Daily Micro: Yesterday’s Visionaries in Today’s World ~ Popay

Acknowledging Popay

In my times, the monster came in a cross “made of rotten wood”.

In 1675, the Spanish arrested 47 of us for witchcraft. They had taken our land and our way of life, our spiritual practices, our language they were taking, too.


The Franciscans “forbade Kachina dances and ordered their missionaries to seize every mask, prayer stick, and effigy and burn them.” 


Of the 47, they executed three, another committed suicide, the remainder they whipped, imprisoned in Santa Fe and sold into slavery. When seventy warriors came from my Pueblo to demand my release and with Apaches and Navajos at his front door, Governor Trevenio complied.

From the Taos Pueblo in Northern New Mexico, I organized rebellion.


Of 46 pueblos, only four declined. The Hopi and Zuni joined with us when I beckoned and we struck on August 10th, 1680. By the end of August, the Spanish evaporated and we returned to the old ways. We destroyed crosses and statues, churches and all evidence of Christianity.

But this strange monster placed poison in the land.Our minds were not clear. We fought amongst ourselves. The Apache and Navajo marauded through our land. As we weakened, the Spanish returned in twelve years to triumph over us. This time, they allowed us to maintain many of our traditions.

In time, the Spaniards acquiesced to local government, her own forerunners to the South, Mexico.

But an even greater peril, a formidable successor loomed in the distance.

By the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, that greater monster emerged, the United States, hungry and emboldened to create empire, crushing all in her path.


Cover of the exchange copy of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.


Known as The Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, Guadalupe Hidalgo brought and end to the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and awarded the Rio Grande boundary to Texas, and gave ownership of California, and a large area comprising New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado to the United States.

And began the Great Assimilation in which the natives of this land would be trained in the ways of the final invader, would be assimilated as even I am become part.


Sculptor Cliff Fragua and the unveiling of Popay in the National Statuary Hall/Rotunda U.S. Congress Building, Washington D.C.


But on the day of the unveiling of my statue, in Washington, D.C. a greater event took place for in the sky over the National Statuary Hall, a Great Bald Eagle circled, beckoning;


~ Stephen J. Bergstrom


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