Native Village Youth and Education News
February 1, 2009 Issue 194 Volume 1


Work on a Tigua kiva nears completion
Darren Meritz
Condensed by Gina Boltz, Director, Native Village Publications

Ysleta Reservation, Texas-- The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, or Tiguas, have nearly completed a ceremonial kiva they began building last March. Built by Pueblo Indians throughout the Southwest, kivas are circular rooms use for religious and spiritual rituals.  The Tiguas new kiva is 30-foot in diameter and will be used for special rituals and ceremonies unique to the the tribe

"We want to be able to teach these ceremonies to our youths so they continue with them because, if we don't, little by little they will fade away," said Tigua Lt. Gov. Carlos Hisa. "So what we want to do is pass this down."

The Tigua's new kiva is near the tribe's tuhsla, another ceremonial grounds used for special meetings and celebrations.

The tribal government will not allow new photographs of the kiva because the site already had been blessed. Officials do not want to be disrespectful toward its spiritual significance.

War Captain Javier Loera said the Tiguas haven't had a similar kiva since the 19th century. "We are Pueblo Indians, and all Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and Arizona have kivas," he said. "It's a symbol of our emergence from other cultures that have been here before." Loera said kivas typically are constructed of stone with an entrance through the roof. Benches line the kiva walls and a fire pit, or hearth, is constructed in the middle of the kiva.

photo: Courtesy of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo)


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