SEPTEMBER 22, 2005

STATUE HONORING PUEBLO LEADER PO’PAY (POPE’) UNVEILED IN ROTUNDA

Born circa 1630 in what is now New Mexico, Po’Pay led the 1680 Pueblo Revolt against the Spanish which helped ensure survival of the Pueblo culture and shaped the history of the region.  In 1997, the New Mexico Legislature chose him as the subject of the state’s second statue for the National Statuary Hall Collection.  Cliff Fragua, a sculptor from Jemez Pueblo, received the commission.  The statue’s first public showing was at Po’Pay’s Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo on May 21, 2005, where it was blessed before traveling to and being unveiled in the Capitol Rotunda.  It is the 7th statue of an indigenous American in the collection with King Kamehameha I, Will Rogers, Sacajawea, Sequoyah, Washakie and Sarah Winnemucca.  In his hands, Po’Pay holds a knotted cord used to determine when the Revolt would begin and a bear fetish to symbolize Pueblo religion.  His necklace is a reminder of where life began.  His back bears the scars from the whipping he received for participation in Pueblo religious ceremonies.

Source: “Po’Pay,” Architect of the Capitol.  Retrieved 7/14/2019, https://www.aoc.gov/art/national-statuary-hall-collection/popay
Photo:  Public Domain.  Photograph taken by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.

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