12th annual Pueblo Independence Day celebration; John Middleton lectures on “Never Before Seen Here: Baroque Stagecraft in the Spanish New World”
Music, art, good food, and — if you want it — exercise are on the program on Sunday, Aug. 9, with the 12th annual Pueblo Independence Day celebration to commemorate the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. On Aug. 10th and 11th of that year, Puebloans, with some Apache and Navajo allies, staged a mass rebellion against Spanish colonization and the Franciscan missionaries’ attempts to erase native religions they considered “demonic.” The day begins with a commemorative run at 7 a.m. from the Jemez Pueblo plaza to the Jemez Historic Site. The public is welcome to participate in the 12-mile run, which recalls “the runners who came to inform Jemez Pueblo of the revolt, and the Jemez runners who joined with their Tewa, Tano, and Keres brethren to the siege at the capital of Santa Fe,” said Matt Barbour.
Barbour is manager of the Jemez Historic Site, one of seven historic sites administered by the New Mexico Cultural Affairs Department. He is a state archaeologist, but the mission at Jemez is not about digging anything up; it’s about preservation, including “the protection and stabilization of the ruins,” he said. “We try to keep them looking as they did when archaeologists found them in the 1880s. We’ve had more rain than usual — the weeds are a never-ending battle — but we’ve had no flooding at the historic site and there has been no damage to the ruins.”
The site holds ruins of Giusewa, a 500-year-old Indian village built by the ancestors of the present-day people of Jemez (Walatowa) Pueblo, and of the San José de los Jemez Church. The stone-walled church with a distinctive octagonal bell tower was completed by the Franciscans in 1625 but was abandoned in the same century. Giusewa was occupied until the Pueblo Revolt, after which the Jemez people relocated to nearby mesa sites they could better defend against chronic attacks by Apache and Comanche Indians.
The celebration at the Jemez Historic Site starts at 10 a.m. with Barbour and Jemez Pueblo officials offering an invocation and welcome. From 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be Native food and arts and crafts for sale, dances by groups from the pueblos of Jemez and Zuni, and music performed by Adrian Wall. Visitors also have access to a ceremonial kiva that was recently re-roofed. Such Native religious structures are typically closed to all but tribal people. “That’s right,” Barbour said, “but here you can come and experience a kiva as it was in the 17th century, and get a counterpoint to the Spanish mission that dominates the landscape above it.”
Parking for the free celebration is available at Jemez Historic Site, just north of Jemez Springs on N.M. 4. Those wanting to participate in the run begin at the Jemez Pueblo plaza, about 12 miles south. For more information, see www.nmmonuments.org/jemez or call 575-829-3530. — Paul Weideman
Runners at the 2013 Pueblo Independence Day celebration