Cacique (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: Originally a term applied to Caribbean tribal chiefs, “cacique” was adopted by the Eastern Pueblo peoples, to whom it designates a religious-secular office
In the Caribbean, the Spanish encountered Arawak Indians who applied the term “cacique” to their chiefs. The Spanish subsequently used the term to designate leaders with varying degrees of authority. Among North American Indians, the term has been adopted only by the Eastern Pueblo tribes along the Rio Grande of New Mexico. There, it refers to the male religious-secular leader of a community. The Puebloan cacique is probably an outgrowth of a native office, namely the peace leader of the community, whose title and duties were modified by the Spanish. The modern cacique serves as a representative of the pueblo as a whole and is said to have the duty of “looking after the people.” This entails presiding at various religious ceremonies, allocating certain rights to agricultural fields, representing the pueblo in dealings with outsiders, and appointing and training one’s successor. The degree of power wielded by a cacique varies with that cacique’s personality.
(The entire section is 181 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!