Po’pay: Leader of the First American Revolution chronicles the history of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and its leader, Po’pay, with commentaries on the historical and cultural importance of these events. This is the first time Pueblo historians have written about these events in book form; previous volumes reflected Spanish sources or more distant academic viewpoints. Drawing on their oral history and using their own words, the Pueblo writers discuss the history and importance of Po’pay, the illustrious San Juan Pueblo Indian strategist and warrior who was renowned, respected and revered by their people as a visionary leader.
Po’pay: Leader of the First American Revolution also provides a comprehensive look at a particular time in New Mexico’s history that changed the state forever, making it the richly multi-cultural “Land of Enchantment” that it is. Amplified with quotes from New Mexico and Pueblo leaders, the book also demonstrates how the events of the Pueblo Revolt enabled the Pueblos, unlike other American Indian groups, to continue their languages, traditions and religion on essentially the same lands from ancient times to today and how Po’pay’s legacy continues to inspire all people. The book also covers the historical making of the seven-foot-tall Tennessee marble statue, from the political processes involved to its actual creation, eventual completion and final dedication in the Statuary Hall on September 22nd.
The Statuary Hall in Washington D.C. houses the Capitol’s collection of statues donated by individual states in commemoration of their notable citizens. Each of the fifty states is allowed two statues, and New Mexico’s addition of Po’pay makes the collection complete at one hundred. Of all the historical figures honored, Po’pay is the earliest born on American soil. The sculptor, Cliff Fragua, is the only Native American sculptor. This is also the only statue to honor Pueblo culture and, by extension (with the statue of Senator Dennis Chavez), the multi-cultural heritage of New Mexico.
Drawing on early Spanish records as well as the oral tradition preserved in the pueblos since the seventeenth century, Joe S. Sando tells the compelling story of the conditions of Spanish rule, the secret planning of Pueblo leaders and the remarkably coordinated Revolt that drove the Spanish from New Mexico in 1680. Under Po’pay’s leadership, the Revolt ended the persecutions and secured the future of the Pueblo People—their culture, their land rights and their religious freedom.
Herman Agoyo brought history to life in the present as he guided the events leading to the completion of the Po’pay statue. It was his vision and persistence that drove the project forward, through creating and passing in the New Mexico State Legislature the bill selecting Po’pay, the fund-raising, and the final completion and dedication of the statue. This book is a celebration of New Mexico’s culturally rich present as well as its history.