Santo Domingo History
Santo Domingo Buffalo Dance
Kewa and Cochiti), in Sante Fe, New Mexico this
is typical of what you will see:
Many tourists are gathered on the plaza in quiet expectation. Soon, a single drum heralded the approach of a
group of men, who gathered in an area at the other end of the square and began singing. A seemingly endless line
of dancers -- men, women and children -- followed a lead dancer who carried the flag of their clan. In perfect
formation, they moved in unison, women with headdresses and black wool dresses, men in breechcloths, all of
them following the flag bearer. A thousand dancers gradually filled the square.
is why some of the practices and beliefs of the Cochiti and Kewa (formerly Santa Domingo)—are more
conservative and strongly influenced by their traditional beliefs than many others. An experienced
ethnologist can make a comparative study of the two cultures and find dissimilarities between Cochiti
and Kewa because of non-Keres influences. For example, at a given point in time, the Cochiti potters
incorporated the outsiders’ tastes, creating small items for tourists as well as figurative pottery mimicking
the non-Cochiti world, while Santo Domingo Pueblo kept the outside world at arms length.
Kewa potters focused on making pottery for use, thus keeping their labors domestic. These and other
historical examples of differences between the Cochiti and Kewa are interesting. At the time of this review,
Kewa is becoming one of the more progressive Pueblos in response to an unusual federally funded financial
($1 million) opportunity to rebuild their trading post (originally built in 1881, replaced in 1922, closed in 1995,
and destroyed by fire in 2001) and open up numerous tourism opportunities in response to the new Rail Runner
station established in 2009 at the edge or heart of the Kewa lands. The train tracks are, in fact, a key part of
Verzuh, V. K. A River Apart: The Pottery of Cochiti & Santo Domingo Pueblos. 2008.
White, L. A. The pueblo of Santo Domingo, New Mexico. 1974.