Nambe Pueblo

Nambe is found by following the bed of the Pojoaque River for three miles after leaving the government road. Its difficulty of access causes it to be rarely visited, The hills surrounding it to the north and east are fast crumbling by disintegration, showing some of the best sculptured forms of geological structure to be seen among the pueblos. The town is situated at the intersection of a small stream with the Pojoaque River, affording an unfailing supply of water and abundant crops. The population numbers 79, with farms covering about 300 acres.

There are 20 landholders, the largest having 40 and the smallest 6 acres, The average size of farms is 15 acres, larger than in most of the pueblos. Save a few beans and vegetables, their crops are entirely of wheat and corn. Alfalfa, harvested 3 times a year, is grown by all those owning stock. The wealthiest Indian in the pueblo has realized $360 from his 40 acres, and few Indians in this section do better than this. This man has assistance on his farm, and, selecting him as an extreme example of Indian industry. I state his crop for the present year as follows: wheat, 38 bushels; corn, 100 bushels; alfalfa, 30 tons. He owns 2 horses, 2 burros, and 20 cows, which bore 8 calves last year. From this herd he was able to sell 6,000 gallons of milk and make 200 pounds of cheese.

Nambe has no orchards. One Indian has made a beginning and shows a young grove of apple and plum trees not yet in bearing. The original grant to this pueblo contained 13,1586 acres. Some of the land has been rented to Mexicans, several of whom live at the pueblo, 1 being married to an Indian woman. A member of the tribe marrying at San Juan sold out to Mexicans. The Indians own a few goats, but no sheep. They seldom eat meat, having to buy it, or receiving it occasionally in payment for labor. The pasture here is very scant, and the Indians complain that what they have is overrun by the stock of their neighbors, and no attention is paid to their remonstrances. Marauding herds of cattle and sheep approach close to the village and often overrun the crops. For the past 3 years these depredations have increased, and the owners have no redress. In my opinion, before these grievances kindle into acts of violence, their agent should get an appropriation sufficient for rediscovering the corner mounds of their survey, and have painted and erected at these points signs bearing a warning in Spanish to the effect that all stray stock found ranging within the bounds of the pueblo would be driven to the pound and released only on payment of a fine by the owners, and that all encroachments for purposes of agriculture would meet with prompt prosecution in the courts. After the posting of this manifesto there should be an energetic exercise of authority for its enforcement. The town has been built about the sides of a rectangular plaza, in the center of which stand 3 houses, which, like many of the structures, are falling into decay. The interiors of the dwellings are uniformly neat and often decorated with pictures. A rude image of Christ, of old design, with a calico gee-string of modern pattern thrown around it, indicates the modesty of the proprietor. White sheets and pillowcases are occasionally seen. The church is large, and, together with other evidences, proves that at one period Nambe had many times the present population, but the pulpit is tottering and ready to fall, and the walls need repair. The priest visits the town every 3 or 4 mouths.

Nambe contains much of archaeological interest. Pottery of ancient make and design, some of which is glazed, is to be found here, and stone relics are occasionally discovered.

Nambe has a grant of 13,580 acres.


Nambe Pueblo,

Department of the Interior. Report on Indians Taxed and Indians not Taxed in the United States, Except Alaska at the Eleventh Census: 1890. Washington DC: Government Printing Office. 1894.

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