Santa Ana Pueblo (Native Americans of the Southwest)

Santa Ana people call their Old Pueblo Tamaya. The word "pueblo" comes from the Spanish for "village." It refers both to a certain style of Southwest Indian architecture, characterized by multistory, apartment like buildings made of adobe, and to the people themselves. Rio Grande pueblos are known as eastern Pueblos; Zuni, Hopi, and sometimes Acoma and Laguna are known as western Pueblos. (See "Location" and see "Daily Life" under "Contemporary Information.")

Location The Old Pueblo (Tamaya) is located 27 miles northwest of Albuquerque, on the north bank of the Jemez River 8 miles northwest of its junction with the Rio Grande. This fairly isolated location traditionally kept residents from much contact with non-Indians. The pueblo was all but abandoned in historic times because of low-quality arable land. The people then bought land and moved to a location (Los Ranchitos) about 10 miles to the southeast and just north of Bernalillo.

Population As of 1990, 480 Indians lived on the reservation; roughly 340 lived there in 1700.

Language The people spoke a dialect of Keresan.

Historical Information

History 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.

Keresans have been traced to an area around Chaco Canyon north to Mesa Verde. In the 1200s, the Keresans abandoned their traditional canyon homelands in response to climatic and social upheavals. A century or two of migrations ensued, followed in general by the slow reemergence of their culture in the historic pueblos. Old Santa Ana was probably established in the late sixteenth century.

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado may have visited Santa Ana Pueblo. 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. At the same time, they 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 Santa Anas took part in the 1680 Pueblo revolt against the Spanish. 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. 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.

Shortly after the onset of the revolt, the residents had abandoned Santa Ana and were living in the Jemez Mountains. The Spanish burned Santa Ana Pueblo in 1687. By 1693, the Santa Anas had rebuilt their pueblo. They also joined with the Spanish against Pueblo and other Indians after this time.

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. Santa Anas began buying and cultivating fields at Ranchitos and spent more and more time there into the next century.

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. A political rebellion by Indians and Hispanic poor in 1837 over the issue of taxes led to the assassination of the New Mexican governor and the brief installation of a Plains/Taos Indian as governor. 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 1880s, 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. Fierce epidemics swept through Santa Ana around the turn of the century. Those children who escaped the sickness were forced to attend a new Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)-sponsored day school designed to strip them of their Indian heritage.

After a gap of over 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 Protestant evangelical missions and schools. The BIA 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.

Religion 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 Santa Ana men belonged to Katsina societies. Santa Ana 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 have created a society that defines 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. Important ceremonies at Santa Ana included the winter solstice, several winter dances, San Antonio Day, the summer solstice, San Juan’s Day, Santiago’s Day, and the harvest dance. Especially in the eastern pueblos, most ceremonies are kept secret.

Government Pueblo governments derived from two traditions. Elements that are probably indigenous include the cacique, or head of the Pueblo, and the war chiefs. These officials were intimately related to the religious structures of the pueblo and reflected the essentially theocratic nature of Pueblo government. At Santa Ana the cacique served for life and was not required to support himself or his family. He authorized all rituals and made yearly appointments, including two war chiefs (one from each kiva group) who exercised his power. In turn, the first war chief chose new caciques. Other traditional offices included the war chiefs’ assistants and a ditch boss who, by means of ritual and duties, presided over the Pueblo irrigation system. Pueblo Indians did not typically seek to hold office.

A parallel but in most cases distinctly less powerful group of officials was imposed by the Spanish authorities. Appointed annually by the traditional leadership, they generally dealt with external and church matters and included the governor, lieutenant governor, captains, and fiscales (church officials). In addition, a sacristan (another church official) and a kahera (drum roller for certain ceremonies) served for life. There was also an advisory council ofprincipales, composed of former office holders. In 1934, Santa Ana adopted the Indian Reorganization Act, although without a formal constitution. In addition, the All Indian Pueblo Council, dating from 1598, began meeting again in the twentieth century to assert rights and help solve problems.

Customs One mechanism that works to keep Pueblo societies coherent is a pervasive aversion to individualistic behavior. Children were raised with gentle guidance and a minimum of discipline. Pueblo Indians were generally monogamous, and divorce was relatively rare. The dead were prepared ceremonially and quickly buried with clothes, beads, food, and other items; their possessions were destroyed, and they were said to become katsinas in the land of the dead. A vigil of four days and nights was generally observed.

Matrilineal clans with recognized heads determined kiva membership and regulated marriage. Various other groups acted to hold the pueblo together, including medicine societies (curing, including witch purging, which was open to men only; public welfare; and weather); a hunters’ society; a clown society; a warriors’ society (open to men who had killed or scalped an enemy in battle); and katsina societies, associated with the two patrilineal kiva groups, Squash and Turquoise, which held masked rain dances. At Santa Ana the katsina society was voluntary and open to both sexes. In modern times photography by outsiders is discouraged.

Dwellings In the sixteenth century, Santa Ana Pueblo featured two- to three-story, apartment-style dwellings as well as individual houses arranged around several plazas. 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. Two pit houses, or kivas, served as ceremonial chambers and clubhouses. The village plazas, around which all dwellings were clustered, was the spiritual center of the village where all the balanced forces of the world came together.

Diet Before the Spanish arrived, Santa Ana people ate primarily corn, beans, and pumpkins, using dry farming methods and ditch irrigation. They also grew sunflowers and tobacco. They hunted deer, mountain lion, bear, antelope, and rabbits. They 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.

Key Technology Precontact farming implements were wooden. Traditional irrigation systems included ditches as well as floodwater collection at arroyo mouths (ak chin). Textiles were woven of cotton. Other items included baskets, pottery, and leather goods. In more recent times, Santa Anas made jewelry and straw-inlay work. The Spanish introduced metal tools and equipment.

Trade All Pueblos were part of extensive aboriginal 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. Santa Anas traded for numerous daily and ceremonial items, including drums, tortoise rattles, buffalo robes, abalone shell jewelry, bows, arrows, quivers, pottery, and blankets. Trade along the Santa Fe Trail began in 1821. By the 1880s and the arrival of railroads, the Pueblos had become dependent on many American-made goods, and the native manufacture of weaving and pottery declined and nearly died out.

Notable Arts In the Pueblo way, art and life are inseparable. Santa Ana arts included pottery, baskets, and wooden masks. Songs, dances, and dramas are other traditional arts. Santa Anas learned the art of silversmithing from the Navajo around 1890. Many Pueblos experienced a renaissance of traditional arts in the twentieth century, beginning in 1919 with San Ildefonso pottery.

Transportation At least as early as the 1700s, Santa Ana people used canoes to cross the Rio Grande. Spanish horses, mules, and cattle arrived at Santa Ana Pueblo in the seventeenth century.

Dress Men wore cotton kilts and leather sandals. Women wore cotton dresses and sandals or high moccasin boots. Deer and rabbit skin were also used for clothing and robes, and sandals were made of yucca.

War and Weapons Though often depicted as passive and docile, most Pueblo groups regularly engaged in warfare. The great revolt of 1680 stands out as the major military action, but they also skirmished at other times with the Spanish and defended themselves against attackers such as Apaches, Comanches, and Utes. They also contributed auxiliary soldiers to provincial forces under Spain and Mexico, which were used mainly against raiding Indians and to protect merchant caravans on the Santa Fe Trail. After the raiding tribes began to pose less of a threat in the late nineteenth century, Pueblo military societies began to wither away, with the office of war captain changing to civil and religious functions. At Santa Ana, the old warrior society is now made up of men who have killed a bear, mountain lion, or eagle.

Contemporary Information

Government/Reservations Santa Ana Pueblo contains roughly 62,000 acres. It is governed in the traditional manner with the addition of a modern administrative structure. Most people live at Ranchitos.

Economy Most people work either in Albuquerque or on federal and tribal projects. Farming was revived beginning in the mid-1980s as a commercial endeavor. Products from their Blue-Corn Mill and greenhouse complex are marketed internationally. There are also some crafts as well as a golf course and restaurant, a smoke shop, and some commercial offices. The Pueblo contains geothermal resources.

Legal Status Santa Ana Pueblo is a federally recognized tribal entity.

Daily Life The project of retaining a strong Indian identity is a difficult one in the late twentieth century, yet Pueblo people have strong roots, and in many ways the ancient rhythms and patterns continue. Santa Ana is more religiously conservative than most pueblos, although Santa Ana people have in general fused pieces of Catholicism onto a core of traditional beliefs. Their religion, ceremonialism, and religious and social structure are largely intact. Many Santa Ana people still speak Keresan. Since the 1970s control of schools has been a key in maintaining their culture. Children attend a nearby pubic school. Facilities at Ranchitos include a clinic, offices, a swimming pool, and a community center.

Tamaya features parallel rows of single-story houses grouped around several plazas, two circular kivas, and an eighteenth-century church. The houses are built of adobe and contain no modern utilities. Tamaya is reserved for ceremonial use, though most families have a home there as well as at Ranchitos. Housing at Ranchitos includes independent adobe structures with modern facilities as well as small, modern wood-frame houses.

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