San Domingo Pueblo

This pueblo touches Cochiti on the north and San Felipe on the south, where its line runs at an angle of 50 degrees with the river and invades the square northern comers of the latter. Its population of nearly 1,000, is industrious and utilizes all available land. Hundreds of acres, however, are wasted in the riverbed, as they are unwilling to risk crops upon it. An island overgrown by cottonwood trees serves no other purpose than that of a great park for the pueblo. Including this and the river bed, which varies from 1.5 to 1 mile wide, there are about 10 sections within the reach of water. I calculated that less than one-fifth of this is under cultivation. At the village notable changes have been wrought since my visit to it 10 years ago. The church, which then stood some distance from the river, has since dropped into it, shoving the rapidity with which the water invades the clay banks. Many houses have disappeared, their owners removing to higher levels at the other end of the village. On the left bank of the river, surrounding the pueblo, are numerous little orchards, lately planted, but already bearing plums, peaches, apples, and apricots, a sale for which is found at the railroad station of Wallace, 3 miles below. Small plots only of fruit, vegetables, and corn are found on this side of the river. Opposite the town are the great fields of grain, with divisions marking ownership hardly perceptible. The grain is cut in common, a force of 11 or 8 working together. There, seems to be no other reason for this custom than lave of company. The plowing exhibits the same thing. Often as many as 10 yoke of oxen, awkwardly coupled by the horns, arc seen following the footsteps of a child, which insures a straight line across the fields, and the boisterous hilarity which follows the slow company and sends back its bedlam of voices from the bottomlands is significant of the delights of all yeomen.

This tribe has made 3 moves. During the Spanish occupation of the territory it was situated at Galisteo and was then a band of marauders. The Spanish troops demolished its pueblo and subjugated the inhabitants. Their village was located within 3 miles of the present town of Wallace, and after a short residence at this site it was abandoned for the greater advantages found on the Rio Grande. There are evidences that all the pueblos, from Sign Juan to Sandia, come from higher sites, and often from distant mountain locations, sometimes by 2 or more stages, toward the river.

The village of San Domingo has now no regular plaza. There was once a plaza west of the church, whose site was some time ago claimed by the river. The streets, 4 at right angles and 1 parallel with the river, are very broad. The houses are of 1 and 2 stories, and show less care than any other dwellings in the pueblo range. The air is usually foul, and the personal habits of the inmates make occupancy by a stranger well nigh impossible. The windows, formerly fitted with 3 slats as a barricade to thieves, have recently been filled out with gypsum or glass, lessening ventilation. The grant has but 5.5 miles lying upon the river. Pasture is found east of the pueblo, where large herds range. The people own about 1,200 horses, 1,200 cattle, besides burros and work oxen; also a few goats, but no sheep. These are herded in common, both private and pueblo brands being used. When a destitute member of the community wants a horse or an ox to aid in his labor, he applies to the governor of the pueblo and is supplied. No sales are made without the consent of the governor and of the man’s family. The objection on the part of a child, if it persists, is sufficient to prevent a sale. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company offered $500 for the land occupied by their tracks, which were to pass through the pueblo, but the amount was refused, it being feared that the signatures necessary would be appended to the deed of their whole territory.

The grant of San Domingo contains 74,743 acres, extending from the river equally east and west.

San Domingo 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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