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Pedro Pino

Governor of Zuni Pueblo, 1830-1878

E. Richard Hart

Publication Year: 2003

Pedro Pino, or Lai-iu-ah-tsai-lu (his Zuni name) was for many years the most important Zuni political leader. He served during a period of tremendous change and challenges for his people. Born in 1788, captured by Navajos in his teens, he was sold into a New Mexican household, where he obtained his Spanish name. When he returned to Zuni, he spoke three languages and brought with him a wealth of knowledge regarding the world outside the pueblo. For decades he ably conducted Zuni foreign relations, defending the pueblo's sovereignty and lands, establishing trade relationships, interacting with foreigners-from prominent military and scientific expeditions to common emigrants-and documenting all in a remarkable archive. Steeped in Zuni traditions, he was known among other things for his diplomatic savvy, as a great warrior, for his oratory, and for his honesty and hospitality.

More than a biography, Richard Hart's work provides a history of Zuni during an especially significant period. Also the author of Zuni and the Courts: A Struggle for Sovereign
Land Rights
and the co-author of A Zuni Atlas, Hart originally wrote the manuscript in 1979 after a decade of historical work for Zuni Pueblo. He then set it aside but continued to pursue research about and for Zuni. Its publication, at last, inscribes an important contribution to Pueblo history and biography and a testimonial to a remarkable Native American leader. In an afterword written for this publication, Hart discusses his original intentions in writing about Pedro Pino and Zuni and situates the biography in relation to current scholarship.

Published by: Utah State University Press


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pp. v


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pp. vi

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pp. vii-xi

This is a remarkable book about a remarkable man. Lai-iu-ah-tsai-lu, also known as Pedro Pino, was the most prominent Zuni political leader of the nineteenth century. Born into the Eagle Clan in 1788, Lai-iu-ah-tsai-lu was captured by the Navajos in his early teens and later sold to Don Pedro Bautista Pino, ...

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One: Early Years

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pp. 1-12

Lai-iu-ah-tsai-lu was born into a rich and ancient cultural universe. The proximate environment was and is a relatively hard land, with bitter winters and smoldering summers. It is devastatingly arid; water is worth everything. Yet when it rains, a dry gulch may become a churning river in minutes. He was born into ...

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Two: First Years as Governor

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pp. 13-32

The Zuni Indians’ land was their church, their cathedral. A sharp-faced butte was an altar.46 A lake was their home in the afterlife, a mesa their hope for this life. The boundaries of their land in 1830 had been relatively exact and intact for hundreds of years. Though threatened by the Navajos and Apaches ...

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Three: Further Warfare

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pp. 33-43

Though the Navajos had been cautioned not to steal from the Zunis in the 1851 agreement, they were back at their old tricks within a few months. Governor Pino reported in May of 1852 that Navajos had stolen Zuni horses. The frazzled commander of Fort Defiance wrote to Pino, promising to try and retrieve ...

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Four: Citizenship and the Zuni Land Grant

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pp. 44-55

In 1856 the general feeling by one faction of the New Mexico territorial people and courts was that the Pueblos were citizens and could vote—and also should be able to alienate their lands. This same group included many who were opposed to the large, important Spanish and Mexican land grants. Despite the fact that ...

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Five: “Entangling Alliances”

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pp. 56-75

Governor Pino would have been in his mid-sixties in 1857. He must have been secure in his belief that the United States would honor his people’s holdings. He had invested more than ten years of negotiations in guaranteeing Zuni land claims. Every indication would have suggested that his people’s land would be safe ...

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Six: The Navajo War

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pp. 76-88

The inevitable all-out war with the Navajos finally came during the 1860s. After the commander of the army in New Mexico, Colonel Thomas T. Fauntleroy, reduced the forces at Fort Defiance by nearly two-thirds in November of 1859, the Navajos perceived the weakened condition of the post In January of 1860, ...

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Seven: Expeditions to and from Zuni: “Enough to Pay Them for Going”

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pp. 89-98

The controversy over Pueblo Indian land grants and citizenship was building in 1868. The commissioner of Indian affairs reported optimistically that most of the grants to the pueblos had been confirmed and the rest should be verified soon.255 On the other hand, the Santa Fe Ring controlled New Mexico. ...

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Eight: “Our Sheep Is Dying!”

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pp. 99-104

In the latter half of the 1870s, Pedro Pino would begin to lose the battle which he had been fighting for decades. By the end of the decade, the Zunis would lose approximately 75 percent of their land and many of their rights. Pino had nurtured goodwill for the United States and an alliance with its army. But the goodwill ...

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Nine: Reservation and Retirement: “I Have Been a Great Captain”

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pp. 105-118

During the same month, Thomas informed Governor Pino that the tribe no longer could control their salt lake the same way they had since aboriginal times.321 Pino was beginning to feel the immediate loss of autonomy which came with reservation life. Also during February, Thomas licensed another trader to work at Zuni, the first ...

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Ten: Though Your Body Perish

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pp. 119-127

In 1882 Frank Cushing arranged the long-awaited trip to the East Coast for Pedro Pino and several other Zunis. He arranged the trip so that he might obtain more funding for his research at Zuni, impress the Zunis with American might, and allow himself to be initiated into some secret Zuni orders which he had been ...

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pp. 128-131

I began my work at Zuni in the late 1960s and early 1970s, helping write and publish some curricular materials for the pueblo’s schools. Between 1973 and 1974, I worked for Zuni doing a preliminary inquiry into the tribe’s potential claim against the United States for lands taken without adequate compensation. ...

Appendix A Biography of Pedro Pino by Frank Hamilton Cushing

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pp. 132-135

Appendix B Orders No. 41 and Articles of Convention

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pp. 136-138

Appendix C Grant Given to Zuni, Year 1689

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pp. 139-140

Appendix D Treaty between the United States of America and Certain Indian Pueblos, or Towns

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pp. 141-142


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pp. 143-181


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pp. 182-188

E-ISBN-13: 9780874214789
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874215632

Publication Year: 2003