Take Your Time: A warrior woman embodies balance, harmony, humility, and inner strength. She creates with an eye toward beauty and tradition, and passes those ways on to the next generation.
The woman in this photograph taken in 1900 is from Isleta Pueblo, one of the 19 Pueblos located in New Mexico. Isleta Pueblo is located about 15 miles south of Albuquerque in the Rio Grande Valley, watched over by the majestic Sandia Mountains. Sandia means watermelon in Spanish after the red glow at sunset; to the Pueblo people the Tiwi name is Posu gai hoo-hoo, where water slides down an arroyo. Isleta, like most Pueblo tribes are descendents of the earliest inhabitants of the "Four Corners" area of the Southwest, the Ancestral Puebloans, also known as Anasazi, who trace back to 1200 BC.
The Puebloan tribes are matrilineal and matriarchal in their worldview as described by Rachel Moore (Hopi), Curator of Exhibitions at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center,
“We are a people who were formed from the clay and emerged from the bosom of Mother Earth. Honoring that creation story, we recognize our origins through our mothers. We each are born into our mother’s clan. Clans are passed from grandmother to mother, to daughter, to granddaughter. They provide us a way to trace our family connections, inheritance rights, and identity gifted to us by our ancestors”.
When I moved to New Mexico in my early 20's, I left behind the history I was raised with and started to listen, learn, and experience the vibrant living culture and rich history of Native people. I grew up in Massachusetts and was surrounded by places carrying the names of indigenous people whose land was stolen. My grade school was Ponkapoag Elementary but the history I learned there portrayed Native people as something of the past and the Pilgrims as the brave settlers of America. Those beliefs broke down when I began to question everything as a young person in the 60’s but it wasn't until I moved to New Mexico that I had the opportunity to learn directly from Native people living in their ancestral homeland. I came to know the sacredness of that relationship and I kept that awareness whenever I moved somewhere new. I continued to listen and learn and had the opportunity over the years to attend cultural activities and ceremonies. I also have listened to the stories of people, families, and communities and the painful impact of colonization, genocide, displacement, and historical trauma. Most of all I cherish the relationships I have made along the way.
If you are also interested in listening and learning, here are places to hear the voices and stories of Pueblo women: