Once, thriving American Indian trade communities of Tiwa and Tompiro speaking Puebloans inhabited this remote area of central New Mexico. Early in the 17th-century Spanish Franciscans visited the area and found it ripe for their missionary efforts. However by 1677 the entire Salinas District, was depopulated of both Indian and Spaniard alike.

What remains today are austere yet beautiful reminders of the early contact between Pueblo Indians and Spanish Colonials. The ruins of four mission churches, at Quarai, Abó, and Gran Quivira and the partially excavated pueblo of Las Humanas or, as it is known today, Gran Quivira. Established in 1980… the present Monument comprises a total of 1,100 acres.

Trey and I visited two of the four mission church ruins over two days. Not much is known about these ghost towns and there are quite a few puzzling questions. One of the most interesting mysteries is that within the walls of the missions are kivas, underground rooms used by Puebloans for traditional religious rituals. How did the Franciscan priests reconcile holding traditional Native American religious ceremonies alongside their Catholic ones? Add to that the fact that the Salinas missions were host to the Spanish Inquisition in North America (though apparently from the documents found, the Salinas inquisitors were much more level-headed than their European colleagues).

Below is a video of Trey explaining his theory as to what the kivas were used for.

Salinas was also the first NPS site where Trey became a Junior Ranger. Here is a video of Trey taking his Junior Ranger oath to “preserve and protect” our national historic & natural treasures. At each park or monument that he becomes a Junior Ranger a local NPS ranger makes him take the oath. It’s odd, but I get really emotional each time I see his cute face repeat the words as he holds up his right hand. If a Junior Ranger oath gets me worked up I’m gonna be toast when he gets married.

More photos of the ruins to follow in another post.

Once, thriving American Indian trade communities of Tiwa and Tompiro speaking Puebloans inhabited this remote area of central New Mexico. Early in the 17th-century Spanish Franciscans visited the area and found it ripe for their missionary efforts. However by 1677 the entire Salinas District, was depopulated of both Indian and Spaniard alike.

What remains today are austere yet beautiful reminders of the early contact between Pueblo Indians and Spanish Colonials. The ruins of four mission churches, at Quarai, Abó, and Gran Quivira and the partially excavated pueblo of Las Humanas or, as it is known today, Gran Quivira. Established in 1980… the present Monument comprises a total of 1,100 acres.

Trey and I visited two of the four mission church ruins over two days. Not much is known about these ghost towns and there are quite a few puzzling questions. One of the most interesting mysteries is that within the walls of the missions are kivas, underground rooms used by Puebloans for traditional religious rituals. How did the Franciscan priests reconcile holding traditional Native American religious ceremonies alongside their Catholic ones? Add to that the fact that the Salinas missions were host to the Spanish Inquisition in North America (though apparently from the documents found, the Salinas inquisitors were much more level-headed than their European colleagues).

Below is a video of Trey explaining his theory as to what the kivas were used for.

Salinas was also the first NPS site where Trey became a Junior Ranger. Here is a video of Trey taking his Junior Ranger oath to “preserve and protect” our national historic & natural treasures. At each park or monument that he becomes a Junior Ranger a local NPS ranger makes him take the oath. It’s odd, but I get really emotional each time I see his cute face repeat the words as he holds up his right hand. If a Junior Ranger oath gets me worked up I’m gonna be toast when he gets married.

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