Keres Pueblo Indians - History and Cultural Relations

Laguna Pueblo was founded by refugees from various Rio Grande Keresan villages and from Acoma in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The other six Keresan Pueblos of today, along with at least some of their satellite Villages, are in approximately the same locations where the Spaniards first contacted them in the sixteenth century. The Keresans have occupied a central position along the Rio Grande and the Jemez River between other Puebloan tribes to the north and also the south; they have served as something of a cultural filter between these Rio Grande, or Eastern, tribes and the Western Pueblos of Zuni in New Mexico and Hopi in Arizona.

Settlements. As noted, the Keresans have remained, for the most part, where the Spaniards first found them. Some tribes have shown a tendency to divide and establish new Villages as a result of abandoning an old site that had become unhealthful (bewitched) or depleted of resources (deforested, or increasingly desiccated and unable to support the needs of their rudimentary agriculture). Archaeological findings reveal a slow but continual reoccupation of sites where conditions had improved with the passage of years or decades. For the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there are documented instances in which economic and/or political considerations have caused segments of tribes to migrate en masse to villages where other languages are spoken—for example, the Laguna migration to Isleta (Tiwa speakers) and a group of San Ildefonso Pueblo Indians (Tewa speakers) moving to Cochiti. Apparently, the overriding factor was the availability of arable land at the new home or a greater compatibility in the political or some other phase of life in the new Community. Size of the migrant group, in itself, does not seem to have been important in arriving at the decision either to move or to receive newcomers into the community.

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