Tewa Pueblos at the Dawn of Atomic Modernity


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Tewa storytellers knew that the sun could be captured—a boy had done it out of misplaced anger. In August 1945, President Harry Truman announced that the atomic bomb dropped on Japan had harnessed the power of the sun. The Manhattan Project and the accomplishment of Site Y, or Los Alamos, New Mexico continue to shadow our world. In the Rio Grande valley below Los Alamos, the Tewa Pueblos maintained distinct political identities and cosmologies that had accommodated potentially shattering modern incursions like the railroad, tourism, and boarding schools. Without Tewa perspectives, their stories of accommodation, and their expressions in language and art, our view of the atomic age remains incomplete. The stories and personal narratives of the Tewa world recontextualize atomic modernity and provide opportunities to link humanistic and scientific thought with traditional perspectives and develop the dialogue between physics, history, and Tewa philosophy.