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Arroyo Seco Matachines Dance: Defended Boundaries, Precarious Elites

Sylvia Rodriguez

This article examines the 1985–1986 revival of the Matachines dance in the New Mexican village of Arroyo Seco and interprets the performance in light of community history, internal differentiation, and ecological circumstances vis-à-vis neighboring settlements.1 The dance has both regional meaning, with reference to the history of Indian Christianization, and contemporary local meaning, with reference to conflict in modern Arroyo Seco.

     The Matachines is a masked dance performed on certain saints' days in Pueblo Indian and Hispano/Mexicano communities along the upper Rio Grande valley and elsewhere in the greater Southwest. It is characterized by two rows of masked male dancers wearing miter-like hats, with long multicolored ribbons down the back. In the upper Rio Grande valley of New Mexico, these ten or twelve masked figures are accompanied by a young girl in white, who is paired with an adult male dancer wearing a floral corona, joined by a man or boy dressed as a bull, and two clowns. The crowned man is known as Montezuma or El Monarca, while his virginal partner is called La Malinche. The dance is made up of several sets or movements accompanied by different tunes played on a violin and guitar. The performance, not counting the procession and recession that typically bracket it, takes roughly forty-five minutes to an hour.

     This dance is of anthropological and historical interest because of its strongly syncretic blend of Indian and European elements and the fact that in New Mexico, at least, it is the most important, if not the only, ritual dance that Hispano and Pueblo groups share. The Matachines is generally thought to have been brought by the Spanish and used to Christianize the Indians. In New Mexico it is said to be more or less the same in all villages, but close examination of local performances reveals, in addition to fundamental similarity, individual variation, as well as patterned contrast between Indian and Mexicano versions.

     The approach I pursue here is to interrogate local as well as regional levels of meaning in the dance. All versions of the upper Rio Grande Matachines exhibit common elements, derived from the two opposing sides in a history of forced religious conversion. At the same time, each local performance embroiders its own idiosyncratic combination of symbolic and stylistic elements onto the received ritual dance complex. Each version, like every community, is distinctive in living detail and 'personality.' I discuss the 1985–86 revival of the Matachines dance in the Hispanic village of Arroyo Seco, in light of community history, internal differentiation, and ecological circumstance vis-á-vis neighboring settlements affected by contemporary resort development. This treatment follows my earlier study (Rodriguez 1991) of the Taos Pueblo Matachines, and it thus makes comparative allusion to that version of the dance, which the Arroyo Seco performance imitates in some respects but not in others. Together, the Taos Pueblo and Arroyo Seco cases help to lay the foundation for a broader interethnic comparison of the dance along the upper Rio Grande valley.

Arroyo Seco

Arroyo Seco is a community of some eight hundred people, well over half of whom are Spanish speaking. It lies approximately six miles north of Taos Pueblo and eight miles north of the town of Don Fernando de Taos (see Figure 1). According to archival sources, Arroyo Seco was established in 1815 by landless families pushed north from the burgeoning center of Don Fernando de Taos. Unlike nearby Arroyo Hondo and Valdez, Arroyo Seco was not an official (Spanish) land grant community. As a result, many of its residents seem to have suffered from a perennially embattled, semisquatter legal status from the beginning. Arroyo Seco is located along the northwest edge of the Antonio Martínez land grant, which the notorious British land swindler Arthur Manby tried to acquire earlier in this century (Waters 1973).2

Figure 1
Figure 1. Landownership around the village of Arroyo Seco, New Mexico.

     The placita3 sits close to the Río del Arroyo Seco, a tiny tributary of the Rio Grande that lies north of the Río Lucero and south of the Río Hondo. Because this meager stream has never provided enough water to meet the needs of the entire Arroyo Seco population, over the years settlers have exerted claims, with varying degrees of success, to use rights on the neighboring ríos (rivers). Arroyo Seco once occupied land south of the closely parallel road and river, and its inhabitants diverted waters north from the Río Lucero to irrigate their crops. In the 1920s and 1930s, Taos Pueblo reclaimed this land, known as the Tenorio tract, and a number of Hispano families were ejected from it. In the 1980s and 1990s most of this land remained undeveloped, punctuated with occasional melted adobe ruins that served as reminders of bygone occupation.4

     Arroyo Seco enjoys a certain prominence because it is the seat of the Holy Trinity parish and the consolidated local grade school and because it sits directly on the main route to a major ski resort. The village core consists of a cluster of buildings around the old placita, including houses, the old and new churches, the post office, a cantina, a few stores, and the school. "Downtown" Arroyo Seco faces onto the road that now leads to Taos Ski Valley. It shows visible architectural evidence of the progressive resort-engendered gentrification process that has rapidly transformed metropolitan Taos.

     The Holy Trinity parish contains four other missions or chapels: one at Las Colonias (Santo Niño de Atocha), one at Valdez (San Antonio), one at Arroyo Hondo (Nuestra Señora de los Dolores), and one at San Cristóbal. Except for San Cristóbal, which sits on its own creek some nine miles to the north, these villages and the dispersed settlement of Des Montes all lie within the Río Hondo watershed. Each has its own character, as well as a particular relationship with each of its neighbors.

     Arroyo Seco's closest neighbors are upper Des Montes and Valdez, both of which depend on the Río Hondo. Des Montes is a dispersed, unnucleated settlement scattered westward along well-drained table lands between Arroyo Seco and Arroyo Hondo. Valdez (originally San Antonio) is a placita established in a deep valley along the Río Hondo, upstream from its sister community of Arroyo Hondo, the original parish seat. Both Valdez and Arroyo Hondo have chapels, placitas, and now-defunct moradas.5 They are linked via the river that feeds their irrigation ditch, or acequia, system. Over the years Arroyo Seco has competed with Taos Pueblo as well as with El Prado for water in the Río Lucero, and with Valdez and Des Montes for water from the Río Hondo.

     Thus, within the matrix of neighboring communities, which includes Taos Pueblo, Arroyo Seco has always had to defend its fragile land base and water supply for irrigation. In recent decades new developments have exacerbated old pressures, and the community has responded in a manner that reflects its peculiar internal composition and external circumstances. It was within this context of resort development and intensifying demographic pressures upon limited land and water that Arroyo Seco revived the Matachines dance.

The Arroyo Seco Tradition and 1985 Revival

The Holy Trinity parish seems not to have supported a continuous Matachines tradition during most of the twentieth century. Cleofas Jaramillo, writing about Arroyo Hondo during the late nineteenth century (1955: 24–25; 1974 [1941]: 49), describes the Matachines as having been danced in the plaza and in front of people's houses on the village feast day in late November. In 1986, a woman then in her late seventies remembered seeing it danced in front of the church in Valdez, probably during the 1910s (Rodriguez 1996: 164–65). Arroyo Seco has held the Matachines only intermittently since the 1920s. By 1929 it had evidently not been performed regularly for a number of years; it was performed in 1929 and again in 1934. After 1934 it lapsed until its revival in 1985. It was again performed in 1986 and 1987. Although evidently performed for a private occasion in 1993, the dance has not become a regular community event.

     The traditional date for the Arroyo Seco performance was New Year's Day, a week after the dance was performed at Taos Pueblo. In "the old days," the two communities shared costume items and some personnel, including musicians and dancers, as well as certain clown routines. In 1929, for example, a man from Arroyo Seco played the part of El Toro in both communities; he was nicknamed "Torito" for his regular rendition of the role at Taos Pueblo.6

     The 1985–86 revival occurred during a period when other, similar parish-based folk revivals were taking place in the general Taos area. These revivals were more or less contemporaneous with grassroots ethnopolitical mobilizations around issues of community water control. One question the Arroyo Seco revival raises is whether these two movements represent alternative, competitive, or mutually reinforcing forms of ethnocultural mobilization. In any case, they occurred at a time when economic change and demographic pressure on land and water intensified the selective symbolizing of ethnic boundaries in central Taos County.

     The Matachines revival was instigated by a local schoolteacher who worked within the supportive framework of his large extended family and under the auspices of the local parish priest. Although its active social base was primarily restricted to one extended family, the popular appeal of the revival spread throughout and beyond the parish. The idea of reviving the Matachines had apparently been a longtime dream of the schoolteacher's mother. His father is a rancher who, along with his brothers, owns and occupies large tracts of irrigated land on the north bank of the Río del Arroyo Seco in El Salto.

     El Salto is an area located along the arable incline between the Arroyo Seco placita and the mountains. The name, which means "waterfall," refers to the cave and gushing spring nestled high in the side of a hill, sacred to, and claimed by, both Taos Pueblo and Arroyo Seco. During the 1970s and 1980s, El Salto became a popular home site for middle-class as well as very wealthy "amenity migrants," including second-home owners, drawn to the Arroyo Seco area because of its spectacular vistas and proximity to Taos Ski Valley (Moss 1991; Rodriguez 1994). El Salto is reached by a narrow road that veers off the highway near the placita, follows the river, and ends after a few miles at the edge of the wilderness, where private property gives way to Indian and U.S. Forest Service land.

     All land south of the road belongs to Taos Pueblo. It is fenced, posted, and the boundary surreptitiously patrolled by the War Captain's staff. Several Pueblo families maintain summer ranchitos in the area. North of the road and river lie private lands owned by longtime ranching families, amenity migrants, and seasonal residents. At least two corporate luxury retreats also lie within this area.

     In 1987, Taos Pueblo renewed its old claim to the strip of land that includes the road and extends to the midpoint of the Río del Arroyo Seco. This posed a major threat to all non-Indian residents of El Salto, most of whose driveways also lie within the contested zone. The Pueblo claim was upheld in court, and ultimately the county and federal governments worked out a final settlement of $375,000 to be paid to the tribe for public access in perpetuity to the El Salto strip. For families still bitter over the Tenorio tract ejections of the 1920s and 1930s, the 1990s El Salto suit reinflicted injury to an old, deep wound.

     Why is all this history, geography, and hydrology relevant to the 1985 Arroyo Seco Matachines revival? It is relevant because of who organized it and what their position was vis-à-vis other constituencies within the watershed and parish. Even though the pueblo's El Salto suit occurred after the parish revival, it had been brewing for several years, and, like the controversy surrounding uncontrolled resort development in the Río Hondo watershed, it constituted an important part of the social climate within which the Matachines dance reemerged. I will return to this larger context later.

     The revival effort began with practice sessions at the organizer's parental home, involving family members who served as the musicians and majority of dancers—although it gradually grew into a community project. The organizer's maternal uncle and cousin played the music, and his parents, siblings, and other cousins made up most of the dancers. Only three participants had performed before: the elderly violinist (who had been a danzante in 1929), the 1934 Monarca, and a man who had been the Toro in 1934. The 1934 Monarca, who danced the role again in 1985–86, taught the dance steps to the schoolteacher, who, in turn, instructed others. Both the Monarca and the fiddler were the teacher-director's uncles. His cousin, another key collaborator, played the Abuela or Perejundia. Interestingly, this cousin's elderly mother, the director's aunt, now a retired schoolteacher, had taught Arroyo Seco students the dance in 1934.7 In addition to their memories, the musicians apparently drew on tape recordings and records of various versions of the Matachines music. Finally, the director prepared a special instructional audiotape with narration and music and distributed copies to the dancers as practice aids.

     The dance was first performed publicly on June 6, 1985, as part of a celebration commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the ordination of the parish priest, Father Conran Runnebaum. It was part of a day-long celebration held outdoors at the organizer's family home, and it also featured refreshments and the performance of a satirical skit based on the priest's life. The festivity was a major community affair attended even by the archbishop of Santa Fe at that time, Robert F. Sánchez.

     The Matachines was performed again after morning mass on New Year's Day, 1986, in front of the modern Holy Trinity church in Arroyo Seco. The dress rehearsal was held two nights before, inside the old church of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores in Arroyo Hondo, where it was privately videotaped by members of the director's family against the backdrop of the recently restored reredos, or altar screens. The holiday celebration was part of a parish-wide series of events that included a Christmas season revival of the folk dramas Los Pastores, Los Reyes Magos, and El Niño Perdido. These, too, were organized by the young schoolteacher from El Salto and enlisted many participants from other villages within the parish.

     The dance was next performed publicly at a folk music festival in June 1987 at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, where it was photographed by museum personnel. A children's version was held in the Taos community auditorium and in Arroyo Seco just before Christmas 1987. Taos high-school students performed the dance during Lent 1990 as part of a deluxe staging of Los Moros y Cristianos under the direction of the same schoolteacher and again in 1992 at a national conference in Albuquerque.

     Although nonkin, including the Abuelo from Arroyo Hondo, participated in the 1985–86 revival, it was still largely a family affair. This seems underscored by the fact that the musicians for the Taos Pueblo Matachines, who are from Des Montes, did not participate. Perhaps the enormous task of community revival after so many years could only have been accomplished through the close-knit workings of familial organization operating under parish auspices, providing optimal conditions for a guaranteed and well-supplied support system.

     The revived Arroyo Seco performance remains intermittent, owing in part to attrition, including the deaths of the violinist and the young man who played the Abuelo.8 The dance was performed again in July 1993, for the occasion of a local family reunion. In the meantime, the director taught it to several high-school classes in town, who performed it publicly on an occasional basis. Thus, the Arroyo Seco version is kept alive by this teacher through his students while remaining latently available for special performance by his extended kin within the parish.9

The Dance

Unlike the procedure observed in most communities, during its revival the entire Arroyo Seco dance sequence was performed just once on each occasion, instead of being repeated several times over the course of one or more days. Perhaps because it has been executed on special occasions and has not become routinized with a regular date or place, there has been variation in how the Arroyo Seco version is ritually framed. For example, on New Year's Day, 1986, when it was performed after mass in front of the church, old mission bultos (wooden sculptures of saints and other figures) or traditional wooden santos (saints) were placed on a table at one end of the arena to oversee the dance, a practice common in Hispanic villages and certain pueblos. This was not done for the more secular June performance or later at the Santa Fe folk art museum, whereas the saints were "automatically" present during the Christmas 1985 dress rehearsal videotaped inside the Arroyo Hondo church.

     With each performance, the production, narration, and certain costume items became more polished. For example, in the original June 1985 performance, the Abuelos wore commercial masks, but by New Year's Day they had been given well-crafted handmade masks by a Latino theater group. Similarly, in June El Toro (the bull), with candy-stripe foresticks, wore an artificial tan hide with large painted eyes, but on New Year's Day he wore a buffalo robe loaned by a prominent Taos Pueblo man. Because of the purely religious context of the winter production, the director placed restrictions on photography of the performance. Evidently this was related to his perception of the degree of sacredness of the setting and traditional date, which was signaled by the presence of the saints. Most pueblos and all other Mexicano communities known to me permit the Matachines to be photographed. But whereas anyone was allowed to take snapshots during the June 1985 performance and a professional cameraman (an Anglo married to an Arroyo Seco woman) was enlisted to make a videotape of the entire occasion, not even the parishioners were permitted to photograph on New Year's Day, and only one "official" videotape was made—that of the dress rehearsal.

     The Arroyo Seco Matachines contains roughly the same sets or movements seen in other Río Grande versions. Its dramatic content closely resembles that of the version danced at Taos Pueblo, although the exact set sequence and overall style differ. There are twelve matachines, or danzantes, accompanied by La Malinche, El Monarca, El Toro, and two Abuelos, one of whom is a male transvestite. The following account is based upon my observation of the June 1985 and New Year's Day 1986 performances, in addition to secondary materials. These sources support a description that is analytic, historically specific, and comparative. In order to articulate these perspectives, my discussion will move between past and present tenses. The past tense locates behavior in time, whereas the present tense pursues the analysis and refers to recent observation.

     The Arroyo Seco performance contains eight movements, in addition to the opening marcha. Five tunes are played, some for more than one set. As at Taos Pueblo, the first three sets in the Arroyo Seco version are called La Malinche, El Monarca, and La Corona. The first involves an escort of the little girl by the Abuelos (grandfathers/clowns) and her exchange of a palma (trident) and guaje (gourd rattle) with El Monarca and their dance together. It is followed by Monarca's dance between the two rows of danzantes. The Arroyo Seco Corona segment has two parts; in the first, Monarca dances beneath a canopy of upheld palmas, and in the second he dances over palmas held toward the ground by the genuflecting Matachines. Next, in La Mudada (The Change), El Monarca leads the danzantes in a series of interweavings, crossovers, and returns between the two rows. This is followed by La Tejida (The Maypole) and then by the segment known as El Toro, in which the Abuelos scuffle with the Toro and finally castrate him, as they do at Taos Pueblo. The drama culminates in Abuelito de la Sierra, in which the Perejundia (transvestite clown) goes into sudden, violent labor and gives birth to a doll (in 1985–86, an orange-haired troll) that is then mock-baptized with padrinos (godparents) from the audience. Last comes La Despedida, or the dancers' recessional marcha.

     Several details of costume and structure in the Arroyo Seco version are distinctive. Both Abuelos in 1985–86 dressed in long, black clerical coats. The obviously pregnant transvestite Abuelo wore long, dark braids and heavy boots, with bare legs. The other Abuelo wore a big, black hat and used a stethoscope in addition to the customary whip. Both were masked. The danzantes wore white shirts and black pants, like those worn in Bernalillo. Their cupiles (mitre-like headdress) and pale blue, apron-like tapa rabos (a cloth suspended from the belt to just above the knees) were decorated with glitter, and they wore white tennis shoes. In 1985–86, eight of the twelve danzantes were women, including the director's mother and other kin, dressed just like the men. This modern innovation was pioneered at Bernalillo and is now found in a few other Hispanic versions but is not accepted at any pueblo.

     The most unusual feature of the 1985–86 Arroyo Seco Matachines was that, during the performance, the organizer-narrator, dressed in either a cape or a monk's robe, stood among the dancers and delivered an exegesis of the history and meaning of the dance, set by set. This narrative act is without parallel in other villages.10 It was delivered more or less extemporaneously, with dramatic intonation and some variation among performances. This feature, taken with the fact that schoolteachers seem to have become custodians of the Arroyo Seco tradition, suggests that Arroyo Seco has evolved an explicitly didactic adaptation of the dance.

     The centrality of the narrator's role means that, unlike most cases where little native explanation is typical, in Arroyo Seco the audience and participants are provided with an elaborate, formal explication of what the dance is about. This text is therefore an important part of the contemporary performance. It draws on a variety of sources well beyond local oral tradition, and it represents the director's own creative synthesis. He has produced both oral and written texts about the Matachines dance.

     Before proceeding to the director's text, I will note a few similarities between the Arroyo Seco and the Taos Pueblo versions of the dance. The El Toro sequence closely resembles the same sequence as performed at Taos Pueblo. The Perejundia birth episode also closely resembles the birth skit done at Taos Pueblo, except that, in Arroyo Seco, it involves special music (Rodriguez 1991). Another feature this Matachines shares with Taos Pueblo's is the stock phrase uttered by the Abuelo while Malinche and Monarca execute their palma-guaje exchange: "Engáñalo! Engáñalo, Mijita, engáñalo!" (Deceive him! Deceive him, my child, deceive him!)

     Differences between the two neighboring performances are also apparent. For example, the Arroyo Seco Abuelos are even more vocal than those in the dance at Taos Pueblo, and their skirmishing and pantomime make up a significant part of almost every set. The Arroyo Seco Toro is also considerably more vigorous and vocal than the Toro at Taos Pueblo, appearing in more than one set and often mooing loudly to the music. The noise the Toro makes, along with the Abuelos' shouting, competes at moments with the impresario's narration.

Native Exegesis

The following history of the dance, authored by the Arroyo Seco schoolteacher-director, was printed in the six-page typescript program for June 6, 1985:

The dance of Los Matachines is [a] very old tradition in the Hispanic Southwest. It originated in Spain toward the beginning of the Renaissance and commemorated as well as chronicled a great event of that era. Spain is a country occupying two-thirds of the Iberian peninsula that has its roots steeped deeply in Roman Catholic tradition. This heritage was threatened in the year 711 when Emir Ben-Usif of the north African coast invaded Spain and occupied it in a reign that was to last over 700 years. Almost immediately Spain began a revolt against the Moslem invaders. One of the most famous battles, La Batalla de Covadonga, occurred a short seven years afterwards, when Pelayo de Asturias made a brave stance. Of course, this internal resistance continued throughout the centuries involving such colorful people as don Rodrigo Díaz de Bivar, known to history as El Cid.

     In 1492 the last Moorish stronghold fell back into Christian hands. The southernmost region of Spain, where this occurred, is named Andalucia: so named for the Germanic Vandals who invaded the area early in Spain's history. It is here that the city of Granada is found. Just north of it is the town of Santa Fe, where the play Los Moros y Los Cristianos (the Moors and the Christians) was first penned.

     The play is fascinating primarily because its main character is the Moorish prince Selín. According to tradition, he captured and tormented some Christians in [an] effort to shake their faith. Instead, he was so moved by their fervour that he converted to Christianity. The Spanish conquerors brought this play to Mexico and presented it to the Indians in 1530, the object, of course, being that the Indians too would take a lesson from Selín and convert to Christianity. The message failed. . . . [T]he Spaniards had overlooked one minor detail: The Indians didn't yet understand Spanish. They were, however, pleased by the colorful costumes and headdresses. The Indians soon learned to imitate the ritual, but for centuries, the meaning was lost. (June 6, 1985, Holy Trinity Parish Program)

     The following account of the dance movements is based upon observation, paraphrase, and direct quotation of a videotape of the first community performance on June 6, 1985. It also draws on published materials by the director, who writes a weekly Spanish column on local Hispano lore in the Taos newspaper, a selection of which has been published as a book (Torres 1992).11 Because of its composite nature and the fact that the videotape provides a consultable visual record, I render this account in the present tense. Direct quotations and exegesis are from the videotape.

  1. La Marcha. The musicians and other performers proceed into the dance arena and assume their beginning positions.

  2. La Malinche. "Malinche is Moctezuma's bride, spurned by Cortés, who later became La Llorona." Holding his palma, she rotates her right arm around his extended left arm while the Abuelo advises her, "Engáñalo, mijita, engáñalo!" translated as, "Play him for the fool!"

  3. El Monarca. Monarca stands for both Moctezurna (Montezuma) and the Moorish king. In his dance he marches up and down between the two rows of "bishops" and "tries to reassert his power" over them.

  4. La Corona has two parts: in the first the Monarca is "crowned" as he dances beneath a canopy of palmas held between the danzantes; in the second he "overcomes his enemies" by jumping between the downwardly extended palmas of the genuflecting matachines. On the sidelines, the Abuelos skirmish with each other and the Toro. "The Indians had a neat way of dealing with the crown, to whom they said, 'yes, yes, yes, yes,' but did what they pleased when the Church wasn't looking. Monarca tries to reassert his claim to the throne, but when he looks away they get even."

  5. La Mudada is the longest movement, in which Monarca, Malinche, and the matachines interweave the two rows of dancers while the Toro and Abuelos continue to frolic in the margins. In the first part the Monarca leads all the dancers in exchanging places; in the second part they return to their original positions. The matachines do a kick step. The director shouts out instructions such as "¡Vuelta!" and explains, "The absent overlord tries to reorganize his empire; he has subjugated the Toltecs, Mixtecs, every other kind of -tecs, but they go back to being what they were."12

  6. La Tejida (Maypole) was "originally performed only at the beginning of the new year, which was at the beginning of April. Originally the new year began in April; when it was changed (in 1752) the new year moved to 1 January. Those who persisted in celebrating the spring new year were called fools, hence 'April Fools!'"

  7. El Toro. The Toro becomes enraged and charges the Abuelos, who wrestle him down, castrate him, and then run off. In this movement the Abuelo listens with a stethoscope to the Abuela's bulging stomach in gleeful anticipation.

  8. Abuelito de la Sierra. The Perejundia goes into paroxysms of labor and is delivered of an orange-haired troll doll proudly displayed by the "father." The "Abuelito" represents the new year. The Abuelos then dance together and pull "padrinos" (godparents) from the audience for the baptism. The matachines remain in formation while the Abuelo dances with the doll to the marcha.

  9. La Despedida. The Abuelos lead the two rows of dancers away in the recessional march.


There are several factors to be considered with respect to the problem of meaning in the Arroyo Seco Matachines. To begin with, the audience receives an explicit exegesis of its meaning and history during the performance. The director's narrative is thus part of the text to be analyzed. It yields insight into the fundamental oppositional structure of the dance. The director's account focuses on the conflict between Christian soldiers and the Moorish king, who is also Moctezuma.13 Malinche is "Moctezuma's bride, spurned by Cortés, who later became La Llorona."14 In the Corona segment, Moctezuma is first "crowned" by the palmas and then "overcomes his enemies" by jumping over the palmas while their bearers kneel. Here, and with reference to positional changes in La Mudada segment, the narrator emphasizes the theme of the Indians' stubborn yet indirect, resistance to authority.

     The Arroyo Seco Matachines shares with the Taos Pueblo version a structure whereby a social paradox is joked about: authority is surrendered to and mocked simultaneously, both within and around the metaphorical text of the dance. This is acted out in the Taos Pueblo version between the Abuelos and the other dancers, the tribal governor's staff, and the audience, around themes of miscegenation and conflict (Rodriguez 1991). In Arroyo Seco, the burlesque nativity is present and Indians are alluded to, but the miscegenation motif so central at Taos Pueblo seems offset by other concerns. For example, the Perejundia is portrayed as an Indian (suggested by the dark braids) who gives birth to a weird-looking child, but like the Abuelo (also a doctor), she is dressed as a cleric. In addition to a riot of other elements, the Abuelos represent the Catholic Church.

     In the Arroyo Seco Matachines, opposition is acted out between solidary egalitarian relations, or communitas, on the one hand and hierarchy on the other. This is reflected in the organizer's exegetical line: "Indians go back to being the way they were as soon as the overlord looks the other way." Just as the Indians/Matachines revert when Monarca or the priest turns his back, so do the Abuelos and bull "go wild" during the dance, while the director tries to keep things moving in an orderly fashion. The opposition/identification involving priest and Indians is thus paralleled in the contest between the raucous clowns and bull, who create chaos, and the impresario-narrator, who imposes order through direction and story line.

     Three levels of community relations must be considered in deciphering the social meaning of the dance: those within the community, those between the community and its neighbors, and those between the community and external powers. Like the Taos Pueblo dance, the Arroyo Seco Matachines exhibits an oppositional structure, although the precise foci of opposition are not the same. Arroyo Seco contains its own internal contradictions, compounded by neighboring rivalries and external power relations, and all these are reflected in the idiosyncratic way the village does the dance. The revived Arroyo Seco dance seems to embody a tension between consensus and equality on the one hand and submission to elite authority on the other. The implicit consensus, sustained largely within one extended family, consists in the participants' submission to the individualized authority of the director in a friendly spirit of group cooperation, a collective act sanctioned by the Church.

     The inherent tension between those in power and those they must control is further attested to by the very nature of the occasion on which the dance was initially revived: the thirtieth anniversary of the parish priest's ordination. On this day, the Matachines dance was followed by a comic skit, also narrated by the director (dressed in a Franciscan robe), involving a plot about the priest's ambitious climb from childhood bully (based upon an allegedly true biographical episode in which he picked on his younger sister) up through the ecclesiastical ranks to pope. Musical accompaniment for the skit consisted of guitars and a chorus sung to the tune of "Davy Crockett"/"Pancho López." The skit rendered into a comical anecdote one of the personal traits many parishioners privately noticed in the priest. It dressed personal criticism in the beguiling garb of praise and humor.

     The late springtime holiday afforded an ideal opportunity to stage the revival. It assured the priest's support while effectively removing him from any direct supervisory role, which was ably filled by the dance director. The dance director stands at both ends of the equality/hierarchy continuum, depending on one's viewpoint. On the one hand, he represents the egalitarian parish congregation (vis-à-vis the priest) and affirms insubordination by describing it in his narrative. On the other hand, his impresario role (vis-à-vis the dance company and audience) is singular and authoritarian. It is noteworthy that the director has belonged to the Arroyo Seco morada for most of his life and serves as its "custodian of all record." This linkage between the Matachines dance and the Hermanos, or Penitentes, surfaces elsewhere (for example, Picurís Pueblo, Alcalde, Bernalillo, San José in Albuquerque). In any case, the overlap between dance directorship and role of Hermano is significant and underscores both the authoritarian and counterauthoritarian aspects of his position.15

     The familial exclusivity of the Arroyo Seco Matachines revival and its concentration of leadership in a single individual symbolically enforce status boundaries within Arroyo Seco, as well as boundaries between Arroyo Seco and its neighbors. Part of what is striking about this combination is that it assumes the form of a cultural revival. It thus constitutes a symbolic assertion of Hispano ethnic identity at the community level.

Family Positionality

Both sides of the director's family occupy prominent positions in Arroyo Seco. Among the larger landowners in the El Salto area, they are major parciantes, or water rights owners, and active participants on the local acequia, or irrigation ditch, commission. In addition to farmer-ranchers, the family includes several schoolteachers, two county extension agents, and other government workers. They are active members of the Holy Trinity parish with cordial and sometimes close social ties to the local rectory (such as between the dance director and parish priest). A number of individuals within this family wield considerable local influence.

     Two aspects of this influence have bearing on the Matachines revival as a symbolic assertion of community boundaries. One aspect involves their role in the boundary dispute between El Salto landowners and Taos Pueblo over the strip of land containing the road and the south bank of the Río del Arroyo Seco. Some in the dance director's ancestral family were among those ejected from the Tenorio tract roughly sixty years earlier. Along with everyone else on the north bank, they were again implicated in the pueblo's 1980s litigation over El Salto road. The other aspect of this family's influence involves its role in suppressing Arroyo Seco participation in the grassroots protest movement against accelerating resort development in the Río Hondo watershed. Whereas the first instance concerns territorial boundaries vis-à-vis Taos Pueblo, the second involves boundaries vis-à-vis Anglo encroachment.

     One incident illustrates the Matachines director's agnatic family position in the Arroyo Seco–Taos Pueblo land dispute. During the 1980s, one of his father's brothers built an ostentatious stone gateway, inscribed with the family name, on a corner of land that sits inside his fence line on the river's south bank. This gesture implied an assertion of both ownership (vis-à-vis Taos Pueblo) and status (vis-à-vis other neighbors).

     Another incident some years after the revival reveals something about the director's attitude toward the pueblo and vice versa. In his Spanish-language and folklore column in the Taos newspaper, he published a piece about the Taos Pueblo San Gerónimo fiesta, which is celebrated annually at Taos Pueblo on the last day of September (Torres 1990). He related how a brief childhood encounter with the "chufunetes" or sacred clowns (who are out in force for San Gerónimo) had resulted in a nightmare from which he still suffers and which kept him away from the pueblo for thirty years. The article went on to present a novel history of the Taos tribe and to recount the life of St. Jerome. The following week a letter to the editor from a Taos Pueblo woman criticized the article for its historical inaccuracy and "erroneous derogation" of Pueblo religion and stated that her people hold the clowns in high regard (Taos News, October 4, 1990).

     These episodes reveal the school teacher's family's social distance not only from the Indians but also, implicitly, from those Mexicanos likely to interface most closely with them. This is not to say, however, that the conflict or tension expressed in such instances is necessarily conscious or deliberate on the part of the individuals involved. On the contrary, local Hispanos tend explicitly to emphasize the more harmonious aspects of their relations with Taos Pueblo.16 Indeed, the highly symbolic forms these expressions of tension take attest to its obliqueness.

     Equally significant but perhaps more deliberate is this family's role in asserting ethnic boundaries vis-à-vis resort encroachment. In the late 1950s, a private "Anglo"-owned company established a ski resort at the very head of the Río Hondo, directly upstream from Valdez and Arroyo Hondo, to the north of Arroyo Seco. Ski-industry expansion and secondary real estate development have since produced significant ecological, economic, and social changes within the watershed. During the 1970s and early 1980s, downstream water users criticized the resort for polluting the river with sewage and protested its proposed expansion. Nonetheless, the resort has grown, resulting in an escalating market in water rights and irrigated and undeveloped land in the watershed. Acre feet of water rights now sell at higher and higher prices, and an increasing proportion of previously irrigated farmland is devoted to resort and second-home development. Locals are unnerved by the large influx of transient and semipermanent Anglo amenity migrants who ski, start businesses, and buy or build houses, yet they express hope that these changes will result in economic prosperity for the region. But despite the proliferation of tourist enterprises and real estate activity around Taos, unemployment has remained consistently high since 1970, increasing in the late 1980s after the demise of molybdenum mining in the northern part of the county.

     Organized protest against the ski valley in the Hondo watershed dates from around 1974, when the resort had been seriously polluting the river for several years. Downstream water users, including ditch officers and their families, as well as Chicano youth and Anglo environmentalists, joined forces to stop the resort's proposed construction of a "700-pillow" commercial complex at the head of the canyon. This alliance persisted through another eight years of litigation, finally forcing the state and federal governments to enforce their own clean water standards. This happened only after the protesters escalated their tactics by conducting mass demonstrations and picketing the entry to the ski valley.

     The peak of community mobilization against resort development in the Hondo watershed took place in 1981–82, when the demonstrations were held at the ski valley and the so-called condo war broke out in Valdez. The condo war was a grassroots rural protest that succeeded in stopping a large condominium development in the upper Valdez valley. The protesters subsequently worked to create a special zoning district that included Valdez, Arroyo Hondo, and even San Cristóbal but not Arroyo Seco or Des Montes. (Neither of these communities could muster enough internal support to join.) The intent of the district, which was promptly challenged by an out-of-state development corporation and which was, on appeal, declared unconstitutional, was to protect traditional agricultural patterns of land and water use and to curtail rapid, uncontrolled development of subdivisions, condominiums, and other luxury multifamily dwellings and spas. Although active or consistent support for community zoning existed among at least some old families in Des Montes, nothing of the kind was to be found in Arroyo Seco, although the zoning issue was heatedly discussed at numerous community meetings.

     A few Arroyo Seco residents joined the Río Hondo protest over the years, but a lack of internal consensus on the matter consistently prevailed at the level of public community discourse. Thus, "the community" of Arroyo Seco, or any significant proportion of it, never even tacitly endorsed the protest, much less publicly opposed increasing resort expansion within the watershed. This is not to say that a poll of every household would reveal universal approval of increased tourism development. It seems, however, that the most vocal opinion leaders voiced assent within the forum of community meetings, thereby effectively suppressing dissent.

     These vocal opinion leaders tended to be middle-aged or older Hispanos from several prominent, politically conservative, land-rich families, and they were adamantly opposed to zoning and any other form of protest against resort development. Because they owned, and still irrigated, significant tracts of land, these families remained active participants in the community acequia system. They tended to be active in the parish and, in some cases, the local morada as well. Yet unlike other staunch parciantes in neighboring settlements, who did choose to mobilize in protest against resort development, these individuals argued in favor of "progress" and the new jobs and economic growth more tourism allegedly would create. They themselves were not usually involved in tourism development. The market value of their property, however, increased astronomically in subsequent years, and they saw tourism development as perhaps eventually the only way to make a good living from their land in the future.

     The precise sociological nature of the difference between families who quietly approved of, organized, or joined the protest against development and those who quietly or actively opposed these protests is not always easy to pinpoint. It has as much to do with class orientation as with simple class position, because, in purely material terms, most rural Hispano community members could be categorized as either working class, lower middle class, or middle class. Protesters as well as progrowth advocates came from all three levels. Although it might be generally true that protest sympathizers tended to be liberal Democrats, some prominent Taos area protest leaders have been Republicans, Protestants, or even Mormons, in contrast to the more common pattern of being Democrat and Catholic. What one can say is that the "conservative," prodevelopment, antiprotest factions in local communities tended to be middle class, moderately well educated, business oriented, and struggling to maintain upward mobility. They are culturally conservative, sometimes Republican, and strongly Catholic. A significant proportion of them, especially the opinion leaders, belong to the local status elite. They represent an admixture of urbanizing and rural elements. And, like the most devoted protesters, they own land.

     Prominent among these families is the very one that organized the Matachines revival in Arroyo Seco. As part of a small but powerful elite, the dance director's family (although not the director himself) consistently exercised its influence against any such protest involvement in Arroyo Seco. In light of this fact, its sponsorship of the Matachines and other religious folk dramas seems particularly significant. But if protest and parish cultural revivals appear to be activist alternatives within Arroyo Seco, they are not altogether mutually exclusive throughout the parish, because, although not everyone approved of protest mobilization, most people appreciated the folk revivals. Nevertheless, the organizing constituencies of these two movements are quite distinct. And with a single notable exception, most active participants in the Arroyo Seco Matachines tacitly or actively opposed protest mobilization as a community strategy. This was apparent again in 1986, when a large, upscale commercial subdivision began construction in Arroyo Seco and its local opposition failed to amass the kind of popular support that might have stopped it.


In Arroyo Seco, the Matachines dance has become a symbolic means of asserting ethnocommunal identity during times of heightened threat to the traditional land-water base. The dance evidently ceased to be a regular ritual event in the parish early in the twentieth century. It has been revived briefly three times since, during decades when longtime settlers' rights of landownership were challenged. The connection between the Matachines revivals of 1929 and 1934 and the Pueblo Land Claims litigation and ejections that occurred in the 1920s and 1930s is speculative. Such a link is suggested by the fact that the 1985–86 revival also took place during a time of intensified demographic and economic pressures on already overallocated water rights and land. Previously, the threat came from the pueblo, aided by the federal government, whereas today it comes also from growing numbers of Anglo resort developers and amenity migrants. Mexicano response to each of these threats is different.

     It seems likely that the Matachines performance would express an ethnocultural revival only among Mexicanos. The dance affirms Hispanic ancestry as well as the basis on which their dominance was originally founded: the one true religion, backed up by guns. It self-consciously encapsulates the Iberian-Moorish legacy and projects it onto the Spanish confrontation and admixture with Indians in the New World. By definition, the dance symbolizes the conquest and assimilation of Indians and the arrival of Christianity. In contrast, Indian nativism might instead displace the Matachines with an aboriginal dance, something which did occur at Taos Pueblo between 1986 and 1992.17

     Yet the Arroyo Seco performance also expresses a certain covert identification with Indians, not only through the subtext of miscegenation implicit in the burlesque nativity but also insofar as it jokingly portrays the Indians' cunning resistance to the forces of domination. This theme must have acquired new meaning for Mexicanos after they themselves experienced ethnic subjugation (hence, perhaps, the ambiguous reference to "Tex"(an) [see note 12]). Two or three generations ago the dance seems to have been based more widely throughout the parish than it was in the 1980–90s revival. In the past, some of the same people, namely Abuelos, Toros, and musicians, participated in both the Taos Pueblo and the Holy Trinity parish Matachines. This suggests that its constituency was less exclusive then than it was in the 1990s.

     The oppositional relation between dance elements has other referents as well. These include, for example, the ambivalent relation between priest and congregation and between the narrator and the clowns and bull. The former refers metaphorically to relations between the community and the Catholic Church, whereas the latter refers to status relations within the community.

     Arroyo Seco's preference for one form of ethnocultural mobilization over another reveals intracommunity and intraethnic division as well as unity. Its unity consists in the fact that both sectors are ethnoculturally mobilized—one way or the other. The internal cleavages are multiple; central among them are class status and ownership of land (larger versus smaller parciantes). These two are intertwined in Arroyo Seco. Another pole of power is the Catholic Church, embodied in the parish seat and rectory. The state, which today mediates Indian–Hispano relations and controls public lands and many jobs, is yet another pole of power, external to the community yet interwoven with it.18

     In Arroyo Seco, the church and local elite jointly sponsored the 1980–90s revival of the Matachines, each for its own reasons. For its part, the Catholic Church moved in to co-opt and safely channel heightened community-based ethnic sentiment aroused by population pressure and intensified competition for local resources. Many but not all priests discourage protest (for example, Father Conran), while only a few have been openly sympathetic (for example, his predecessor). In any case, the church has not formally disapproved such activity in the Taos area or moved to suppress it as such. Rather, it has attempted to capture and harness local ethnocultural community spirit to further its own end of promoting large, active, and devout parishes.

     The elite have a position of prestige and some power to protect. Their position, like that of the community in relation to its neighbors, is, in fact, somewhat fragile. Because of its position, the extended family in question seems willing to assert a territorial boundary vis-à-vis Indian encroachment and a ritual or symbolic boundary vis-à-vis Anglo/resort encroachment. This differential response to separate yet incremental threats seems adaptive in a way that reflects the status and class orientation of the powerful instigating family. Given the precariousness of its land base and the pervasiveness of tourism, this dual strategy of suppressing protest and fostering revival may also prove an effective defense for the community as a whole. In any case, it expresses the interests of the elite, who are best positioned to benefit from extensive resort development by virtue of the land they own. The same land, however, or access to it, is threatened by Taos Pueblo. Vis-à-vis resort growth, then, this family's class interest overrides allegiance to an activist ethnocommunal boundary. The ethnic boundary vis-à-vis Indians, however, is concrete and more bluntly asserted, but it is still conveyed in a manner that reveals a class perspective.

     The ritual boundary, the Matachines dance, encodes commentary about the Indo-Hispano interface. Born of an earlier, more bipolar era of interethnic relations, in the 1980s and 1990s it served to assert the community boundary under more complex and plural conditions. It speaks to far more than Pueblo Indian encroachment. Unlike the protests, however, it does so in a socially and aesthetically pleasing manner, without ugly confrontation and without ever directly naming the opposition. In sum, Arroyo Seco's water claims and territorial integrity have been precarious from its founding, and the community still faces both new and long-standing threats. The symbolic content of the Arroyo Seco Matachines, as well as the very fact of its revival, expresses the complexity of this condition.


1 This chapter, from Rodriguez 1996, appears courtesy of Sunstone Press, PO Box 2321, Santa Fe, NM 87042321.

2 According to the Village of Arroyo Seco website,

Arroyo Seco was begun when its people acquired rights to the lands under a grant made by Joaquín Codallos y Rabal, dated October 7, 1745. As a site, it was first recorded in a chronicle dated 1716. It was deeded at that time to General Lucero de Godoy by the Viceroy of Mexico. . . . Settlement of the area began in 1804 when two brothers named Cristóbal Martínez and José Gregorio Martínez from Río Arriba County planted crops there before building their houses in 1806. According to the Spanish Archives of New Mexico, general land use began in 1815 when more people began to cultivate the lands which they irrigated from the Arroyo Seco Creek and the Río Lucero. By 1824 there was already a Hispanic community living there. Original settlement had begun much closer to the mountain than the present-day village site is. The old "arroyo seco" itself was a gully stemming off El Salto Mountain. It was called "el Arroyo de la Luvia" (The Arroyo of Run-Off Water). See, accessed December 1, 2015. [Editor]

3 A placita is a little plaza, involving nucleated settlement pattern around a central square.

4 The Tenorio tract is a much contested area of approximately 5,696 acres (R. Ellis n.d.: 4–6) that lies south of the Río del Arroyo Seco and north and even south of the Río Lucero, near the mountains and north of Taos Pueblo. It acquired the name from its sale in 1818 by Miguel Tenorio (acting as agent for the sons of Sebastian Martín and alleged heirs to the Antonio Martínez grant) to "the sons of the Pueblo." See Rodriguez 1996: 166–67 for further details.

5 A morada is a traditional chapter house belonging to the lay religious confraternity known in New Mexico as Los Hermanos de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareño, or sometimes La Hermandad, or the Penitentes (see Weigle 1976). Also see n15 below.

6 Personal interview with José Damian Archuleta, now deceased.

7 A discrepancy exists in the schoolteacher's written documentation of the 1930s performance, which, at the time of the 1985 revival, he dated as 1938 (as printed on the program). In a more recent article (Torres 1989) and book (Torres 1992), however, he gives the year as 1934 and indicates that the performance was instigated by the retired schoolteacher who is his aunt, the Abuela's mother. I have followed the 1934 date inasmuch as it has been published several times and seemed confirmed in an interview with the late Arroyo Seco violinist.

8 This young man, from Arroyo Hondo and not part of the director's extended family, was the only individual deeply and actively involved in both the 1981–82 Río Hondo and "condo war" protests and the 1986 folk-drama revivals, including El Niño Perdido, in which he played a major role. His link with the dance director was that he worked as a janitor at the high school and cleaned his classroom. Tragically, he died suddenly in 1987.

9 The Arroyo Seco Matachines revival now appears to have been a transient phenomenon. For a few years, the organizer taught it to students, but even this practice seems to have faded.

10 Notwithstanding the El Rancho Abuelo's routine described in Rodriguez 1996.

11 For exegesis of the musical components of the Arroyo Seco Matachines dance, see Loeffler et al 1999, and, accessed February 1, 2016. See also essays in Stephenson (ed.) 2008.

12 The term -tec is a pun alluding both to the Mexican (Nahuatl) suffix -tec, meaning "people," and to "Tex" or Texan, the quintessential colonizing Gringo Other for Nuevomexicanos. The pun was not consciously intended by the director, but he nevertheless later commented (personal communication, 1993) that the current situation of resort encroachment might one day lead to a staging of the folk drama Los Tejanos (see Chapter 5, note 4 in Rodriguez 1996).

13 Moctezuma or Montezuma was the ruler of Tenochtitlan and the Aztec Empire from 1502–20. The first contact between indigenous civilizations of Mesoamerica and Europeans took place during his reign, and he was killed during the initial stages of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, when conquistador Hernán Cortés and his men fought to escape from the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan. [editor]

14 "La Llorona [the weeping woman] is sometimes identified with La Malinche, the Nahua woman who served as Cortés's interpreter and who some say was betrayed by the Spanish conquistadors. In one folk story of La Malinche, she became Cortés's mistress and bore him a child, only to be abandoned so that he could marry a Spanish lady (although no evidence exists that La Malinche killed her children). Aztec pride drove La Malinche to acts of vengeance. In this context, the tale compares the Spanish discovery of the New World and the demise of indigenous culture after the conquest with La Llorona's loss.", accessed December 1, 2015 [editor]. See also author's discussion of the contrast between the Malinche of the New Mexican Matachines and her symbolic meaning in Mexico (Rodriguez 1996:149). She adds, "More recent feminist readings of Malinche see her as a canny strategist rather than the great Mexican symbol of betrayal ala Octavio Paz ("la chingada"), epitomized by the derogatory term "malinchista" for one who opens the country to rape and plunder by outsiders. How the young girl dancer came to be called Malinche remains unclear to me because she in no way resembles the Mexican historical figure. But then symbols have many meanings, often contradictory" (personal communication from author, December 6, 2015).

15 The Arroyo Seco morada, unlike those in Valdez and Arroyo Hondo, is still intact and is actively used by the Hermanos. Although relatively young, the schoolteacher has been a member of the morada for thirty years and thus enjoys a significant degree of seniority within it. The authority of his role in the brotherhood would be evident, but, within the larger arena of relations vis-à-vis the clergy, it can also have counterauthoritarian connotations, given the history of church opposition to the Hermanos since the days of Bishop Lamy, a situation mitigated much later under Archbishop Byrne of Santa Fe.

16 On the other hand, the loan of a buffalo robe for the New Year's Day performance suggests that relations between members of the director's family and individuals at the pueblo have a friendly character as well. In sum, the relationship is complex, ambivalent, and ambiguous, and its negative attitudinal aspects not necessarily conscious.

17 As noted in Rodriguez (1996, Chapter 2), this lapse coincided with the Salto road case as well as with renewed activation of the water rights adjudication process. One rumor had it that the pueblo decided not to do the dance "because Arroyo Seco was doing it." In fact, the 1986 Taos Pueblo performance took place one year after the last Arroyo Seco dance and then dropped off.

18 It should be noted that all nonprivate (including Indian) land in the Arroyo Seco vicinity falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Interior, either the Forest Service or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Sixty-eight percent of all the land in Taos County is federal and state owned.


References Cited:

Ellis, Richard
n.d. Taos Pueblo (1848–1924). Unpublished manuscript in the possession of S. Rodriguez.

Jaramillo, Cleofas
1955. Romance of a Little Village Girl. San Antonio: Naylor Co.
1974[1941]. Shadows of the Past. Santa Fe: Ancient City Press.

Jenkins, Myra Ellen
1983. Development Potential of the Taos Pueblo Area in 1906. Unpublished manuscript in the possession of S. Rodriguez.

Jenkins, Myra Ellen, and John Baxter
n.d. Land History of the Pueblo of Taos. Unpublished manuscript in the possession of S. Rodriguez.

Loeffler, Jack, Enrique Lamadrid, and Katherine Loeffler
1999. La Musica de los Viejitos: Hispano Folk Music of the Rio Grande Del Norte. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Moss, Lawrence
1991. Amenity Migration. Unpublished manuscript in the possession of S. Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, Sylvia
1991. The Taos Pueblo Matachines: Ritual Symbolism and Interethnic Relations. American Ethnologist 18(2): 234–56.
1994. The Tourist Gaze, Gentrification, and the Commodification of Subjectivity in Taos. In Essays on the Changing Images of the Southwest (ed. R. Francaviglia and D. Narrett). Arlington: Texas A&M University Press: 105–26.
1996. The Matachines Dance : Ritual Symbolism and Interethnic Relations in the Upper Río Grande Valley. Albuquerque: The University of New Mexico Press. Now published by Sunstone Press (2009).

Stephenson, Claude (ed.)
2008. Matachines! Essays for the 2008 Gathering. New Mexico Arts
2008., accessed December 1, 2015.

The Taos News
1990. Forum: Inaccuracies, October 4.

Torres, Larry
1989. Qué Bueno Qué Todavía Tenemos a los Matachines. Taos News, December 28.
1990. Antigua Tradición Tenemos de San Geronimo. Taos News, September 27.
1992. Yo Siego de Taosi. Taos: El Crepisculo.

Waters, Frank
1973. To Possess the Land. Chicago: Swallow Press.

Weigle, Marta
1976. Brothers of Light, Brothers of Blood. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press



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