Juan Remirez left Santa Fe in 1629 to found the mission at Acoma, a tribe of the Pueblo Indians who were notoriously rebellious. Looking at some of the points in David Weber's What Caused the Pueblo Revolt of 1680?, the friar may have sought out a dangerous position such as this with thoughts of courageous martydom. Either way, he managed to make his way into the Acoma village and rebuilds the sky city in 10 to 15 years, establishing the San Estevan del Rey mission church in the process.
            How Ramirez was able to peacefully enter the Acoma village and have the people build the church is an interesting story. Some of my secondary sources tell the story of Juan Ramirez entering the Acoma village saying he was initially greeted with a shower of arrows to deter him from entering the village. The sheer cliff shielded him as he ascended the mesa. A young girl was believed to have fell off the mesa during the event to what seemed like certain death. Ramirez made it to the top with the girl still alive, which was perceived to be a miracle, and the Acoma people were much more willing to let the friar talk to them about Catholicism after the incident. They worked with him relatively peacefully during his time as friar of the Acoma, and many Acoma people became legitimate converts to Catholicism, although many of them retained many of their former religious traditions.

4/28/2017 02:01:24 pm

Friar Ramirez was a horrible man who tortured these people, he is no saint, he is hated by the Acoma for good reason.


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    Evan Neal

    As an architecture major learning more about the religion of the Pueblo people, the Spanish influence on their religious architecture was an interesting avenue to take the research down. The Acoma village has, “the finest and most impressive of the Spanish Colonial Mission churches in New Mexico,” so was a perfect fit for my research.