Part 2: SelectionsDocumentCitations

“The Moqui Nation”

by Fray Alonso de Benavides

In 1629, thirty Franciscan priests traveled from Mexico City to Nuevo Mexico to convert the indigenous people of “...they are also great sorcerers and idolaters.” the Southwest. Francisco Porras, a Franciscan known for his dedication, arrived at Awatovi at Hopi with two other priests. They established the mission of San Bernardo by forcing Hopis to build the church. Large numbers of the Awatovi people resented the intrusion of the Franciscans into their community and saw them as a threat to their traditional spiritual beliefs. There are many accounts of the mistreatment of the Hopis and others by Christian missionaries. This report, by a Franciscan friar, portrays the missionaries in a positive light.

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Moki Indian Woman“Moki Indian Woman,” Unidentified (Artist)

Traveling another thirty leagues in the same westward direction, one reaches the province and nation of Moqui [Hopi], which is of the same character as the above- mentioned Zuni, both in products and climate; it has also ten thousand souls. They differ only in their language, but not in their ceremonies, because they are also great sorcerers and idolaters. This province fell to the lot of the blessed father, Fray Francisco de Porras, and a friar-preacher and a lay-brother, all of them known for their zeal. They were among the thirty friars who had come in the year 1629. Immediately after they arrived at this conversion, Father Porras dedicated it to the illustrious doctor, San Bernardo. Distributing his companions among the neighboring pueblos, he remained in the principal one and preached our holy Catholic faith, to which the Indians were soon converted.