Symbolic Discourse and Exterminatory Movements: The 1680 and 1696 Pueblo Revolts of New Mexico and the 1780-1782 Great Rebellion of Peru and Upper Peru

Symbolic Resistance and Welcoming

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Symbolic Resistance and Welcoming

In October, 1692, as Governor Vargas began to reinsert the Hispanics in the region, he encountered what at first appeared to be native resistance near the refuge of the natives of Jemez. Approaching the Indians, he found them to be “making all the gestures they use in their fighting.”230 When the Indians saw the Hispanics stand their ground, they claimed that their display of hostility was in fact a sign of welcome.231 That this “may represent a form of military salute or welcome” is suggested by a similar event around 1846 or 1847.232 Then, as American General Stephen Watts Kearny approached Santo Domingo, he and his party were “told that young men, dressed for war, were coming to receive them and cautioned not to fire. In a cloud of dust and with war whoops, warriors swept by the soldiers on each side at full speed, firing volleys under the 621 horse’s bellies.” A similar event occurred in 1850 with Lieutenant. J. H. Simpson at Zuni.233 Hostility had evolved into ritual, demonstrating both native valor and their aquiescence to power that did not flee from it.

The rebels also utilized symbolic language in their dealings with the Hispanics. When Governor Vargas and the rebel chief Luís Tupatu met in September of 1692, Tupatu arrived wearing a rosary and “showed…a small, silver image of Christ he had in his hands with a small piece of taffeta, which I saw had the printed image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.”234 Two months later, as the governor arrived in the land of the Zuni, he was welcomed with gifts of sheep and watermelon, both of which were brought to the region by the Hispanics.235

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