The Pueblo Revolt and the Mythology of Conquest: An Indigenous Archaeology of Contact

Feb 9th, 2012 | By | Category: 23-3: Technology and Culture, Media Reviews

University of California Press (2009)

Review by Eleanor Kuhl

It is refreshing to see a new approach. Author Michael Wilcox upends many assumptions about Native peoples of North America. He looks in particular at the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, the most successful Indigenous rebellion in the Americas.

The depth of research and the inclusion of primary sources make the book powerful. As an example, read this comment from Fray Marcos de Niza from Sept. 2, 1593: “…stood at the outskirts of Cibola (Zuni) and that while the city was larger than Mexico City, it was the smallest of the seven cities of Cibola and contained more than 20,000 houses. The people are almost white. They wear clothes and sleep in beds.”

The book demonstrates the ways in which archaeology, history, anthropology, and oral history narratives of contemporary Native Americans can lead to a better understanding of people. It is surprising to have primary source material at your fingertips. The book is highly recommended for tribal college libraries.

Eleanor Kuhl was library director at Diné College – Shiprock Campus for nearly a decade. Currently she uses her 35 years of experience as a librarian to do proofreading and indexing for the Tribal College Journal.

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