November 22 (November 12, o.s.)

Mexico/New Mexico: The leaders of the Franciscan order in Mexico meet at their main convent in Mexico City to appoint a new head for their order in New Mexico in the wake of the successful reconquest of that province by Governor Diego de Vargas.  They decide on Salvador de San Antonio, who has been working in that area for more than ten years and knows some of the native languages.

New Mexico: Despite the alarming report he received the previous day from Miguel, the leader of Awatovi Pueblo, about how the other Hopi pueblos have been conspiring to kill all the Spanish, Governor Vargas decides to go ahead with his plan to go to those pueblos and pacify them.  He figures the best way to do this without exposing himself or his men to unnecessary risk is to do a whirlwind one-day tour of the three nearest pueblos, Walpi, Mishongnovi, and Shongopavi, in order to take them by surprise and put them off guard.  The remaining pueblo, Oraibi, is further away and will have to be dealt with later.  This is still a somewhat risky plan since it involves an enormous amount of riding and there is no water available for the horses at any of the pueblos, but it ultimately seems like the best option.

Having formulated this plan, Vargas orders fifteen of his men to remain at the expedition’s campsite at a watering hole near Awatovi to guard the remaining animals and supplies.  He then orders the remaining 45 men, along with all his officials and the priests, to come with him to the pueblos, warning them about the long journey and the lack of water.  He also has Miguel come along as an interpreter.  When they are all ready Vargas mounts his horse and has the men organize into four files, with orders to be alert in case anything goes wrong and to have their weapons ready.  He also orders them not to act rashly and not to initiate any violence without his direct order.  The group then sets off.

Before very long, they reach a very high mesa, atop which is the Pueblo of Walpi.  As soon as the people there see the Spanish approaching, they come down with their weapons.  Vargas goes straight up the mesa toward them and orders them to go back up to the pueblo and lay down their weapons.  They don’t comply, but neither do they attack, and Vargas is able to move beyond them and up to the top of the mesa.  He enters the pueblo and goes straight to its leader, Antonio, ordering him to tell his people to return to the pueblo, lay down their weapons, and come out to receive him.  Antonio is surprised and taken aback by this sudden turn of events, and sees no alternative given the circumstances but to comply, although he does so hesitantly and with evident discomfort.  Some people do respond to his order and lay down their weapons, but Vargas notices that many others do not and asks Antonio why.  Antonio responds that all of his people have disarmed and that the others are from the other pueblos and not under his command.

Vargas then orders half of his men to enter the plaza with him and the priests and the other half to remain outside on guard.  When they reach the plaza he and the priests dismount, as do the major officials.  With Miguel interpreting Vargas then quickly goes through the process of pardoning the people and ordering them to build a cross in the plaza and to pray and wear crosses around their necks.  He also asks that if any of them have furnishings from the old church they should return them to him, and that he will not be angry with them but grateful.  He orders them to build a new church, but gradually so as not to be a hardship.  He finishes his speech by pointedly noting that he has not asked them to build him a house, which he has no need for since he sleeps out in the open with his men.

The priests then take over, granting the people absolution and baptizing 81 people of all ages and both sexes.  Vargas then asks who the pueblo’s patron saint is, and the people respond that it is San Bernardino.  Vargas exhorts them once more to pray and build a church, then announces that he is leaving.  Before he goes, Antonio asks him to come to his house to eat, which he does despite his nervousness and all the armed men from other pueblos standing on the rooftops around him.

With Walpi thus officially reconquered, Vargas and his men leave and go back down the mesa.  Their next stop is Mishongnovi, which turns out to be on a mesa higher and steeper than Walpi’s.  The men ascend this mesa and are greeted by the same clamor of armed warriors.  Vargas repeats his performance at Walpi, charging ahead and ordering the leaders to tell their people to disarm.  When they do, he pardons them as before, standing in the plaza, and the priests grant absolution and baptize 37 people.  He and his men then depart and head to Shongopavi, which turns out to be quite close and on a mesa even higher and steeper than the other two.  Vargas does the same thing as he did at the other two pueblos, but finds that there are fewer people here and they are already disarmed, with many women and children among them.  After Vargas’s pardon, the priests baptize 33 people.

Once they are done at Shongopavi, the men return to the campsite near Awatovi.  Their horses are quite worn out.

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Published in: on November 22, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on November 22 (November 12, o.s.)  
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