reader, in glancing rapidly at some of the more
conspicuous features of their national habits
and character.

Although the term Pueblo in Spanish lite-
rally means the people, and their towns, it is
here specifically applied to the Christianized In-
dians (as well as their villages) to those abo-
rigines whom the Spaniards not only subject-
ed to their laws, but to an acknowledgment
of the Romish faith, and upon whom they
forced baptism and the cross in exchange for


the vast possessions of which they robbed
them. All that was left them was, to each
Pueblo a league or two of land situated
around their villages, the conquerors reserving
to themselves at least ninety-nine hundredths
of the whole domain as a requital for their

When these regions were first discovered it
appears that the inhabitants lived in com-
fortable houses and cultivated the soil, as they
have continued to do up to the present time.
Indeed, they are now considered the best hor-
ticulturists in the country, furnishing most of
the fruits and a large portion of the vegetable
supplies that are to be found in the markets.
They were until very lately the only people in
New Mexico who cultivated the grape. They
also maintain at the present time considerable
herds of cattle, horses, etc. They are, in short,
a remarkably sober and industrious race, con-
spicuous for moiality and honesty, and very
little given to quarrelling or dissipation, ex-
cept when they have had much familiar in-
tercourse with the Hispano-Mexican popula-

Most of these Pueblos call themselves the
descendants of Montezuma, although it would
appear that they could only have been made
acquainted with the history of that monarch,
by the Spaniards ; as this province is nearly
two thousand miles from the ancient kingdom
of Mexico. At the time of the conquest they
must have been a very powerful people
numbering near a hundred villages, as exist-


ing ruins would seem to indicate ; but they
are now reduced to about twenty, which are
scattered in various parts of the territory.

There are but three or four different lan-
guages spoken among them, and these, indeed,
may be distantly allied to each other. Those of
Taos, Picuris. Isleta, and perhaps some others,
speak what has been called the Piro lan-
guage. A large portion of the others, viz.,
those of San Juan, Santa Clara, Nambe, Po-
juaque, Tezuque, and some others, speak Te-
gua, having all been originally known by this
general name; and those of Cochiti, Santo
Domingo, San Felipe, and perhaps Sandia,
speak the same tongue, though they seem for-
meily to have been distinguished as Queres.
The numerous tribes that inhabited the high-
lands between Rio del Norte and Pecos, as
those of Pecos, Cienega, Galisteo, etc., were
known anciently as Tagnos, but these are
now all extinct ; yet their language is said to
be spoken by those of Jemez and others of
that section. Those further to the westward^

* Of these, the Pueblo of Zuni has been celebrated for honesty
and hospitality. The inhabitants mostly profess the Catholic faith,
but have now no curate. They cultivate the soil, manufacture,
and possess considerable quantities of stock. Their village is
over 150 miles west of the Rio del Norte, on the waters of the
Colorado of the West, and is believed to contain between 1000 and
1 500 souls. The " seven Pueblos of Moqui" (as they are called)
are a similar tribe living a few leagues beyond. They formerly
acknowledged the government and religion of the Spaniards, but
have long since rejected both, and live in a state of independence
and paganism. Their dwellings, however, like those of Zuni, are
similar to those of tne interior Pueblos, and they are equally in-
dustrious and agricultural, and still more ingenious in their manu-
facturing. The language of the Moquis or Moquinos is said U)
differ but little from that of the Navajoes.


are perhaps allied to the Navajoes. Though
all these Pueblos speak their native languages
among themselves, a great many of them pos-
sess a smattering of Spanish, sufficient to car-
ry on their intercourse with the Mexicans.

The population of these Pueblos will ave-
rage nearly five hundred souls each (though
some hardly exceed one hundred), making an
aggregate of nine or ten thousand. At the
time of the original conquest, at the close of
the sixteenth century, they were, as has been
mentioned, much, perhaps ten-fold, more nu-
merous. Ancient ruins are now to be seen
scattered in every quarter of the territory : of
some, entire stone walls are yet standing,
while others are nearly or quite obliterated,
many of them being now only known by
their names which history or tradition has
preserved to us. Numbers were no doubt
destroyed during the insurrection of 1680, and
the petty internal strifes which followed.

Several of these Pueblos have been con-
verted into Mexican villages, of which that of
Pecos is perhaps the most remarkable in-
stance. What with the massacres of the
second conquest, and the inroads of the Co-
manches, they gradually dwindled away, till
they found themselves reduced to about a
dozen, comprising all ages and sexes ; and it
was only a few years ago that they abandoned
the home of their fathers and joined the Pu-
eblo of Jemez.

Many curious tales are told of the singular
habits of this ill-fated tribe, which must no


doubt have tended to hasten its utter annihi-
lation. A tradition was prevalent among
them that Mcntezuma had kindled a holy
fire, and enjoined their ancestors not to suffer
it to be extinguished until he should return to
deliver his people from the yoke of the Span-
iards. In pursuance of these commands, a
constant watch had been maintained for ages
to prevent the fire from going out; and, as
tradition further informed them, that Monte-
zuma would appear with the sun, the deluded
Indians were to be seen every clear morning
upon the terraced roofs of their houses, atten-
tively watching for the appearance of the
' king of light/ in hopes of seeing him ' cheek
by jowl' with their immortal sovereign. I
have myself descended into the famous estu-
fas, or subterranean vaults, of which there
were several in the village, and have beheld
this consecrated fire, silently smouldering un-
der a covering of ashes, in the basin of a
small altar. Some say that they never lost
hope in the final coming of Montezurna un-
til, by some accident or other, or a lack of a
sufficiency of warriors to watch it, the fire
became extinguished ; and that it was this
catastrophe that induced them to abandon
their villages, as I have before observed.

The task of tending the sacred fire was, it
is said, allotted to the warriors. It is further
related, ihat they took the watch by turns for
* two successive days and nights, without par-
taking of either food, water, or sleep ; while
some assert, that instead of being restricted to


two days, each guard continued with the same
unbending severity of purpose until exhaus-
tion, and very frequently death, left their places
to be filled by others. A large portion of those
who came out alive were generally so com-
pletely prostrated by the want of repose and
the inhalation of carbonic gas that they very
soon died ; when, as the vulgar story asseve-
rates, their remains were carried to the den
of a monstrous serpent, which kept itself in
excellent condition by feeding upon these
delicacies. This huge snake (invented no doubt
by the lovers of the marvellous to account for
the constant disappearance of the Indians)
was represented as the idol which they wor-
shipped, and as subsisting entirely upon the
flesh of his devotees : live infants, however,
seemed to suit his palate best. The story of
this wonderful serpent was so firmly believed
in by many ignorant people, that on one oc-
casion I heard an honest ranchero assert, that
upon entering the village very early on a win-
- ter's morning, he saw the huge trail of the
reptile in the snow, as large as that of a drag-
ging ox.

This village, anciently so renowned, lies
twenty-five miles eastward of Santa Fe, and
near the Rio Pecos, to which it gave name.
Even so late as ten years ago, when it con-
tained a population of fifty to a hundred souls,
the traveller would oftentimes perceive but a
solitary Indian, a woman, or a child, standing
here and there like so many statues upon the
roofs of their houses, with their eyes fixed on


the eastern horizon, or leaning against a wall
or a fence, listlessly gazing at the passing
stranger ; while at other times not a soul was
to be seen in any direction, and the sepulchral
silence of the place was only disturbed by the
occasional barking of a dog, or the cackling
of hens.

No other Pueblo appears to have adopted
this extraordinary superstition: like Pecos,
however, they have all held Montezuma to be
their perpetual sovereign. It would likewise
appear that they all worship the sun ; for it is
asserted to be their regular practice to turn
the face towards the east at sunrise. They
profess the Catholic faith, however, of which,
nevertheless, they cannot be expected to un-
derstand anything beyond the formalities ; as
but very few of their Mexican neighbors and
teachers can boast of more.

Although nominally under the jurisdiction
of the federal government, as Mexican citi-
zens, many features of their ancient customs
are still retained, as well in their civil rule as
in their religion. Each Pueblo is under the
control of a cacique or gobernadorcillo, chosen
from among their own sages, and commis-
sioned by the governor of New Mexico. The
cacique, when any public business is to be
transacted, collects together the principal
chiefs of the Pueblo in an estufa, or cell, usu-
ally under ground, and there lays before them
the subjects of debate, which are generally set-
tled by the opinion of the majority. No Mexi-
can is admitted to these councils, nor do the


subjects of discussion ever transpire beyond
the precincts of the cavern. The council has
also charge of the interior police and tranquil-
lity of the village. One of their regulations is
to appoint a secret watch for the purpose of
keeping down disorders and vices of every
description, and especially to keep an eye
over the young men and women of the vil-
lage. When any improper intercourse among
them is detected, the parties are immediately
carried to the council, and the cacique inti-
mates to them that they must be wedded
forthwith. Should the girl be of bad charac-
ter, and the man, therefore, unwilling to marry
her, they are ordered to keep separate under
penalty of the lash. Hence it is, that the fe-
males of these Pueblos are almost universally
noted for their chastity and modest deport-

They also elect a capitan de gmrra, a kind
of commander-in-chief of the warriors, whose
office it is to defend their homes and their in-
terests both in the field and in the council
chamber. Though not very warlike, these
Pueblos are generally valiant, and well skilled
in the strategies of Indian warfare ; and al-
though they have been branded with cruelty
and ferocity, yet they can hardly be said to
surpass the Mexicans in this respect : both, in
times of war, pay but little regard either to
age or sex. I have been told that when the
Pueblos .return from their belligerent expedi-
tions, instead of going directly to their homes,
they always visit their council cell first. Here


they undress, dance, and carouse, frequently
for two days in succession before seeing their

Although theJPueblos are famous for hospi-
tality and industry, they still continue in the
rudest state of ignorance; having neither books
nor schools among them, as none of their
languages have been reduced to rules, and
very few of their children are ever taught in
Spanish. A degree of primitiveness charac-
terizes all their amusements, which bear a
strong similarity to those of the wilder tribes.
Before the New Mexican government had be-
come so much impoverished, there was wont
to be held in the capital on the 16th of Sep-
tember of every year, a national celebration
of the declaration of Independence, to which
the Pueblos were invited. The warriors and
youths of each nation with a proportionate
array of dusky damsels would appear on
these occasions, painted and ornamented in
accordance with their aboriginal customs, and
amuse the inhabitants with all sorts of gro-
tesque feats and native dances. Each Pueblo
generally had its particular uniform, dress and
its particular dance. The men of one village
would sometimes disguise themselves as elks,
with horns on their heads, moving on all-
fours, and mimicking the animal they were
attempting to personate. Others would ap-
pear in the garb of a turkey, with large heavy
wings, and strut about in imitation of that
bird. But the Pecos tribe, already reduced to
seven men, always occasioned most diversion.


Their favorite exploit was, each to put on the
skin of a buffalo, horns, tail, and all, and thus
accoutred scamper about through the crowd,
to the real or affected terror of all the ladies
present, and to the great delight of the boys.

The Pueblo villages are generally built with
more regularity than those of the Mexicans,
and are constructed of the same materials as
were used by them in the most primitive ages.
Their dwelling-houses, it is true, are not so
spacious as those of the Mexicans, containing
very seldom more than two or three small
apartments upon the ground floor, without
any court-yard, but they have generally a
much loftier appearance, being frequently two
stories high and sometimes more. A very
curious feature in these buildings, is, that there
is most generally no direct communication
between the street and the lower rooms, into
which they descend by a trap-door from the
upper story, the latter being accessible by
means of ladders. Even the entrance to the
upper stories is frequently at the roof This
style of building seems to have been adopted
for security against their marauding neighbors
of the wilder tribes, with whom they were
often at war. When the family had all be^ji
housed at night, the ladder was drawn up,
and the inmates were thus shut up in a kind
of fortress, which bid defiance to the scanty
implements of warfare used by the wild In-

Though this was their most usual style of
architecture, there still exists a Pueblo of Taos,


composed, for the most part, of but two edi-
fices of very singular structure one on each
side of a creek, and formerly communicating
by a bridge. The base-story is a mass of near
four hundred feet long, a hundred and fifty
wide, and divided into numerous apartments,
upon which other tiers of rooms are built, one
above another, drawn in by regular grades,
forming a pyramidal pile of fifty or sixty feet
high, and comprising some six or eight stories.
The outer rooms only seem to be used for
dwellings, and are lighted by little windows
in the sides, but are entered through trap-
doors in the azoteas or roofs. Most of the
inner apartments are employed as granaries
and store-rooms, but a spacious hall in the
centre of the mass, known as the estufa, is re-
served for their secret councils. These two
buildings afford habitations, as is said, for over
six hundred souls. There is likewise an edi-
fice in the Pueblo of Picuris of the same
class, and some of those of Moqui are also
said to be similar.

Some of these villages were built upon
rocky eminences deemed almost inaccessible :
witness for instance the ruins of the ancient
Pueblo of San Felipe, which may be seen
towering upon the very verge of a precipice
several hundred feet high, whose base is
washed by the swift current of the Rio del
Norte. The still existing Pueblo of Acoma
also stands upon an isolated mound whose
whole area is occupied by the village, being
fringed all around by a precipitous ceja or cliff.


The inhabitants enter the village by means
of ladders, and by steps cut into the solid rock
upon which it is based.

At the time of the conquest, many of these
Pueblos manufactured some singular textures
of cotton and other materials ; but with the
loss of their liberty, they seem to have lost
most of their arts and ingenuity ; so that the
finer specimens of native fabrics are now only
to be met with among the Moquis and Nava-
joes, who still retain their independence.
The Pueblos, however, make some of the
ordinary classes of blankets and tilmas,* as
well as other woollen stuffs. They also man-
ufacture, according to their aboriginal art,
both for their own consumption, and for the
purposes of traffic, a species of earthenware
not much inferior to the coarse crockery of
our common potters. The pots made of
this material stand fire remarkably well, and
are the universal substitutes for all the pur-
poses of cookery, even among the Mexicans,
for the iron castings of this country, which
are utterly unknown there. Rude as this kind
of crockery is, it nevertheless evinces a great
deal of skill, considering that it is made entirely
without lathe or any kind of machinery. It
is often fancifully painted with colored earths
and the juice of a plant called guaco, which
brightens by burning. They also work a singu-
lar kind of wicker-ware, of which some bowls
(if they may be so called) are so closely plat-

* The tilma of the North is a sort of small but durable blanket,
worn by the Indians as" a mantle.


ted, that, once swollen by dampness, they
serve to hold liquids, and are therefore light
and convenient vessels for the purposes of

The dress Iff many of the Pueblos has be-
come assimilated in some respects to that of
the common Mexicans ; but by far the great-
est portion still retain most of their aboriginal
costume. The Taosas and others of the
north somewhat resemble the prairie tribes
in this respect ; but the Pueblos to the south
and west of Santa Fe dress in a different
style, which is said to be similar in many re-
spects to that of the aboriginal inhabitants of
the city of Mexico. The moccasin is the only
part of the prairie suit that appears common
to them all, and of both sexes. They mostly
wear a kind of short breeches and long stock-
ings, the use of which they most probably ac-
quired from the Spaniards. The saco, a species
of woollen jacket without sleeves, completes
their exterior garment ; except during incle-
ment seasons, when they make use of the
tilma. Very few of them have hats or head-
dress of any kind; and they generally wear
their hair long commonly fashioned into a
queue, wrapped with some colored stuff. The
squaws of the northern tribes dress pretty
much like those of the Prairies ; but the usual
costume of the females of the southern and
western Pueblos is a handsome kind of small
blanket of dark color, which is drawn under
one arm and tacked over the other shoulder,
leaving both arms free and naked. It is gene-


rally worn with a cotton chemise underneath
and is bound about the waist with a girdle.
We rarely if ever see a thorough-bred Pueblo
woman in Mexican dress.

The weapons most in use among the Pue-
blos are the bow and arrow, with a long-han-
dled lance and occasionally a fusil. The raw-
hide shield is also much used, which, though
of but little service against fire-arms, serves
to ward off the arrow and lance.

The aliment of these Indians is, in most
respects, similar to that of the Mexicans ; in
fact, as has been elsewhere remarked, the lat-
ter adopted with their utensils numerous items
of aboriginal diet. The tortilla, the atole, the
pinole,* and many others, together with the
use of chile, are from the Indians. Some
of the wilder tribes make a peculiar kind of
pinole, by grinding the bean of the mezquite
tree into flour, which is then used as that of
corn. And besides the tortilla they make
another singular kind of bread, if we may so
style it, called guayave, a roll of which so much
resembles a ' hornets' nest,' that by strangers
it is often designated by this title. It is usual-
ly made of Indian corn prepared and ground
as for tortillas, and diluted into a thin paste.

* Pinole is in effect the cold-flour of our hunters. It is the
meal of parched Indian corn, prepared for use by stirring it up
with a little cold water. This food seems also to have been of
ancient use among the aborigines of other parts of America,
Father Charlevoix, in 1721, says of the savages about the northern
lakes, that they " reduce [the maize] to flour which they call
Farine froide (cold Flour), and this is the best Provision that can
oe made for Travellers."


I once happened to enter an Indian hut where
a young girl of the family was baking guayaves.
She was sitting by a fire, over which a large
flat stone was heating, with a crock of pre-
pared paste by her side. She thrust her hand
into the paste, and then wiped it over the
heated stone. What adhered to it was in-
stantly baked and peeled off. She repeated
this process at the rate of a dozen times or
more per minute. Observing my curiosity,
the girl handed me one of the ' sheets,' silent-
ly ; for she seemed to understand but her na-
tive tongue. I found it pleasant enough to
the taste ; though when cold, as I have learned
by experience, it is, like the cold tortilla, rather
tough and insipid. They are even thinner
than wafers ; and some dozens, being folded
in a roll, constitute the laminate composition
before mentioned. Being thus preserved,
they serve the natives for months upon their



The wild Tribes of New Mexico Speculative Theories Clavi
gero and the Azteques Pueblo Bonito and other Ruins Pro-
bable Relationship between the Azteques and tribes of New
Mexico The several Nations of this Province Navajoes and
Azteques Manufactures of the former Their Agriculture,
Religion, etc. Mexican Cruelty to the Indians and its Conse-
quences Inroads of the Navajoes Exploits of a Mexican
Army How to make a Hole in a Powder-keg The Apaches
and their Character Their Food Novel Mode of settling
Disputes Range of their marauding Excursions Indian
Traffic and imbecile Treaties Devastation of the Country
Chihuahua Rodomontades Juan Jose, a celebrated Apache
Chief, and his tragical End, etc. Massacre of Americans in
Retaliation A tragical Episode Proyecto de Guerra and a
' gallant' Display The Yutas and their Hostilities-^A per-
sonal Adventure with them, but no blood shed Jicarillas.

ALL the Indians of New Mexico not de-
nominated Pueblos not professing the Chris-
tian religion are ranked as wild tribes, al-
though these include some who have made
great advances in arts, manufactures and ag-
riculture. Those who are at all acquainted
with the ancient history of Mexico, will recol-
lect that, according to the traditions of the
aborigines, all the principal tribes of Anahuac
descended from the North : and that those of
Mexico, especially the Azteques, emigrated


from the north of California, or northwest of
New Mexico. Clavigero, the famous histori-
an heretofore alluded to, speaking of this em-
igration, observes, that the Aztequcs, or Mexi-
can Indians, who were the last settlers in the
country of Ariahuac, lived until about the year
1160 of the Christian era in Aztlan, a country
situated to the north of the Gulf of Califor-
nia; as is inferred from the route of their
peregrinations, and from the information after-
wards acquired by the Spaniards in their ex-
pfeditions through those countries. He then

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