IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE:
Juan Onate y Salazar,
Isabel de Tolosa y Cortez Moctezuma, wife of Juan Onate
Lopez, wife of Pedro Robledo
de Velasco, the Spanish Viceroy
de la Cruz, wife
Perez de Bustillo
Lope de Ulloa, Royal Inspector
Perez de Bustillo, wife of Hernando Hinojos
daughter of Hernando Hinojos
Frias de Salazar, Royal Inspector
Perez de Bustillo, blacksmith
Hernandez, young recruit
de Landin, young recruit
Guerra de Resa
Ana de Zaldivar y Mendoza, wife of Juan Guerra de Resa
Fray Alonso Martinez, Franciscan
THE SCENES CAN BE PERFORMED OUTDOORS IN A PATIO OR COURTYARD.
HOWEVER, IF SETS AND BACKDROPS ARE AVAILABLE, SOME OF THE SCENES
COULD BE PLAYED AS INTERIORS.
SCENE 1, EARLY 1594, ZACATECAS, NEW SPAIN
NARRATOR: Recorded history has blessed us with the words and courage of the early Spanish explorations on this continent. We know the names, we hear the thoughts as they ventured to tame and populate a wilderness. The Oņate expedition included 270 women and children who suffered with the soldiers the pangs of hunger and pains of thirst. Don Juan was himself the son of an earlier conquistador, Cristobal de Oņate. He too desired the challenge and glory of an expedition in the name of the Spanish crown. To be both governor and grand colonizer of the new Mexico territory was a goal worthy of his person. Early in 1594, Juan Oņate was seeking personal and governmental support towards this end.
Juan Oņate: (JUAN ONATE AND HIS WIFE ENTER. DONA ISABEL ENTERS FIRST. SHE HAS A SMALL KNIFE AND IS GOING TO CUT A FEW FLOWERS. ONATE IS CONTINUING A DISCUSSION.) But why not? What better name than Oņate as "el Adelantado".
Dona Isabel: (IN CONTROL BUT UPSET.) But that honor is only AFTER the colonization. What about the cost NOW. How much will it cost now? How many men? How many wagons? What about cattle? Sheep? This expedition could take everything we have built and leave us with nothing.
Juan Oņate: But Isabel, that could never happen. You know that could not possibly happen. You know that.
Dona Isabel: (CHANGES HER ARGUMENT.) Why, why must you do this? Why? Isn't 30 years of sleeping with your horse, (sweetly) instead of me . . and fighting the wilderness enough for you.
Juan Oņate: Ay mi amor, "El Senor" will use my 30 years of experience to help me conquer the wilderness for HIM. . . para el salvador del mundo y el rey de espana.
Isabel: But why ask me to leave everything (INDICATING HER GARDEN to
travel 1000 miles into the wilderness, and perhaps (really scared)die
in the wilderness, as so many have?
Juan Oņate: I AM NOT trying to circumvent the law. I am trying TO HELP establish law. Isabel, it will be a great honor to be the governor of the New Mexico territory. Our children's children will honor us. (SOUND OF HORSES STOPPING AND MEN DISMOUNTING.) Surely you the grand daughter of Hernan Cortez in whose veins also flows the blood of Moctezuma can understand the challenge, the pride, the glory of being the called for this purpose.
Catalina Lopez: (CATALINA ENTERS IN A RUSH.) Don Juan, it is true. Francisco de Leyva Bonilla and Antonio Guitierrez de Humana did leave with an expedition for New Mexico.
Juan Oņate: How do you know? Who told you.
C. Lopez: Pedro heard talk among the men and spoke to several of the Indians. Who knows how they pass information, but he asked around and confirmed it. They left from Nueva Vizcaya.
Dona Isabel: (PUZZLED.) But he has no license to make the trip.(SARCASTIC.) Will they send Captain Juan Morlete after them too?
Juan Oņate: I had thought this would happen. If a people are not punished, they become lawless.
C. Lopez: Caspar Castano de Sosa was lieutenant Governor of Nuevo Leon. Didn't he have the right.
Juan Oņate: He had no license. The 1542 Laws and 1573 Laws are clear. Only with missionaries were any colonization to take place. The land and natives were not be be cut and sliced like so much cheese and bread.
Dona Isabel: I for one am happy that the 170 in his company were not punished. Imagine women and children being whipped for following their husbands and their God.
Juan Oņate: It cost their pockets! And now look, another party has left without permission. The Inquisition is frightening many. If they follow the Church, what need do they have to flee.
Dona Isabel: Innocence is not always a shield.
C. Lopez: Surely this will force them to finely appoint the governor for Nueva Mexico.
Juan Oņate: Yes, they can't leave these territories without authority.
C. Lopez: And you, Don Juan will be chosen. Your courage and military skill is known throughout all New Spain.
Juan Oņate: (LAUGHS.) and perhaps soon Old Spain as well, Dona Catalina with you as one of my supporters.
C. Lopez: You have many supporters.
Dona Isabel: You'll have to make some final decisions on your staff.
Juan Oņate: Yes, Vicente Zaldivar will be my recruiting officer and sargento mayor. If anyone can talk someone into packing up their wife, family and belongings and traveling through wilderness filled with wild animals and even wilder Indians, my dear nephew Vicente can do just that.
Dona Isabel: (CONCERNED.) Y Don Juan Zaldivar?
Juan Oņate: Don Juan will be my highest officer, maese de campo.
Best to keep things en la famila, except for fine men like your husband, Dona Catalina.
Dona Isabel: I see that you are determined to go Don Juan, and as a woman, I must believe that you are strong enough to return. Es hora de comer. No more talk of this. (JUAN ONATE STARTS TO ENTER HIS HOME. ISABEL TURNS TOWARDS CATALINA.) Dona Catalina can you stay and have dinner.
C. Lopez: No, Dona Isabel, thank you very much. I just wanted to bring over the news. (LEANS CLOSE TO ISABEL.) Dona Isabel, are you going?
Dona Isabel: (QUIET KNOWLEDGE.) I don't think so. I really don't think so, but we will see.. Buenas noches.
C. Lopez: Buenas noches. (BOTH TURN TO EXIT. ISABEL ENTERS INTO THE HOUSE AND CATALINA EXITS AS SHE HAD ENTERED.)
SCENE 2, SEPTEMBER 1595, ZACATECAS, NEW SPAIN
NARRATOR: By the fall of the next year, 1595 Don Juan has presented his demands and conditions to the Spanish Viceroy, Luis de Velasco. Velasco, his good friend believes the terms are unreasonable and will not be accepted by the Council of the Indies. The Spanish Viceroy does not want to offend the powerful Juan Oņate who is believed by many to be one the wealthiest men in Mexico.
Viceroy Velasco: (AN ANGRY ONATE ENTERS. HE IS FOLLOWED QUICKLY BY VELASCO.) Please, please Don Juan, do not take offence. I did not say I question your designs, but rather how it will look to King Philip. Believe me I have included every consideration allowed by the 1573 colonization laws. And my envoy will assure King Philip that MY name stands behind it.
(ONATE PAUSES BUT DOES NOT TURN AROUND.)
Look how it may appear to others. You are demanding complete independence from the Viceroy of Mexico.
Juan Oņate: But we will be the only civilized people for a thousand miles. I must have complete control.
Viceroy Velasco: You demand the right to raise troops freely without respect to other ...
Juan Oņate: And what if we find ourselves fighting hordes, as vicious as the Apache and Comanche. We will be traveling with women and children, under my leadership. I must be free to do what must be done. Anything could happen.
Viceroy Velasco: I agree, you do have a point there. I will stress the savagery of some of the tribes. But not ALL the tribes.
Juan Oņate: No, some of the tribes have greeted us as open and harmless as children, only some are stubborn and resist the messages we bring.
Viceroy Velasco: Alright. Alright. But the right to establish ports not only on the Pacific, but also on the Atlantic coasts. You are talking about confrontations of international consequence. (PLEADING WITH DON JUAN TO BE REASONABLE IN HIS DEMANDS.) Don Juan how long is your arm, how long is your reach?
Juan Oņate: (PAUSES AND REALIZES THAT THE VICEROY IS SPEAKING TO HIM AS A FRIEND.) Enough to shake your hand and know that men like you are rare and especially dear as a friend. (THEY SHAKE HANDS AND THEN EMBRACE. JUAN ONATE'S BACK IS TO THE AUDIENCE.)
Viceroy Velasco: (WHILE IN THE EMBRACE, FACE TOWARDS AUDIENCE.) Now about this business of retaining the title of governor and capitan general for four generations. That one will also cause problems.
Juan Oņate: (LAUGHS AND RELEASES THE EMBRACE, FACING EACH OTHER.) Dear Friend, I will count on you to do your best in convincing the King of the wisdom in providing stability and maintaining order.
Viceroy Velasco: And you are still requesting that you be granted the title of Marquis?
Juan Oņate: Yes.
Viceroy Velasco: Well, it will be an interesting request. Who knows how he will respond to that. Your Basque background does not help. Let us go in and discuss some of the other matters.
Juan Oņate: (CONFIDENTLY.) Yes, such as my 200 men ..... Viceroy Velasco: (SPOKEN LIGHTLY, PLAYFULLY) . . . fully equipped. (FIRMLY). . . fully equipped, (START TO WALK BACK INSIDE.) one thousand cattle, three thousand sheep, one thousand rams, one thousand goats, one thousand black cattle, one hundred and 50 colts, one hundred and fifty mares, plus of course, quantities of flour, maize, and jerked beef for food, wheat for sowing, footgear, medicine, iron tools, paper, sackcloth, .... (FADES.)
SCENE 3, OCTOBER 21, 1595, ZACATECAS, NEW SPAIN
NARRATOR: People quickly began making their personal preparations. Deciding what to take and what to leave behind was difficult. Adequate food and clothes were necessary, but other concerns troubled many. Don Juan Onate's appointment to Governor of New Mexico on October 21, 1595 seemed to assure the reality of the venture.
Petra: (ENTERS FOLLOWED BY A YOUNG MAN CARRYING A TRUNK. PICKS A SPOT IN THE SUNLIGHT.)
Right here will be fine. Thank you. Please tell Dona Theadora that I am in the garden when she returns.
(SHE REMAINS STANDING UNTIL THE YOUNG MAN HAS LEFT. THEN SHE KNEELS DOWN. TAKES A CHAIN NECKLACE OUT FROM HER BOSOM. AND CAREFULLY OPEN THE TRUNK WITH THE KEY WHICH HANGS AT THE END. SHE AGAIN LOOKS AROUND TO SEE THAT SHE IS ALONE. SHE TAKES OFF A FEW ITEMS ON THE TOP AND SHAKES THE DUST OFF, BUT SHE IS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING. SHE- FINDS IT AND TENDERLY HOLDS IT. HER SISTER HAS ENTERED UPSTAGE OF HER AND CATCHES PETRA BY SURPRISE.
Ai Theadora .. me asustaste. You frightened me. I thought it was one of the servants.
Theadora: What are you doing out here with that. Someone could see you.
Petrita: I felt it would be safer out here than inside were the servants might enter and perhaps tell one of the Fathers. If we are really going to moving north, we must make sure we take every thing that we need, everything. .
Theadora: Well I'm surprised that you haven't heard the news over the walls. Today, October 21, 1595, Luis de Velasco, el segundo, the Spanish Viceroy of Mexico approved the contract, in the name of King Philip the second appointing Juan Onate y Salazar the Governor, Captain General, Caudillo, Discover, and Pacifer of la Nueva Mexico. (VERY EXCITED.)
Petra: My what a lot of titles. But what does it all mean? Theadora: It means that we can start getting ready in earnest.
Petra: In earnest, look I have my personal inventory. (PULLING A BROWN PIECE OF PAPER OUT OF HER POCKET.) I hope I can take every thing. . . (SHE PATS THE CHEST). . . of importance.
Theadora: Well I spoke to Rosa Gonsales today and she is planning to take a wedding gown with her.
Petra: A wedding gown. (LAUGHS.) I didn't know she was seeing anyone
Theadora: She isn't, but she happened to see a young man who she thinks is planning to make the trip. He was talking to Don
Vicente de Zaiciivar, and the handsome stranger gave her ojitos. (BOTH GIGGLE.) I hope Don Vicente finds more handsome young men to accompany our company.
Petra: I would think who the young man's abuelos are would count for something.
What I hope is that her nana takes all her kitchen pots and pans. She is the best cook en el pueblo. She makes the best empanadas and her mole, ai! Here help me take this inside. I want to show you an old diary by Abuelita Dora. She must have been adorable. (THEY BOTH LIFT THE TRUNK AND START WALKING BACK TO THE HOUSE.)
Theadora: I forgot to tell you the best part. The mission which
Viceroy Velasco gave to Don Juan Onate included that he was to proceed against the traitor Capitan Francisco Leyva de Bonilla.
Petra: Who was he a traitor against? (EXIT.)
SCENE 4, EARLY 1596, VILLA DE SANTA BARBARA
NARRATOR: A change in Viceroys and rivalry for the expedition contract resulted in frustrating and costly delays. The people tried to keep themselves occupied and ready in anticipation of royal approval.
(CATALINA LOPEZ AND MARIA DE LA CRUZ ENTER, EACH CARRYING A BUNDLE. THEY ARE TALKING AS THEY ARE WALKING.)
C. Lopez: Gloria is an excellent seamstress. I've ordered more silk from Toledo. I still feel I need a few more things. Oh, to be in my patio in Toledo.
M. de la Cruz: With seven daughters, I need everything. For two years my Juan has been saying make due. Make due until we get settled. It's been two years that we've been making due. I finally got him to agree that we need to cloth ourselves again. The girls were in rags. Que verguenza. Who knows if this journey will ever happen. Dona Lopez, do you really think that we will go.
C. Lopez: Certainly we will go. We must just be patient.
M. de la Cruz: But with Velasco being transferred to Peru and all those changes on the contract? I understand Don Juan was ready to give it all up.
C. Lopez: Don Juan de Oņate give it up. No, absolutely not. Don Juan is a man of character. He will not allow a few set-backs to veil his vision. My husband has been with him in many skirmishes and recognizes in Don Juan, a man of outstanding courage.
M. de la Cruz: I would not blame him for backing out. Even considering the cost to families such as ours. He has been stripped of so much power.
C. Lopez: (STOPS WALKING.) Stripped of power?
M. de la Cruz: Well Viceroy Monterrey took away Don Juan's right to appoint the first royal officials of New Mexico. That's terrible. And, he can't even determine their salaries.
C. Lopez: Yes, that will definitely effect all of us. Who knows what outsiders will be brought in. (BOTH START WALKING AGAIN.) .However my concern is not when we leave, but whether we will all achieve a Hidalgo status.
M. de la Cruz: What do you mean? I thought all of us would, whoever went.
C. Lopez: No, only if the colonists persevere in the occupation for 5 years, a full five years. And those that don't, will not be given the title, which means no tax benefits, nor freedom from numerous assessments.
M. de la Cruz: (STOPS.) But we need the tax benefits. Without that we won't be any better off than the Indians, (WALK, THEN PAUSE.) Is it true that they also took away Don Juan's authority to determine the amount of tribute which the Indians are to pay.
C. Lopez: (CONTINUES WALKING.) Yes, it's true; but it might have been a very clever negotiating strategy on the part of Don Juan.
M. de la Cruz: What do you mean? (CATCHES UP WITH DONA LOPEZ)
C. Lopez: They let him raise the mining claims tax to 10%, instead of the usual 5%.
M. de la Cruz: That doesn't sound like much of a concession.
M. de la Cruz: A 50% increase on the mining claims tax, that's wonderful. That could add up to a lot of money for Don Juan.
C. Lopez: Exactly, and for the rest of us too. (START WALKING AND PAUSE AGAIN.) My sons are anxious to begin. My husband tries to keep them busy with cleaning pistols and polishing saddles; but, they are like caged stallions. Every night there are fights in the cantina. I just hope that we will leave before one of them ends up dead from some stupid argument. Come by tomorrow and I'll show you the (PATS THE BAG.) dress.
M. de la Cruz: Muy bien.
(THEY BOTH PART AND EXIT IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS.)
5, FEBRUARY 24, 1597, VALLEY OF THE PUANA, TOWN OF NOMBRE DE
DIGS, NEW SPAIN
NARRATOR: Although Juan Oņate fulfilled every letter of his contract royal whim kept the company waiting for a departure date. The royal inspector, Don Lope de Ulloa was noncommittal and not pressured by Don Juan's stature in the community.
(DON LOPE DE ULLOA ENTERS, IN THE SAME PATHWAY AS USED BY ONATE IN SCENE 2. HE IS FOLLOWED BY Oņate.
Inspector Ulloa: I realize the people are anxious, but I must await further orders myself.
Juan Oņate: But I have done everything that I was suppose to.
Inspector Ulloa: Don Juan, It is clear that you have not only fulfilled the contract Don Juan, but surpassed each of the requirements. You should be very pleased with the confidence place in you by the people.
Juan Oņate: Well, yes, I am, but I had hoped I could give them a definite date for departure.
Inspector Ulloa: Don Juan, I cannot give you a date. I cannot at this time even give you a year.
Juan Oņate: You mean it may not even be next year. I do not understand, the King encouraged a speedy exploration with the purpose of the "acto de posession" prior to other countries. My people are ready. We are ready. I am ready. Why?
Inspector Ulloa: Times are very uncertain. Many of the Kings advisors consider these further outreaches, unnecessary expenses to the throne.
Juan Oņate: Unnecessary expenses to the throne! It is not considered unnecessary expenses to the King when our gold and silver arrives in bricks the size of a man's thigh.
Inspector Ulloa: You will not talk about King Philip in that way, Sir.
Juan Oņate: I did not mean a lack of respect, excuse me, please. I am not sure I can hold the company together. Many families are living in debt, homes mortgaged, monies borrowed.
Inspector Ulloa: A leader who can accurately account for each nail,each strip of beef jerky, and each bottle of cascara will succeed.
Juan Oņate: The hearts of the people, Sir, grow weak.
Inspector Ulloa: The hearts of the people Sir, are in your hands. Good day. (EXITS AWAY FROM THE HOUSE.)
Juan Onate: Good day. (EXITS INTO THE HOUSE.)
SCENE 6, 1598, SANTA BARBARA, NEW SPAIN, VILLAGE STREET
NARRATOR: But the hearts of the people were not all in the hands
of Don Oņate. Changes were taking place all around him and he was powerless to control them. What man can control the heart of a young girl who has first found love, or a woman whose heart rests in the security of a society which she has left behind.
(TWO WOMEN ENTER UP STAGE RIGHT. THE MOTHER, BEATRICE PEREZ DE BUSTILLO IS IN HER EARLY THIRTIES. GERONIMA, HER TEENAGE DAUGHTER. BEATRICE IS VERY UPSET, SHAKES HER HEAD. TAKES OUT A ROSARY, KISSES IT AND APPEARS TO BE APPEALING TO HEAVEN. GERONIMA WALKS NEXT TO HER AND GESTURES IN A PLEADING MANNER.)
Beatrice: What do you mean don't be upset? First you tell me that you want to get married. Mija, you are only 13 . . .13.
Geronima: I will be fourteen in two months.
Beatrice: (BEATRICE IGNORES HER STATEMENT.) And then, and then in the same breath you tell me that he is an Indian, an Indian!
Geronima: He is Tascaltecas, Mama.
Beatrice: I don't care. Es Indio!
Geronima: But with the rights of a Hidalgo.
Beatrice: I don't care what rights he has and neither will your father. Your father with a temper to match his red hair and who carries the scars on his back and almost lost an arm to an Indio. Do you think he will care that he is a Indian with Hidalgo rights. He is an Indian.
Geronima: Only half. His mother was Tascaltecas, but his great-great grandfather was a soldier with Cortez, a Spanish soldier.
Beatrice: Well that half will be flowing in your children's veins and mixing with the blood which we gave you. Abuelita Maria would die on the spot hearing you talk like this.
Geronima: Mama, but she's already dead.
Beatrice: A good thing. I pray that I will die before I see you married to an indio. How could I rejoice with my grandchildren? How could I take them to communion?
Geronima: Mama, it will be different in Nuevo Mexico. It will be a whole different life. Look at Don Oņate, su esposa es India.
Beatrice: How dare you speak about Dona Isabel that way.
Geronima: Well she is, you know that. Everyone knows that.
Geronima: Mama, he hasn't touched me.
Beatrice: I know we should've never left Puebla. I told Hernando. I told him, but he never listens, I told him repeatedly. How can a mother bring up her daughter properly in this wilderness. Hay Dios, Hay Dios, que vamos a ser. . . . (WRINGS HER HANDS.)
Geronima: (REACHES OUT AND LIGHTLY TOUCHES HER MOTHER.) Mama, listen. Listen to me. He hasn't touched me!
Beatrice: (SHE SWAYS LIKE SHE WILL FAINT. GERONIMA PUTS HER ARM AROUND BEATRICE TO KEEP HER FROM FALLING. BEATRICE FINALLY UNDERSTANDS IT IS ALL THE INFATUATION OF AN INNOCENT YOUNG GIRL.) Then what is all this talk of marriage.
Geronima: I love him.
Beatrice: You foolish girl. Maybe he is already married. I've told you about men. They can have a dozen children, but let a pretty girl turn up her skirt and they lose their head and their honor.
Geronima: Mama, I did not lift up my skirt and he is not married. I've asked around.
Beatrice: You've asked around town about an Indian . . Oh, Geronima, how can you do this to me.
Geronima: (NOW SHE IS NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO HER MOTHER.) He rounds up wild horses and breaks them for Don Oņate's.
Beatrice: But where?
Geronima: The corral, behind the blacksmith shop.
Beatrice: (SPEAKING TO HERSELF.) I told Hernando that you should not run his errands. I told him it was improper for a young girl to be wandering about without a duena.
Geronima: Oh, he is so handsome, and what a horseman. No one has the success he has. He is both gentle and strong with them and in no time at all they are eating grain from his hand. Every-time I see a brown stallion, I think it might be him.
Beatrice: A brown stallion. I thought all Indians rode
Beatrice: (SARCASTIC) Y este muchaco, what color skin does he have? Is he light? Maybe his father was a northern Spaniard or perhaps his mother had blood from those eastern tribes. I understand they are lighter than the heathens around here.
Geronima: But, what difference does it make, Padre Alonso says we are all children of the same God, and I love him.
Beatrice: Love him, you don't even know him.
Geronima: Sometimes,I see a drunken soldier use a whip on his
Beatrice: (SARCASTIC) I didn't think Indians had to talk to horses. (GERONIMA LOOKS AT HER MOTHER, PUZZLED.) I thought they just read each other's mind. (GERONIMA IS ANGRY, BUT DOESN'T RESPOND.) Does he speak Apache or Tanos?
Geronima: He speaks perfect Castilian. I told you he is Tascaltecas.
Beatrice: (SUSPICIOUS) How do you know? I thought you said you hadn't spoken to him.
Geronima: (SHYLY) Well, we did say hello as we passed during Mass.
Beatrice: (BECOMES VERY ANGRY. SUSPECTS MORE THAN IS BEING REVEALED.) How dare he speak to the daughter of Hernando Hinojos. How dare he. Come, walk quickly. I want your father, to know what has been going on behind his back.
Geronima: Nothing has been going on. Nothing.
Beatrice: You know what your father will do. I will tell you. After he has given your indio a sound beating, to teach him proper respect for women of society, he will send us back to Puebla to find a proper husband, a husband of your own station. And I, will pray several novenas in gratitude to leave this God forsaken desert
Geronima: Leave? But Mama, I love him, and I know in my heart that he loves me. BEATRICE CONTINUES WALKING QUICKLY.) Please listen to me. I am not a child anymore.
Beatrice: (STOPS AND FACES GERONIMA) A woman does not throw herself at a man, especially not one of an inferior race.
Geronima: Inferior? He's not inferior. You are wrong Mama.
Beatrice: He is a heathen in his soul. A heathen may speak Spanish and even profess to belong to the Holy Church . . .
Geronima: (INTERRUPTS) His eyes reveal more than his words . . there is gentleness, kindness, a peace beyond my own.
Beatrice: (CONTINUING) but in his blood runs the wildness and barbarism of the desert. Nothing can change that. Not your love. Not your status as the daughter of a Hidalgo. Nada! I'm sorry, pero, asi es la vida. (BOTH EXIT, DOWN STAGE LEFT.)
SCENE 7, JANUARY 8, 1598, VALLEY OF SAN BARTOLOME, SANTA BARBARA, NEW SPAIN
NARRATOR: Almost two and a half years after being appointed governor, Don Juan Oņate still had not received approval. This resulted in the loss of many people who could no longer endure the wait. Even Don Juan's strong leadership skills could not overcome the financial hardships people suffered nor the emotional stress. The people were restless and angry.
(TWO SERVANTS ENTER WITH A TABLE AND SET IT DOWN STAGE. THEY EXIT AND ONE RETURNS WITH A CHAIR, THE OTHER WITH A POT OF INK AND A QUILL PEN. EXIT. VOICES ARE HEARD OFF STAGE, MIXED VOICES, CHILDREN, WOMEN, MEN. INSPECTOR JUAN FRIAS DE SALAZAR ENTERS WITH JUAN ONATE.)
Juan Frias: Are we ready to begin?
Juan Frias: (SITS BEHIND THE TABLE ON WHICH IS A POT OF INK AND A QUILL PEN.) Bring in the families first.
(JUAN ONATE CROSSES TO AN OPENING AND BRINGS IN THE FIRST FAMILY. JUAN PEREZ, HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN ENTER. JUAN CARRIES A SHEET OF PAPER.)
Juan Oņate: May I introduce Juan Perez de Bustillo and his wife Maria de la Cruz. (JUAN FRIAS ACKNOWLEDGES WITH A NOD OF THE HEAD.) You may read your list.
Juan Perez: Statement of what I, Juan Perez de Bustillo, alferez of
New Mexico, am taking to serve his majesty, which is as follows:
Further, my wife, seven daughter, and two grown sons. I swear by God and a cross that I am taking all of the aforesaid, and I sign my name. (HE SIGNS HIS NAME AND HANDS ONATE THE PAPER.)
Juan Oņate: Thank you Juan Perez. (THE FAMILY EXITS.)
Juan Frias: (SPEAKING TO ONATE) A blacksmith is a valuable addition, but seven daughters to protect. I don't know.
Juan Oņate: We are colonizers. We will need women.
(PEDRO ROBLEDO AND HIS WIFE ENTER. NOD A GREETING TO JUAN ONATE.)
Juan Oņate: Good morning. Inspector Salazar, I would like to introduce my good friend Don Pedro Robledo and his wife Dona Catalina Lopez. (JUAN FRIAS NODS A WELCOME.) Please read your statement.
Pedro Robledo: I, Pedro Robledo, alferez in the company of Captain
Alonso de Sosa Albornoz, state that I was informed of a decree
published in this camp by order of your grace, and in compliance with
it I present this statement for myself and four sons who are going on
this expedition. My sons are Diego Robledo, Alonso Robledo, Pedro
Robledo, and Francisco Robledo.
Juan Oņate: Thank you Pedro.
(PEDRO HANDS JUAN ONATE THE PAPER THEN HE AND HIS WIFE EXIT.)
Juan Oņate: Well?
Juan Frias: Yes, very good. Well prepared, five swords, five muskets five coats of mail, five beavers, five mules. That is the caliber of men that can subdue the wilds. Please bring in the single men. I believe you said you have three more enlistees.
(3 YOUNG MEN ENTER, SHABBY, INSECURE, TAKE OFF THEIR HATS.)
Rodrigo Belman: I, Rodrigo Belman, come before your grace to state that I do not manifest any arms since I have none, but the governor, Don Juan de Oņate, offered to furnish me whatever I needed for the expedition in order that I might go. I swear by God that this is the truth and I sign my name.
Diego Hernandez: I, Diego Hernandez, come before your grace to say that I have nothing to manifest other than myself, and I swear by God and this cross that this is the truth. Since I do not know how to write, I ask Rodrigo Belman to sign for me as a witness. (BELMAN SIGNS FOR HIM.)
Diego de Landin: I, Diego de Landin, come before your grace and declare a horse and a harnessed mule carrying my belonging, and a musket. I swear by God and the cross that all of this is mine ' and that there is no fraud against the king our lord. (SIGNS)
Juan Oņate: Thank you, you are dismissed. (THREE YOUNG MEN EXIT.)
Juan Frias: I am very disappointed. They are obviously a very poor
Juan Oņate: They are young. They are strong. They are available.
Juan Frias: They are inexperienced.
Juan Oņate: They are ready.
Juan Frias: That is questionable. Even with these last three of questionable worth, you are still short 71 men.
Juan Oņate: Your Excellency, the wait. The infernal wait. Many just couldn't wait any more. I know I can still fulfill every word of my contract. I have strong promises for the needed support.
Juan Frias: Don Juan, I have been inspecting men and supplies from December the 6th until now, a full month. Surely you knew that you were short of the needed 200 men.
Juan Oņate: It is difficult for young men to hold on to a dream which keeps fading.
Juan Frias: I must use my good judgment and can consider rescending your license. Viceroy Count Monterrey will fill the ranks. Not with old men or young boys, but with trained, experienced, professional soldiers, range-wise soldiers. And you, Don Juan will pay for them.
Juan Oņate: Yes, of course. I have the financial support. I give you my word.
Juan Frias: It is my responsibility to be completely confident that your contract will be completed successfully.
Juan Oņate: Just a minute are you questioning my military skills, or my word?
Juan Frias: Don Juan, you are a man of strong will, determination
and much vision. Perhaps too much vision. Proceed, but don't proceed
beyond the restrictions of the contract. Don't proceed beyond the law.
Two weeks, I will give you two weeks. Two weeks to fulfill every
letter of the contract.
Juan Onate: (DOWNCAST. LOOKS UP AS IF BESEECHING GOD. EXITS QUIETLY.)
SCENE 8, JANUARY 10, 1598, AVINO, NUEVO VIZCAYA
NARRATOR: Don Onate's cousins feared that Juan Frias Salazar, the second royal inspector would with, just cause recommend to the Council of the Indies not to allow Don Onate to head the colonizing project. Their concern prompted a serious financial decision.
(JUAN GUERRA DE RESA AND HIS WIFE DONA ANA DE ZALDIVAR Y MENDOZA ENTER. SHE WEARS A SHAWL.)
Dona Ana: I realize we are talking about risking our future; but I don't see that we have any choice. Don Juan felt he would lose some of the families and men if he had to wait over another summer. He was obviously right. We all knew it would happen. What I don't understand is why couldn't the King see it.
Juan Guerra: Perhaps he did. But other men were offering more. You've heard, Pedro Ponce de Leon was almost given the license.
Dona Ana: Yes.
Juan Guerra: Then, these four years would have been waited in vain.
Dona Ana: And at what expense. So let us not hold back our support now.
Juan Guerra: Good, we'll go over. I knew you would feel this way. Don Juan felt that you would feel that way.
Dona Ana: Well if Juan Frias Salazar inspection found the company short by 71 men, posting a bond for the support of 80 men sounds reasonable.
Juan Guerra: You know that the Count Monterrey will be enlisting the men.
Dona Ana: Yes, to prove he is superior to the governor, more powerful. Let us just hope that our financial commitment will result in a successful third and last inspection.
Juan Guerra: We risk our future.
Dona Ana: Si, pero es familia. We will see it returned and more.
He is governor. Regardless of what he finds in la Nueva Mexico he
is governor and the mines will be under his jurisdiction. And we, his
supporting primes will profit by our commitment. There is a risk, but
life in Nueva Espana is a risk.
SCENE 9, JANUARY 21 1598, LLERENA, NEW VIZCAYA,
(JUAN GUERRA, AND DONA ANA ENTER UPSTAGE. THEY WALK DOWNSTAGE TO CENTER STAGE AND READ THE FOLLOWING LINES DIRECTLY TO THE AUDIENCE.)
Juan Guerra: (READ.) Know all men by these presents that I, Juan Guerra de Resa, resident and operator of these mines of Avino. . .
Dona Ana: and I Dona Ana de Zaldivar y Mendoza, his legitimate wife. .
Juan Guerra: (READ.) we, husband and wife in common agreement and full accord, grant and acknowledge that we give and concede our full power to Don Juan de Zaldivar Oņate, maese de campo general, for all the sums of gold pesos that seem to have been found short in the inspection and review held of Don Juan de Onate, according to his contract. We bind ourselves to the fulfillment and payment. We obligate our persons and the real and personal property that we now possess or that we may acquire in the future.
Dona Ana: (READ.) I, Dona Ana de Zaldivar y Mendoza renounce my immunity as a married woman, as well as my dowry and claims to other personal property. I swear and promise in the name of God our Lord, Holy Mary, the four holy gospels, and by a sign of the cross to fulfill all that may be agreed upon and which I may be bound under penalty of being an infamous perjurer and of incurring the penalty of being disgraced.
Juan Guerra: (READ.) We grant this instrument before a notary public and witnesses at the mines of Avino, January 21, 1598.
(JUAN ONATE ENTERS AND CROSSES AND STANDS NEXT TO THE GUERRAS. ONATE UNROLLS A DOCUMENT AND READS FROM IT.)
Juan Onate: (READ.) I, Governor Don Juan de Onate, could not continue with the expedition until I had given complete satisfaction of the deficiencies. We, Don Juan de Zaldivar Oņate, Contador Alonso Sanchez, and myself speaking for and in the name of Juan Guerra de Resa and Dona Ana de Zaldivar under joint agreement obligate ourselves to supply the necessary provisions for the soldiers who are to be recruited by a person named by the viceroy.
Likewise, we or anyone of us are obliged to pay and will bear the expense of sending some person or persons to inspect and review the said people and equipment at whatever locality the .viceroy wishes.
We recognize that we may be compelled to do this by all the rigor of the law through imprisonment or foreclosure. We submit ourselves to the authority and jurisdiction of the royal Council of the Indies and of the viceroy so that, as if our possessions belonged to the royal treasury.
(HOLDS UP A DOCUMENT.) And here is the proof of my commitment, a signed testimony with the seal and signature of the secretary of the inspection and notary of the king, Jaime Fernandez. (ALL EXIT INTO ONATE HOUSE.)
SCENE 10, APRIL 20, 1598 NUEVO MEXICO, ON THE BANKS OF THE
RIO DEL NORTE
NARRATOR: The final documents were finally signed on January 27, 1598. The long wait was over. The party left soon after from the town of Hidalgo de Parral. Caspar Perez de Villagra, a historian and poet who served as a Captain on the expedition described the 350 miles as "unpeopled regions, vast and solitary plains where the foot of Christians had not trod before."
(PIONEERS START ENTERING, WALKING SLOWLY. SUPPORTING EACH OTHER.)
"We marched enduring hardships patiently, trusting in God to bring us safely to the river's shore. Our provisions gave out, and we were obliged to subsist on such edible weeds and roots as we found"
(WOMEN SEARCH THE SURROUNDINGS, PULLING UP GREENERY, THEY PUT IT IN BASKETS OR IN THE POCKETS OF THEIR APRONS.)
The years of preparation and 3 royal inspections did not protect the colonizers from suffering from a lack cf water. The dryness of land and wind in the Chihuahua desert, and the inability of finding water was a problem beyound comprehending.
(MEN TRY POURING WATER FROM BOTAS WHICH ARE EMPTY.)
Even the experienced scouts were without water for the four days before reaching the Rio del Norte, now called the Rio Grande.
(SOUND OF GUSHING WATERS.)
The sounds of the gushing river caused a joy and madness in even the most sedate. (PEOPLE ARE EXCITED, HUGGING ONE ANOTHER. SOME ENTER WITH BUCKETS, JUGS AND SHARE IT BY POURING INTO CUPS, HANDS, AND OPEN MOUTHS.
The river assured the people that they were within God's grace and their suffering was over. Villagra wrote, "We were happy our trials were over; as happy as the passengers in the ark when they saw the dove returning with the olive branch. We built a great bonfire and roasted the meat and fish, and then sat down to a repast the like of which we had never enjoyed before." It was truly a day of thanksgiving, Onate's feast of Thanks. April 20, 1598.
(PEOPLE FREEZE IN VARIOUS POSITIONS OF RECEIVING WATER. SOME RAISE THEIR HANDS IN THANKS.)
11, APRIL 30, 1598, NUEVO MEXICO, ON THE BANKS OF THE RIO DEL NORTE
NARRATOR: Ten days later on the day of Ascension, April 30, 1598,Alonso Martinez a Franciscan friar conducted mass and then lead a procession to the location selected for the royal ceremony.
ALONSO MARTINEZ ENTERS AT THE HEAD OF A PROCESSION. JUAN ONATE WALKS BESIDE HIM CARRYING A BANNER. SOLDIERS AND COLONIZERS ARE ALSO PART OF THE PROCESSION. AS THE PROCESSION PASSES THOSE WHO ARE IN A FREEZE POSITION BREAK THEIR FREEZE AND JOIN IN THE PROCESSION.)
NARRATOR: Juan de Onate assembled his soldiers and conducted the formal ceremony of La Toma, claiming the region in the name of Felipe II, King of Castilla and Portugal, the West and East Indies.
(ONATE CROSSES TO THE TREE AND LIFTS THE CROSS TO BE NAILED. THE PEOPLE KNEEL. FRAY MARTINEZ KNEELS CLOSE TO ONATE IN A REVERENT POSITION. DON JUAN NAILS A CROSS TO THE TREE. RECITING THE PRAYER AS FOLLOWS. AS HE DOES THE PEOPLE BOW THEIR HEADS IN REVERENCE.)
"Open the door of heaven to these heathens, establish the Church and altars where the body and blood of the son of God may be offered, open to us the way to security and peace for their preservation and ours, and give to our King, and to me in hi: royal name, peaceful possession of these Kingdoms and provinces for His blessed glory. Amen."
Fray Martinez: (FRAY ALONSO MARTINEZ RAISES HIS ARMS AND SAYS LOUDLY.) Thanks be to God. (PEOPLE IN KNEELING POSITION, MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS. FRAY MARTINEZ RISES AND STARTS TO EXIT. JUAN ONATE FOLLOWS FRAY MARTINEZ. THE WALK THROUGH THE KNEELING CONGREGATION WHO ONE BY ONE RISE AND FOLLOW THEM OUT, EXITING QUIETLY.)
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