Opinion

Marc Simmons: Sacred items at Cochiti Pueblo lost in 1692 raid





Marc Simmons shares the tale of gold and ceremonial objects that went missing when the Spanish raided Cochiti Pueblo in 1692:
Over the years, tension grew throughout the Rio Grande Valley. At last the Pueblos rebelled in 1680 and drove the Spanish colonists south to El Paso.

Then Gov. Diego de Vargas in 1692 marched back upriver and retook the land. The Cochitis, however, were unwilling to give up without a fight.

Following their leaders, they abandoned the village by the river and fled to the summit of a high mesa several miles to the west.

Here were the ruins of Old Cochiti, originally built by their ancestors. To that place, the Indian refugees carried all their turquoise, ceremonial objects and the cacique’s holy seed of the sun.

Once upon the mesa, they received news that Vargas and his army were coming to attack them. A council was called and with great fear expressed that if they were defeated, all the village treasure would fall into the hands of the enemy.

So, it was agreed that everything should be hidden. Some of the elders wanted to stash the sacred articles in a cave.

Others thought a better place would be under a large rock. Yet neither location seemed altogether safe.

Finally, the cacique spoke. He suggested that he and his helper (the young man in training to succeed him) should descend at night to the canyon on the north, and under the waters of the little stream that flowed there, they would bury the treasure.

Get the Story:
Marc Simmons: Trail Dust: Tale of lost treasure of Cochiti recedes into the past (The Santa Fe New Mexican 5/17)