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Santo Domingo Pueblo Documents

Identifier: MSS-78-SC

Scope and Content

The documents in this collection are photoprints of documents housed in the archives of Santo Domingo Pueblo concerning the official delimitations of its lands with regard to specific landmarks as represented in letters to governors and to other officials from 1689 to 1856. All of these are written in Spanish with notes in English regarding their translation into English for the Office of the Surveyor General in 1856, the year in which this office investigated the validity of the Santo Domingo land grant. The document dated 1856 is signed by the Agent of Pueblos and establishes the official borders of the land in question. The original letters reflect land disputes, limits, questionable land sales, and the marking of land claims by pulling grass and throwing stones -- the fashion typical of the day for symbolizing ownership of grant lands. Also included in this collection is a photoprint of a letter from 1883 written on United States Indian Service (now known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs) letterhead regarding the encroachment onto Santo Domingo land by a non-Indian settler. A letter dated 1907 from the Department of the Interior's Indian School Service to the residents of Santo Domingo Pueblo announces the availability of a horse to breed with mares owned by the residents of this pueblo as a free service. This letter, written in Spanish, is signed by the Superintendent and Agent for the Indians.

Photos by Peter Stackpole of Santo Domingo Pueblo taken for Life Magazine have been transferred from this collection to the pictorial archives.


  • 1689-1907


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Background Information

The Keresan people of Santo Domingo Pueblo are considered descendants of those peoples inhabiting the general region in the 1200s. The actual location of the lands occupied by the people now living in Santo Domingo has changed over time due to flooding. Santo Domingo replaced the pueblo's original name (Gipuy) in 1691 when Catholic missionaries renamed pueblo lands with saints' names. The Spanish land grant designating this pueblo's land (the land they already recognized as their own -- approximately 70,000 to 75,000 acres, according to different sources) was issued on September 20, 1689 by Governor Domingo Jironza Pétriz de Cruzate and its inhabitants were then considered wards of the Spanish Crown. In later years, an investigator for the Court of Private Land Claims found the Cruzate grants invalid and fraudulent on the basis of their having been countersigned by Don Pedro Ladrón de Guitara -- a name absent from the rosters of those serving as secretary of government and war during the Spanish period. The correct name of Governor Cruzate's secretary was Pedro Ortiz Niño de Guevara. The signatures on the grant document were found to be counterfeit and thought to have been signed in the mid-19th century. However, the United States Surveyor General, having done research based on Spanish grants and the testimony of the pueblos, approved the pueblo grants in 1856 and recommended (successfully) that Congress do the same. In 1858, President Lincoln issued patents to all the pueblos whose grants had been confirmed (including Santo Domingo Pueblo). The authentic documents and the spurious Cruzate grant papers designate the same portion of land also described by one of the documents in this collection. Numerous disputes regarding the borders and ownership of this grant land followed its designation, and some of these are reflected in the documents included in this collection. The disputes in question involve non-Indian encroachers as well as indefinite borders with the lands of other pueblos (San Felipe and Cochiti, in particular).


1 folder (15 items)


This collection contains 15 photoprints of documents housed in the archives of Santo Domingo Pueblo regarding the boundaries of Santo Domingo lands.

Related Archival Material

Indian Affairs Collection Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico. Thomas B. Catron Papers Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico. See United States Court of Private Land Claims and United States Surveyor General cases.

Sandia Pueblo Land Deed Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Separated Material

7 photos, taken by Peter Stackpole for Life Magazine v. 15 (Nov. 29, 1943) have been transferred to Santo Domingo Pueblo Photograph Collection.

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • Brayer, Herbert O. "Pueblo Indian Land Grants of the 'Rio Abajo,' New Mexico." University of New Mexico Bulletin, vol. 1(1), 1939.
  • Lange, Charles, "Santo Domingo Pueblo," pp. 379-389 in Alfonso Ortiz, ed.,Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 9. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1979.
  • Pritzker, Barry M. Native Americans: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture and Peoples, vol. I. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 1998.
  • Sando, Joe S. Pueblo Nations: Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History. Santa Fe: Clear Light Publications, 1992.
  • Stackpole, Peter (photographer), "Dam Threatens Pueblos," photographic essay for Life vol. 15 (22): 104-110. 1943.
  • White, Leslie A. "The Pueblo of Santo Domingo, New Mexico," Memoirs of the American Anthropological Association, no. 43, 1935.


See United States Court of Private Land Claims and United States Surveyor General cases.
Finding Aid of the Santo Domingo Pueblo Documents, 1689-1907
Processed by K. Stocker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 78 SC::Santo Domingo Pueblo Documents)//EN" "nmu1mss78sc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131