FROM THE ARCHIVE

Marc Simmons: Bibo the Jewish Pueblo governor

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MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2003

"An old friend of mine living on Staten Island, N.Y., recently sent me an interesting article clipped from a periodical of the American Jewish Historical Society. The title of the piece was "Don Solomono, Jewish Indian Chief."

My friend wanted to know if I had ever heard of Solomon Bibo, who became governor of Acoma Pueblo in 1888 and was the subject of the clipping. Indeed I had, since his story, while not well-known, forms one of the more unusual chapters in the history of Indian-white relations in the Southwest.

To refresh my memory, I went to a small book on the Bibo family written some years ago by a fellow historian, the late Rabbi Floyd S. Fierman of El Paso. On several occasions, I had talked with him about the Bibos and other early-day Jewish families, about whom he had done extensive research.

On Jan. 1, 1888, Solomon Bibo took office for the customary one-year term as governor of the pueblo of Acoma. That an outsider should assume this office by election was unprecedented, and it has to serve as a measure of the prestige he enjoyed among the Indians."

Get the Story:
Trail Dust: Solomon's Story: The Jewish Man Who Governed a Pueblo (Marc Simmons in The Santa Fe New Mexican 3/24)