The Jumanos: Hunters and Traders of the South Plains

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My grandmother was a Indian woman from Ojinaga, Mexico. This book provides answers to a lot of questions about my past. August 2, - Published on Amazon. Easy reading and very detailed. July 30, - Published on Amazon. I doubt that even the doting author thought this book would make the best seller lists. The Jumanos, for the By they had pretty much disappeared. So shadowy are they that some authors have even doubted their existence as a tribe. I got interested in the southwestern Indians and kept running into references to the Jumanos, so I read this book -- the only one that's every been written on the Jumanos, I would guess.

If you -- like me -- enjoy truly obscure Americana -- especially southwestern Americana -- you might like reading this. The writing is professorial, but the author constructs the history of a vanished people and their contacts with early Spanish and French explorers. She makes a persuasive case that the Jumanos were a Tanoan people, related to many of the Pueblo Indians.

If you comprehend those last two sentences, you might like this book. September 28, - Published on Amazon.

"Nancy Parrott Hickerson, The Jumanos: Hunters and Traders of the Sout" by Jerry L. Rogers

THis is an outstanding and detailed book about the Jumanos, a Texas tribe with almost prehsitoric history that disappeared in the 's. The author gives a detailed synopsis about the Jumanos trading with other tribes, encounters with Spanish explorers and their mysterious way of life. A very detailed scholoarly accounting, this book is not for the casual reader. The reader makes the conclusion that the Jumanos are probably the forebearers of the Kiowa Tribe and possibly other tribes of the Southwest and South Plain Indans.

It is a scholarly book that is well written and interesting. Highly recommended for those readers who want an interesting synopsis about this "extinct" tribe that lived in Texas and Oklahoma. Go to Amazon. Discover the best of shopping and entertainment with Amazon Prime.

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Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery on millions of eligible domestic and international items, in addition to exclusive access to movies, TV shows, and more. Back to top. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Finally, in the vicinity of the Toyah Creek confluence with the Pecos, three Jumanos came across the expedition and led the hungry Spanish to their camps.

A good time was had by all.

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These brief descriptions indicate the Jumano in the s were a contented people. Certainly, they showed no fear of the newcomers. The lack of fear is telling. Many of the residents of Indian villages visited by the Espejo expedition on their way to New Mexico in had exhibited fear and reluctance until convinced that these Spaniards had not come to capture slaves.

While their lack of fearfulness may reflect their distance from the Spanish towns, ranches, and mines in northern Mexico, other documentary data suggest that the Jumanos were able and willing to defend themselves. For example, a few years later, in , the Apache on the Southern Plains requested Spanish aid against the Jumano. While these lands are those the Jumano occupied in the late sixteenth century, it is clear that they had intimate knowledge of a much broader landscape.

Most of the Trans-Pecos must have been familiar to them. When they met the three Jumano in , the Spaniards, through an Indian interpreter who spoke the Jumano language, happily told the Jumano that they were going to follow the Pecos to the Rio Bravo del Norte the Rio Grande and from there to the Spanish settlements to the south.

They falsely believed the confluence of the Pecos with the Rio Grande was at La Junta, when in fact the Pecos joins the Rio Grande some miles farther downstream near Langtry, Texas. Over the next century, the documents give us better glimpses into the homelands of the Jumano. One of the more dramatic is in a sweeping memorial an official report written by Father Benavides in discussing the Native Americans important to New Mexico at that time. The conversion described by Benavides was undertaken in by Fray Juan de Salas who journeyed to the Jumanos after their repeated requests for a mission in their homeland.

These requests were made in regular visits they made to their friends in the Humanas pueblos. In , Salas again visited their camps, leaving a priest among them for six months. Like all summaries, the report needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Benavides was the official Franciscan custodian of the Catholic churches of New Mexico from to , but did not arrive in New Mexico until leaving him with only a few short years to learn of the many nations detailed in his report.

In this case, however, the repeated contact between Salas and the Jumano as well as Benavides' treks to see them appear to provide reasonably accurate information on their homelands. This begins to show that their homeland was not confined to the Pecos but rather stretched east from it. In more information becomes available when soldiers, led by Captain Diego del Castillo, traveled leagues southeast of Santa Fe and spent six months in the Jumano homeland on what they call the rio de las Nueces River of the nuts.

While the type of nut is not stated, we assume that it was a nut of interest to the soldiers, and strongly suspect that the nuts referred to are pecans, which commonly grew along the major rivers found east of the Trans-Pecos. Documents that discuss this journey also speak of the discovery of pearls in the rivers where the Jumano camps were located. Documents from the s provide still more information about the Jumano homelands.

They demonstrate that the Jumano homelands stretch from the Pecos to the San Angelo region, but no longer include the southern part of the Southern Plains in eastern New Mexico—much to the frustration of the Jumano. They also demonstrate the fierce attachment that the Jumano had to their homelands and that they would go to great length to keep those lands from their enemies, the Apaches. The accounts also underscore how a creative agent—the Jumano cacique leader by the name of Juan Sabeata—attempted to help his people and his homelands.

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Keep in mind that this was just three short years after the Pueblo Revolt of in Santa Fe. The Spanish who survived that revolt fled to El Paso for their lives, and even in , they were reeling. In , Governor Otermin had written to his superiors in Mexico City begging for help, stating that he had more than 2, souls Indian and Spanish to feed, but the few cows he had to slaughter were insufficient for all and a drought had emptied his coffers of corn.

Accompanied by a contingent of 11 other Jumano leaders, Sabeata pleaded with the Spanish to establish missions and presidios in his homelands. He also assured the governor that the Jumano were at war with the Apache. While documentary evidence confirms that this was a true statement, Sabeata was well aware that the Spanish felt dangerously threatened by those same Apache. These and other recorded statements show that Sabeata negotiated for his people by appealing to notions action against the dreaded Apache, new lands, thousands of souls to baptize, etc.

Eventually, the Spanish authorities agreed to send an expedition to the Jumano homeland just as Sabeata had requested.


Using several versions of the diaries and other accounts of the journey, she chronicles their travels from El Paso to La Junta to the Concho River of Texas near San Angelo. Four days travel northeast of La Junta would place the meeting in the vicinity of the Pecos River. In sum, at least as late as the Jumano maintained their homeland between the Pecos and Concho rivers of Texas. The Jumano were not an isolated people. They had friends and, during the period we know them, they kept old friends while cultivating new ones. Like us today, their friends were people they enjoyed spending time with and, as friends, they supported each other during good times and bad.

In fact, we believe that the Jumano presence in far-flung places represents their concerted efforts to both cultivate new friends and maintain old friendships. As noted above, the pueblos were called the Humanas pueblos because the Jumano often visited them and because some or all of the residents of the pueblos were said as early as to have stripes on their noses.

It is not clear from the documents whether their markings were permanent or painted. Nonetheless, the face marking is important. There is no evidence to suggest that other puebloan people marked their faces even though they interacted with the people in the Humanas pueblos. The Humanas people, then, stood out in a crowd. Yet, people simply do not quickly adopt a mannerism that will distinguish them from others, particularly if the mannerism is that of a group that they do not like and that they do not need to adopt.

Clearly there was no need for the people of the Humanas pueblos to stripe their noses, given the fact that other puebloans did not, hence marked faces suggests one or more of the following social mechanisms at work: 1 they simply admired this physical adornment of their friends and adopted it, ignoring broader social custom; 2 they intermarried with the Jumano, and since their marriage partners from the Jumano were permanently tattooed, they followed suit; 3 they sought to put their friends at ease; or, 4 the people of the Humanas pueblos wanted other pueblos and other Plains groups to recognize that they had a close relationship with the Jumano.

The latter is not unusual. Ample archeological and documentary evidence exist to show that the residents of Pecos pueblo had a similarly close alliance with the Apache. Later in time, the Comanche developed a reciprocal relationship with Taos Pueblo. Such relationships were mutually beneficial. Each partner could provide different goods. Some goods were tangible: meat and hides for salt, corn, and other domesticated crops, and marriage partners.

For example, people in the pueblos would want to know about possible dangerous enemies to the east of them; the Jumano with their mobile life style could provide such information. They could also bring news of events droughts, floods, battles, etc. At the same time, if the Jumano were feared as mobile warriors, a friendship with them, particularly one that was visibly announced to the world via nose tattoos, could make the residents of the Humanas pueblos safer from their enemies. Eventually the Jumano turned to other friends because the three Humanas pueblos did not survive past Although documents from described the pueblos as "the most populous [pueblos] Each side made charges against the other.

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Priests warned natives against performing their traditional dances catzinas believing that they were a form of pagan idolatry. Priests charged that governmental officials told natives to ignore the priests.

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  8. They also charged that government and civilian officials were enslaving the people of the pueblos as well as other Indians who came to their pueblos to trade and barter. Residents of the pueblos and other nearby settlements were forced to extract salt from the nearby salt lakes and haul it all the way to Parral and other places.

    At the same time, priests expected the Indians to build the churches and other structures that they required.

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    Another population stress occurred during times when the region was recovering from a horrific drought, maturing crops could not be fully harvested because of the lack of people to do the work. In the years, to , another drought gripped the region and for three years no crops were grown.

    In the Humanas pueblo today known as Gran Quivira, more than people died of starvation. At the close of the drought, Apache attacks on the Humanas pueblos stepped up. September 3, , the Apache of the Seven Rivers attacked the pueblo and sorely damaged the church and pueblo.

    Eleven people died in the attack and another 30 were taken prisoners. As if these difficulties were not enough injury to the pueblos, archeological excavations at the Humanas pueblo indicates that at about this same time missionaries destroyed their kivas, the communal religious rooms the Spanish regarded as pagan structures.

    When the Spanish destroyed these kivas, they likely considered the act a means of crushing old, inappropriate, non-western religious values. No doubt the Indians held a quite different view. The result of the combined woes was predictable: by , the Humanas pueblos were largely abandoned, and these friends of the Jumano were scattered. Not surprisingly, the Jumano had other friends in other places bordering on their homelands. One of them was the Patarabuey villagers of La Junta.

    When the Jumano efficiently guided the Espejo expedition back to La Junta in they followed a path they knew well, indicating a long-standing, friendly alliance with the people who lived there. Yet, in contrast to their close alliance with the Humanas pueblos, documentary data indicate that this friendship was different. The Jumano were received in La Junta with warmth, but politely.

    Goods were exchanged but the documents do not express the conviviality the Spanish experienced in the Jumano rancherias along the Pecos River. This may simply reflect that the Spaniards were anxious to return to their settlements to the south and too preoccupied to mention how the groups interacted. Yet, subsequent documents suggest that the Jumano were not as close to the people in La Junta as they had been to the people in the Humanas pueblos.

    Scores of documents from the Archivo del Hidalgo del Parral [Archive of the Township of Parral], written between and , contain data related to the people living in La Junta and the names of the Indian nations that visited them; none mention the Jumano.

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    If the Jumano were close friends, at least some documents should mention their visits to La Junta. Since none do, it appears that the Jumano relationship with the Patarabuey during this early period was more distant, with infrequent visits to maintain sporadic contact.