Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Red Planetary Dragon/ Red Magnetic Skywalker - Solar Jaguar Moon of Intention, Day 24
Native American Storyteller ~ Helen Cordero,
a native American artist from the Cochiti Pueblo Tribe.
All Pueblo people are thought to be descended from Anasazi and perhaps Mogollon and several other ancient peoples, although the precise origin of the Keresan peoples is unknown. From them they learned architecture, farming, pottery, and basketry. Larger population groups became possible with effective agriculture and ways to store food surpluses. Within the context of a relatively stable existence, the people devoted increasing amounts of time and attention to religion, arts, and crafts.
In 1598, Juan de Onate arrived in the area with settlers, founding the colony of New Mexico. Onate carried on the process, already underway in nearby areas, of subjugating the local Indians; forcing them to pay taxes in crops, cotton, and work; and opening the door for Catholic missionaries to attack their religion. The Spanish renamed the Pueblos with saints’ names and began a program of church construction (such as San Buenaventura mission at Cochiti). At the same time, the Spanish introduced such new crops as peaches, wheat, and peppers into the region. In 1620, a royal decree created civil offices at each pueblo; silver-headed canes, many of which remain in use today, symbolized the governor’s authority.
The Pueblo Indians, including Cochiti Pueblo, organized and instituted a general revolt against the Spanish in 1680. For years, the Spaniards had routinely tortured Indians for practicing traditional religion. They also forced the Indians to labor for them, sold Indians into slavery, and let their cattle overgraze Indian land, a situation that eventually led to drought, erosion, and famine. Pope of San Juan Pueblo and other Pueblo religious leaders planned the revolt, sending runners carrying cords of maguey fibers to mark the day of rebellion. Antonio Malacate of Cochiti Pueblo was also a prominent leader. On August 10, 1680, a virtually united stand on the part of the Pueblos drove the Spanish from the region. The Indians killed many Spaniards but refrained from mass slaughter, allowing them to leave Santa Fe for El Paso. The Cochiti abandoned their pueblo from 1683 to 1692, joining other Keresan people at the fortified town of Potrero Viejo.
The Pueblos experienced many changes during the following decades: Refugees established communities at Hopi, guerrilla fighting continued against the Spanish, and certain areas were abandoned. By the 1700s, excluding Hopi and Zuni, only Taos, Picuris, Isleta, and Acoma Pueblos had not changed locations since the arrival of the Spanish. Although Pueblo unity did not last, and Santa Fe was officially reconquered in 1692, Spanish rule was notably less severe from then on. Harsh forced labor all but ceased, and the Indians reached an understanding with the Church that enabled them to continue practicing their traditional religion.
In general, the Pueblo eighteenth century was marked by smallpox epidemics and increased raiding by the Apache, Comanche, and Ute. Occasionally Pueblo Indians fought with the Spanish against the nomadic tribes. The people practiced their religion but more or less in secret. During this time, intermarriage and regular exchange between Hispanic villages and Pueblo Indians created a new New Mexican culture, neither strictly Spanish nor Indian, but rather somewhat of a blend between the two.
Mexican "rule" in 1821 brought little immediate change to the Pueblos. The Mexicans stepped up what had been a gradual process of appropriating Indian land and water, and they allowed the nomadic tribes even greater latitude to raid. As the presence of the United States in the area grew, it attempted to enable the Pueblo Indians to continue their generally peaceful and self-sufficient ways, and recognized Spanish land grants to the Pueblos.
During the nineteenth century the process of acculturation among Pueblo Indians quickened markedly. In an attempt to retain their identity, Pueblo Indians clung even more tenaciously to their heritage, which by now included elements of the once-hated Spanish culture and religion. By the 1880's, railroads had largely put an end to the traditional geographical isolation of the pueblos. Paradoxically, the U.S. decision to recognize Spanish land grants to the Pueblos denied Pueblo Indians certain rights granted under official treaties and left them particularly open to exploitation by squatters and thieves.
After a gap of more than 300 years, the All Indian Pueblo Council began to meet again in the 1920s, specifically in response to a congressional threat to appropriate Pueblo lands. Partly as a result of the Council’s activities, Congress confirmed Pueblo title to their lands in 1924 by passing the Pueblo Lands Act. The United States also acknowledged its trust responsibilities in a series of legal decisions and other acts of Congress. Still, especially after 1900, Pueblo culture was increasingly threatened by highly intolerant Protestant evangelical missions and schools. The Bureau of Indian Affairs also weighed in on the subject of acculturation, forcing Indian children to leave their homes and attend culture-killing boarding schools.
Following World War II, the issue of water rights took center stage on most pueblos. Also, the All Indian Pueblo Council succeeded in slowing the threat against Pueblo lands as well as religious persecution. Making crafts for the tourist trade became an important economic activity during this period. Since the late nineteenth century, but especially after the 1960s, Pueblos have had to cope with onslaughts by (mostly white) anthropologists and seekers of Indian spirituality. The region is also known for its major art colonies at Taos and Santa Fe.
In traditional Pueblo culture, religion and life are inseparable. To be in harmony with all of nature is the Pueblo ideal and way of life. The sun is seen as the representative of the Creator. Sacred mountains in each direction, plus the sun above and the earth below, define and balance the Pueblo world. Many Pueblo religious ceremonies revolve around the weather and are devoted to ensuring adequate rainfall. To this end, Pueblo Indians evoke the power of katsinas, sacred beings who live in mountains and other holy places, in ritual and dance. All Cochiti men belonged to katsina societies. Cochiti Pueblo contained two circular kivas, religious chambers that symbolize the place of original emergence into this world, and their associated societies, Squash and Turquoise.
In addition to the natural boundaries, Pueblo Indians created a society that defined their world by providing balanced, reciprocal relationships within which people connect and harmonize with each other, the natural world, and time itself. According to tradition, the head of each pueblo is the religious leader, or cacique, whose primary responsibility it is to watch the sun and thereby determine the dates of ceremonies. Much ceremonialism is also based on medicine societies, and shamans used supernatural powers for curing, weather control, and ensuring the general welfare. Especially in the eastern pueblos, most ceremonies are kept secret.
Pueblo governments derived from two traditions. Elements that are probably indigenous include the cacique, or head of the Pueblo, and the war captains. These officials are intimately related to the religious structures of the pueblo and reflected the essentially theocratic nature of Pueblo government. A parallel but in most cases distinctly less powerful group of officials was imposed by the Spanish authorities. Appointed by the traditional leadership, they generally dealt with external and church matters and included the governor, lieutenant governor, and fiscales. In addition, the All Indian Pueblo Council, dating from 1598, began meeting again in the twentieth century.
One mechanism that works to keep Pueblo societies coherent is a pervasive aversion to individualistic behavior. Children were traditionally raised with gentle guidance and a minimum of discipline. Pueblo Indians were generally monogamous and divorce is relatively rare. The dead were prepared ceremonially and quickly buried with clothes, beads, food, and other items. A vigil of four days and nights was generally observed. Cochiti Pueblo recognized matrilineal clans, associated with the seasons, as well as two patrilineal kiva groups, which in turn were associated with clans and medicine societies. The economy was basically a socialistic one, whereby labor was shared and produce was distributed equally. In modern times photography by outsiders is discouraged.
In the sixteenth century, Cochiti Pueblo featured two- to three-story, apartment-style dwellings as well as individual houses, facing south. The buildings were constructed of adobe (earth and straw) bricks, with beams across the roof that were covered with poles, brush, and plaster. Floors were of wood plank or packed earth. The roof of one level served as the floor of another. The levels were interconnected by ladders. As an aid to defense, the traditional design included no doors or windows; entry was through the roof. Pit houses, or kivas, served as ceremonial chambers and clubhouses. The village plaza, around which all dwellings were clustered, is the spiritual center of the village where all the balanced forces of world come together.
Cochitis were farmers. Before the Spanish arrived, they ate primarily corn, beans, and pumpkins. They also grew sunflowers and tobacco. They hunted deer, mountain lion, bear, antelope, and rabbits. Occasionally, men from Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos would travel east to hunt buffalo. Cochitis also gathered a variety of wild seeds, nuts, berries, and other foods. The Spanish introduced wheat, alfalfa, sheep, cattle, and garden vegetables, which soon became part of the regular diet.
All Pueblos were part of extensive Native American trading networks. With the arrival of other cultures, Pueblo Indians also traded with the Hispanic American villages and then U.S. traders. At fixed times during summer or fall, enemies declared truces so that trading fairs might be held. The largest and best known was at Taos with the Comanche. Nomads exchanged slaves, buffalo hides, buckskins, jerked meat, and horses for agricultural and manufactured pueblo products. Pueblo Indians traded for shell and copper ornaments, turquoise, and macaw feathers. Trade along the Santa Fe Trail began in 1821. By the 1880s and the arrival of railroads, the Pueblos were dependent on many American-made goods, and the Native American manufacture of weaving and pottery declined and nearly died out.
In the Pueblo way, art and life are inseparable. Cochiti arts included pottery, baskets, drums, and shell and turquoise ornaments. Songs, dances, and dramas also qualify as traditional arts. Many Pueblos experienced a renaissance of traditional arts in the twentieth century, beginning in 1919 with San Ildefonso pottery. www.what-when-how.com
Kin 101: Red Planetary Dragon
I perfect in order to nurture
I seal the input of birth
With the planetary tone of manifestation
I am guided by the power of universal water.
True knowledge is based on experience of both the external and internal worlds. The external world is the effect; the internal world is the cause.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2015-2016.
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Ajna Chakra (Gamma Plasma)