The Laguna Pueblo (Western Keres: Kawaik) is federally recognized Native American tribe of the Pueblo people in west-central New Mexico, USA. The name, Laguna, is Spanish (meaning "small lake") and derives from the lake located on their reservation. The real Keresan name of the tribe is Kawaik. The population of the tribe exceeds 7,000 enrolled members, making it the largest Keresan-speaking tribe. Mission San José de la Laguna was erected by the Spanish at the old pueblo (now Old Laguna). Laguna is the best known of all the pueblos to the traveler, as the main line of the Santa Fé Railroad, until very recently, passed directly through the lower edge of the town, and a full view of the entire pueblo was afforded to the passengers. It is sixty-four miles west of Isleta (another pueblo) and seventy-nine from Albuquerque along the railroad.
Laguna is one of the pueblos whose whole history is known to us, as it was founded in 1699. Shortly before that time Indians from Acoma had settled near where Laguna is situated, for farming purposes, and because of the fine hunting for deer and antelope in the vicinity.
They were joined by residents of Zia, Zuñi, and other neighboring pueblos and were permanently established as a settlement about the time of the visit of Governor Cubero in July, 1699. At one time it contained no less than nineteen distinct clans, but many of these are now extinct.
The Pueblo Indians were left alone for twelve years, then sporadic battles continued until 1847, with several major uprisings. In 1853 the Pueblo Indians were hit with a smallpox epidemic. Their pueblo lands were finally secured under old Spanish grants confirmed by an Act of Congress in 1858.
In about about 1870, three young men, all surveyors, who came together to Laguna settled permanently in the town, and married Pueblo Indian girls.
These men engaged in almost constant official surveys. Each of them in turn has been governor of the pueblo. Their houses were clustered around the old depot, just below the pueblo, and were surrounded by fruit and shade trees. They greatly influenced the Laguna Indians to become more progressive in their lives. However, there were some people who preferred the “old” customs.
When the new progressive element began to assert itself there were sharp disputes between them and the conservatives, and a number of the latter emigrated to Isleta. The progressives had strength enough to bring about the abandonment of the old ceremonial dances, and on the death of the cacique prevented the election of a successor, so that the pueblo has been without a head to its ancestral religion for a number of years.
These changes, and the scattering of the people in search of better agricultural land, have loosened the hold of the old faith and the multiplicity of different clans into which the people were divided is gradually dying out.
More than two hundred of the younger generation of both sexes are graduates from Carlisle and other schools, and many of the men are employed by the railroad company in work of various kinds; this has introduced a considerable knowledge of English, while the older generation spoke only the Queres language, either here or at Acoma. In this the people differed from those of the pueblos in the Rio Grande Valley where everyone speaks Spanish as well as his native tongue.
Except for the Hopi of Arizona and about one-half the people of Laguna, most of the pueblo Indians are still under Catholic influence and at least nominally Catholic, although a majority adhere to their ancient rites. The Presbyterians came to Laguna about 1876. Although very few of the elderly Pueblos speak any English, a large number speak Spanish fluently. www.wikipedia.com, www.tribalpedia.com