Southwest Indian Relief Council
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A Program of PWNA


Biographies
 Pope' ’ d. 1690

The Tewa Pueblo medicine doctor Pope’ was an important figure in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Beaten and imprisoned as a sorcerer Pope' had resisted Christianity all of his life, clinging to the religion of the Kiva. He often clashed with Spanish authorities and the friars regarded him as a troublemaker. As early as 1668 Pope had suggested the time had come to rid the Pueblo people of the harsh Spanish rule, but the different Pueblos could not agree on a plan and were unwilling to accept any unified leadership.

Pope' was beaten and jailed by the Spanish in 1675. Upon his release the old medicine doctor patiently began building a chain of alliances. By the summer of 1680 the network of alliances was almost complete.

On August 10th the Indians following Pope' struck at Tesuque, nine miles north of Santa Fe, killing the priest and a white trader. After a number of smaller engagements, Santa Fe itself was attacked. Fighting lasted for a week and in the end the Spanish retreated south to El Paso.

For the next decade the Pueblos held control of their homeland. Pope' virtually replaced the Spanish governor as dictator of the Pueblo people. He oversaw the destruction of all signs of Christianity, both physical and spiritual. He took up residence at the Governor's Place in Santa Fe. However, he did cling to the most foreign concept that the Spanish had imposed on the once independent villages ’ the notion of a central authority in the person of Pope. Disillusioned with trading one centralized ruler for another, Pope' only succeeded in driving the tribes further apart. By his death in 1690 the alliance of the region’s Indians was crumbling. Drought and attacks from Apache and Ute bands further destabilized the Pueblo alliance and the Spanish had set out to reconquer New Mexico. By 1692 Santa Fe was again under Spanish rule.

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