The Railroad and the Pueblo Indians
The Impact of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe on the Pueblos of the Rio Grande, 1880–1930
Richard H. Frost
American Indian Studies / Western History
Richard Frost examines the profound effects that the coming of trains had on Pueblo Indians in New Mexico’s Rio Grande Valley, where their arrival was a social and cultural tsunami. It affected community autonomy, privacy, and well-being and destroyed or damaged crops, livestock, and irrigation ditches. The trains brought lawyers, speculators, politicians, missionaries, anthropologists, timber thieves, health seekers, and government servants. While the trains also brought farm tools, clothing for children, and customers for Pueblo pottery, these were comparatively marginal benefits.
The pueblos responded variously, though mostly conservatively, to sustain their communities, and this book spotlights two very different responses. Santo Domingo Pueblo was defensive, while Laguna Pueblo chose accommodation. Overlooked aspects of these pueblos’ histories provide compelling reasons behind their varying responses and the fateful consequences.
Richard Frost is Professor Emeritus of American history and Native American studies at Colgate. He founded Colgate University’s Native American Studies program in Santa Fe, where he now resides. He has served as an expert historical witness for eight of the nineteen pueblos in natural-resource lawsuits.
Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations
3. Resistance: Santo Domingo
4. Stress and Accommodation: Laguna, Acoma, and the Organic Law of Federal-Pueblo Relations
5. Bankruptcy of the AT&SF
6. Santo Domingo and Laguna, 1900–1930
Praise and Reviews:
“The author’s experience with and deep understanding of Indian history and law, combined with detailed research, create a compelling picture of the impact of western railroad development on the pueblos. The paired case studies of Laguna/Acoma and Santo Domingo illuminate the range of pueblo choices.”
—Laura Bayer, coauthor of Santa Ana: The People, the Pueblo, and the History of Tamaya
“Frost consistently impresses the reader with his articulate prose and good choices of illustrative detail. He is a seasoned historian who knows intuitively how to engage his readership.”
—Martin Padget, author of Indian Country: Travels in the American Southwest, 1840–1935
“Richard Frost has given us a compelling case study of the powerful process of modernization—a story of corporate greed, theft, resistance struggles and cultural innovation. The book offers both a narrative of a region and an instructive account of Indian people surviving within the maelstrom of ‘progress.’ An invaluable contribution.”
—Frederick E. Hoxie, Swanlund Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and author of This Indian Country: American Indian Activists and the Place They Made
“[Frost] writes lucidly and confidently. He has the welcome merit of being able to present a mass of facts without drowning the reader in them. Rather, his style buoys one up from fact to fact and point to point, so that the perusal of the book is enjoyable as well as instructive.”