Written by Ed Kabotie
Back in 1976, my grandfather was commissioned to create a painting commemorating the 200 year bicentennial of America. Always a man of unique perspective, my grandfather challenged the bicentennial concept by painting the destruction of the church at Hisat-Sungoopavi during the first documented war for religious freedom: The Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
After over 80 years of inquisitional oppression (1598-1680), and 12 days of war (August 10-August 21, 1680), The Pueblo Nations of of New Mexico and Arizona overthrew Catholic Spain’s rule over their lives and lands. While Spain suffered an estimated 400 casualties (including the majority of the priests who were executed for their abuses of women and children), the pueblos grieved the losses of many more. Because it was illegal for a Native American to own a horse under Spain rule, news of the revolt had been carried from village to village by relay runners over a 500+ mile trek…
In 1980, our people celebrated our TRI-Centennial by retracing the course of the original runners from Taos Pueblo, NM to Second Mesa, AZ. My grandfather received the runners on Second Mesa, and after prayers and thanksgivings, challenged all those present to never forget the sacrifices that our forefathers made so that we (their children) could experience true religious freedom… I’ve never forgotten. 338 years ago today, our people were purifying their hearts, giving thanks for victory, and mourning the loss of their loved ones. In commemoration of our forefather’s sacrifices, the Hopi & Tewa Community Movement is hosting a Pueblo Revolt 5k RUN at the Moencopi Day School this evening from 5pm-8pm. Looking forward to sharing, reflecting, and giving thanks for True Religious Freedom. -Kwakwai