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An Exploration of Indigenous Participation in Spanish Economic Activities in 17th-century New Mexico

Author(s): Heather Trigg

Year: 2017

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When the viceroy of New Spain gave permission for the establishment the colony of New Mexico in the late 16th century, he acknowledged the importance of indigenous people to the colonial enterprise, urging the governor to treat indigenous Pueblo people kindly so that they would work for the colonists. The Spanish colonists’ economy largely consisted of the barter of subsistence goods. Throughout the 17th century, Pueblos and other indigenous peoples both engaged and were integrated into the colonial economic activities in various contexts and in various ways. Pueblos were forced to provide labor for construction and agricultural pursuits, and they were obliged to pay tribute in goods that were commonly used in the barter economy. Yet, the production and exchange of certain items appears to have been controlled by the Pueblos. In this paper, I address the intersection of indigenous activities and Spanish colonists’ economies. An archaeological perspective of colonists’ households along with documentary data illustrates some of the ways indigenous peoples participated, both voluntarily and coerced, in economic activities. These interactions ranged in scale from daily household activities that were informally negotiated and contextualized to more formal economic structures regulating tribute and long distance trade.

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An Exploration of Indigenous Participation in Spanish Economic Activities in 17th-century New Mexico. Heather Trigg. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431357)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15648

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America