THE PUEBLO SETTLEMENTS NEAR
L PASO;, TEXAS
\. WALTER FEWKES,
(From the American Anthropologist (N. s.), Vol. 4, No. i, January-March, 1902)
G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
DEPAQTMEIMTof MIDDLE AMERICAN WSEARCI
TOE TUANE UNDVEKSOIYof LOUOSOANA
THE PUEBLO SETTLEMENTS NEAR EL PASO,
BY J. WALTER FEWKES nt
On a map of the " Reino de la Nueua Mexico," made by
Father Menchero about 1747,' five pueblos are figured on the
right bank of the Rio Grande, below the site of the present city
of El Paso, Texas. One of these, called in the legend, Presidio
del Paso, is situated where Juarez, in Chihuahua, now stands, just
opposite El Paso. The other four are designated on this map as
Mision d S n Lorenzo, Mision d Cenecu, Mision d la Isleta, and
Mision del Socorro. Each is indicated by a picture of a church
building, with surrounding lines representing irrigation canals, as
the legend "riego de las misiones " states. All of these lie on the
right bank of the river, or in what is now the state of Chihuahua,
Mexico. It is known from historical sources that Indians speak
ing at least four different dialects, and probably comprising three
distinct stocks, inhabited these five towns. The Mansos lived in
El Paso, the Suma in San Lorenzo, the Tiwa in Ysleta, and the
Piros in Senecu and Socorro; there were also other Indians
Tano, Tewa, and Jemez scattered through some of these set
tlements. All the above-mentioned villages had been founded in
historic times, or since Oflate first forded the Rio Grande at the
Pass of the North in 1598. From documentary sources we learn
that Tiwa and Piros were colonized in this region at the end of
the seventeenth century, having come down the river with
1 A copy of this map was published in 1892 by the Kartographisches Institut of
lin. Although not dated, the legend reads that it was prepared during the admin
istration of Don Juan Francisco Guemes y Orcasitas, who was governor of New
Mexico during 1747.
. 5 ^ AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [N. s., 4, 1902
; Otermin in 1680, and that the Mansos and Suma were settled in
pueblos near the ford almost a century before.
During an exploration of certain ruins in central New Mexico
in the summer and autumn of 1901, under the auspices of the
Bureau of American Ethnology, the author studied the ancient
habitations of the Piros near Socorro and Magdalena. 1 At the
close of these studies he visited Senecu, Mexico, and Socorro,
Texas, where the survivors now live, in order to gather any cur
rent tradil^bns concerning them that might be found to survive.
He had also' in mind the forming of an acquaintance with the
remnants of the Tiwa whose ancestors lived in New Mexico
about the northern boundary of the old Piros range. The present
article considers especially the Tiwa of Ysleta and the Piros of
Senecu and Socorro.
These Indians have practically become " Mexicanized," and
survivals of their old pueblo life which still remain, such as their
dances before the church, have long lost the meaning which they
once had or that which similar dances still have in the pueblos
higher up the Rio Grande. The southern Tiwa and Piros are
good Roman Catholics, and their old dances are still kept up not
from a. lingering belief of the Indians in their old religion, as is
the case with certain pueblos in which Christianity is merely a
superficial gloss over aboriginal beliefs, but as survivals which
have been worn down into secular customs. They cannot give
an intelligible explanation of the meaning of these dances, be
cause they do not know their significance. Interest in them on
the part of the ethnologist is purely as folklore, for they represent
a stage through which the dances of the Pueblos ultimately
go when the complexion of the population changes from Indian
to Mexican. Ysleta is an instructive example of a Pueblo Indian
settlement which has become a Mexican town, the number of
Americans settled there not being large enough to affect ma-
1 A special account of the ruins near this town, especially those of the " pueblo "
visited by Vargas in 1692, is in preparation.
FEWKES] PUEBLO SETTLEMENTS NEAR EL PASO, TEXAS S9
terially the population. It is therefore instructive to study a.
pueblo in this stage of transformation.
The notes which serve as the basis of this article were col
lected on a brief visit to El Paso, in October, 1901. While the
author lays no claim to an exhaustive study of the survivors of
the Pueblos, he would call attention to a field which offers much
to the ethnologist, folklorist, and archeologist. The object of the
article in brief, then, is to set forth, in a general way, a few facts
regarding the Tiwa of Ysleta and the Piros of Senecu. Since
the former are more numerous and their customs less changed,
he will begin with them.
The pueblo of Ysleta, Texas, situated on the left bank of the
Rio Grande, about fourteen miles below El Paso, is a small vil
lage with a mixed population of Indians, Mexicans, and Ameri
cans. The Indian name of the village is Chiawipia, 1 or practically
the same as that of the pueblo of Isleta in New Mexico, a name
which the Hopi also give to the latter village, in which, they say,
are settled certain Tiwa whose ancestors once lived in their terri
tory. The name " Ysleta " would indicate its site on an island,
and the fact that on Menchero's map it is placed on the right
bank of the Rio Grande, while its present site is on the left, may
be harmonized by supposing that the course of the river has
changed since the map was made.
The most striking building in Ysleta is the church, dedicated
to Nuestra Sefiora del Carmen, the beautiful bell-tower of which
can be seen for several miles.
Several references to the settlement and early history of
Ysleta may be found by consulting the valuable contributions
of Bancroft and Bandelier. The author has taken the liberty of
quoting a few lines from the former to account for the existence
1 Or Chipiya. Note the similarity of this term with Cipia, an historic name of
former pueblo dwellers along the Little Colorado.
d6o AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [N. s., 4, 1902
t>f Tiwa and Piros colonies in this section. " With the 385
natives," writes Bancroft, " that had come with Otermin from
Isleta, a few who had accompanied the original refugees of 1680,
and some who came later, the padres proceeded to found three
new mission pueblos in the south. These were Senecu, Socorro,
and Isleta." l
The author has seen a manuscript copy of a document, dated
May 19, 1692, in possession of Father Cordovas, a priest at Ysleta,
who claims that the original, now in Mexico, is the earliest exist
ing record of the church. The following legend found on a
photograph by the same priest refers to this manuscript : " This
document in the name of the King of Spain gives charge of the
church of Corpus Christi de los Tiguas en el Reino de la Nueba
Mexico de el Distrito de el Paso Canton Bravos, to Fray Joaquin
Ynojosa. Years after, the titular saint of the church was changed
to St Anthony, the patron of the Indians, Ysleta being then a
Tigua village. Later on a petition was sent to the Bishop to
change the second titular saint ; this request being granted, the
church was dedicated to Nuestra Seftora del Carmen."
The oldest portion of the present church building is that in
which the altar now stands, the tower and facade being of much
later construction. The open space before the church is sur
rounded by a low adobe wall. This enclosure, in which stands a
cross, is called the cemetery, and was formerly a burial place, as
its name implies, but it is no longer used for that purpose. Here
certain dances survivals of pagan ceremonies dating back in
the history of the pueblo to a time when it was practically a
1 " S. Ant. de Senecu, of Piros and Tompiros, 2 leagues below El Paso (or
Guadalupe) ; Corpus Christi de Isleta (Bonilla, Apuntes, MS., 2, calls it S. Lorenzo
del Realito), of Tiguas i^ leagues east of Senecu ; and Nra del Socorro, of Piros,
Tanos, and Jemes, on the Rio del Norte 7 leagues from Isleta and 12 leagues from
El Paso." (Bancroft, Arizona and New Mexico, p. 191, note.) If Socorro was then 7
leagues from Ysleta, it was not on its present site, if the distance given is correct.
" In '83," according to Bancroft (p. 191), on account of a plot in Socorro to kill Padre
Antonio Guerra, the pueblo was " moved to a site nearer Isleta," evidently to its
FEWKES] PUEBLO SETTLEMENTS NEAR EL PASO, TEXAS 6 1
Tiwan village occur after mass on feast days elsewhere men
The site of the old pueblo adjoins this cemetery, from which
it is now separated by a street. The cacique remembers that
formerly Indian houses were arranged on that site in rectangular
form about a plaza, each building being a small one-story habita
tion made of upright logs chinked and plastered with adobe,
forming a type of building called by the Mexicans jacal. There
still remain a few houses of this kind in the neighboring hamlet
of Socorro that are reputed to be among the oldest in the pueblo.
Piarote, the present cacique of Ysleta, lives in an adobe house
standing not far from what was once a corner of the former
pueblo, and other houses in the neighborhood belong to Indians
who likewise have dwellings and tracts of land scattered in all
directions from the church.
In late years several Tiwa families have moved away from
Ysleta to Las Cruces, New Mexico, and other localities along the
railroad where they find profitable employment. The governor,
Mariano, claims that the town of Tulerosa, near the Mescalero
Apache reservation, was settled by Tiwa families from Ysleta,
but others deny this. The Ys'leteflos formerly hunted bison in
Pecos valley, and one of the masks used at Christmas in the Baile
de Tortuga, elsewhere referred to, is made of bison hide. 1 They
were therefore well acquainted with the Mescalero reservation,
and the springs there were probably favorite camping places.
Many of the Tiwa have served in the army as scouts against
the Apache, and among the names of some twenty men recorded
by the writer several have discharge papers setting forth the
value of their services ; others were killed while in the service
of the United States. None of the former receives a pension or
rations. They have no resident agent or missionary, and,
although poor, they are industrious, self-respecting, law-abiding
1 This mask was obtained by the author.
62 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [N. s., 4, 1902
In addition to the Tiwa living at Ysleta, there are one or two
families in a neighboring hamlet called "Zaragosa, across the river
in Mexico. About twenty-five persons, whose names are ap
pended, can conduct a conversation in the Tiwa language, and
there are as many more who understand the idiom but cannot
converse in it.
Men: Jose Tolino Piarote, Tomal Graneo, Tebucio Olgin,
Jose Maria Montoya, Ponciano Olgin, Patricio Perea, Manuel
Ortega, Sebastiano Duran, Alvino Aquiar, Cristobal Aquiar, Pas.
qual Piarote, Maleno Marque's, Robel Trujillo, Reyes Trujillo,
Women: Cornelia Colminero, Andrea Piarote, Estefana Mon
toya, Valentina Ortega, Augustina Olgin, Patricia Montoya,
Nestora Piarote, Dolores Graneo, Andrea Marques, Juana Duran,
The Tiwa of Ysleta still retain a survival of their tribal organ
ization, which is set forth in two documents drawn up before a
notary, Dr Wahl, a few years ago. These documents, formally
signed and sealed, are written in Spanish. The author obtained
a copy, a free translation of which follows :
Pueblo of San Antonio de Ysleta, Texas, January 6, 1895.
" We, the undersigned, comprising natives, have assembled for the
purpose of making the following regulations, and complying with those
duties which our ancestors observed and which we wish to transmit to
" We solemnly bind ourselves, in the first place, to celebrate in the
best manner we are able, the festival of our patron, Saint Anthony.
" In the second place, we bind ourselves to respect the native au
thorities which we ourselves nominate and elect, and also to submit to
such punishment as the same native authorities may impose, without
complaint or appeal to any other authority regarding matters, personal
jor domestic, pertaining to us, without prejudice to the general laws of
the remaining citizens.
" In the third place, we decree that every failure to respect our na
tive authorities shall be punished, for the first offense, with twenty
FEWKES] PUEBLO SETTLEMENTS NEAR EL PASO, TEXAS 63
hours' arrest ; leaving the punishment, however, to the prudence of
the same native authorities, should the same person repeat his offense.
That this regulation may have force and authority, all desirous of doing
so have freely affixed their signatures."
This first document closes with the signatures of the Indians,
all in the same handwriting, and the notary's acknowledgment of
the transaction. The second document, signed and sealed before
the same notary, enumerates the duties of the officers. Freely
translated it is as follows :
Duties of the Cacique.
" First Duty : Every year, on New Year's eve, the Cacique Major
shall assemble all his people and advise the meeting to nominate native
authorities to hold power for the forthcoming year. The same Cacique
Major shall give the badges of office in the following order : To the
Governor, to the Lieutenant-Governor, to the Alguacil, to the Capitan
Major, to the four subordinate Capitans. Indeed all these officials are
subject to the Cacique, as likewise all sons of the pueblo of San Anto
nio, according to the laws and conditions of the tribe. This dependence
extends to the Cacique Major to look after his life and the maintenance
of his family.
Duties of the Lieutenant-Cacique.
"The Lieutenant-Cacique shall exercise the same functions and act
with the same powers as those above stipulated in case he occupy the
position of the Cacique Major.
Duties of the Governor.
"This officer, with the badge of his office in his hand as a symbol
of administering justice, represents a Justice of the Peace in minor
matters, such as civil offenses ; he shall punish lack of respect to the
sons of the pueblo of San Antonio, and shall give permission for cus
tomary dances which are lawfully permitted to the sons of the tribe.
In addition, the Governor is requested to see that fathers of families
comply with the sacred duty of teaching the Christian doctrine to their
sons, and of celebrating annually the festival of our patron, San Anto
nio. Lastly, the Governor shall see to it that the sons of the tribe per
form, in such manner as may be possible, the marriages and funerals of
" In conformity with the third clause the Governor has not authority
to impose punishment exceeding three days in prison."
64 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [N. s., 4, 1902
"The Lieutenant- Governor is clothed with the same power as the
Governor when the duties of the Governor devolve on him."
Duties of the Capitan Major and the' Subordinate Capitans.
" To direct the dances in the public plaza and to preserve order
during the dance ; also to well regulate everything pertaining to hunts
of deer, rabbits, and hares, but always after consultation with, and noti
fication of such diversions to, the Cacique Major, who shall never permit
them on Sunday or on those days when they are obliged to hear the
holy mass as in the Christian faith universal.
" Regarding the dances, it is recognized that they are permitted on
the following days only : Christmas, St Anthony's, St John's, St Peter's,
St James', St Ann's, and St Andrew's (if the day does not fall at the
time of the hunt).
" Lastly, it is the duty of the Capitan Major, aided by his subordi
nates, to remove from the pueblo of San Antonio every kind of witch
craft and belief contrary to our Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman
religion. No son of the Pueblo of San Antonio is obliged to accept,
for example, if so commanded, any sorcery or false belief. It is the
duty of all who follow the regulations of the sons of the Pueblo of San
Antonio to sign this enactment. On the other hand, those who do not
wish to sign it, by the same wish do not regard themselves as sons of
This second document is signed by the same persons as the
former, and may be regarded as a constitution of the Tiwa of
Ysleta. It embodies certain aboriginal customs, but it is practi
cally of modern character and origin.
The present Indian officers of Ysleta are as follows :
Title Native Title Spanish Name
Cacique, Aikamede, Jose" Tolino Piarote.
Governor, Tuwatabode, Mariano Manero.
Lieutenant- Governor, Felipe Cruz,
War Captain, Wilawekamede. Tomal Graneo,
Subordinate Captains : Bias Cominero,
FEWKES] PUEBLO SETTLEMENTS NEAR EL PASO, TEXAS 65
INSIGNIA OF OFFICE
Each of the chief officials above mentioned has a baton, or
staff of office, known as a kikawee? which is held in such high
esteem that the cacique spoke of his as " mother," which reminds
one of the reverence paid by the Hopi to their so-called tiponi.
The author has examined the staffs of the cacique, governor, and
lieutenant-governor, finding them to be similar ; and he has been
told that those of the remaining officers have the same general
form. They are all said to be old, and to have been in possession
of the tribe from the time the pueblo was settled ; but such asser
tion is hardly borne out by close examination.
The cacique's staff of office consists of a baton the length of
the forearm and diameter of an ordinary walking-cane. It is
made of black wood, and is provided with a silver head and two
metal tips, one inside the other. There is a silver cross set in the
head, and midway of its length is a hole in which a thong is tied
by which it may be extended. The governor's baton is like that
of the cacique, except that it is made of chestnut-colored wood.
The lieutenant-governor's baton is black : it was broken but has
been mended with sinew. These badges, as referred to in the
documents setting forth the duties of the officers, are insignia of
rank and are used as symbols in elections, dances, and races.
The most interesting survivals of the old pagan ceremonies of
the Tiwa of Ysleta are the dances which are performed in front
of the church at the celebration of the festival of their patron,
St Anthony, at Christmas, and on the days of St John, St
Andrew, St Peter, and St James, as mentioned in the document
above given. These dances differ but little from the secular
dances, or bailes, which occur in winter and at other times.
1 The church is called kikawee-missatu, signifying " house containing sacred ob
jects of the mass," a compound of Tiwa and Spanish in which appears the name of the
AM. ANTH. N. S., 45
66 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [N. s., 4, 1902
Shidfiird, the Rattle Dance '
This dance, which occurs after mass in the festival of the
patron saint, is one of the most important of their ceremonies.
It consists of two parts 2 the first with two male and two female
participants, the other with many men who carry rattles from
which it takes its Tiwa name.
These dances are first performed in the old cemetery before
the church, after which the dancers visit in turn the houses of the
majordomo, Manuel Otero, George Piarote, and Patricio Perea.
It closes with a feast at the house of the majordomo, after which
all return to the church.
Newafiird, the Mask Dance 3
The dance in which two men are masked is celebrated on
Christmas afternoon and is sometimes called Baile de Tortuga
from the turtle-shell rattle employed. A drum is used in this
dance, and the men carry gourd-rattles in their hands. The dance
is first performed before the church, and then in the houses of the
cacique, governor, lieutenant-governor, sheriff (capitan de guerrd),
and other officers, on the three following days. It is danced on
the fourth day by children, who imitate their elders. 4 The two
participants wear masks, and one of them represents a male, the
other a female personage. The mask of the latter is made of
buffalo-skin and is painted red and yellow. These men are
called abuelos (Spanish, " grandfathers," " ancestors "), and they
function as clowns, frightening little children. A little girl, to
whom the author showed the mask, called it a coco, a Spanish
term for " bogy."
Poafiird, the Red Pigment Dance 5
This dance, which occurs on the festival of St John, was thus
described to the author by the cacique : Twelve women, forming
1 Skid, " rattle." 8 The former called Shoposane ; the latter, Shidfurd.
3 Newa-de, " mask."
4 The Hopi children also have a masked dance in imitation of their elders.
8 Poaputd, red pigment.
FEWKES] PUEBLO SETTLEMENTS NEAR EL PASO, TEXAS 67
two lines, stand facing each other, and between them passes another,
singing " Ha-wi-na-a-e ! " In this festival, food and other stuffs
are thrown to the spectators. One of the women wears two
feathers in her hair. The dance lasts one day and is called the
Baile de la Flecha, The same song, " Ha-wi-na-a-e" ' is sung in
the Hopi harvest festival, when food and other objects are also
thrown to spectators.
Kufiira, the Scalp Dance
In this old war dance, which is no longer celebrated, both men
and women formed a ring around one of their number a women
who held aloft a scalp tied to a stick. A warrior danced beside
her, and at the close of the dance ran to the river and plunged his
head under the water four times.
This dance occurs during the time of the carnival, and in it
the participants are divided into two parties, each having a drum.
It takes place in the houses of the cacique and other Indians.
Nakupura, the House Dance *
While the author was at Ysleta, several secular dances were
performed by the Indians in one or another of their houses.
These dances were characteristically aboriginal and closely re
sembled those celebrated on festival days before the church.
Permission for them is obtained from the governor, who, in fact,
gave one of those witnessed by the author in his own house.
The dance began about 9 oclock, but for some time before that
hour a young man sat at the entrance to the house, violently
beating a drum made of an earthen jar, and singing a song with
monosyllabic words. Later this youth went inside, where he
was joined by other singers, forming a chorus. Several of his
companions clapped their hands in time with the songs, as in
certain characteristic Spanish dances.
1 The Hopi, who call this harvest festival ffowinakwi, undoubtedly derived it, as
did the Zufii (who call it Owinahe) from Rio Grande colonists. * Naku, house.
68 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [N. s., 4,
There were two distinct figures, or rather two kinds of dances,,
practically differing in the number of participants. In the first
kind, two persons, a man and a woman, took positions facing:
each other on opposite sides of the room. These began the
dance by beating time with their feet, at the same time almost
imperceptibly swaying their bodies to the beat of the drum. As
the drumming continued the two dancers approached each other,,
and the man put first one hand, then the other, on the woman's
shoulder, at the same time dancing with a sort of shuffle, like
that of the Bison dance at Hano. Spectators and those not
taking part in this dance were seated about the room.
Several men and as many women participated in the second
figure of the dance. Two lines, one of men, the other of women,,
faced each other and opened the dance with slight movements of
their bodies. Both lines then turned, faced the drummer, and
marched around the room to the opposite side, as in the well-
known "Virginia reel." The step, song, and drum accompani
ment recall the solemn religious Katcina dance of the Pueblos,,
but, unlike them, is secular and accompanied with merriment.
The Ysletefios have a foot-race strictly comparable with that
of their northern kindred. It occurs at midday, on Palm Sunday,,
and in it the contestants divide into two groups of about half a
dozen men each, distinguished by facial painting. The course is
from the house of the cacique, past the church, and along the
main street. The cacique stands at the place of starting, holding:
a bow and arrow, and calls out three times. First he shouts,
" We-va ! " when all get ready ; the second signal is " We-cho ! "
when he draws the bow fitted with an arrow; the third signal
is " Pa-cho-win ! " when he shoots the arrow in the direction of
the course, and the runners start. 1
1 The words used by the cacique are apparently those for " one, two, three," re
spectively. The numerals and the method of formation of the larger numbers may be
seen by a study of the following: One, wima ; two, wisi ; three, pacha-win ; four,
FEWKES] PUEBLO SETTLEMENTS NEAR EL PASO, TEXAS 69
In awarding the prizes, the cacique receives the first prize
and the winners the second ; but other participants are also re
warded. The object of the race, they say, is for rain, and the
shooting of the arrow a symbolic act to aid the runners as well as
to indicate the course.
Both the Tiwa of Ysleta and the Piros at Senecu still have
rabbit-hunts in which aboriginal elements survive. The war-chief
is leader of the hunts, but permission for them is always asked of
the cacique or the governor. The hunters having assembled in
the field, a fire is first built and a section of country surrounded
by the huntsmen. The men, forming a ring, close in, shouting
" Hotcha-pe-we-a-newa ! " at the same time killing the rabbits with
sticks and other weapons.
When the hunters return home with their rabbits, the women
rush out to meet them and to seize the game. If, as sometimes
happens, two women grasp the same rabbit, the war-chief divides
it between them. In old times, they say, the dead rabbit was
sprinkled with sacred meal (tliika), which, however, is not now
made or used in Ysleta.
LANGUAGE OF THE YSLETESfOS
Ysleta affords a good opportunity for the collection of
material for a knowledge of the Tiwa idiom ; but such work
must be done at once, as a speaking knowledge of this variant, if
such it be, of the Tiwa, will probably not survive the present
generation. No Ysleta child can at present speak the language,
and those adults who can converse in it are old men and women.
It is imperative that philological studies among these people be
made at once, for it will soon be too late. fiflntrc-t Library
The special interest attached to a study of the Ysleta Tiwa is,
of course, for comparison with the Tiwa of the pueblos of Sandia
iviran; five, pantoiva ; six, matle ; seven, weede ; eight, whang; nine, tetehem ; ten,
te ; eleven, tewin ; twelve, tewisi ; twenty, wete ; twenty-five, -wete-pantowa ; thirty,
pacho-ate ; forty, wiante ; fifty, pantoate ; one-hundred, shute.
7O AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [N. s., 4, 1902
and Isleta in New Mexico. It has been known that the idiom of the
pueblos of Taos and Picuris hasTiwan affinities, but the Ysletefios
say that it is very different from their language. Several years ago
an old man went from Taos to Ysleta to live, but he later settled
in Senecu, where he died recently. His speech was incompre
hensible, his native tongue differing greatly from that spoken at
Ysleta. Some of the southern Tiwa have visited Isleta, New
Mexico, and claim, as one would expect, that the language of
the two pueblos is practically identical, differing only in minor
details. During his visit to Ysleta, the author recorded a con
siderable Tiwa vocabulary, which he hopes later to compare with
the northern Tiwa. These words were obtained during several
councils with the chiefs, which generally lasted late into the
afternoon, when the angelus sounded from the bell-tower of the
neighboring church. At the close of these councils, the cacique,
Piarote, repeated a long Tiwa formula, or prayer, with which
other Indians were familiar. It would be interesting for one who
seriously takes up the linguistics of the Ysleteftos to transcribe this
prayer as a specimen of their language. All these Indians
at present speak " Spanish," but when together the old men con
verse in their native language. The more aged, in fact a major
ity of the adults, can neither speak English nor write their own
There still remain in Ysleta survivals of the former clan sys
tem of the Tiwa, in which the descent was matriarchal. All have
Spanish baptismal names, and a few have Tiwa names. They
assert that when the latter were given them, an aboriginal rite in
which water was used was performed. The Tiwa name of Piarote,
the cacique, is Shiu-tusan (Eagle-tusan) ; the governor, Mariano,
Yekap-tusan (Corntassel - tusan). Another man is called Yen-
tusan (Mountain - tusan) ; and still another, Thiiwirpo-tusan
None of the children now have Tiwa names.
1 The root thur, meaning sun, occurs in thiisaina, sunrise ; tathuakin, sunset.
Apparently the idiom of Ysleta differs somewhat from that of their kindred in Isleta
FEWKES] PUEBLO SETFGEtyEWfs ftlZAR EL PASO, TEXAS J\
The YsUu.Tivta ha.ve.sey*ual very suggestive folktales, to
which the aJutfto fian bftltf'rffcfior at*, tfiis *t5re- He listened to
* ' <
several, but it was said that there were many more, all of
which are well worth collecting. They retain traditions of the
Shipapu or Shlpapunai, the ancestral opening in the earth out of
which the races of men originally emerged, and they declare it
to be a lake in the far north.
So far as their clothing is concerned, it is impossible to dis
tinguish the men and women of Ysleta from their Mexican
neighbors ; even the want of a beard not being always a dis
tinguishing trait among the men. One man was seen with long
hair, but it was not tied in the usual Pueblo fashion. Several
wore moccasins, and one a leather wrist-guard.
The houses are not characteristic, and exteriorly there is
nothing in the present appearance of the village to lead one to
suspect that it was once a purely Indian pueblo or that at present
any people of Indian blood inhabited it.
One or two old Pueblo customs are still kept up by the
Ysleta Tiwa. They know how to use the fire-drill and the fire-
stick (fiikurisla), and how to kindle fire with them, although
they generally use flint-and-steel or matches. Of their weapons
several bows and arrows were shown the author, and he has also
seen rabbit-sticks, a lance, and a drum of aboriginal manufacture.
One or two women know how to make paper-bread, which they
call pahnshave? and to color it into various tints. They at times
grind corn (ae) on metates which have an ancient appearance,
and one of the old women said that this custom was common in
her childhood. She added that while the women were thus at
work over a mealing-stone the men sang, beating a drum or
folded sheep-skin. A diligent search for aboriginal pottery in
Ysleta was not successful ; a few old pieces were found, but they
and Sandia, as would be expected from the two centuries of separation. If the ter
mination lusan means people, or clan, its phonetic relation to " Tusayan " is highly
1 Apparently related to the Spanish pan.
[N. s., 4, 1902
were very rude and probably Mexican.; nevertheless, .ajl said that
in former times the T-iwa 'women We5 > e**eooo> 6ottetfe and made
.~-l .<=% ~t
black ware like that of the Santa Clara Indians.
THE PIROS SETTLEMENTS NEAR EL PASO
The survivors of the Piros live in the hamlets of Socorro and
Senecu, the former situated in Texas, about three miles below
Ysleta, and the latter on the opposite or right bank of the Rio
Grande, about six miles from Juarez, in Mexico. The settle
ment at Socorro ' is small, and while there are at present only a
few families that claim to be of Indian blood, none of them speak
the Piros idiom. They have no tribal organization, and the town
is thoroughly Mexicanized.
It is commonly said in Ysleta that the Indians of Socorro are
descended from Piros and other tribes, and that their ancestors
spoke differently from the Tiwa, in fact more like the Senecu
people. Piarote, the Ysleta cacique, states that in his youth the
irrigation ditch of Socorro was called " acequia de los Piros," im
plying that Piros Indians were settled in this pueblo in old times.
The fact that the native language has vanished, and that Jemez
and Tanos Indians were among those colonized there, partially
explains the total disappearance of their language. The author
visited one or two old men who claimed to be pure Indians, but
they could utter not a word of Piros, and one of them apologeti
cally said that even his father was totally ignorant of any language
but Spanish. 2
The pueblo of Senecu, 3 in which the Piros who once lived in
New Mexico were colonized at the close of the seventeenth cen
tury, is situated in Chihuahua, about six miles from Juarez, on
1 The Ysletefios speak of Socorro in New Mexico as Socorrito, " Little Socorro."
3 Later information reached the author that there is an old man living near
Socorro who speaks the Piros dialect.
3 The word Senecti is of Piros origin, and was formerly applied to a New Mexican
pueblo where San Antonio now stands.
FEWKESJ PUEBLO SETTLEMENTS NEAR EL PASO, TEXAS 73
the right bank of the Rio Grande. It consists of a small cluster
of adobe houses, in the midst of which rises an old church con
taining many ancient santos, a few old paintings, and interesting
The majority of the Piros live in or near Senecu. They pos
sess a tribal organization, with a cacique (who is also custodian of
the church), a governor, a war-chief, and subordinate officials
identical with those of Ysleta.
The following names of Piros Indians were obtained at Senecu :
Augustin Allegro (cacique), Pablo Allegro (governor), Victoriano
Pedraza (War-chief), Casimera Pedraza, Valentin Gonzales, Jose
Maria Podraqua, Vicente Paiz, Caspio Paiz, Dolores Allejo, Juan
Delgado, Nicasio Alban, Tomas Ortiz, Ortiz, Toredo
Podraqua. In addition to these there are many women whose
names were not recorded, making in Senecu fully fifty persons
twho may be called Piros Indians.
The Senecu Piros perform dances in the open space before
the church building, and are accompanied by a drum and rattles.
They are practically secularized pagan dances which have lost all
their aboriginal significance. These occur after mass on the festi
val of their patron, St Anthony, at Christmas, and on the festivals
of St John, St Peter, St Ann, and others.
The old drum used in these processions and dances is still
preserved in one of the houses not far from the church. It con
sists of a hollow log with a piece of rawhide stretched over each
end, closely resembling those used for the same purpose by the
Pueblos higher up the Rio Grande. The drum employed in their
secular dances, of which they have many, consists of a jar with
skin stretched over the top.
The author saw in the village several hand rattles and one or
two bows and arrows. It was not learned whether masks were
worn in their dances, inquiry sufficient to decide that point not
being pursued. The Senecu Indians have rabbit-hunts and foot
races similar to those of other Pueblos.
74 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [N. s., 4, 1902
The Piros language, as a means of conversation, has practi
cally disappeared, as no one at Senecu or Socorro now converses
in it ; but there are still remembered many words which, if
recorded, would form a larger vocabulary than any known to
exist. 1 There may be other Piros, living in other pueblos, who
know more of the language than do the Senecu people. The
governor of Senecu claims that there are Piros living at a place
in Mexico called Ajotitlan, but the author does not know the
situation of the settlement.
The writer visited the church of San Lorenzo, about two
miles from Senecu, but was not successful in finding ethnological
traces of the Sumas. The present church building is a new one,
the fourth of its name, the others, at least the last, the Ysleteflos
declare, having been destroyed by freshets.
An instructive survival of Indian customs at San Lorenzo is a
dance which occurs before the church, when a masked personage,
called Malinche, appears. Malinche is a common modern name
of a masked dancer, occurring throughout the Nahua region of
Mexico, and its existence at San Lorenzo, as well as in some of
the New Mexican pueblos, is significant. About the middle
of November fires were kindled at night on the hills near El Paso
and Juarez. The explanation given the author was that these
fires were to guide Moctezuma, a Messiah, who, folklore has it,
will come down the Rio Grande and cross the river at this point.
It is suspected that there may still be traces of Suma blood,
and perhaps survivals of their customs, at Samalayuca, in Chihua
hua, where these Indians were early colonized, but he was not
able to visit that place. No studies were made of the survivors
of the Mansos near Juarez.
The treatment adopted in the preceding pages is intended to
be ethnological rather than historical. Fortunately these pueblos
1 The Bureau of American Ethnology has a small vocabulary of Piros words
recorded by John Russell Bartlett.
FEWKES] PUEBLO SETTLEMENTS NEAR EL PASO, TEXAS 75
have been studied from both these aspects by Bandelier ' to
whose valuable researches the writer refers with great respect.
As there still remain many important data to be gathered re
garding both the history and the ethnology of the El Paso
pueblos, the author hopes that in these pages he has done some
thing to attract attention to the immediate necessity of additional
studies in this locality.
1 Final Report ; Archaeological Institute of America, Amer. ser. , ill.
tTbc ftnfcftcrbocfter press, Hew