Querecho Indians

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The Querechos were a Native American people.

In 1541 the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and his army journeyed east from the Rio Grande Valley in search of a rich land called Quivira. Passing through what would later be the panhandle of Texas he met a people he called the Querechos.

Rio Grande River forming part of the US-Mexico border

The Rio Grande is one of the principal rivers in the southwest United States and northern Mexico. The Rio Grande begins in south-central Colorado in the United States and flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, it forms part of the Mexico–United States border. According to the International Boundary and Water Commission, its total length was 1,896 miles (3,051 km) in the late 1980s, though course shifts occasionally result in length changes. Depending on how it is measured, the Rio Grande is either the fourth- or fifth-longest river system in North America.

Quivira is a place named by explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1541, for the mythical "Seven Cities of Gold" that he never found. The location of Quivira is believed by most authorities to be in central Kansas near present-day Lyons extending northeast to Salina. The Quivirans were the forebears of the modern day Wichita Indians and Caddoan tribes, such as the Pawnee or Arikara. The city of Etzanoa, which flourished between 1450 and 1700, is thought to be part of Quivira.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

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This was the first known venture of Europeans across the Great Plains of the United States. Coronado and his chroniclers were the first Europeans to describe the buffalo-hunting nomads of the Plains. The Querechos were Apache Indians.

Great Plains broad expanse of flat land west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada

The Great Plains is the broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe, and grassland, that lies west of the Mississippi River tallgrass prairie in the United States and east of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. and Canada. It embraces:

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

The Apache are a group of culturally related Native American tribes in the Southwestern United States, which include the Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Lipan, Mescalero, Salinero, Plains and Western Apache. Distant cousins of the Apache are the Navajo, with which they share the Southern Athabaskan languages. There are Apache communities in Oklahoma, Texas, and reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. Apache people have moved throughout the United States and elsewhere, including urban centers. The Apache Nations are politically autonomous, speak several different languages and have distinct cultures.

Meeting the Querecho

Coronado and his army found a Querecho settlement of about 200 "houses" on the Llano Estacado of the Texas Panhandle and adjacent New Mexico. On the Llano they also saw vast herds of buffalo or bison. According to members of Coronado’s expedition, the Querechos lived "in tents made of the tanned skins of the cows (bison). They travel around near the cows killing them for food....They travel like the Arabs, with their tents and troops of dogs loaded with poles...these people eat raw flesh and drink blood. They do not eat human flesh. They are a kind people and not cruel. They are faithful friends. They are able to make themselves very well understood by means of signs. They dry the flesh in the sun, cutting it thin like a leaf, and when dry they grind it like meal to keep it and make a sort of sea soup of it to eat....They season it with fat, which they always try to secure when they kill a cow. They empty a large gut and fill it with blood, and carry this around the neck to drink when they are thirsty." [1]

Llano Estacado Southwestern United States in New Mexico and Texas

Llano Estacado, often translated as Staked Plains, is a region in the Southwestern United States that encompasses parts of eastern New Mexico and northwestern Texas. One of the largest mesas or tablelands on the North American continent, the elevation rises from 3,000 feet (900 m) in the southeast to over 5,000 feet (1,500 m) in the northwest, sloping almost uniformly at about 10 feet per mile (1.9 m/km).

New Mexico State of the United States of America

New Mexico is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States of America; its capital and cultural center is Santa Fe, which was founded in 1610 as capital of Nuevo México, while its largest city is Albuquerque with its accompanying metropolitan area. It is one of the Mountain States and shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and Arizona; its other neighboring states are Oklahoma to the northeast, Texas to the east-southeast, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua to the south and Sonora to the southwest. With a population around two million, New Mexico is the 36th state by population. With a total area of 121,592 sq mi (314,920 km2), it is the fifth-largest and sixth-least densely populated of the 50 states. Due to their geographic locations, northern and eastern New Mexico exhibit a colder, alpine climate, while western and southern New Mexico exhibit a warmer, arid climate.

Bison genus of mammals

Bison are large, even-toed ungulates in the genus Bison within the subfamily Bovinae.

This brief account describes many typical features of Plains Indians culture: skin tipis, travois pulled by dogs, sign language, jerky (food), and pemmican. In 1581, Spanish explorers of the Chamuscado and Rodriguez Expedition had another meeting with the Querechos. They found a large "rancheria" of 400 warriors on the Pecos River. probably near present-day Santa Rosa, New Mexico. The Spanish were especially interested in the Indian dogs which pulled travois with all their belongings, The Indians told the Spaniards that the bison herds were two days to the east and were "as numerous as grass in the fields." [2]

Plains Indians Native Americans/First Nations peoples of the Great Plains of North America.

Plains Indians, Interior Plains Indians or Indigenous people of the Great Plains and Canadian Prairies are the Native American tribes and First Nation band governments who have traditionally lived on the greater Interior Plains in North America. Their historic nomadic culture and development of equestrian culture and resistance to domination by the government and military forces of Canada and the United States have made the Plains Indian culture groups an archetype in literature and art for American Indians everywhere.

Travois

A travois is a historical frame structure that was used by indigenous peoples, notably the Plains Aboriginals of North America, to drag loads over land.

Pemmican

Pemmican is a concentrated mixture of fat and protein used as a nutritious food. Historically, it was an important part of indigenous cuisine in certain parts of North America, and is still prepared today. The word comes from the Cree word pimîhkân, which itself is derived from the word pimî, "fat, grease". The Lakota word is wasna, with the wa meaning "anything" and the sna meaning "ground up". It was invented by the native peoples of North America.

In 1565 Francisco de Ibarra met a bison-hunting people he called Querechos near Casas Grandes, Mexico, hundreds of miles from where Coronado had visited them. There were about 300 men and their "attractive" women and children visiting the area, probably on a trading mission. They said that large bison herds could be found four days journey to the North. This meeting indicates that the Querechos were far ranging even before they acquired horses. [3]

Casas Grandes prehistoric archaeological site in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua

Casas Grandes is a prehistoric archaeological site in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Construction of the site is attributed to the Mogollon culture. Casas Grandes has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is under the purview of INAH.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

In 1583, the explorer Antonio de Espejo met Querechos in the mountains near Acoma who traded salt, game, and deerskins to the townspeople in exchange for cotton blankets. He described them as warlike and numerous. These were the people later called Navajos, related to the Apache. [4]

Antonio de Espejo was a Spanish explorer who led an expedition into New Mexico and Arizona in 1582–83. The expedition created interest in establishing a Spanish colony among the Pueblo Indians of the Rio Grande valley.

Who Were the Querecho?

Authorities agree that the Querechos were Apache and Navajo Indians. [5] The Apache were newcomers to Texas, having arrived on the Llano Estacado perhaps less than 100 years before the Spanish visited them there. A village farming culture in the Texas Panhandle, the Antelope Creek Phase, disappeared about 1450. The reason for its disappearance may have been displacement by the Apache or the onset of a dryer climatic phase. By the time of Coronado it appears that the Apache were the dominant people over a wide area of the Great Plains extending north from the Llano Estacado to Nebraska. (See Dismal River culture) [6] [7]

The word Querecho soon passed out of usage, replaced by other names by which the Apache and Navajo would be called by the Spanish in the centuries to come.

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References

  1. Winship, George Parker (ed and trans), The Journey of Coronado, 1540-1542, from the City of Mexico to the Grand Canon of the Colorado and the Buffalo Plains of Texas. New York: A.S. Barnes & Company, 1904,65, 112., 194.
  2. Mecham, J. Lloyd, "The Second Spanish Expedition to New Mexico," New Mexico Historical Review, Vol. 1, No. 3, July 1926, 284
  3. Foster, William C. Historic Native Peoples of Texas. Austin: U of Tex Press, 2008, 143
  4. Hammond, George P. and Rey, Agapito, The Rediscovery of New Mexico, Albuquerque: U of NM Press, 224
  5. Prehistoric Texas
  6. Blasing, Robert, "Pre-European Cultural Relationships between the Plains and Southwest Regions," 10-12. http://soar.wichita.edu/dspace/bitstream/10057/1765/1/LAJ+V+13_p7-34.pdf,Accessed, Mar 1, 2010; Wilcox, David R. "The Entry of Athapaskans into the American Southwest: The Problem Today" http://www.adwr.state.az.us/Adjudications/documents/HopiContestedCaseDisclosures/Hopi%20Initial%20Disclosure/HP8042.pdf,%5B%5D Accessed, Mar 1, 2010
  7. Hammond and Rey, 224