American Studies ETDs

Publication Date



At Pecos National Historical Park there exists a Puebloan ceremonial structure known as a kiva located within the confines of a 17th century Spanish church. The placement of this kiva in the church implies a different name, "convento kiva." Western historians and archaeologists have generated a metanarrative that presents the history of Pecos Pueblo and its inhabitants in a terminal format that is the Pueblo was doomed to abandonment once contact with the Spanish was made regardless of how the Pueblo Indians responded to Spanish colonialism. Contrary to this notion, the descendants of Pecos at the Pueblo of Jemez maintain a strong connection with Pecos Pueblo and since the 1990s have begun reasserting their presence at the Pueblo by contradicting the idea that the site is "abandoned." In this study, I observe how the knowledge produced about the "convento kiva" serves as a lens of the larger colonial metanarrative of Pecos. This knowledge collective is bifurcated between Western/colonial knowledge in history and archaeology and indigenous knowledge in the oral and living traditions of Pecos descendants at Jemez. Using a combination of postcolonial and critical indigenous theory, I argue that colonial knowledge production used by historians and archaeologists work towards creating "terminal narratives" about Pecos while indigenous knowledge production works towards achieving goals of decolonization.




American Studies

Document Type


Degree Name

American Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

American Studies

First Advisor

Melendez, A. Gabriel

First Committee Member (Chair)

Denetdale, Jennifer

Second Committee Member

Watkins, Joe