The University of Arizona

Melting the Kachinas: Agricultural Hegemony and Indigenous Incorporation at Zuni Pueblo in the Modern Era

Eric Perramond


An historical political ecology of Zuni Pueblo illustrates several processes that led to native agricultural decline in the region. Modern indigenous agriculture, and its associated techniques or practices, is marginalized within the literature. The reasons for the decline of traditional agricultural management at Zuni, as for much of the Southwestern United States, are complex. U.S. federal policies aimed at breaking indigenous theocractic rule, reforming land tenure, and modernizing reservation agriculture all contributed to this process at Zuni Pueblo. Underlying the material changes were also several conceptual or ideological processes that served the same purpose, and one that can be termed agricultural hegemony. The replacement of the Zuni kachinas, icons of discipline within traditional ceremonial roles, with those of modern agricultural sciences and practices were fundamental to the eventual outcome.

Key words: Zuni Pueblo, agriculture, landscape, native policy, hegemony, historical political ecology.

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