The Historical Society of New Mexico and the Office of State Historian is pleased to announce another lecture in the 2013 History Scholarship Series:
"The Invention of the 'Conservative' Pueblo Indians"
Tracy Brown, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Central Michigan University
Dr. Brown will discuss why, by the end of the 19th century, a singular image of Pueblo people had been created by outsiders and solidified in the popular imagination – one that depicted them as being completely free from the taint of outside influence to a degree that made them stand out from all other indigenous groups in the American Southwest. The idea of the “conservative” Pueblo was then picked up by social scientists by the mid-twentieth century, who used Cold War imagery to describe their secrecy: they argued that Pueblos lived behind a cultural “iron curtain” which allowed them to prevent non-Pueblo ideas and practices from influencing their communities. Historians and ethnographers labeled this form of resistance – characterized by a complete rejection of outside ideas and worldviews and extreme secrecy about their own practices and beliefs – “compartmentalization.”
The point is not to question the assertion that the Pueblos were secretive about their ways of life or tried to resist domination; clearly they were secretive and they did resist Spanish, Mexican and American domination. But it is also true that they used other tactics besides secrecy to resist domination. And, all other indigenous groups in the New World were secretive about their practices and beliefs in their efforts to resist both ethnocide and genocide. Why, then, are Pueblos – but not other Indian communities – depicted as “compartmentalized” in the historical and ethnographic literature? Is it possible to pinpoint when, exactly, Pueblo people began to be depicted and described as being “compartmentalized”? Who perpetuated this image? For what reasons and ends? These are questions that Dr. Brown will consider in her paper for the History Scholars Program.
Wednesday, June 12 at 9:00 a.m.
State Records Center and Archives
1209 Camino Carlos Rey
Free and Open to the Public
New Mexico Centennial 1912-2012