El Pueblo de Abiquiú DNA and Ethnographic Study

El Pueblo de Abiquiú DNA and Ethnography Study


The Pueblo de Abiquiú Library & Cultural Center, in collaboration with the New Mexico Genealogical Society’s (NMGS) DNA Project, will investigate the ethnography and genetic origins of the people of Abiquiú. This investigation will be conducted by DNA testing a group of males and females with long standing genealogical ties to the Pueblo and identify as Genízaro or Genízaro descendants.


Genetic testing contemporary people with anthropology and ancestral goals in mind can provide a historical view going beyond surnames and family trees. The NMGS DNA Project focuses on all family lines in New Mexico that trace to colonial New Mexico, including family lines that trace back to Native American ancestors. The NMGS DNA Project data is showing that 85% of all mtDNA (carried by direct maternal lineage) for family lineages that trace to Colonial New Mexico are of a Native American female ancestor. Additionally, about 11% of New Mexico colonial Y-DNA lineages (carried by direct paternal lineages) trace to Native American male ancestors. Among autosomal DNA (atDNA), the average amount, or ethnic percentage Native American is 31%. The Native American ancestries of the Nuevomexicano are the core of Genízaro existence, one that is alive and well in the Pueblo de Abiquiú.


The history and timeline of Abiquiú is complex, but historians and the oral history agree that the area known as Moqui, located atop a very ancient Pueblo dating around the 1300s, is the original establishment. Historical record indicates that these inhabitants left the area after continuous rebellions following the Pueblo Revolt, and migrated to first mesa at Hopi. There they were placed at the base for being “fierce warriors”. These people later returned to their homelands in Abiquiú. In the 1700s, Santa Rosa de Lima, which can be found in ruins along Highway 84 in Abiquiú was the furthest northern point of defense for the Spanish in the eighteenth century. During that time, Abiquiú was experiencing chaos from marauding native tribes. To combat the problem, Governor Tomás Vélez Capuchin granted thirty-four Genízaro families a community land grant. In doing so, their services created a buffer zone between that region and lower Spanish villages. As time passed, the development of Abiquiú as a trade center lent itself to incorporate many other tribal groups into the area, including detribalized natives from groups such as the Utes, Comanche, Apache, Navajo, and Kiowa to name a few. These displaced individuals developed into a unique group of people, as well as a culture that overtime mixed with the Spanish population. Today, we know them simply as the people of Abiquiú. However, their history is complex and they are the descendants of an eclectic group of Native American people.


The sample set will include ten males and ten females. Males will have their Y-DNA, mtDNA, and atDNA (autosomal) DNA tested. Females will have their mtDNA, and atDNA tested. Miguel (Mike) A. Tórrez, the NMGS DNA Project Administrator will handle the DNA and genealogical part of the project. Test kits will be purchased from Family Tree DNA and entered in the NMGS DNA Project, as well as the Abiquiú DNA Project (a specific database for this project). Moisés Gonzáles, Professor at UNM will handle the ethnographic portion of the study. To maintain confidentiality we will use a pseudonym and or DNA kit number instead of the participant names when transcribing or presenting the results.


The project hopes to triangulate the DNA results with the oral history and ethnography of the Pueblo de Abiquiú to celebrate the unique history that the area possesses.


The results will be available on a public website and journal publications.