Keresan Indians

Keresan Family, Keresan People, Keresan Pueblos (adapted from K’eres, the aboriginal name). A linguistic family of Pueblo Indians including the inhabitants of several villages on the Rio Grande, in north central New Mexico, between the Rito de los Frijoles (where, before being confined to reservations, they joined the Tewa on the north) and the Rio Jemez, as well as on the latter stream from the pueblo of Sia to its month. The west division, comprising Acoma and Laguna pueblos, are situated westward from the Rio Grande, the latter on the Rio San Jose. Like the other Pueblo tribes of New Mexico, the Keresan Indians maintain that they had their origin at the mythical Shipapu and that they slowly drifted southward to the Rio Grande, taking up their abode in the Rito de los Frijoles, or Tyuonyi, and constructing there the cliff-dwellings found to-day excavated in the friable volcanic tufa. Long before the coming of the Spaniards they had abandoned the Rito, and, moving farther southward, separated into a number of autonomous village communities. According to Coronado, who visited the “Quirix” province in 1540, these Indians occupied 7 pueblos; 40 years later Espejo found 5; while in 1630 Benavides described the stock as numbering 4,000 people, in 7 towns extending 10 leagues along the Rio Grande.

According to Loew this stock constitutes two dialectic groups, the first or Queres group comprising the inhabitants of Santo Domingo, Santa Aria, Sia, San Felipe, and Cochiti; the other, the Sitsilne or Kawaiko group, comprehending Laguna and Acoina with their outlying villages.

The Keresan settlements are as follows, those inarked with an asterisk being extinct:

  • Acoma
  • Acomita
  • Cieneguilla*
  • Cochiti
  • Cubero*
  • Cueva Pintada*
  • Gipuy*
  • Haatze*
  • Hasatch
  • Heashkowa*
  • Huashpatzena*
  • Kakanatzatia*
  • Kashkachuti*
  • Katzinio*
  • Kohasaya*
  • Kowina*
  • Kuapa*
  • Kuehtya*
  • Laguna
  • Moquino*
  • Paguate
  • Pueblito
  • Puerto (?)*
  • Punvekia
  • Punyeestye
  • Pusityitcho
  • Rito*
  • San Felipe
  • Santa Ana
  • Santo Domingo
  • Seemunah
  • Shumasitscha*
  • Sia
  • Siama
  • Tapitsiama*
  • Tipoti*
  • Wapuchuseamma
  • Washpashuka*
  • Yapashi*

The following pueblos, now extinct, were perhaps also Keresan: Alipoti, Ayqui, Cebolleta, Pelchiu Pueblo del Encierro, San Mateo, Tashkatze, and Tojagua


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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