Local tribes celebrate Pueblo Revolt anniversary in New Mexico

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JEMEZ, N.M. – Native communities invited people to commemorate the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, by sharing some of the history, and bringing out vendors and dancers to perform.

Dancers from the Jemez Pueblo performed Sunday morning as part of a larger celebration. 

“It started off this morning with a commemorative run, starting from the Pueblo of Jemez, 13 miles. And this was in honor of how the revolt actually was planned,” said Marlon Magdalena, an instructor coordinator and supervisor for the Jemez Historic Site. 

The Jemez Historic Site is a place where people can visit the ruins of the missionary church and a Sacred Kiva – an underground religious space. They can also learn about the Pueblo Revolt. 

“One of the leaders of the revolt was Popé from Ohkay Wwingeh. He helped plan this revolution against the Spanish and one of the ways that he sent out word for the revolts to take place was when he sent out runners,” said Magdalena. 

He says the pope sent runners to Pueblos with a knotted rope. Each day, a knot was untied, and the last knot was the day of the revolt. 

“It’s very significant not just to New Mexico history, but U.S. history. Some call it the first ‘American Revolution,’ and one of the only instances where an Indigenous culture overthrew a foreign power essentially,” Magdalena said. 

Vendors from participating Pueblos were out Sunday. 

Magdalena says the site is now a window into the past.

“There’s Jemez history that took place, Pueblo history in general, as well as colonialism, as well from the Spanish and the Franciscan Missionaries. All interacted in this area, and as a very significant time during colonization,” said Magdalena. 

Magdalena says people come to admire the church, but many don’t know the church was built on destroyed Pueblo sacred structures.

“When I see these structures here, I know that Jemez people built these structures because there just wasn’t enough colonial labor to go around there weren’t that very many Spanish colonists, so they had to rely on slave labor basically,” said Magdalena. 

He says it’s just another reminder of why it’s important to learn about the revolt. 

“A lot of modern Pueblos owe all their traditions and cultures to still being around because of the revolts, because they didn’t want to lose our way of life,” Magdalena said. 

The next event will be a night under the stars where you can watch the upcoming meteor shower at the site. 

For more information about the upcoming event, click here