|All about the Southwest Tribes||Pueblo
All About the Southwest Tribes
The Southwest Native Americans come from the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Colorado, and the northern part of Mexico. Most of the land is desert covered with cactus. The main tribes that come from the Southwest area are the Apache, Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo, & Zuni. Some tribes spoke their own languages, had their own religious customs, and laws they followed. Most of the Southwest Native Americans became farmers and lived in villages.
The area that the southwest indians lived in was very dry, and it was hot all year long. The temperatres could reach as high as 120 degrees during the day, but at night temperature could drop all the way to 25 degrees. The land and climate made it very difficult for them to live, but the southwest tribes lived in harmony with the land and respected it by not wasting its resources. Living in the desert it was very important not to waste your resources because you never know when you will find the resource again.
Many Southwest tribes, including the Pueblo, started as a nomadic people, but eventually leaned how to farm and formed villages. If you go through the deserts of the Southwest you will find many villages that have gone untouched for thousands of years on cliffs, set in mountains, or high up on desert mountains. This is mostly due to the fact that it is too dangerous to even try to get to them. The Southwest tribes were given the name "cliff-dwellers" by the early Spanish explorers who say their homes built on the sides of mountains and on cliffs.
There were many different tribes in the southwest and each poke and array of languages. Each tribes had its own customs and beliefs, but all treasured the land that they lived on.
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Pueblo is not the name of a tribe. It is a Spanish word for village. The Pueblo People are the decedents of the Anasazi People. But to keep things straight, many historians use the year 1300 CE to make the switch from Anasazi People to Pueblo People. The Pueblo Indians reside in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and Colorado. They have been living in this area for over 500 years. They remained sedentary because they grew crops and used cotton to make clothing. The Pueblo are named after the types of homes they lived in. Archaeologists do not agree on how the Pueblo people decided to settle in the southwestern United States or where they originally came from. Archeological ruins are being studied to understand their history which has been traced back 2000 years. The Pueblo always maintained a peaceful relationship with the settlers who eventually arrived in their homeland. These new settlers still inhabit the Pueblo territory today.
The Southwest is very dry, and so people needed to be careful to get every last bit of water they could find. They learned to build systems of dams and stone cisterns to store water from melting snow up in the mountains. This was not just for drinking water, but also they needed water to irrigate their corn and beans and pumpkins so they would grow.
Popé, (/Po-PAY/) whose name meant "Ripe Squash," was the most famous Pueblo Indian. He was famous for helping to unite all the Pueblo tribes in a revolt against the Spanish who had invaded their lands and made them work as slaves. He was able to unite all the tribes even though they all spoke different languages.
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The Pueblo, lived in structures made out of semicircular masonry. The shelter masonry is related to the same masonry used in the creation of southwestern pottery. These shelters were primary built on cliffs with large shallow caves. The cave top was then used as the roof for the shelters. These shelters had many doorways which lead to the neighboring person or family. Not only did these shelters have doors on the sides, but also in the ceilings, which connected the person or family living above them. The bottom of the shelter had many openings which lead to ceremonial chambers. Wooden or bone ladders were used to reach the next level or terrace of rooms.
The villages of the Southwest are known for their great attention to detail and to the landscape of the region. Circular subterranean chambers known as "kivas" were used as primary sources of rituals and were located strategically along a pattern which represented either the cosmos, or the primary landscape figures near by. Houses, as well as other structures, were made of stone and reinforced by huge pine timbers which were hauled in from up to sixty miles away. Buildings were positioned and spaced in such a way as to coincide with certain cosmological features during certain phases, representing the cycles of birth, life, and death. A complex network of individual houses and buildings made up an almost urban-like village. Long walls, intricate stairways, level gardens, and complex road systems linked these structures together in a particular pattern.
Whether it be the cliff houses of Northern Arizona, or the enormous kivas of the Pueblo Bonito, each structure in the village had a religious motive behind its construction, and together they represented the one-ness with the earth.
The clay, pueblo, homes they lived in gave many advantages to the Pueblo. Living in the harse environment of the desert required the Pueblo to find new methods of survival. The clay homes they lived in work in two ways. One it kept them cool during the hot times of the day by retaining moist, coolness. The clay also kept in the heat and slowly released it during the bitter, cold nights of the desert.Go back to the top
The Pueblo Indians were probably some of the best farmers. They were able to grow many crops from the "three sisters", which are corn, beans, and squash. They were also able to grow peppers, and wheat. This was all while living is a very hot, dry region. The Pueblo were able to do this because they were able to find ways to get something that is very important to their crops, that is water. The Pueblo developed one of the most highly developed irrigation systems, which means they were able to dig canals that brought water right to their crops.
Indian corn was the Pueblo’s specialty. Their diet was almost eighty percent Indian corn. Corn was important to them and they had numerous varieties. Rain was scarce, so underground water supplies were used to grow corn instead. If the underground water supply was exposed, it would dry up and there would be no source of water for the crops. Therefore, corn was planted deep into the ground. When the land was tilled, only the top layer of soil was overturned.
Since it was a desert there was not a lot of water and so when the water in the ground could not be found they would often times get water from cactus. They would drill a hle in the cacti and then fill up their jug/pot. This helped them go for a few days longer until the rans came.
Living in the desert meant that many jobs had to be done inside or during times when the sun and temperature wasn't out/high. The men, women, and children all needed to work in order to survive in the harse desert. Most of the work that the Pueblos did needed to be done before the heat of the day and so they would wake up early or wait until the evening to get it done.
The men of the pueblo tribe did a lot of the hard, labor. The Pueblo people were mostly farmers, which not only meant they grew crops, but also meant they raised animals. It is believed that the Pueblo were one of the first to domesticate animals, which means to "own" the animals. They raised sheep and goats, which meant they gave them food, water, and overall were responsible for taking care of the animals. Since they lived in the desert the men had to wake up early and often times would wake up at what we call 4-5 am so that they could
beat the heat.
The men did the farming during the morning and when the heat was at the highest during the day they did some weaving. The pueblo men were very good at weaving and they made some very fascinating designs. This allowed the men to stay busy while the women were working all day and the heat was at its peak. The men in olden times, men wore shirts and kilts. A kilt is a man's skirt. In more modern times, men wore shirts and pants made of fabric or wool. On special occasions, they wore headdresses. They looked like huge layered blonde wigs made of yarn and other materials. Also, on special occasions, they painted their face with one black streak down each side of their nose and mouth. It could be any color but it was usually black.
The Pueblo women like most indian women were held is the highest regard because they took care of the home. The main job of the women was to raise the children, but they alaso created beautiful pottery and made sure the food for the family was made. The women wore a colorful dress that helped keep them cool during the day and warm at night.
Women spent hours each day grinding corn into flour. Beans were soaked and cooked in large jars. These jars were not placed directly over fires; instead, hot rocks were dropped into the jars for boiling. Corn was also put in jars which lay on their sides near the fire.
There weren't many animals for them to hunt. But when they were able to kill a large animal, they were butchered at the kill site. Back at home the pieces were prepared for cooking, bones were cracked to get the marrow, and hides were cured for other uses.
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The Pueblo Indians didn't use horses or canoes for transportation. To get from place to place, the Pueblo Indians traveled on foot. So their only way of transportation was by walking. Most of the reasons they didn't use animals for travel was that they lived in a desert and there was very little water for the animal. However, once the Spanish came to the area they introduced horses and the Pueblo started using horses later on, but still relied mostly on walking from place to place.
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|Art, Clothing, and Tools
Pottery, clothing, and making baskets are just a portion of the great arts and crafts of the Southwest Native Americans. Their art used symbols and signs to represent their ideas, beliefs, dreams, and visions. Pottery was made for everyday use, including cooking, storage, bathing, and religious ceremonies. They were painted and carved with designs that told a story.
The clothing they wore depended on what they did. They lived in a warm climate so they wore little clothing. They would dress in flowers and paint with feather headdresses. They also used clothing to signify their fighting skills.
Kachina dolls were carved out wood by the Zuni and Hopi tribes. They clothed them in masks and costumes to look like the men who dressed up as Kachina spirits. They were given to children to teach them to identify the different parts of Kachina dolls, and the parts they play in tribal ceremonies.
The Navajo women wore earrings before marriage, and afterwards they attached them to bead necklaces until their own daughters are old enough to wear them.
Turquoise is mined by southwestern tribes, and is the stone of happiness, health, and good fortune. They use turquoise to make jewelry. The southwestern tribes also collected good luck objects called fetishes. They kept them in bowls painted with crushed turquoise. The Navajo are known for silverwork, which they learned from the Mexicans. The Navajo Indians developed silver working techniques used for jewelry, and made belts from sterling silver.
The Southwest Indians were the most skilled in making baskets. They would decorate the baskets with colors and patterns. They could be very symbolic like the art they made. The Hopi method of basket making has not changed for hundreds of years.
All of these items mentioned above were ways for the Southwestern Native Americans to communicate their dreams, visions, and beliefs to each other or to people today.
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