- Countries and Their Cultures
by D. L. Birchfield
Pueblo peoples have lived in the American Southwest for thousands of years. Their ancient ruins, particularly Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, are among the most spectacular ancient ruins in North America. By the end of the severe, prolonged droughts in the late fourteenth century they had relocated to the vicinity of their modern communities primarily located within the watershed of the upper Rio Grande River Valley in New Mexico and the watershed of the Little Colorado River in Arizona. The pueblo tribes represent several distantly related language families and dialects, and they have continued to maintain close contact with each other since the arrival of Europeans in the region in the sixteenth century. Today the 19 pueblos of New Mexico cooperate in a loose confederation called the All Indian Pueblo Council. Each pueblo is autonomous and has its own tribal government. The Pueblos have been able to retain a tribal land base, retain a strong sense of community, and maintain their languages and cultures. The name Pueblo is the same as the Spanish word for village and denotes both the people and their communal homes.
No one knows precisely when Pueblo peoples first arrived in the Southwest, but they are believed to be descended from Archaic desert culture peoples
This celebration amongst Santa Clara Pueblo occurs in New Mexico.
who had been in the region for thousands of years. Archaeologists have developed eight classifications for Pueblo chronology. Basketmaker I spans the period prior to 100 B.C. The Basketmaker II period (100 B.C. -400 A.D. ) featured beautifully woven baskets, the cultivation of corn and pumpkins, the first pit houses, and rare, crude gray pottery. The Basketmaker III period (400-700) featured the first cultivation of beans, the domestication of turkeys, the replacing of short spears and the atlatl with the bow and arrow, and the increased use of pottery (either gray, or with a black pattern on a white base). The Pueblo I period (700-900) featured the cultivation of cotton; pit houses became ceremonial kivas; houses were built above ground out of stone and set immediately against one another; cradle boards were introduced; and white, red, and orange ceremonial pottery was made with black or red decorations. The Pueblo II period (900-1100) featured multi-storied stone masonry apartments and an elaborate system of roads in a culture that is also known as the Ancestral Puebloan. The Pueblo III period (1100-1300) saw the Ancestral Puebloan culture reach its greatest height in communities such as Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde; the period featured extensive trade with and the development of polychrome pottery and pots of diverse shapes. During the Pueblo IV period (1300-1540) glazing was used in pottery for the first time, but only for ornamentation, and paintings appeared on the walls of the kivas; the population centers shifted from the Colorado Plateau to the Little Colorado River and the upper Rio Grande River. The Pueblo V period (1540-present) featured the adjustments Pueblo peoples have had to make due to the arrival of Europeans in the region. By 1700 only Zuñi, Acoma, Taos, Picuris, and the Hopi had not moved their locations since the arrival of the Spanish.
The Pueblo people were visited by a number of large Spanish exploratory expeditions in the sixteenth century, beginning with Coronado in 1540. These expeditions brought diseases for which the Pueblos had no resistance and resulted in large population decreases before the Spanish finally colonized New Mexico with the expedition of Juan de Oñate in 1598. The Pueblo people suffered severe disruptions of their lives and cultures during the long Spanish colonization of New Mexico. During the Spanish era the number of pueblos in New Mexico was reduced from somewhere between 70 and 100 pueblos to 19. The Spanish tried to force the Pueblos to convert to Christianity and exacted forced labor from them under the encomienda system. Many pueblos were moved or consolidated to benefit Spanish labor demands. In the mid-seventeenth century serious disputes developed between the civil and religious authorities in New Mexico, with the Pueblos caught in the middle. In 1680 the Pueblos revolted and successfully drove the Spanish out of New Mexico for more than a decade, but the Spanish returned in force and reconquered the region by 1694. The historic southward migration of the Comanches onto the Southern Plains, beginning about 1700, displaced the Eastern Apaches from the plains and greatly altered Spanish-Indian relations in New Mexico for the remainder of the Spanish colonial era. Pueblo auxiliaries were often required to fight with Spanish troops against either Apaches, Navajos, Utes, or Comanches, depending upon Spanish Indian policies and alliances at any given time. Pueblos became Mexican citizens in 1820 at the conclusion of the Mexican revolution, the only Indians in the Southwest to be granted Mexican citizenship. As Mexican citizens, Pueblos became citizens of the United States at the conclusion of the Mexican War in 1848, the only Indians in the Southwest to gain U.S. citizenship in that manner. Most Indians in the Southwest did not become U.S. citizens until the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.
Pueblo peoples today are still to be found in their ancestral homeland, primarily along the upper Rio Grande River Valley in the state of New Mexico, along with the Hopi in northeastern Arizona and the small community of Isleta del Sur near El Paso, Texas, just across the border from New Mexico. Census figures have sometimes shown great variation from census to census for some individual pueblos, as have population reports compiled by other federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs Labor Force Report. In both the 1980 and 1990 census, Arizona and New Mexico ranked third and fourth, respectively, for the largest number of Indian residents within each state (Oklahoma and California have the largest Indian populations). Texas ranked eighth. The Pueblo peoples in these states and their modern tribal governments follow.
The Acoma Pueblo is one of the 12 Southern Pueblos, located west of Albuquerque, and the oldest continuously inhabited settlement within the United States, dating from the twelfth century. Called the Sky City, it sits atop a 350-foot mesa. Only about 50 people now inhabit the ancient town year-round. It has no electricity or running water. Most of the Acoma people live in the nearby communities of Acomita, Anzac, and McCartys.
Cochiti Pueblo, a Southern Pueblo, is located west of Santa Fe. Cochiti pueblo raises income from a variety of sources, including recreational leases of lands near Cochiti Lake, an Army Corps of Engineers project. Cochiti drums are well-known craft items made here, as well as pottery, jewelry, and storyteller figures. A portion of the original 1628 church can still be seen in the rebuilt structure.
Isleta Pueblo, a Southern Pueblo, is the largest Tiwa-speaking pueblo, composed of several communities on the Rio Grande River south of Albuquerque.
Jemez Pueblo, another Southern Pueblo, is located north of Albuquerque in an area of wilderness and is the last remaining Towa-speaking pueblo. It absorbed the Towa-speaking survivors of Pecos Pueblo when Pecos was abandoned in the 1830s. The pueblo is known historically for its baskets made of yucca fronds. While this is no longer an active art form at Jemez, some well-known jewelers, potters, and storyteller doll makers live there.
Laguna Pueblo, a Southern Pueblo located west of Albuquerque, is the largest Keresan-speaking pueblo, composed of six villages: Old Laguna, Paguate, Mesita, Paraje, Encinal, and Seama. Each town has its own fair and feast day. A rich uranium mine was located here. Now the Laguna Reclamation Project is attempting to restore the mining site.
Nambe Pueblo, is one of the eight Northern Pueblos, located north of Santa Fe in an area of scenic land formations.
Picuris Pueblo, a Northern Pueblo, located north of Santa Fe, is the smallest of the Tiwa-speaking pueblos. The original pueblo, built in the twelfth century, was abandoned after the Pueblo revolt of 1680 and was reestablished in the early eighteenth century.
Pojoaque Pueblo, the smallest of all the pueblos, is a Northern Pueblo located north of Santa Fe. A late nineteenth century smallpox epidemic almost destroyed this Tewa-speaking people. The present settlement dates from the 1930s, but ruins of the original pueblo are nearby. Also nearby are the ruins of several pueblos deserted after the Pueblo Revolt. Traditional dances were revived in 1973 after having been abandoned for about a century. Revenues from a commercial strip along the
These Pueblo children are performing in a ritual cermonial dance.
highway makes Pojoaque one of the more affluent pueblos.
Sandia Pueblo, a small Southern Pueblo located north of Albuquerque, occupies about 26 acres near the center of the reservation. Its annual feast day is open to the public.
San Felipe Pueblo, a Keresan-speaking pueblo known for its ceremonies, is a Southern Pueblo located north of Albuquerque. Its Green Corn Dance involves hundreds of participants.
San Ildefonso Pueblo, a Northern Pueblo of Tewa-speaking pueblo famous for its pottery is located north of Santa Fe. San Ildefonso is host to the annual Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Artist and Craftsman Show.
San Juan Pueblo is the largest Tewa-speaking pueblo. A Northern Pueblo located north of Santa Fe, it was the site of the first Spanish capitol of New Mexico.
Santa Ana Pueblo, a Southern Pueblo, is located north of Albuquerque. This Keresan-speaking pueblo is often closed to the public except for several feast days during the year. Many of the residents live on farmland outside the pueblo.
Santa Clara Pueblo, is a Northern Pueblo, located north of Santa Fe. Traditional crafts are available, and tours are available for the ancient 740-room Puye Cliff Dwellings.
Santo Domingo Pueblo, a Southern Pueblo located north of Albuquerque and known for its turquoise and silver jewelry, is the largest of the eastern Keresan-speaking pueblos.
Taos Pueblo, a Northern Pueblo north of Santa Fe, is a Tiwa-speaking pueblo famous for its drums. A National Historic Site, the pueblo is heavily visited by tourists. Taos Pueblo and the nearby town of Taos were famous during the fur trapping era.
Tesuque Pueblo, a Northern Pueblo located north of Santa Fe, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 started here.
Zia Pueblo, a Southern Pueblo located north of Albuquerque, is a Keresan-speaking pueblo known for its orange-on-white pottery. The Zia sun symbol was adopted by the state of New Mexico and appears on the state flag. The pueblo overlooks the Jemez River.
Zuñi Pueblo is known for its jewelry, sold by the Zuñi Craftsmen Cooperative Association at the pueblo. There are restaurants and a tribal campground. The Hawikuh ruins, a Zuñi village abandoned after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, are nearby. The Zuñi Pueblo is a Southern Pueblo located south of Gallup.
In northeastern Arizona, completely surrounded by the Navajo Nation, the villages of the Hopi occupy approximately 1.5 million acres of reservation land. The Hopi population exceeds 9,000, found primarily near the center of the nation, with the three ancient villages on top of First Mesa, Second Mesa, and Third Mesa and the three modern communities at the foot of the mesas.
Just across the border from New Mexico, in Texas, is Isleta del Sur Pueblo. This pueblo was founded by Pueblo people from Isleta who fled New Mexico with the Spanish during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
Acculturation and Assimilation
Pueblo people are at home in both their Native world and in the world of the dominant American culture. They have learned to be U.S. citizens while still remaining Pueblo. Changes, however, have been inevitable. Pueblo culture has long been multilingual. It is now rapidly becoming bilingual. In times past Pueblos might be fluent not only in the language of their pueblo, but also in one or more of the other Pueblo languages or dialects. With the arrival of the Spanish, Pueblos also learned the Spanish language. With the arrival of the Comanches in their vicinity, many Pueblos, especially those on the eastern frontier nearest the plains, learned Comanche, just as some northern Pueblos learned Jicarillan due to close relations with the Jicarilla Apache. Pueblos nearest the Navajos were apt to know Navajo. Spanish is still common among older Pueblo people. But increasingly, Pueblo young people are learning only the language of their pueblo and English. With English being a universal language within the region, and with its hold growing ever stronger by the profound linguistic influences of radio, television, print journalism, and public education, few Pueblos today learn other Native languages besides their own.
TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS, AND BELIEFS
Ceremonial dances are at the heart of Pueblo culture. Pueblo traditional dance costumes are among the most striking of any Native peoples. Kachinas are masked male dancers who are said to actually be the personages they dance. These dancers perform ceremonial rituals in the plazas on feast days and other important occasions. Ritual clowns are also a part of some ceremonials. The clowns engage in funny, sexual, and absurd behavior. Despite their antics, which are often interpreted as a reminder of foolish human behavior, clowns are sacred figures whose actions possess more profound reasons and motivations. Some ceremonials, such as the Zuñi Shalakos, feature kachinas in ten-foot high costumes. Among the Hopi, the kachinas are said to live in the San Francisco peaks near Flagstaff. They come to the Hopi for six months each year, arriving during the February Bean Dance.
Zuñi is classified as a language isolate of the Penutian Phylum. All other Pueblo languages are classified within the Aztec-Tanoan Phylum: within the Kiowa-Tanoan family are three Tanoan languages, Tiwa, Tewa, and Towa; the Hopi language is an isolate within the Uto-Aztecan family; and Keresan is an unclassified language isolate not yet assigned to any family within the phylum. Zuñi is spoken only by the Zuñi. Tiwa is spoken by Taos, Picuris, Sandia, and Isleta. Tewa is spoken by San Juan, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Nambe, Tesuque, and Pojoaque. Towa is spoken only by the Jemez. Keresan is spoken by Acoma, Cochiti, Laguna, San Felipe, Santa Ana, Santo Domingo, and Zia. Language can be richly expressive and descriptive, as in these Tewa constructions for the lunar cycle: Moon of the cedar dust wind (February); Moon when the leaves break forth (March); Moon when the leaves are dark green (June); Moon when the corn is taken in (September); and Moon when all is gathered in (November).
Family and Community Dynamics
Pueblo culture is matrilineal and matrilocal. Children are born into the mother's clan. Wife abuse is uncommon in functioning, matrilocal cultures because the wife is surrounded by the protection of her relatives. Child custody disputes are unknown because the child is a member of the mother's clan and remains with the mother or her relatives should a marriage not endure. In the matrilocal residence pattern, related women, and their husbands and children, live in clusters of apartments within a larger structure, which is a classic description of both Ancestral Puebloan and Pueblo building requirements. There is speculation that the development of this matrilocal system of residence accounts for the change from pit houses to aboveground masonry apartments. An aspect of life for which Pueblo Indians are perhaps best-known, Pueblo dwellings are interconnected multi-level apartment-like structures made of stone and plaster or adobe bricks. Only Taos Pueblo retain this feature. The ceiling of one "apartment" serves as floor and outside courtyard for the one above it. Pueblo structures sometimes reached five stories tall, with inhabitants moving from one floor to the next via ladders that led through holes in the ceilings instead of through outside doorways. This structural design served as a safeguard against outside attacks.
Pueblos held community gatherings in pit houses, which were dug into the ground in a central location in the pueblo. A remnant of the pit house survives as the kiva, an underground chamber that is built into the apartments of the southwest. In the kivas, related men, who do not live together in matrilocal communities, meet and hold ceremonies. These groups of related men constitute a clan. The clan affords an important opportunity for maintaining ties between related men in matrilocal cultures, even though the men trace their descent through the female line.
DANCES AND SONGS
Songs and dances are significant in Pueblo life. Masks, textiles, and body painting are important aspects of Pueblo ritual. The Pueblos use gourd rattles, wooden drums, and rawhide as musical instruments for their ceremonies and dances, which are unique to each tribe and have prescribed roles for the leaders, singers, dancers, and spectators. Many dances, performed usually by men who sing and dance in line formations or in procession, are held in honor of seasonal change and related duties, such as hunting in the winter, or harvest in the autumn. Many dances relate to the bringing of rain. Most of the Pueblos perform a version of the Corn Dance and the Matachine Dance—a dance with Spanish and Mexican roots—and many perform dances in honor of buffalo or deer. Pueblo dances are among the best-known Native American customs still practiced, and many of the Pueblos allow the public to come and watch them.
On January 6 most pueblos celebrate the Day of the Three Kings and the installation of new governors and officials. The first week in February is the Governor's Feast at Acoma. April 19-20 is the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Spring Arts and Crafts Show at De Vargas Mall in Santa Fe. May 3 is Santa Cruz Day at Cochiti and Taos. June 13 is Grab Day at San Ildefonso, San Juan, Santa Clara, Taos, and Picuris. July 4 is the Nambe Falls Ceremonial at Nambe. July 4 is the Annual Popé Foot Race at San Juan. The last weekend in July is the Puye Cliff Ceremonial at Santa Clara. On August 5-10 all pueblos celebrate the Symbolic Relay Run. August 10 is Grab Day at Laguna and Cochiti. Mid-August is the Intertribal Indian Ceremonial in Gallup. December (date set annually) is the time for the Shalako Ceremonial at Zuñi.
To be Pueblo is a way of life, a world view, a part of a community, and perhaps one of the reasons that Pueblo religion is so entrenched is that there is no word for religion in the Pueblo languages. Religious beliefs are deeply interwoven in many aspects of Pueblo culture, including farming, storytelling, dances, art, architecture, and other everyday activities. Especially symbolic for the Hopi is agriculture, which carries a sacred significance and determines a great deal of their work cycles, ceremonies, and feasts. Much Hopi spirituality centers on the belief that when their ancestors emerged from the depths of the earth, they were offered their choice of foods. The Hopi chose an ear of short blue corn, symbolizing a life of hardship, humility, and hardiness, since the short blue corn is the most difficult to harvest successfully but is also the most durable. The planting and harvest of corn is in a real way the Hopi's connection to their earliest ancestors and the creation of the world. Pueblo religious ceremonies and rituals are often tied to the bringing of rain and a successful harvest; and the Pueblo still practice many of them today.
The Hopi story of the creation of the world is based on the concept of emergence, which is a common theme in Pueblo folklore and religion. The Hopi believe that their ancestors—spirit beings—migrated through three underground worlds before arriving on the earth above them—the fourth world. There they made a covenant with the spirit being Masau-u, who allowed them to remain on the land as long as they followed sacred rules that ensure harmony among people, maintain the land, and provide water needed to grow their crops. The Hopi still try to honor this sacred contract today.
Pueblos have also modified Christian teachings to make them compatible with traditional views. The result is a form of Christianity found nowhere else in the world. Pueblo Catholicism nevertheless has much in common with the experiences of Native peoples throughout Latin America who are nominally Catholics, but whose practice and beliefs are at great odds with official canon. The church is tolerant of this practice, having found, after exerting great effort, that it cannot uproot traditional Pueblo religious beliefs. The church made its greatest effort, with public hangings and whippings, in the 1660s and 1670s. In the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, 21 of the 33 Catholic priests in New Mexico were killed. The Catholic Christian influence has resulted in the creation and observance of a number of Christian holidays and feast days, which frequently coincide with traditional celebrations and the performance of traditional dances. Some pueblos observe feast days in honor of their patron saints.
Employment and Economic Traditions
The Pueblo people are among the most successful dry farmers in the world. They are also skilled at irrigation farming. Today many Pueblos continue the agricultural traditions of their ancestors and continue to cultivate in the same time-honored manner. Many Pueblo people are also employed in the urban areas near their homes, and many of them who now live in these urban areas return to the pueblo frequently, sometimes as often as nearly every weekend. Traditional craftwork in pottery, weaving, jewelry, and drum making are also important sources of income.
Tribal enterprise also provides jobs. The Hopi Cultural Center, with its restaurant and motel, offers some employment opportunities. At Acoma the visitor center has a restaurant, crafts shop, and a museum, and a bingo hall is nearby. Cochiti provides services for Cochiti Lake, which leases its land from Cochiti Pueblo and has a commercial center, a marina, and an 18-hole golf course. The majority of Isleta's residents work in Albuquerque, but others operate the bingo hall, grocery stores, and the campgrounds at Isleta Lakes. Laguna Industries Inc. manufactures communications shelters for the U.S. Army and is only one of a number of Laguna tribal industries. Some Lagunas found employment in the uranium mining industry and others are now finding employment in the reclamation project that is attempting to restore the mined land.
Many of Nambe's residents work in Santa Fe, in Española, or at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Others are employed by the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council. Picuris Pueblo Enterprise Cultural Center houses a museum, a restaurant, and a store and operates guided tours. Pojoaque generates revenue by the development of a commercial strip fronting the highway, and the pueblo also operates an official state tourist center. The Sandia Indian Bingo Parlor is one of the largest in New Mexico. Sandia also operates Bien Mur Indian Market Center and Sandia Lakes Recreation Area. At San Ildefonso there is a museum, several trading posts, a visitor center, and the annual Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Artist and Craftsman Show. At San Juan there is the Oke Oweenge Crafts Cooperative. At Santa Ana there is the Ta Ma Myia crafts shop. Santo Domingo is developing commercial property along Interstate 25, where it also operates a museum. Taos operates a horseback riding and guided tour business as well as several trading posts. Tesuque operates a bingo parlor and Camel Rock Campground. Zuñi has been a model for tribal
This Pueblo mother is taking her children out of their above ground home to go for a walk.
enterprise, taking advantage of direct federal grants through the Community Action Programs to gain administrative control of almost all of the Bureau of Indian Affairs contract services on the reservation, which now run more efficiently and with much greater community commitment and participation.
Gaming casinos have become big business for many Native American tribes. Some Pueblos, such as the Taos Pueblos, have enthusiastically embraced casinos as a source of economic opportunity. Other Pueblos, such as the Nambe, resist gaming on traditional grounds that forbid gambling. In January of 1998, Navajo voters in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah defeated a measure that would have opened five casinos on the Navajo reservation. The vote was 54 percent against the proposal and 46 percent in favor of it. The Taos Pueblos had to struggle through legal battles to gain the right to operate casinos. In 1996, U.S. Attorney General John Kelly was forced to order the Taos Pueblo and other Indian tribes to shut down their casino operations after state supreme court decisions voided the compacts that the governors had made with the tribes because the compacts had not received legislative approval. The Taos took the case to court and eventually won the right to operate casinos. Pueblos who chose to operate gambling enterprises do so with the goal of buying sacred lands back from the government.
Politics and Government
Under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, many Pueblos refused to allow their traditional form of government to be replaced by a foreign system. The tribal council system is modeled somewhat after the U.S. government, but also has much in common with the way corporations are governed. Each tribe within the United States was given the option of reorganizing under the act, and many Pueblos refused to do so. Traditional Pueblo government features leadership from different sources of strength within each community. Clans are an important force in providing leadership, and among some Pueblos specific clans have traditional obligations to provide leaders. This is true of the Bear Clan among the Hopi, the Antelope Clan at Acoma, and the Bow Clan at Zuñi. The Tewa pueblos have dual village leaders, where the heads of the winter and summer moieties each exercise responsibility for half the year. In matters of traditional religion, which encompasses much of what white people associate with government, a cacique among the Pueblos and a kikmongwi among the Hopi have serious responsibilities to the people. Along with their assistants they not only perform ceremonies but also organize hunts and the planting of crops.
Today the Hopi in Arizona and six New Mexico pueblos (Isleta, Laguna, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, and Zuñi) elect their governors and councils. In New Mexico, the All Indian Pueblo Council had its first recorded meeting in 1598 when Juan de Oñate met with 38 Pueblo leaders at Santo Domingo. Pueblo oral history recounts that the various pueblos had been working together long before the arrival of the Spanish and that secret meetings of the council were a major factor in the successful planning of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The All Indian Pueblo Council was formed on November 5, 1922 when Pueblo leaders assembled at Santo Domingo to meet with U.S. government officials. Its present constitution was adopted on October 16, 1965. The council is a confederation of New Mexico pueblos that seeks to protect and advance their interests, particularly regarding relations with other governments.
RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES
Because Pueblos were granted full Mexican citizenship while under Mexican rule from 1821 to 1848, they automatically became U.S. citizens when the Southwest was annexed by the United States at the conclusion of the Mexican War in 1848. The Pueblos were the only Indians in the Southwest to become U.S. citizens in that manner. Pueblos had to sue to have their status as Indians recognized by the United States, which was achieved by a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1916. They are now federally recognized Indian tribes. By joining together to form the All Indian Pueblo Council in the 1920s, after a congressional investigation had revealed that 12,000 non-Pueblo claimants were living on Pueblo land, they succeeded in getting the U.S. Congress to pass the Pueblo Lands Act of 1924, which secures some of their traditional land to them. The struggle for water rights has characterized much of their relations with United States in this century. In 1975, after a 30-year struggle, Taos Pueblo succeeded in regaining its sacred Blue Lake and 55,000 acres of surrounding land in the mountains above the pueblo. This marked one of the few times that the United States has returned a major sacred site to Indian control.
Individual and Group Contributions
Ted Jojola (1951– ), an educator and administrator of Isleta Pueblo descent, is known for his research on Native American culture. His numerous publications have dealt with subjects ranging from urban planning to teaching, architecture, and ethnography. He is currently a professor at the University of New Mexico. Edward P. Dozier (1916-1971) was a pioneering anthropologist, linguist, and educator who specialized in the study of the Pueblo Indians of the Southwest. He spent much of his career at the University of Arizona and was also prominent as an activist for Indian rights.
Alfonso Ortiz (1939-1998) was a well-known anthropologist, scholar, and activist whose books on Southwest Indian tribes, including American Indian Myths and Legends (1984) and The Tewa World: Space, Time, Being, and Becoming in a Pueblo Society (1969), are considered classics in anthropological scholarship. In addition to his academic work, Ortiz was president of the Association of American Indian Affairs (AAIA) in the 1970s. During his term, the organization played a central role in the return of the sacred Blue Lake to the Taos Pueblo people and the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act, which ensured that Indian orphans are placed in Indian foster homes, among other accomplishments. Ortiz was a professor in the University of New Mexico's anthropology department from 1974 until his death.
Pueblo communities have produced a number of renowned artists, including Maria Montoya Martinez (c. 1887-1980), who has been called perhaps the most famous Native American artist of all time. In her award-winning pottery, she revived and transformed indigenous pottery into high art. Martinez was a San Ildefonso Pueblo woman who spent much of her career producing pottery with her husband and other family members, including their son Popovi Da, who became a well-known artist in his own right. Martinez and her husband displayed and demonstrated their craft at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as in museums and art shows. Martinez was particularly respected for her black-on-black pottery designs, which came to be known as blackware pottery.
Helen Quintana Cordero (1915-1994) was a Cochiti Pueblo woman responsible for reviving the nearly lost art of clay dollmaking among her people. Clay dolls, typically embodying women singing to children, had been used by Southwest Indians for centuries for religious purposes and during harvest ceremonies, but this custom had declined with the arrival of white settlers in the region. Cordero specialized in what has come to be known as the "storyteller doll," drawn from her memories of her grandfather, who would gather the Pueblo children around him and tell them traditional Indian tales of the past. She was the first to use the male figure in her pioneering clay doll arrangements, which include the storyteller with up to 30 clay children dolls sitting in various positions around him.
Pablita Velarde (1918– ) is a Tewa writer and artist living in Santa Clara Pueblo, and is best known for her paintings depicting numerous aspects of daily Pueblo life, including religious ceremonies, tribal government, arts and crafts, costumes, and farming. She painted murals at the Bandelier National Park in New Mexico and at the 1934 World's Fair in an authentic and detailed style that is drawn upon her knowledge and study of her ancestry. Her works are sometimes used as secondary source material for scholars researching the life of ancient Indians. Velarde was honored by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture in 1996 with its Rounders Award, which is given to "those who live, promote, or articulate the western way of life." Helen Hardin (1946-1984), a Tewa Pueblo known for her acrylic and casein designs, was a regarded as a premier artist of the Southwest. She used Native American patterns and geometric shapes in her award-winning paintings. One of the most renowned Pueblo potters is Acoma, New Mexico artist Marie Lewis-Garcia, who produces traditional Pueblo pots. Elizabeth Naranjo is also a widely recognized potter, based in Santa Clara, while Nora Naranjo-Morse of Santa Clara is a celebrated writer and potter. Among the San Ildefonso pueblo, the Martinez, Roybal, and Herrera families established strong painting and pottery traditions that have influenced such modern artists as Maria Martinez, the famed San Ildefonso Blackware potter.
Hopi producer/director Victor Masayesva, Jr., has created a feature length film, Imagining Indians, that succeeds in conveying Native American resentment of the appropriation of its culture for commercial purposes. Imagining Indians is a 90-minute film that explores many facets of what happens when Native stories, rituals, and objects become commercial commodities. Masayesva is from Hotevilla, a village of about 500 people on Third Mesa. Hotevilla was constructed, hastily, in 1906 by Hopi women, whose men had been incarcerated by the United States and moved to Alcatraz Island to prevent them from moving to southern Utah. Masayesva had never been to a town larger than Winslow, Arizona, when he went to New York City at age 15. He studied still photography at Princeton University and then began working with video. For some of the editing techniques in Imagining Indians he gained access to state of the art equipment, a machine for which only three were available in the United States. Masayesva has screened Imagining Indians in Phoenix, Santa Fe, Houston, Boston, New York, and at the University of Oklahoma. A 60-minute version has been edited for television.
Pueblos have produced some of the most outstanding contemporary Native literary writers. Two of the first three Lifetime Achievement honorees of the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas have been Pueblos: Simon J. Ortiz (Acoma) and Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna). In the early 1970s Ortiz was editor of Americans Before Columbus, the newspaper of the Indian Youth Council. In the 1980s he held official tribal positions as Interpreter and First Lieutenant Governor of Acoma. He has taught at the Institute of American Indian Arts, the University of New Mexico, Navajo Community College, Sinte Gleska College, San Diego State University, the College of Marin, Lewis and Clark College, and Colorado College. He edited one of the most important collections of Native literature, Earth Power Coming, published by Navajo Community College Press, and has written many books, among them From Sand Creek; Going for the Rain; A Good Journey; Fightin': New and Collected Stories; The People Shall Continue; and Woven Stone.
Silko has also taught at a number of universities, including the University of Arizona and the University of New Mexico. Her work has had a profound influence on the Native literary community. Her best known works are Ceremony, Storyteller, and Almanac of the Dead. Both Ortiz and Silko delivered plenary session speeches at the historic Returning the Gift conference of North American Native writers at the University of Oklahoma in 1992, a conference that drew nearly 400 native literary writers from throughout the upper Western hemisphere.
Paula Gunn Allen (Laguna) is another wellknown Pueblo author. She edited the anthology Spider Woman's Granddaughters. She has published books of fiction, The Woman Who Owned the Shadows; poetry, Shadow Country, and Skin and Bones; and nonfiction, The Sacred Hoop, and Studies in American Indian Literatures. Laguna poet Carol Lee Sanchez has published Excerpt From a Mountain Climber's Handbook, Message Bringer Woman, and Conversations From the Nightmare. Hopi/Miwok writer Wendy Rose is coordinator of American Indian Studies at Fresno City College and has held positions with the Women's Literature Project of Oxford University Press, the Smithsonian Native Writers' Series, the Modern Language Association Commission on Languages and Literature of the Americas, and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines. Her books include Hopi Roadrunner Dancing; Long Division: A Tribal History; Academic Squaw: Reports to the World from the Ivory Tower; Lost Copper; What Happened When the Hopi Hit New York; The Halfbreed Chronicles; Going to War with All My Relations; and Bone Dance.
Laguna educator Lee Francis, director of the American Indian Internship program at American University in Silver Springs, Maryland, is also national director of Wordcraft Circle of Native American Mentor and Apprentice Writers and is editor of its newsletter, Moccasin Telegraph, and of its quarterly journal. In 1994 Francis led a team of Native writers who guest edited a special Native American Literatures issue of Callaloo for the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins University Press. Many other Pueblos are literary writers, including Aaron Carr, Joseph L. Concha, Harold Littlebird, Diane Reyna; Veronica Riley, Joe S. Sando, Laura Watchempino, and Aaron Yava. Some of their best early work appears in The Remembered Earth: An Anthology of Contemporary Native American Literature, published by the University of New Mexico Press in 1979. Some of the most recent work by a new generation of Pueblo literary figures, including Rachael Arviso, Rosemary Diaz, and Lorenzo Baca can be found in Neon Powwow: New Native American Voices of the Southwest (1993).
Frank C. Dukepoo (1943– ), a Hopi-Laguna geneticist, was the first Hopi to earn a doctorate degree. Born in Arizona, he earned a Ph.D. from Arizona State University in 1973 and has held teaching or research positions there and at San Diego State University, Palomar Junior College, and, beginning in 1980, at Northern State University. Dukepoo has also served as director of Indian education at Northern Arizona University, and held administrative positions with the National Science Foundation and the National Cancer Institute. In addition to founding and coordinating the National Native American Honor Society, which assists Native American students, Dukepoo has conducted extensive research on birth defects in Indians.
Americans Before Columbus.
Address: 318 Elm Street, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87012.
Cochiti Lake Sun.
Address: P.O. Box 70, Cochiti, New Mexico 87014.
Eight Northern Pueblos News.
Address: Route 1, Box 71, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87528.
Address: 1812 Las Lomas, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131.
Address: 4560 North 19th Avenue, Suite 200, Phoenix, Arizona 85015-4113.
Address: 1664 East Campo Bello Drive, Phoenix, Arizona 85022.
Address: 9169 Coors Road, N.W., Box 10146; Albuquerque, New Mexico 87184.
Isleta Eagle Pride.
Address: P.O. Box 312, Isleta, New Mexico 87022.
Address: P.O. Box 1210, Gallup, New Mexico 87301.
Address: Box 3151 Laguna, New Mexico 87026.
Native Peoples Magazine.
Address: 1833 North Third Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85004.
Address: 2401 12th Street, N.W., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102.
Southwest Native News.
Address: P.O. Box 1990, Tuba City, Arizona 86045.
Southern Pueblos Bulletin.
Address: 1000 Indian School Road, N.W., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103.
Address: P.O. Box 12, Pine Hill, New Mexico 87321.
Address: Northern Arizona University, Campus Box 5630, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011.
Zuñi Tribal Newsletter.
Address: P.O. Box 339, Zuñi, New Mexico 87327.
Address: P.O. Box 603, Dulce, New Mexico 87528.
Address: P.O. Box 1558, Farmington, New Mexico 87499-1558.
Address: 401 East Coal Road, Gallup, New Mexico 87301-6099.
Address: P.O. Box 160, Tuba City, Arizona 86045.
Address: Drawer F, Window Rock, Arizona 86515.
Address: P.O. Box 310, Whitewater, Arizona 85941.
Address: Box 00, Page, Arizona 80640-1969.
Address: 816 Sixth Street, Parker, Arizona 85344-4599.
Address: P.O. Box 339, Zuñi, New Mexico 87327.
Address: P.O. Box 89, Pine Hill, New Mexico 87321.
Address: P.O. Box 2569, Window Rock, Arizona 86515.
Organizations and Associations
All Indian Pueblo Council (AIPC).
Serves as advocate on behalf of 19 Pueblo Indian tribes on education, health, social, and economic issues; lobbies on those issues before state and national legislatures. Activities are centered in New Mexico.
Contact: James Hena, Chair.
Address: 3939 San Pedro NE, Suite E, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87190.
Telephone: (505) 883-7360.
Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs.
Contact: Eleanor Descheeny-Joe, Executive Director.
Address: 1400 West Washington, Suite 300, Phoenix, Arizona 85007.
Telephone: (602) 542-3123.
Fax: (602) 542-3223.
Center for Indian Education.
Address: Arizona State University, Box 871311, Tempe, Arizona 85287-1311.
Online: http://www.asu.edu/educ/cie/ .
New Mexico Commission on Indian Affairs.
Address: 330 East Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501.
New Mexico Indian Advisory Commission.
Address: Box 1667, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87107.
Museums and Research Centers
Albuquerque Museum and the Maxwell Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico; American Research Museum, Ethnology Museum, Fine Arts Museum, Hall of the Modern Indian, and Institute of American Indian Arts, in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Art Center in Roswell, New Mexico; Black Water Draw Museum in Portales, New Mexico; Coronado Monument in Bernalillo, New Mexico; Heard Museum of Anthropology in Phoenix, Arizona; Milicent Rogers Museum in Taos, New Mexico; Northern Arizona Museum in Flagstaff, Arizona; and the State Museum of Arizona in Tempe.
Sources for Additional Study
Bruggmann, Maximilien, and Sylvio Acatos. Pueblos: Prehistoric Indian Cultures of the Southwest, translated by Barbara Fritzemeier. New York: Facts On File, 1990.
The Coronado Narrative: Spanish Explorers in the Southern United States, 1528-1543, edited by Frederick W. Hodge and Theodore H. Lewis. New York: Scribners, 1970.
Eagle/Walking Turtle (Gary McLain). Indian America: A Traveler's Companion, third edition. Santa Fe, New Mexico: John Muir Publications, 1993.
Forbes, Jack D. Apache, Navaho, and Spaniard. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1969; reprinted with new introduction, 1994.
Gutiérrez, Ramón A. When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991.
Keegan, Marcia. Pueblo People: Ancient Traditions, Modern Lives. Santa Fe, NM: Clear Light Publishers, 1999.
Marquis, Arnold. A Guide To America's Indians: Ceremonials, Reservations, and Museums. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1974.
Minge, Ward Alan. Acoma: Pueblo in the Sky, second edition. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991.
New Perspectives on the Pueblos, edited by Alfonso Ortiz. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1985.
O'Brien, Sharon. American Indian Tribal Governments. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.
Ortiz, Alfonso. The Pueblo. New York: Chelsea House, 1994.
Sando, Joe S. Pueblo Nations: Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History. Santa Fe: Clear Light Publishers, 1992.
Trimble, Stephen. The People: Indians of the American Southwest. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Sar Press, 1993.
Also read article about Pueblos from Wikipedia
Feb 5, 2009 @ 8:20 pm
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Sep 11, 2009 @ 6:18 pm
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Oct 21, 2009 @ 6:18 pm
thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!! for skool i had to rite a book about the pueblo homes. this gav me a A!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you again, nikki
Dec 30, 2009 @ 8:08 am
Great resource. I am in the process of developing a tour department for my Limozine Company here in Albuquerque. The information will be very useful as we train our new tour guides. Thanks, Al
Mar 3, 2010 @ 10:10 am
Hey thanks so much. Your a lot of help. Bein Pueblo myself its hard to get information from the elders. you've help save me alot of time. Lets hope this gives me an A. again thanks, Native Pride
Sep 21, 2010 @ 11:11 am
i love this article it is pretty awesome.well for a 16 year old...
Nov 16, 2010 @ 5:17 pm
thanks you helped a little, but I still don't know what there close were made of or what the children women's and mean's responsibilities were?
Oct 2, 2011 @ 5:17 pm
I want to know did all the Pueblo Indians switch to Christianity during the Spanish era?
Nov 6, 2014 @ 12:12 pm
also I have to write an essay for my school so I chose Santa Clara pueblo...
Jan 26, 2016 @ 7:19 pm
needs more detail and more facts about where the pueblos were located
Nov 27, 2018 @ 5:17 pm
Hey, this is great info. I'm looking for the date as to when this was published, and if there's anyone else that helped out like any editors or translators?
Feb 27, 2019 @ 6:18 pm
can i know when did you write, please?
also, thank you for good information
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