American Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-11-2017


The purpose of this research is to consider the effect of the Keres language loss in the Santo Domingo Pueblo community and the need for language revitalization. The Keres-speaking community of Santo Domingo Pueblo has been adamantly opposed to instituting oral and written Keres language in the school system. The Santo Domingo people began to withhold information in response to the European intrusion into the Pueblo world. Isolating itself from the colonial powers served to maintain the unity of the Pueblo’s traditions and culture. However, a revitalization of the Keres language requires integration with the global society. Without the written Keres language, the oral language is the only means of passing on and retaining the traditions and culture of the community.

This research will attempt to evaluate and answer the following: what is the Santo Domingo Council’s justification for not teaching the Keres language in its school system; and what else can be done to save the Keres language? The following are major concerns with regard to the loss of the Keres language. With the loss of the language, who will carry on the traditions and culture? Do we, as a Keres-speaking people, have to eventually read from the written literature about our traditions and culture? Are we going to be just another part of the ancient history found only in museums and archives? Are we going to pray, sing our songs, and repeat our stories in another language? This research will focus on the language loss based on identity, perception and teaching.




language revitalization, Keres language, indigenous language, pueblo history

Document Type


Level of Degree


Department Name

American Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Gabriel Melendez

Second Committee Member

Jennifer Denetdale

Third Committee Member

Tiffany Lee