Special Event: "Welcome Home" Piro People               Nov. 17, 2012
El Camino Real   International Heritage Center
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Updated 01 Dec 2012
El Camino Real International Heritage Center is one of New Mexico's State Monuments, under the Department of Cultural Affairs, to preserve and present the history, heritage and culture of the historic El Camino Real trail and other cultural/historic treasures of New Mexico.
 
This special event was sponsored by the ECRIHC Foundation, the Friend's Group to the Camino Real State Monument, to support the monument, heritage, and education of the trail.
 
El Camino Real is a National Historic Trail.  It was first blazed by the Spaniards in 1598 (22 years before the Mayflower)  and served as the highway linking Spain and New Spain (New Mexico) for 300 years.
About us ...
The Piro people were the original inhabitants of Socorro County, New Mexico -- building their pueblos along the Rio Grande beginning about 1000 A.D.  It was this network of pueblos, the Piro Nation, that the Spaniards encountered when they first enteredNueva Esplanade in the 1500s - today's New Mexico.  In 1598, Juan de Oņate brought 200 families to be the first colonists in New Mexico.  Hungry, sick, and exhausted, the Piro people of the Teypana pueblo gave the weary Spanish travelers much needed food and other items.  The grateful Spaniards named the Piro Teypana pueblo to "Socorro," meaning "help" or "aid" in Spanish.  Oņate's trail from Mexico City to Santa Fe, and into today's southern Colorado, became El Camino Real - the main highway into New Mexico for 300 years (1598 until arrival of the railroad in the 1880s).
 
About 1620, the people of Teypana moved a few miles north to join the Piro people at the Pilabo pueblo, taking the name Socorro with them.  Today's Socorro is built on top of the Pilabo pueblo. Franciscan friars built a mission in Socorro, dedicated in 1626 to serve the Piro pueblo and nearby Spanish settlers.
 
In 1680, the northern pueblo Indians revolted against Spanish rule, driving the Spaniards out of New Mexico.  Many Piros and Tiwas along the Rio Grande fled with the Spaniards to resettle with the Mansos Indians near today's El Paso, Texas -- where many of the remnants of the Piro, Mansos and Tiwa people still live today.
 
On Nov. 17, 2012, the Piro-Manso-Tiwa tribe was invited to El Camino Real International Heritage Center to "welcome home" the original inhabitants of Socorro County to their ancestral homeland for the first time since 1680 for a special celebratory dance and "welcome home" activities.
 
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Photo Gallery
Click on photos to enlarge
Photos by Paul Harden
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Richard Sims, Director of New Mexico State Monuments, welcomes Gov. Henry Torres and the
Piro-Manso-Tiwa tribe back to their ancestral homeland.
The Piro-Manso-Tiwa tribe ceremonial dancers
at the Heritage Center
The Piro-Manso-Taiwan tribe makes their entrada.
The Piro-Manso-Taiwan tribe performing numerous ceremonial dances on the amphitheater at El Camino Real International Heritage Center
The event was attended by more than 200 people,
all of whom greatly enjoyed the "welcome home" celebration, dance, and music
Photos courtesy of Brenda Wilkinson
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Piros through a professional lens
Some great photos by John Larson, editor of Magdalena Mountain Mail
and lifelong photo journalist
... and, the precious children
Fiesta Lunch Photos
"El Camino Grill" at the Center
Photos by Paul Harden
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The Piro drummers
The buffalo dancers
Piro Boot Scootin' Boogie
Our cooks Carolyn and Craig
(tasty grilled burgers and dogs)
Foundation volunteers
serving lunch to our guests
Noon-time lunch on our
red brick patio
Some of our guests enjoying
lunch before the dance performance
The colorful traditional ceremonial dress of the Piros
Saying goodbye to
our Piro-Manso-Tiwa friends
The magnificent Piro-Manso-Tiwa drummers and dancers