When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846

By Ramón A. Gutiérrez | Go to book overview

I
The Pueblo Indian World in the Sixteenth Century

I am glad I have seen your nakedness; it is beautiful; it will rain from now on. -- Talashimtiwa, Hopi Indian from Oraibi, 1920

In the beginning two females were born underneath the earth at a place called Shipapu. In total darkness Tsichtinako (Thought Woman) nursed the sisters, taught them language and gave them each a basket that their father Uchtsiti had sent them containing the seeds and fetishes of all the plants and animals that were to exist in the world. Tsichtinako told the sisters to plant the four pine tree seeds they had in their basket and then to use the trees to ascend to the light. One grew so tall that it pushed a hole through the earth. Before the sisters climbed up the tree from the underworld, Thought Woman taught them how to praise the Sun with prayer and song. Every morning as the Sun rose, they would thank him for bringing them to the light by offering with outstretched hands sacred cornmeal and pollen. To the tones of the creation song, they would blow the offering to the sky, asking for long life, happiness, and success in all their endeavors. 1

When the sisters reached the earth's surface it was soft, spongy, and not yet ripe. So they waited for the Sun to appear. When it rose, the six directions of the cosmos were revealed to them: the four cardinal points, the earth below, and the four skies above. The sisters prayed to the Sun, and as they did, Thought Woman named one of the girls Iatiku and made her Mother of the Corn clan; the other she named Nautsiti, Mother of the Sun clan.

"Why were we created?" they asked. Thought Woman answered, "Your father Uchtsiti made the world by throwing a clot of his blood into space, which by his power grew into the earth. He planted you within it so that you would bring to life all the things in your baskets in order that the world be complete for you to rule over it."

-3-

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When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents xi
  • Tables and Figures xiii
  • Introduction xvii
  • Part I - The Sixteenth Century. 1
  • I - The Pueblo Indian World in the Sixteenth Century 3
  • Part II - The Seventeenth Century 37
  • 2 - The Spanish Conquest of New Mexico 39
  • 3 - Seventeenth-Century Politics 95
  • Part III - The Eighteenth Century 141
  • 4 - The Reconquest of New Mexico 143
  • 5 - Honor and Social Status 176
  • 6 - Honor and Virtue 207
  • 7 - Honor and Marriage 227
  • 8 - Marriage and the Church 241
  • 9 - Marriage -- the Empirical Evidence 271
  • 10 - The Bourbon Reforms on the Northern Frontier 298
  • Epilogue 337
  • Reference Matter 341
  • Notes 343
  • Bibliography 389
  • Index 417
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