Po’pay shows New Mexico’s history

Po' PayNo image or written description exists, but there’s a statue of Po’pay in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center.


Po’pay (ripe squash) was a spiritual leader in New Mexico who organized the Pueblo Revolt against the Spanish in 1680. Five years earlier, Po’pay was among 47 Pueblo leaders who were convicted of sorcery. Po’pay was flogged while many others were executed.

Po’pay’s revolt led to Indians retaining their culture that still shapes the Southwest.

The seventh American Indian among the 100 statues, it was added by New Mexico in 2005. Sculptor Cliff Fragua is from the Jemez Pueblo who studied sculpture in Italy and California.

The seven-foot tall statue is made from Tennessee pink marble atop a three-foot steel pedestal.

The rope symbolizes how a deerskin one that held a number of knots that were distributed to other tribes to coordinate the revolt’s start. The deerskin shows he was a humble provider. The necklace and clothing are remindful of the Pueblo culture. On his back are scars from the flogging.

About Rick

Rick Snider is a native Washingtonian, long-time journalist and licensed tour guide since 2010.
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