The Zuni Pueblo is nestled in a scenic valley, surrounded by the enchanting mesas, located about 150 miles west of Albuquerque. The main reservation, is located in the McKinley and Cibola counties in the western part of New Mexico. The estimated number of acres encompasses about 450,000 acres. The tribe has land holdings in Catron County, New Mexico and Apache County, Arizona, which are not adjoining to the main reservation
Hunting and fishing are major forms of recreation on the Zuni reservation. Most of the hunting is reserved for tribal members, but a limited number of non-indian big game permits are issued. Six reservoirs are stocked with cutthroat and rainbow trout, channel catfish, and largemouth bass. Camping activities are permitted in designated areas. The Zuni people have farmed the Zuni River Valley and many of its tributaries for thousands of years, raising primarily corn, squash, beans, and other vegetables. Many varieties of these plants are native to the Zuni Rservation. Many Zunis also raise livestock, and the reservation is divided into 88 individual grazing allotments. The Zuni community features a variety of shopping and dining facilities, plus service and convience stores. Ten shops within the community sell Native American arts and crafts. The Zuni Tribe is governed by an elected governor, lieutenant governor, and a six member Tribal Council. Elections are held every four years .
Zuni Pueblo consisting of approximately 12,000 people is located in the northwestern part of New Mexico. The pueblo is about 35 miles south of Gallup, NM and 150 miles west of Albuquerque, NM. The reservation, covering 418,304 acres, just rests on the western border of New Mexico.
The ancient homelands of the Zunis are along the middle reaches of the Zuni River where their cultural ancestors lived for centuries. Near the settlements and villages left by the ancient people, the Zuni Indians built compact villages of multi-storied houses. These were the towns seen and lived by Coronado and his men and called them the "Seven Cities" in the land of Cibola. The mythical Seven Cities of Cibola (Spanish word for "buffalo") lured Coronado to the southwest in 1540 in a treasure quest. Unfortunately, with the exception of the village of Zuni, all those sites were abandoned long ago.
For the last three hundred years, most of the Indians had lived in a single village, the Pueblo of Zuni. Within the boundaries often small, rather cramped reservation are smaller farming villages at Pescado, Nutria, and Ojo Caliente, which were established probably in the eighteenth century but which in more recent years have been occupied only during the time of planting and harvest. Beyond the boundaries of the reservation, there are ancient sites and areas, sacred points and shrines, and places of pilgrimage central to Zuni life and history.
The Zuni people have lived in the American Southwest for thousands of years. Their cultural and religous traditions are rooted, in large part, in the people's deep and close ties to the mountains, forests, and deserts of this ancient Zuni homeland.
Primarily being farmers, the Zuni raise maize and wheat and engage in Jewelry making. It has become an important additional source of income for the people. Traditional Zuni life is oriented around a matrilineal clan system and a complex ceremonial system base on a belief in the ancestors (ancient ones). There are six specialized esoteric groups, each with restricted membership and its own priesthood, devoted to the worship of a particular group of supernaturals. During the well-known Shalako Festival, held in early winter, dancers representing the couriers of the rain deities come to bless new homes.
One way the Zuni people express these cultural traditions is through their art: in painting, pottery, jewelry, and fetish carving, for example. These things have significant meaning, and, to the Zuni, serve to help unite the past with the present.
So, on the one hand, Zuni art is a material record of the past.
The Zuni language is isolate and is not compared with any other language. The Zuni language has been in existence long since the people have emerged into this world. Not only is the language a way of communicating, it also helps in teaching traditions to younger generations. The language plays a big part in religion for it is believed that it is the only way they could communicate with the ancestors (ancient ones). As time progress, the quality and amount of language spoken is affected by other introduced languages such as English and Spanish.
The Zuni language is traditionally learned from elders and parents, but many projects have been established to produce the spoken only language to a written language.
In February of 1989, the Zuni Literacy Program was introduced into the School District.
At present, our prototype of the Electronic Zuni/English Dictionary has English definitions for 864 words
Roles- Generally, Zuni women were in charge of the home and family. Zuni clans are matrilineal , which means Zuni people trace their family through their mothers. Zuni men were in charge of politics, agriculture and war. Zuni priests, political leaders, and warriors were traditionally always men. Both genders took part in storytelling, music and artwork, and traditional medicine.
Homes Zuni people lived in adobe houses or pueblos , which are multi-story house complexes made of large stones cemented together with adobe (a baked mixture of clay and straw). Each adobe unit was home to one family, like a modern apartment. Zuni people used ladders to reach the upstairs apartments. A Zuni adobe house can contain dozens of units and was often home to an entire extended clan. Here are some pictures of Zuni adobes homes and other Indian houses. Unlike most old-fashioned Indian shelters, traditional Zuni houses are still used by some people today. Other Zuni families live in modern houses and apartment buildings, just like you.
Clothes Originally, Zuni men didn't wear much clothing- - only breechclothes or short kilts. Zuni women wore knee-length cotton dresses called mantas . A manta fastened at a woman's right shoulder, leaving her left shoulder bare. Missionaries didn't think this dress style was modest enough, so in the 1900's many Zuni women started wearing shifts underneath their mantas. This style is still in use today. Men and women both wore deerskins moccasins on their feet. For dances and special occasions, women painted their moccasins white and wrapped white strips of deerskin called puttee around their shins as leggings. Here is a site with photographs of Pueblo clothing styles, and some photos and links about indian chothing in general. The Zunis did not traditionally wear war bonnets like the Sioux. Zuni men usually wore cloth headbands tied around their foreheads instead. For special ceremonies, Zuni dancers sometimes wore painted masks or crowns of feathers. Both men and women often wore their hair gathered into a figure-eight shaped bun called a chongo , but some Zuni men preferred to cut their hair to shoulder length and some Zuni women wore their hair long and loose. Except for certain religious ceremonies, the Zunis didn't paint their faces or bodies. But they are famous for their beautiful silver and turquoise ornaments, especially their elaborate necklaces. Today, many Zuni people still wear moccasins or mantas, but they wear modern clothes like jeans instead of breechcloths... and they only wear puttee or kilts on special occasions like a dance.
Religion Religions are too complicated and culturally sensitive to describe appropriately in only a few simple sentences, and we strongly want to avoid misleading anybody. You can visit this site to learn more about the Zuni religion or this site about Indian religion in general.