The Zuni people have lived in the American Southwest for thousands of years. Their cultural and religious traditions are rooted, in large part, in the people's deep and close ties to the mountains, river ways, forests, and deserts of this ancient Zuni homeland. Primarily being farmers, the Zuni people 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 Pueblo is the largest of the nineteen New Mexican Pueblos, covering more than 700 square miles, or roughly 450,000 acres in north central New Mexico. Zuni is considered the most traditional of all the New Mexico Pueblos, with a unique language, culture, and history that resulted in part from our geographic isolation. The Zuni pueblo offers the discerning visitor many rich experiences that draw from their deep cultural heritage, special history, exquisite arts, and awesome scenic beauty. The main "industry" is the production of arts, including inlay silverwork, stone “fetish” carving, pottery, and others of which they are world famous. When you visit the Zuni Pueblo please be aware that there are restrictions in place for non-Zuni's wishing to witness religious activities. Please respect the Zuni cultural privacy by following appropriate etiquette and guidelines. Ceremonial activities are what make the Zuni people unique.
The use of turquoise, shell, jet, and coral, as personal adornment by Southwestern Native Americans dates from the prehistoric times. The recent addtional use of silver by the Zuni, Hopi, and Navajo, is now over 100 years old. These Zuni Native American handmade products are not to be confused with any jelwery imitations. All of the stones are genuine. Turquoise is the birthstone of December and signifies success.
The archaeological evidence is that hunter and gatherers have lived in the Southwestern United States since about 10,000 B.C. Archeologists believe that specific Zuni history began well before 2500 B.C. These Ancient Puebloans that lived in present day New Mexico and Arizona are the ancestors of the modern Zuni, Hopi, and Rio Grande Pueblo tribes. By the 1500s, the tribe’s agriculture thrived thanks to their ingenious systems of irrigation that fueled their fields, allowing the Zuni to grow maize and wheat. The population grew and the tribe constructed plaza-style villages.
"Elahkwa" Thank You for respecting the Zuni traditions.