North-South-East-West: American Indians and the Natural World

Early Morning KatsinaEnduring People: Four Centuries of Resistance

The Pueblo Revolt

After living under Spanish control for more than a century and a half, the Pueblo Indians could endure no more. In 1680, Pueblo leaders met in secret to devise a plan to rid themselves of foreign domination. The leaders decided to attack the Spanish government headquarters in Santa Fe. In addition to the siege of Santa Fe, the plan called for participation by all Pueblo communities.

Although the Hopi villages were far from Santa Fe, they, too, rebelled. The five priests living in Hopi villages were killed and the churches the Spanish forced the Hopi to build were destroyed. Once the Spanish began their retreat, the Indians ceased their attacks, allowing the foreigners to depart without further incident.

Peace lasted for only twelve years. In 1692, a Spanish army again seized most of the Pueblo villages. However, the Hopi had moved from the open desert to the tops of the three mesas. Since the mesas were compact areas and were accessed by only one path, the Hopi could easily block the ascent of intruders.

Despite the protest of the other Hopi villages, the residents of one Hopi village, Awatovi, allowed the Spanish priests to reestablish a mission. After failing to convince the Awatovi villagers to expel the Franciscans, the other Hopi attacked the village in 1701. They killed all the men and forced the women and children to leave the village. Spanish soldiers sent to punish the Hopi for sacking the mission were defeated, and the Hopi finally rid themselves of Spanish domination.


Image: Early Morning Katsina: Talavai Tihu
Hopi, ca. 1904
Two katsinas came to announce the end of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt that drove out the Spanish for twelve years. When the Spanish reentered the territory, they endeavored to reestablish the mission at Awatovi. Hopi from other villages prevented this intrusion by attacking and destroying the entire Awatovi village in 1700, ending Spanish religious control.

Cottonwood (Populus sp.), commercial and mineral paints, Wild Turkey feather (Meleagris gallopavo), cotton (Gossypium hirsutum), W 10.5 x H 26.5 cm; 3165-82

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