Acoma Pueblo (pron.: /ˈækəmə/; Western Keresan: Aa’ku; Zuni: Hakukya; Navajo: Haakʼoh) is a Native American pueblo approximately sixty miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico in the United States. Three villages make up Acoma Pueblo: Sky City (Old Acoma), Acomita, and McCartys. The Acoma Pueblo tribe is a federally recognized tribal entity. The historical land of Acoma Pueblo totaled roughly 5 million acres; now only 10% of this land is in the hands of the community. According the 2010 United States Census, 4,989 people identified as Acoma. The Acoma have continuously occupied the area for more than 800 years, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States. Acoma tribal traditions estimate that they have lived in the village for more than two thousand years.
I was very fortunate to have paid a visit to Sky City back in the early 1990’s, whilst on one of my many American ‘Blue Highway’ road trips. I had already read the signs that it was not a desired notion to take photographs of the place, but I just couldn’t resist rolling some Super 8 when Acoma, atop it’s 367′ sandstone mesa first showed itself to me. To this day I have never seen or located the footage from that hot and magical afternoon.
Having fled from his home in New Mexico after being jailed for a theft he may not have committed, Billy became a ranch hand and sheepherder in Arizona. In 1877, he was hired on as a teamster at the Camp Grant Army Post, where he attracted the enmity of a burly civilian blacksmith named Frank “Windy” Cahill. Perhaps because Billy was well liked by others in the camp, Cahill enjoyed demeaning the scrawny youngster.
On this day, 17 August in 1877, Cahill apparently went too far when he called Billy a “pimp.” Billy responded by calling Cahill a “son of a bitch,” and the big blacksmith jumped him and easily threw him to the ground. Pinned to the floor by the stronger man, Billy apparently panicked. He pulled his pistol and shot Cahill, who died the next day.