The Tiguex War in Fact, Folklore, and Fiction


from Chapter 16 of The Latest Word from 1540, Richard Flint and Shirley Cushing Flint, eds. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2011), 425-438

by Dennis Herrick

Feast day dances at some New Mexico pueblos often feature a man wearing a purposely crude horse costume, holding a wooden sword aloft, and rocking back and forth in a humorous portrayal of someone riding a horse. Another man marches beside him tapping on a drum.

A non-Indian scholar’s book described the performance as representing Santiago, the Catholic patron saint of the conquistadors, who is “very popular among the Indians, and is the saint most frequently impersonated.”[1]

A Pueblo native and historian wrote, however, that while the mock horseman represents Santiago at some villages, in most he represents Francisco Vázquez de Coronado in a historical satire about the Spanish invasion of Pueblo country. The Pueblo author adds, “One waits to see what the role of the Anglo in Pueblo historic observances will be.”[2]

These different interpretations demonstrate why an event involving two cultural viewpoints cannot be fully understood if one viewpoint is missing. And one viewpoint—the Pueblo side of the story—is missing from Spanish accounts of the Coronado expedition. The result is more people believe a romanticized folklore about the expedition than know the facts of scholarly study.

Folklore often drives a more popular version of reality than do facts, largely because folklore gives people a more acceptable and colorful alternate version of reality.

We believe most readily what we prefer to believe.

Which version of the Coronado expedition is preferred by most? There is the bloody one, where religious farmers are slaughtered because they are outnumbered, facing superior weaponry, and shocked by invaders who seem to come from another world. And there is the epic one, where brave adventurers enter unknown country, conquer primitive enemies, and persevere against incredible hardships.

Both have a truth. But neither one alone has the complete truth. Either one alone is the essence of folklore.

Most historical novels resemble folklore—concerned with telling a provocative story, not historical accuracy. However, there are two categories of historical novels, to be discussed later, where fiction can emulate scientific writing in presenting the truth.

Thus, some historical fiction can often rival the story-telling appeal of folklore. And if it remains faithful to the research on which it is based, such fiction can provide a better contextual understanding of facts than can unadorned scientific writing.

This is evident in the fiction of Samuel Clemens’ pseudonym. Most attained their sense of the culture, life, sociology, environment and politics of the upper Mississippi in the late 1800s through his novels, not from academic tomes. Sometimes fiction is the best way to understand people and the period they lived in. As author Jessamyn West observed, “Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.”

Giving a sense of an event is difficult, however, when there is no written record of one side—as is the case with Pueblo Indians and the Tiguex War of 1540-41. This chapter will contend that at least a few kinds of historical fiction might be the best way to convey such an unrecorded point of view.


Fact versus folklore

It’s too simple to say it’s just the folklorists who have distorted historical facts.

David J. Weber’s 1998 book, Myth and the History of the Hispanic Southwest, examines the appeal and durability of folklore over fact. Weber notes the “tendency to write pietistic history . . . . all peoples seem to engage in the making of myths and passing them off as historical fact.”[3] James W. Loewen’s book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, explains that “cultural imperialism” is a deliberate process in which even scholars can get caught up in replacing historical facts with myths favoring the dominant culture.[4]

Both make the point that many history books and early historians share the blame for our historiography being shaped around a Eurocentric perspective—even more specifically, a Caucasian Christian perspective—that devalued, ignored, or denied the humanity of Indians in what is now the United States. Whether in trumpeting Americans’ manifest destiny through Frederick Jackson Turner and the frontier historians, or in glorifying Spanish conquest through Herbert E. Bolton and the borderlands historians, the result has been consistent: the tired aphorism that victors write the history.

In recent years, attempts have been made to tell the largely unrecorded Indian perspective in America’s history. That perspective is often a contrast to the way many historians have told the story about how the continent was wrested from indigenous control. In a private letter in 1930, Bolton conceded that the Eurocentric favoritism that he and others used had left a gap in the historical record, writing:

One of the great shortcomings in the early history of the western hemisphere is our lack of a record of what the Indians thought . . . . If we only knew what he said and thought about our ancestors, we probably would hang our heads in shame.[5]

A pervasively Christian, non-Indian perspective still creeps into books, even by some scholars who should know better. For example, it’s common for even recent books to denigrate the Kachina religion as a “cult.” This reference is offensive to Pueblo Indians who still practice a form of the religion of their ancestors, often in syncretism with Christianity.[6]

Such Eurocentric religious and social prejudices color many accounts of the Tiguex War, creating the folklore often misconstrued as fact about the first war fought between Europeans and Indians in the American West.

Any war so frequently mispronounced should qualify it as relatively unknown. Based on the way the Tiwas sounded the word, the original Spanish pronunciation of Tiguex is TEE-wesh.[7] I’ve never heard the word pronounced correctly in television stories about Tiguex Park in Albuquerque.

Knowledge of the Tiguex War has been obscured because so little has been written about it, and because the primary sources are xenophobic accounts by sixteenth century Spaniards.[8] These accounts include Coronado’s letters during his expedition into the Southwest, short accounts and court testimony by expedition members, later writings based on lost records by historians such as Matías de la Mota Padilla and Antonio Tello, and of course Pedro de Castañeda’s eyewitness account, The Journey of Coronado.[9] All were written from a Spanish viewpoint and filtered through the Catholic conquest-missionary perspective of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries.

These accounts of the expedition became popularized in the twentieth century primarily through Bolton and A. Grove Day, both of whom wrote from mostly unconditional acceptance of Spanish accounts. Every retelling featured a common failing. Each one relegated the Tiguex War into a relatively unimportant distraction during a sweeping European exploration from California to Kansas.

Bolton’s Coronado: Knight of Pueblo and Plains[10] is the best-known work with many reprintings. That book turned Coronado into a Hispanic folk hero due to Bolton’s hagiography of the conquistador and his judgmental view of the Pueblo Indians. He dismissed the Tiguex War with only about twenty of his volume’s 493 pages. Castañeda’s narrative covers the conflict in only twelve small pages and doesn’t report much of what happened. The Encyclopedia of Native American Wars & Warfare[11] covers the Tiguex War in a single paragraph. 

Not until Richard Flint, Shirley Cushing Flint, and Carroll L. Riley did scholars look at the Tiguex War in any depth. Richard Flint wrote No Settlement, No Conquest[12] in 2008 to correct the inaccuracies of Bolton’s book, dispel myths that Bolton had created, and provide a report of the expedition enlightened by research of the past seventy years.

Until far into the 1900s, American historians generally accepted Coronado’s insistence that he was forced to defend himself against barbaric Indians while conducting himself with compassion and honor. This has resulted in a Coronado folklore of Spaniards on a mere mission of exploration. In fact, the expedition was organized for armed reconnaissance and conquest, but the more benign folklore persists through many books and museum presentations. One of the most one-sided presentations can be seen at the new El Camino Real Heritage Center south of Socorro, New Mexico. By reading the exhibit narratives, one would think the Spanish conquest and colonization of New Mexico was a harmonious mingling of friars and settlers bringing Catholicism and civilization to grateful Pueblo Indians.

Such folklore is a direct result of reprinting Spanish accounts without analysis based on what ethnohistorians, historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists have learned in the last century.

Also, of course, it has been a version of history that many people preferred to believe.

We cannot even fully trust eyewitness accounts. They tend to channel historical facts into folklore acceptable to the story-teller’s culture and concern for reputation. Consider two major examples from Coronado’s expedition.

The Spaniards reported the attack against the Zunis at Hawikku (which Coronado’s men then called Cíbola) as a Spanish victory. But perhaps it’s not, when considered tactically. Because several hundred Mexican Indian allies supported the hundred Spaniards in the advance party, there were up to a thousand invaders arrayed before Hawikku. The Spaniards were equipped with horses, swords, lances, crossbows, and guns. Coming out of Hawikku to challenge them were two hundred or three hundred Zuni men armed with clubs, bows and arrows.[13] Zuni women and children already had been evacuated to the top of a tall, steep mesa a few miles away, while Zuni men stayed behind to confront the expedition.[14] Despite the loss of Hawikku, most military strategists would agree the outnumbered Zunis achieved a vital objective in successfully moving most of their population to safety while suffering relatively few casualties.

In the Tiguex War that followed in the Rio Grande Valley, Coronado’s force of Spaniards and Mexican Indians besieged the Tiwa stronghold of Moho for almost three months. Again, the Spaniards declared a victory over Indian resistance. However, Moho also could be seen as an Indian diversion to tie down the expedition so the rest of the Tiwa nation could survive in sanctuaries in the mountains and at other pueblos without fear of attack.[15]

Hawikku and Moho might have been examples of successful Pueblo tactics against hopeless odds. That possibility is not considered, however, if Spanish chronicles are accepted at face value.

The Puebloans’ oral tradition has kept a resentment against Coronado simmering for almost five hundred years. A rare instance of a Pueblo viewpoint being brought to the dominant culture’s attention occurred in 1940. That’s when the sixteenth century ruin of the Tiwa pueblo Kuaua, which the Coronado expedition undoubtedly ravaged in the Tiguex War, was dedicated as the Coronado State Monument near Bernalillo, New Mexico. When it came time for Pablo Abeita, a Tiwa from Isleta Pueblo, to speak, he disputed remarks by the Spanish ambassador and state officials who had praised Coronado. “I am afraid I will have to contradict some of the things you gentlemen have said,” Abeita was quoted in El Palacio magazine. “Coronado came by Isleta, and as you who have read his chronicles know, was given food and royally received. He came on up the valley, and what did he do? Well, we had better say no more about it, for his record isn’t good and you know it.” The magazine reported Abeita continued his “debunking of white man’s history, which he said is 90 percent wrong.”[16]

In 2008, Manuel R. Cristobal, then a Santa Ana tribal councilman, wrote a series of columns for the Albuquerque Journal expressing a Pueblo point of view, including the observation that Coronado’s expedition was dominated by “greed, bloodshed and genocide.”[17]

Few Puebloans are so willing to speak publicly. However, in research for my historical novel, Winter of the Metal People: The Untold Story of America’s First Indian War,[18] historian Joe S. Sando of Jemez Pueblo helped me to present an Indian perspective of the Tiguex War, which is often at odds with the Spanish version.

Sometimes we need only scholarship that corrects honest mistakes in the Spaniards’ eyewitness accounts. Castañeda, for example, about twenty years after the Coronado expedition, wrote in The Journey of Coronado about the explorations of Velasco de Barrionuevo. However, he mistakenly used the name of Francisco de Barrionuevo.[19] Consequently, Francisco’s name, not Velasco’s, is cited on the Internet and in many books and articles about the Coronado expedition.

More common than honest mistakes, however, are the non-Indian perspectives on state historical markers, which often reflect folklore and half-truths.[20] A historical marker might report churches being built in the pueblos as the result of “the zeal of the missionaries,”[21] for example, but will omit the fact that the friars used Indian labor forced to a significant degree at the point of Spanish guns and swords.

Deliberate omission of negative facts is a most troubling aspect of Castañeda’s narrative, which forms the basis for most people’s folklore about the Coronado expedition. Bolton, who largely followed Castañeda’s story line, magnified the influence of his narrative.

For example, Castañeda never mentions the guerrilla warfare of unknown intensity that Tiwas waged against the expedition in the second winter of 1541-42. Historian Richard Flint’s subsequent analysis of other documents, however, has yielded fleeting references to a dangerous and difficult time for the expedition. One expedition member reported, “On returning from Quivira to Tiguex . . . . the (Tiwas) of that province were still at war and were never willing to come to peace.”[22] Another stated, “(The expeditionaries) did not dare to go to the mountains for fear of their enemies and the deep snow.”[23]

From a modern vantage, Castañeda’s worst omission is his failure to give a full accounting of the expedition’s atrocities against Puebloans. In fact, Castañeda might not have considered much of the warfare to be brutal, because Coronado and expedition members conducted themselves like any typical European force of the 1500s, when battlefield victory was often extremely violent.

The Spaniards put their martial attitude into writing in a theological and political manifesto called the “requerimiento,” which they read to Indians they encountered. It was often unintelligible to the natives, who did not understand the language nor the European worldview it contained. Nevertheless, any objection or resistance gave Spaniards their legal pretext to attack. The requerimiento, written in 1512, ordered Indians to become vassals of the King of Spain and obedient to the Catholic pope, concede that their land now belonged to Spain, and welcome the friars to convert them to Catholicism. Unspoken was the fact that the Indians would need to pay tribute to the Spaniards and work as feudal serfs. One wonders how we would respond today if aliens from another world confronted us with demands that we vow allegiance to leaders we’d never heard of, convert to a new religion, and pay taxes and perform forced labor for the invaders.

Regardless, the requerimiento concluded:

“But, if you do not do this, or maliciously make delay in it, I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter into your country, and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can, and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their Highnesses; we shall take you and your wives and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their Highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, as to vassals who do not obey, and refuse to receive their lord, and resist and contradict him; and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault, and not that of their Highnesses, or ours, nor of these cavaliers who come with us.[24]

It was no bluff, as the Tiwas quickly learned in the Tiguex War.

Castañeda reported how the expeditionaries killed every Tiwa warrior in the attack against the first rebellious pueblo, which the Spaniards called Arenal.[25] When scores of Tiwas surrendered under a promise of amnesty, campmaster García López de Cárdenas had at least thirty of them burned alive at the stake, presumably on Coronado’s orders. The expeditionaries cut the rest down with swords and lances. Because safety had been pledged with the sign of the cross to those who surrendered, the executions were too much for even Castañeda. He recalled, “No man remained alive, except some who had remained hidden in the pueblo and fled that night. They spread the word throughout the land that (the Spaniards) did not keep the promise of peace that had been given to them. Thereafter, it was very unfortunate that this was done.”[26]

Perhaps it was because of his disgust over Arenal that Castañeda omitted atrocities from his report about the siege of Moho starting several days later. We would know little of what happened at Moho if not for testimonies in later hearings accusing Coronado and Cárdenas of war crimes against the Puebloans. The testimonies were not available to the general public until Richard Flint’s 2002 book, Great Cruelties Have Been Reported.

 Expedition members testifying later to what happened when Moho was overrun included:

Rodrigo Xímon: “As many as eighty or a hundred Indians were captured alive from among those who had fled and others who had been dragged out by their hair and had been hiding in the rooms . . . . (The Spaniards) lanced, stabbed and set dogs on [those Indians], so that very few survived, except the women and children.”[27]
Juan de Contreras: “Many other Indians were burned within their houses because (the Spaniards) could not overcome them without setting fire, nor were the Indians willing to submit.”[28]
Domingo Martín: “Concerning those captured alive, (the witness) did not see that any were burned, except a few as punishment. And to put fear in the rest, (the Spaniards) cut off their hands.[29]

Meanwhile, not a word about such acts from Castañeda, who became the expedition’s principal eyewitness source because the official chronicler’s report has never been found.

Bolton knew about the 1544 testimonies, but he did not report them in his book, although he did use other, less condemnatory portions of the testimonies.[30] Bolton ridiculed the legal process set in motion against Coronado, and he never specified any accusations about Moho except one dog bite, which Bolton dismissed as “apparently accidental.”[31]

Bolton’s description of Coronado’s conduct as being “quite exemplary—mild and gentle”[32] has largely set the tone since 1940. Despite the attack against the Zunis and the brutalities of the Tiguex War, for example, an online Catholic encyclopedia assures us, “The conduct of Coronado towards the Indians during the whole campaign was humane, and he secured their respect and sympathy.”[33] Such historical revisionism constitutes the worst kind of folklore—the kind that is passed off as fact even though it reflects the opposite of what occurred.

Bolton’s folklore has a lot of appeal to people with European and Christian biases to protect. That includes many people today in the Southwest who are eager to embrace Spanish heroes in Coronado and other conquistadors. Facts about the expedition’s atrocities wilt like flowers in a drought. Folklore thrives like cactus, nourished by denial. When a scholar challenges this long-embraced folklore with facts, anything short of praise for Coronado is liable to be attributed to an anti-Hispanic predisposition by the scholar.[34]

That same kind of accusation can be and is made against fiction, of course, but historical fiction is less threatening than a scholar’s presentation of facts that challenge a person’s preconceived notions. After all, it’s at least partly fiction, right? This leeway gives historical fiction an opportunity to still deliver facts—but in a less in-your-face manner than a scholarly work.


The Tiguex War in Fiction

I wanted to present the previously untold Pueblo viewpoint of the war in Winter of the Metal People but keep it based on known facts, gathering others’ research into an accurate recounting. Because there is no written Pueblo record, the book required a few leaps of faith in bringing to life the war’s sixteenth century Native people and the war as they saw it.

For the book’s characters on the Spanish side, I used only members of the expedition who actually existed, and about whom we know enough to personalize them with conversations derived directly from or inspired by contemporaneous records.

How, though, was I to provide faces, personalities and conversations for Pueblo individuals, whom the Spaniards all but ignored in their writings?

We know very little about the Tiwa man who led Pueblo resistance in the Tiguex War. His name was Xauían, probably pronounced sha-WEE-an[35] or shahWEEon.[36] However, Castañeda and Coronado always referred to him as Juan Alemán (“John the German,” because he resembled a man the Spaniards knew in Mexico City). He is the only Tiwa leader of that time whose Indian name we know.[37] Castañeda pointed out that Coronado frequently negotiated with Xauian, and it was Xauian who led a consolidated force of Tiwa villages in the defense of Moho. Friar Antonio Tello later would describe “the effort and good government of  (Xauian), who always was understood to be the one who advised them.”[38] Xauian almost certainly was killed at Moho, because Castañeda never refers to him afterward.

So who led the Tiwas’ guerrilla warfare in that second winter, after Coronado returned from his trek across the Great Plains in search of the chimerical riches of Quivira? There is no hint anywhere.

Because Xauian died in the first winter, I needed a Tiwa leader to carry that extension of the Tiguex War into a second year. My only possibility was a fictive option that makes many scholars cringe. I had to create a composite character to lead the Tiwas in continued resistance, just as I needed traditional Tiwa names for the minor fictional characters, while at all times maintaining the integrity of the historical setting.

Tiwas found that their defensive warfare of fighting from behind their village walls could not succeed against the expedition’s weapons and large numbers. After Xauian’s death, it would take a visionary leader to adapt Tiwa warriors to guerrilla tactics, which probably consisted of small hit-and-run attacks around Coronado’s winter camp. Who would most likely be the kind of leader for such warfare? My fictional protagonist, Poquis, is modeled after the young Enrique who, just a decade earlier, successfully led a 14-year guerrilla war by Taínos against the Spaniards on Hispaniola.

The name of Poquis in the book would come from the only Tiwa leader that Juan de Oñate would meet about half a century later.[39] If my Poquis had been a young man in 1540, he could still have been alive in 1598 to meet with Oñate as a respected elder.

So, the real elder named Poquis came to be, for fictional story-telling, a young leader of the Tiwas decades earlier. The real Poquis might not been that leader against Coronado, but it is reasonable to believe it was someone like the man portrayed as Poquis in Winter of the Metal People. Where known historical facts are absent, a historical novel can insert a plausible alternative that allows the story to move forward. Most historical novels take this literary license too far. Only two of the three major categories of historical novels strive for maximum adherence to history.

Most so-called historical novels are “costume dramas,” a term coined in the movie industry equally applicable to books, in which the characters of real or imagined people are set in the past, but there is only a window-dressing concern for historical accuracy.  It can be jarring for serious readers of history to see costume-drama historical writing portray known facts inaccurately. Disney’s book and movie Pocahontas is an oft-cited example of the use and abuse of a historical figure in a costume drama. There are more than a dozen subgenres of these kinds of books, including action stories, mysteries and romance. Because of their embellishments, costume dramas are highly imaginative—the gist of folklore—and therefore antithetical to all writing that strives to be historically accurate.

There are two smaller categories of historical novels, however, that I’ll call historical fiction-plausible and historical fiction-realism. They share a requirement for extensive historical research and a commitment to remain true to known historical facts.

The “plausible” genre is where many protagonists and events of the story actually existed, often complemented by fictional characters or events compatible with research from scholarly works and contemporary writings. Such a book, based on careful research, appears likely to be true in the absence of proof. Such a book might even include endnotes or footnotes. Winter of the Metal People is this kind of historical novel.

The second kind of historically accurate book, the “realism” genre, places the story line in the past but with only incidental or no historical events or persons. Therefore, other than an accurate historical setting, the story is free to develop on its own. An example from the start of the chapter would be Clemens’ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. These kinds of historical novels have the best chance of being elevated to the ranks of literary fiction.

A very unusual example of the realism genre—because the author was a scholar—is Adolph Bandelier’s novel, The Delight Makers.[40]

During years of field research on Pueblo Indians, Bandelier concluded that the best way to bring the subjects of his scientific interest to public attention would be by writing a novel about their prehistory. If true to historical research, Bandelier believed, a historical novel could bring new insights to complement scientific research. He also believed historical fiction could accomplish what sometimes arcane and modestly circulated scholarly writing cannot. As the New York Times noted in its 1891 review of The Delight Makers, paraphrasing the author himself: “(Bandelier) believes that by clothing the sober facts with the garb of romance he can draw attention to the subject, for it is true that those reading scientific books on the possible ways of the early Indians are few.”[41]

In other words, like so many other writers of plausible and realism historical fiction, Bandelier saw fiction as a way to present history in the most interesting way to more people. In doing so, he hoped to make it easier for more readers to prefer to believe facts instead of folklore—an objective any scholar could accept.



[1] Polly Schaafsma, Warrior, Shield, and Star: Imagery and Ideology of Pueblo Warfare (Santa Fe: Western Edge Press, 2000), 182.

[2] Joe S. Sando, Pueblo Nations: Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History (Santa Fe: Clear Light Publishers, 1992, 1998), 52.

[3] David J. Weber, Myth and the History of the Hispanic Southwest (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998), 140.

[4] James W. Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (New York: Touchstone, 2007), 105-106.

[5] Herbert E. Bolton to Dr. J.P. Herrington (sic), October 13, 1930, outgoing, Papers of Herbert Eugene Bolton, Bancroft Library, cited in James A. Sandos, “Junípero Serra’s Canonization and the Historical Record,” The American Historical Review, vol. 93, No. 5 (December 1988), 1256.                                        

[6] Puebloans have kept their ancient religion strong at many pueblos, despite hundreds of years of persecution and suppression, by keeping their ceremonies and beliefs all but invisible to outsiders. As one example, rosaries and figures of Catholic saints were readily available at an arts and crafts festival at Santo Domingo Pueblo, but a vendor explained that prayer sticks and kachina figures were banned because selling them would be considered sacrilegious. Also, tourists are welcome to enter the mission churches on most pueblos but are forbidden access to kivas.

[7] The Tiguex Province extended from Isleta Pueblo in the south to at least Kuaua Pueblo (Coronado State Monument) in the north, on both sides of the Rio Grande, in the area now containing or bordering the cities of Albuquerque, Corrales, Rio Rancho, Bernalillo and Placitas as well as today’s pueblos of Sandia and Santa Ana. Tiguex is pronounced as TEE-wesh because the Spanish “g” is pronounced as an English “w”—thus, older references refer to the “Tigua” Indians, although modern references usually prefer the English phonetic spelling of “Tiwa.” Adolph Bandelier provided a further explanation, saying: “As for the word Tiguex, the Tiguas call themselves Ti-guan; but a woman of Isleta in my presence plainly pronounced the plural of that name Ti-guesh; ‘x’ in old Spanish records of Mexico has the ‘sh’ sound.” See Adolph Bandelier, Final Report of Investigations Among the Indians of the Southwestern United States, Carried on Mainly in the Years from 1880 to 1885, Part II (Papers of the Archaeological Institute of America, 1890/1892), 223.

[8] Because Spain had been so recently unified, most of its citizens in 1540 still identified themselves by their province. Most on the Coronado expedition were from the Province of Castile and referred to themselves as Castilians. Even the Indians called them Castillos.

[9] Pedro de Castañeda de Nájera, The Journey of Coronado, 1540-1542, trans. and ed. by George Parker Winship (New York: A.S. Barnes Co., 1904).

[10] Herbert E. Bolton, Coronado: Knight of Pueblos and Plains (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1949).

[11] Jerry Keenan, The Encyclopedia of Native American Wars & Warfare: 1492-1890 (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1999).

[12] Richard Flint, No Settlement, No Conquest (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008).

[13] Coronado’s force probably interrupted the Zuni summer ceremony, so more men were present at Hawikku than ordinarily. See Edmund J. Ladd, “Zuni on the day the men in metal arrived,” The Coronado Expedition to Tierra Nueva: The 1540-42 Route Across the Southwest, eds. Richard Flint and Shirley Cushing Flint (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2004), 192.

[14] Upon his arrival at Hawikku, Coronado reported, “I did not find a single woman or any young men less than fifteen years old or (men) older than sixty, except for two or three elders who remained to command all the other youths and fighting men.” Richard Flint and Shirley Cushing Flint, eds. and trans., “Document 19: “Vázquez de Coronado to Viceroy, August 3, 1540,” Documents of the Coronado Expedition, 1539-1542 (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 2005), 259. Also, Castañeda, The Journey of Coronado, 174. Coronado later found the entire Zuni nation on top of Dowa Yalanne, which he decided was unassailable.

[15] Castañeda said the Tiwas never re-occupied any of the Tiguex villages while the expedition was there “despite the assurance given.” Flint and Flint, “Document 28: Castañeda de Nájera’s Narrative, 1560s,” Documents of the Coronado Expedition, 1539-1542, 407. Also, Castañeda, The Journey of Coronado, 62.

[16] Anonymous, “Coronado Monument Dedication,” El Palacio, vol. XLVII, No. 6 (June 1940), 145. The article spelled Pablo Abeita’s name as “Abeyta.” Also see J.J. Brody, “Kuaua as a monument to Coronado: Innocent arrogance or the ultimate chutzpah?” Between the Mountains, Beyond the Mountains: Papers in Honor of Paul R. Williams (Archaeological Society of New Mexico, 2009).

[17] Manuel R. Cristobal, “Pueblos Shouldn’t Support Celebration,” Albuquerque Journal, December 28, 2008.

[18] Dennis Herrick, Winter of the Metal People: The Untold Story of America’s First Indian War, unpublished manuscript.

[19] Castañeda, The Journey of Coronado, 12, 79-80. Peter Boyd-Bowman’s study of 40,000 Spaniards in the Americas during the sixteenth century listed three men named Francisco de Barrionuevo by 1539. Boyd-Bowman, Indice geobiográfico de cuarenta mil poblaradores españoles de América en el siglo XVI. 2 vols. (Mexico City: Editorial Jus, 1968), I:4225; 2:6640, 7066.

[20] For an entire book on the subject, see James W. Loewen, Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong (New York: Touchstone,


[21] A typical historical marker reference, this one is from the Jemez State Monument at Jemez Springs, New Mexico.

[22] Richard Flint, “A transcript of the testimony: seventh de officio witness Cristóbal de Escobar,” Great Cruelties Have Been Reported, The 1544 Investigation of the Coronado Expedition (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 2002), 151.

[23] Flint, “A transcript of the testimony: twelfth de officio witness Juan de Zaldívar,” Great Cruelties Have Been Reported, 257.

[24] For a full text of the requerimiento, used for decades by Spaniards to assert sovereignty over indigenous people, go to

[25] Arenal is a Spanish word for “sandy ground.” It is not certain which of today’s pueblo sites was Arenal. Possible sites include Kuaua and Puaray.

[26] Flint and Flint, “Document 28: Castañeda de Nájera’s Narrative, 1560s,” Documents of the Coronado Expedition, 1539-1542, 403. Also, Castañeda, The Journey of Coronado, 51.

[27] Flint, “A transcript of the testimony: sixth de officio witness, Rodrigo Xímon,” Great Cruelties Have Been Reported, 132.

[28] Flint, “A transcript of the testimony: fifth de officio witness Juan de Contreras,” Great Cruelties Have Been Reported, 114.

[29] Flint, “A transcript of the testimony: fourth de officio witness, Domingo Martín,” Great Cruelties Have Been Reported, 96.

[30] Bolton wrote, “much of the information elicited in the legal process has been utilized in the foregoing pages.” Rather than including testimony critical of the expedition, Bolton simply summarized the voluminous record seeming disingenuously, saying “individual deponents gave testimony which counted sometimes for and sometimes against Don Francisco.” Bolton, Coronado: Knight of Pueblos and Plains, 376-377.

[31] Bolton, Coronado: Knight of Pueblos and Plains, 228.

[32] Bolton, Coronado: Knight of Pueblos and Plains, 393.

[33] “Francisco Vasquez de Coronado,” New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia,, accessed January 18, 2009.

[34] This is true at least in New Mexico, where the excesses of the conquest and colonization are downplayed to the point that university and government buildings are often named after some of the most ruthless conquistadors.

[35] Carroll L. Riley, Rio del Norte: People of the Upper Rio Grande from Earliest Times to the Pueblo Revolt (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1999), 176.

[36] Flint, No Settlement, No Conquest, 145.

[37] In a deposition from his jail cell in 1546, former Camp Master García López de Cárdenas referred to the Tiwa leader the Spaniards called Juan Alemán by his Indian name of Xauian. George P. Hammond and Agapito Rey, “Testimony of Lopez de Cardenas,” Narratives of the Coronado Expedition, 1540-1542 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1940), 359.

[38] Antonio Tello, Libro Segundo de la Crónica Miscelánea (Guadalajara: Guevara Y Co., 1891), 426. Translation by the author from the original Spanish. Tello wrote his account in about 1650, utilizing some sources now lost.

[39] The name was given as “Poquis” in Elizabeth A.H. John, Storms Brewed in Other Men’s Worlds: The Confrontation of Indians, Spanish and French in the Southwest, 1540-1795 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1975), 42. The name was given as “Poquia” in Albert H. Schroeder, “Pueblos abandoned in historic times,” Handbook of North American Indians: Southwest, vol. 9, gen. ed. William C. Sturtevant, and vol. ed. Alfonso Ortiz, (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1979), 243.

[40] Adolph F. Bandelier, The Delight Makers: A Novel of Prehistoric Pueblo Indians (New York: Harcourt Brace/Harvest, 1971).

[41] “The Indian centuries ago,” The New York Times, January 25, 1891, sec. 3. A pdf of the full review can be found at