November 19 (November 9, o.s.)

New Mexico: In the morning Governor Vargas sends Salvador and Sebastián, the two Hopis from Awatovi Pueblo who greeted him on his arrival at his campsite the previous night, to Awatovi to inform the people there of his arrival.  He gives each of them a rosary as a sign of his good faith.

Between 1:00 and 2:00 pm Vargas and a few members of his expedition leave their campsite and head for Awatovi.  A short while after they leave four men from Awatovi ride up to them on good horses to welcome them.  They are armed and wearing leather jackets.  After riding with the Spanish troops for a short time, they leave and ride ahead to the pueblo.  Vargas proceeds without the fear and suspicion he might have had about the Hopis’ motives, because his impression from the reports he has heard about their attitude toward his arrival is very reassuring.  This in contrast to the impression he had at certain other pueblos, such as Jemez and Acoma, where he remained a bit suspicious despite the apparent friendliness and openness of the people, since he had heard many reports about their treacherous intentions.

When the expedition reaches a mesa near Awatovi a large group of men comes out from the pueblo to receive them.  Some are on horseback, others on foot, but all are heavily armed; some even have guns.  More and more come out until there are at least 700 men present.  They adopt an aggressive posture, making provocative gestures and shouting at the Spanish.  They are led by Sebastián’s father Miguel, the literate, Spanish-speaking man to whom Vargas sent a letter on November 12 explaining his intentions.  The warriors tell him and another Spanish-speaking man named Pancho to ask Vargas if the Spanish are going to harm them.  When they comply, Vargas answers that they should calm down and that he has come only to pardon them and make them Christians again.  He points out that he has brought priests with him, along with the image of the Virgin Mary on his royal standard.  He therefore asks them to lay down their weapons and dismount.

The warriors, still somewhat resistant, talk for over an hour about what they should do, until Vargas asks Miguel to dismount and lay down his own weapons to set an example for his men.  He does so, and this finally gets them to listen to him when he tells them to do likewise.  Vargas then asks him to make them be quiet, as they were taught to do in prayer when they were Christians.  He does, and they all kneel in obedience.  Vargas then dismounts and enters the pueblo through the small door in the wall that is the entrance.  His officials follow him in.

Once inside, Vargas formally reclaims possession of the pueblo for the king, and does so again when he reaches the plaza, where he has the assembled people kneel in silence again to receive his pardon.  He then says that the priests are tired and will therefore wait until the next day to return to absolve them and baptize their children.  He tells the people from other pueblos to return to their homes and tell the people there to wait for him to come to them.  Miguel and Pancho translate all this for the people.

Miguel then asks Vargas to come up to his house to eat.  Vargas explains that he cannot leave his men alone and asks that the food be brought out instead.  Miguel complies with this request and brings food for Vargas and his men, which they eat on the plaza.  Vargas then tells him that he will return to his campsite at the waterhole to sleep.  Miguel tries to get him to stay at the pueblo, but he insists that he can’t leave the men still at the campsite alone since he was warned at Zuni that the Apaches are intent on attacking him and his group.  Miguel replies that he will show him a better place to camp near the water hole.  He then mounts his horse and leads Vargas to a campsite a little ways off, which Vargas agrees is better and brings the rest of his men to.  They camp there for the night.

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Published in: on November 19, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on November 19 (November 9, o.s.)  
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