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The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Fifth Edition
Paul Lauter, General Editor

The Coming of the Spanish and the Pueblo Revolt (Hopi)
(c.1936)
Among Native American tales, historical narratives frequently relate the encounter with European colonizers and efforts to resist their domination. In this Hopi narrative of the coming of the Spanish, we find what some native groups call “memory culture” embracing centuries of time as if it existed on one chronological level. The story relates events in the absence of a linear historical sense which would locate events according to their relationship in real time. In other words, the story collapses chronology, telling centuries of happenings within one time-reference.

Many stories of this vast historical literature are of value for Euro-Americans, for they tell of colonization and its rejection from the Native American perspective. The Hopi narrative, with its unflattering picture of Franciscan missionizing—substantiated in large measure by documentary records—stands in stark contrast to Villagrá’s Catholic vision of the conquest as a glorious march of the cross. More importantly, the story highlights the profound differences between the two cultures, differences even centuries of contact have not altered. The Spanish understood native religions as paganism and felt duty-bound to eradicate them, for the good of the individual native as well as for the larger community. Indians, on the other hand, questioned a God who commanded them to abandon their kachina religion, knowing that extinction was the logical consequence of suppressing a traditional religion that had secured rain, food, and life itself, since their emergence into the day-world. While some tribes would forge a close working relationship with the colonizers—Spanish and Anglo-Americans—the Hopis pride themselves on never having given in or up.

Andrew Wiget
New Mexico State University

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Links

Spanish-Indian Relations in the Seventeenth Century: The Causes and Results of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680
(http://home.sprintmail.com/~sanchezj/westrnrs.htm)
An academic essay by Jane C. Sanchez.

The Pueblo Revolt
(http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/one/pueblo.htm)
The text of a letter from Don Antonio de Otermin in the moment of the revolt, while surrounded by Indians.

The Spanish Re-Conquest of New Mexico and the Pueblo Revolt of 1696
(http://www.zusas.uni-halle.de/~robison/research/reconquest.htm)
Another historical essay on the Pueblo Revolt, with a scanned portrait of de Vargas.

Secondary Sources

Ramon Gutierrez, When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away, 1991

Denis Tedlock, The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation, 1983





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