Pueblo Indians Religion and Expressive Culture
The Pueblos, both Western and Eastern, practice a blend of their native religious practices and beliefs and those of Roman Catholicism. Some Protestant sects are present, but they have remained relatively insignificant in the overall religious picture. Because of stringent requirements in terms of time, energy, and dedication, the numbers of members in the various secret societies are slowly declining rather than growing. As these societies lose members, there comes a time when one or another disappears from the ceremonial scene. Subsequently, some of its practices may be taken over by another society. If not, the tribe simply carries on without the services of the defunct society. In time, however, if there is sufficient interest, members of that tribe may go to another tribe where there is such a society and learn what is necessary to reinstate the society in their own tribe. There are still widespread beliefs, especially among the older people, in the supernatural traditionally respected in the tribe. These are commonly revered along with the Christian beliefs acquired through contacts with the Franciscan priests who have served the Pueblos since the Spanish recon quest in the 1690s. The feast days of the various patron saints associated with the missions, the Christmas season, and the Easter season are all celebrated. Variations in the intensity of these observances are found when pueblos are compared; similarly, the degree of intensity varies among the residents of any one village—the same as one would find in mainstream communities or among families within a Community. Among the Pueblo’s, Christian practices are often combined with dances and other activities from the native Religious life. No conflict is seen in this blending of the two religious traditions.