The New Mexico Pueblos: A Short Snapshot

The Pueblo are Native American tribal nations who live in Pueblos and are descended from the Anasazi. With a long tradition of farming and craftsmanship including Native American jewelry, they have traditionally lived in adobe villages in the southwest for more than one thousand years.

What is a Pueblo?

Pueblo Indian

By Edward S. Curtis: Girl and Jar—San Ildefonso, 1905, Smithsonian American Art Museum

A Pueblo is a tribally-governed body of land and community comprised of related people with a common lifestyle, spirituality, and belief system.

There are nineteen Pueblos of New Mexico. These include the Zuni, Santo Domingo, Taos, Acoma and more. The Zuni Pueblo has the largest registered population among all of these, numbering close to ten thousand tribal members.

With three language families, the five recognized dialects of New Mexico Pueblo peoples are Zuni, Tiwa, Towa, Tewa, and Keres.

There are four non-Pueblo tribes in New Mexico; these are the Navajo (Dine), and the Jicarilla, Mescalero, and Fort Sill Apache tribes.

Are the Hopi Pueblo People?

The Hopi are closely related to the Zuni, but Hopi tribal lands are located in Arizona’s northeast. The Hopi and the Zuni share similar belief systems, however, their leadership structures and villages are independent of each other.

Pueblo Custom

Pueblo Indians celebrate the seasonal cycles and prayer, dance and song play a huge role in these celebrations. Dance connects the tribes with their ancestors and traditions, while also honoring the Creator.

Pueblo communities congregate on Feast Days to observe their cultural traditions, ceremonies, and dances and honor the Pueblo’s patron saint. Dances are held outside in central plazas between the adobe dwellings.

Many Pueblos are open to the public for visiting during Feast Days and other Pueblo celebrations.

Pueblo Three Sisters

The traditional agriculture of the New Mexico Pueblo tribes is based on corn, squash, and beans. These are referred to as the “three sisters”. They combine to provide a perfectly balanced diet and together foster a farming system that is highly efficient:

  1. Corn provides a stalk for beans to grow upon, as well as shade.
  2. Beans provide dietary protein as well as the nitrogen required for corn to grow successfully.
  3. Squash protects the corn and beans from pests by creating a ground cover.

By drying the corn and beans, a balanced diet is available year-round, even outside harvest season.

Pueblo Craftsmanship

These people are renowned for their arts and crafts, including basket-making, weaving, inlay silver jewelry, pottery, and drum-making. The art of the Pueblos is renowned, with both traditional and modern authentic designs honoring their cultural heritage and ancestors.

Here at Indian Traders, we have a stunning range of Hopi, Navajo and Zuni artisan products including Native American jewelry that is particular to the Pueblo tribal designs. See our complete range here.

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