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The Pueblo Revolt and the Mythology of Conquest

The Pueblo Revolt and the Mythology of Conquest: An Indigenous Archaeology of Contact

Michael V. Wilcox
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 334
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  • Book Info
    The Pueblo Revolt and the Mythology of Conquest
    Book Description:

    In a groundbreaking book that challenges familiar narratives of discontinuity, disease-based demographic collapse, and acculturation, Michael V. Wilcox upends many deeply held assumptions about native peoples in North America. His provocative book poses the question, What if we attempted to explain their presence in contemporary society five hundred years after Columbus instead of their disappearance or marginalization? Wilcox looks in particular at the 1680 Pueblo Revolt in colonial New Mexico, the most successful indigenous rebellion in the Americas, as a case study for dismantling the mythology of the perpetually vanishing Indian. Bringing recent archaeological findings to bear on traditional historical accounts, Wilcox suggests that a more profitable direction for understanding the history of Native cultures should involve analyses of issues such as violence, slavery, and the creative responses they generated.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94458-9
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Repatriating History: Indigenous Archaeology and the Pueblo Revolt of 1680
    (pp. 1-34)

    Every July, on the Feast of San Buenaventura, an eclectic mix of tourists, spectators, and neighbors filter through the dusty tangle of lanes in the old village and gather on the periphery of the main plaza at Cochiti. To the east stands the Stalinesque monstrosity known as Cochiti Dam. Designed in the 1960s in an effort to protect the people of Cochiti (and Albuquerque) from a five-hundred-year flood, the Army Corps of Engineers shoved the sixty-five million cubic yards of earth and rock into a looming, black pile of vesicular basalt (figures 1 and 2). The people of the Pueblo...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Creating the Invisible Indian
    (pp. 35-54)

    Despite the persistent attention of several generations of historians to the subject of the Pueblo Revolt, archaeological documentation of historic period Indigenous settlements and histories have been slow to materialize.¹ While Hispanic and Latino scholars have made important inroads in the expansion of early colonial voices and perspectives, Native American scholars have yet to assert the kinds of interpretations of contact and colonization offered by Governor Suina. The idea that the past as rendered by historians and archaeologists is informed by contemporary political interests is not new to either field. As historian R. G. Collingwood suggested in a series of...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Explaining the Persistence of Indian Cultures: Ethnicity Theory, Social Distance, and the Myth of Acculturation
    (pp. 55-74)

    The mythology of the “perpetually vanishing primitive” and the idea that Indian peoples are doomed to eventual extinction are pervasive in academic discourse and popular culture.National Geographicin particular has become the conduit through which anthropological theories of acculturation and critiques of industrialization and “modernity” have been channeled to an eager and concerned citizenry. Indians almost universally are associated with nature, innocence, and vulnerability; whereas Europeans and Westerners are depicted as agents of modernity, industrialization, and change and are often responsible for the degradation and exploitation of marginalized Indigenous peoples. This narrative is certainly partially accurate. Indigenous peoples frequently...

  7. CHAPTER 4 The Mythologies of Conquest: Militarizing Jesus, Slavery, and Rebellion in the Spanish Borderlands
    (pp. 75-94)

    In the immensely popular bookGuns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, ornithologist Jared Diamond introduced what has become (like it or not) the most widely read conquest narrative ever written. Published in 1995,Gunsargues that contemporary disparities in power, capital, and wealth between the “developed” and “undeveloped” world, between Euro-colonial powers and Indigenous peoples, emanate from a series of geographic, technological, and historical accidents. Disguised as an attack on racial determinism, Diamond’s book argues that the conquest of the Americas and the dispossession of Indian wealth resulted not from the innate inferiority of Indigenous peoples but...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Abandonment as Social Strategy: Colonial Violence and the Pueblo Response
    (pp. 95-148)

    At the 2008 Society for Historical Archaeology Conference (SHA) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a group of historians and archaeologists gathered to discuss some new discoveries and developments in the scholarship of the Coronado expedition and Spanish entradas. Sponsored by historical archaeologists Clay Mathers and Charles Haecker and attended by Coronado historian Richard Flint, the symposium was the first of its kind in a number of years. Packed with scholars and Coronado enthusiasts, the session focused on the use of an old and much-maligned tool of amateur archaeology: the metal detector. Sifting through a number of sites along the now largely...

  9. CHAPTER 6 “Seek and You Shall Find”: Mobility as Social Strategy: Documenting Evidence of Contact and Revolt Period Settlements
    (pp. 149-208)

    The words of early Borderlands historian Charles Lummis and Alfonso Ortiz, a Native American anthropologist raised at the Tewa Pueblo of San Juan, reveal the degree to which historical narratives of contact, conquest, and rebellion are part of ongoing political processes. Ethnohistories are continually refashioned, reshaped, and redeployed to support the interests and perspectives of various ethnic groups. In the preceding chapter, I presented historical documents supporting the correlation between the use of social violence by colonists and missionaries and regional abandonments during the entradas of the sixteenth century. Following the model of ethnic conflicts outlined earlier, I suggested that...

  10. CHAPTER 7 The Archaeological Correlates of Ethnogenesis: Community Building at Old Cochiti
    (pp. 209-232)

    Beginning in the early 1990s, rumblings could be heard within the archaeological community that Native American activists threatened to single-handedly destroy the field of archaeology. Angered over the display of human remains, pot hunting, the desecration of burials, the refusal of museums to grant access to collections by descendant Native communities, and the unwillingness of many archaeologists to consult with Native peoples before conducting research, Native peoples began to lobby Senator Daniel Inouye and President George H. W. Bush for greater control over their ancestral remains. In response, archaeologists quickly mobilized to prevent passage of NAGPRA. For almost a century,...

  11. CHAPTER 8 Repatriating Old Cochiti
    (pp. 233-244)

    The Fiesta of Santa Fe is held each fall in the Old Town area surrounding the Old Governor’s Residence. The fiesta blends Catholic piety and the veneration of Mary with New Age mysticism and the lively mariachi music and food typical of Mexican fiestas. The ceremony takes place in open arenas and is decidedly secular; bar hopping and psychedelic drugs are often associated with the strange vision of a burning papier-mâché likeness of “Old Man Gloom”; this “Burning Man” effigy, or Zozobra, was invented in the 1920s by a local artist. This symbolism is jarringly juxtaposed with the celebration of...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 245-262)
  13. References
    (pp. 263-304)
  14. Index
    (pp. 305-316)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 317-317)