Gobernador Polychrome as a Material Expression of Survivance

Author(s): Timothy Wilcox

Year: 2018


The production of Gobernador Polychrome Pottery by the Navajo people, is entangled in many social and material negotiations of survivance. Its production in the Dinetah Region of New Mexico, during the late Seventeenth and early Eighteenth century place it in a time of Native resistance to Spanish colonization in Northern New Mexico. This resistance, in the form of a pan-Indian uprising, the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, sets the stage in which the production of Gobernador Polychrome emerged and ceased. This event, along with other contexts of colonization, influenced the practices of the Navajo people in this period. While western science has painted the Navajo as recent immigrants to the SW, indigenous understandings of place and identity contradict this view. For instance, an Indigenous braided model of interrelatedness does not fit with the theoretical bases of genetic and linguistic evidence, which favor dendritic models. Contemporary Indigenous communities have been forced to internalize concepts such as blood quantum and accept western style governments that promote difference and competition for resources. This case study highlights the emergence and rejection of practices that define contemporary Navajo culture and remind us of a time when cooperation accomplished common goals.

Cite this Record

Gobernador Polychrome as a Material Expression of Survivance. Timothy Wilcox. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445202)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22711