Domingo quietly becomes 'Kewa'; tribe alters seal, signs and letterhead
last year, Santo Domingo Pueblo's tribal council quietly, and unanimously,
decided to change the pueblo's name.
traditional community, about halfway between Santa Fe and Albuquerque,
is now known as Kewa Pueblo.
name change was disclosed at a meeting of the All Indian Pueblo
Council in January, according to the Alvin Warren, secretary of
the state Department of Indian Affairs.
name change became more widely known when operators of the Rail
Runner Express announced last week that a new train stop opening
March 22 will be called Kewa Pueblo Station.
as recently as Saturday, tribal members who sell fine silver and
turquoise jewelry under the portal at the Palace of the Governors
told a reporter that they didn't know about the switch.
pueblo Gov. Everett Chavez, who proposed the name change, said Tuesday
that Kewa is how the tribe's people refer to themselves privately.
"Historically, that's our name," he said. "Everybody
knows us as Kewa. It's just going back to our original name."
said the resolution changing the name was fully endorsed by the
council. The tribe also hired Zia Graphics in Albuquerque to revise
its tribal seal. The new seal still depicts cornstalks, but now
also features pottery and jewelry styles for which the pueblo is
famous. A mission church, prominent in the original seal, now is
referenced in a smaller image at the bottom of the circular design.
said the tribe has printed up new T-shirts and polo shirts (for
council members) bearing the new seal. And the tribe is slowly changing
signs and the letterhead on its stationery.
café, a fuel company and other businesses were already using
the Kewa name. The corporation that manages tribal companies has
been reorganized into Kewa Business Enterprises, Chavez said.
Keresan people are considered descendants of people who inhabited
the general region in the 1200s.
to the Center for Southwest Research at The University of New Mexico,
the pueblo's original name was recorded as Gipuy.
Place Names of New Mexico gives different possible accounts for
how it came to be called Santo Domingo. According to one version,
Spanish colonial Gov. Don Juan de Oñate gave the Keres pueblo
this name, meaning Holy Sunday, because he arrived there on a Sunday.
Another story holds that the pueblo was named for St. Dominic, a
13th-century Spanish preacher who founded the Dominican order. Tribal
members have said the pueblo, and the mission church on the pueblo,
are named for him.
of the better known tribes of the Southwest, Kewa pronounced
KEE-wah is considered one of New Mexico's most conservative
in terms of customs and culture, according to the Indian Pueblo
Cultural Center Web site. In fact, the Web site says the tribal
government previously had asked that the traditional name not be
is not the first pueblo to change its name. In 2005, San Juan Pueblo
became Ohkay Owingeh for similar reasons. All tribes have an original
or traditional name they use in their own communities, Secretary
Warren said, and "certainly the state respects the right of
every one of the tribes to self-identify."
said there was no formal announcement of the change and that the
tribe has been relying on "word of mouth."
noted that the Spanish also gave various Indian family units Spanish
surnames, but that tribal members continued to use their own names
made a point of saying that the renaming is not intended to "demean
was, he added, "a long-awaited move back to recognition of
ourselves. We were Native first and foremost, before Catholicism
and the Spaniards."