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Pueblo Indians and Spanish Colonial Authority in Eighteenth-Century New Mexico

Tracy L. Brown

Publication Year: 2013

Pueblo people reacted to Spanish colonialism in many different ways. While some resisted change and struggled to keep to their long-standing traditions, others reworked old practices or even adopted Spanish ones. Pueblo Indians and Spanish Colonial Authority in Eighteenth-Century New Mexico examines the multiple approaches Pueblo individuals and villages adopted to mitigate and manage the demands that Spanish colonial authorities made upon them. In doing so, author Tracy L. Brown counters the prevailing argument that Pueblo individuals and communities’ only response to Spanish colonialism was to compartmentalize—and thus freeze in time and space—their traditions behind a cultural “iron curtain.”
Brown addresses an understudied period of Pueblo Indian/Spanish colonial history of New Mexico with a work that paints a portrait of pre-contact times through the colonial period with a special emphasis on the eighteenth century. The Pueblo communities that the Spaniards encountered were divided by language, religion,and  political and kinship organization. Brown highlights the changes to, but also the maintenance of, social practices and beliefs in the economic, political, spiritual and familial and intimate realms of life that resulted from Pueblo attempts to negotiate Spanish colonial power.
The author combines an analysis of eighteenth century Spanish documentation with archaeological findings concerning Pueblo beliefs and practices that spans the pre-contact period to the eighteenth century in the Southwest. Brown presents a nonlinear view of Pueblo life that examines politics, economics, ritual, and personal relationships. The book paints a portrait of the Pueblo peoples and their complex responses to Spanish colonialism by making sense of little-researched archival documents and archaeological findings that cast light on the daily life of Pueblo peoples.

Published by: University of Arizona Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Dedication, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. 6-6

List of Illustrations

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pp. vi-vi

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pp. vii-x

...It is a long and sometimes difficult process to earn a PhD, publish, and find employment. The following individuals have provided friendship and mentoring along the way: Irene Silverblatt, Amy Den Ouden, Kiyomi Litzinger, Bill Reddy, Nancy Hewitt, Jane Mangan, Kim Wright Dixit, Rick Collier, Aimee Benson, Jeff Rosenthal, Paul Blanco, Haven White...

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1. Pueblo Ethnohistory: Historical, Methodological, and Theoretical Concerns

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pp. 1-20

...The Pueblo communities of New Mexico and Arizona have been the subjects of anthropological and historical inquiry for over a century. With the absorption of much of northern Mexico into the polity of the American state following the US-Mexican war, anthropologists and other academics began living in and intensively studying these communities. Before 1848...

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2. Foreign and Domestic Affairs: Pueblo Politics

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pp. 21-64

...The goal of this book is to trace Spanish state-making’s impact on Pueblo individuals and communities. In all arenas of Pueblo social life, individuals were confronted with pressures to change their way of life and to adopt Spanish practices during the colonial period. In this chapter, I argue that the choices Pueblo individuals and elites made in response to ...

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3. Pueblo Economies After Spanish Contact

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pp. 65-103

...In chapter 2, I discussed the impact of Spanish colonization in the political sphere of Pueblo social life. Efforts to colonize Pueblo people were part and parcel of Spanish state-making efforts in the region. In order to extend the edge of the Spanish state into what is now the American Southwest, Spanish authorities realized it was crucial that they bring...

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4. Commoner Men and Women: Alternative Paths to Power

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pp. 104-136

...In chapters 2 and 3 of this book, I discussed the ways in which Spanish state making impacted both the political and economic spheres in Pueblo communities. In both spheres, men’s and women’s responsibilities increased even as elite men, commoner men, and women continued to carry out traditional economic and political roles. In the political sphere, women ...

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5. Intimate Relations, Cohabitation, and Marriage in Pueblo Communities

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pp. 137-166

...The pueblo of Cochiti was rocked by a shocking and unusual murder in the spring of 1773. On the morning of April 16, María Francisca and her mother, María Josefa, asked María Francisca’s husband, Agustín, to accompany them on a trip to the mountains outside of Cochiti. The Jemez mountains sit just northwest of the pueblo, and they have long been ...

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6. Master Narratives, the US- Mexico Borderlands, and the American West

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pp. 167-174

...It has been the goal of this book to challenge methodological boundaries and historiographical chronologies by integrating archaeological and ethnohistorical findings about the Pueblos in pre- and post-contact New Mexico. I have presented their experiences across traditional historical periods, from the pre-contact period through the eighteenth century. In order to ...


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pp. 175-212


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pp. 213-226


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pp. 227-236

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About the Author

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pp. 237-237

...Tracy L. Brown received her PhD from Duke University in 2000. She is an associate professor of anthropology at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, MI. Her research interests include American Indian ethnohistory and gender, race, class, colonialism, and state making in the US borderlands. Her publications include: “ ‘Abominable Sin’ in Colonial ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780816599066
E-ISBN-10: 0816599068
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816530274
Print-ISBN-10: 0816530270

Page Count: 247
Illustrations: 14 figures, 4 tables
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 855906086
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Pueblo Indians and Spanish Colonial Authority in Eighteenth-Century New Mexico

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Pueblo Indians -- Colonization.
  • Pueblo Indians -- Social conditions.
  • Pueblo Indians -- Government relations.
  • New Mexico -- Colonization.
  • Spain -- Colonies -- America -- Administration
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