Geographical region : Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico

Lived normally in pueblos

Language group : zuni




Pueblos ('towns', 'villages'), so called on account of file peculiar style of compact permanent settlements of these people, as distinguished from temporary camps or scattered rancherias of less substantial houses).

A term applied by the Spaniards and adopted by English-speaking people to designate all the Indians who lived or are living in permanent stone or adobe houses built into compact villages in south Colorado and central Utah, and in New Mexico, Arizona, and the adjacent Mexican territory, and extended sometimes to include the settlements of such tribes as the Pima and the Papago, who led an agricultural life.

The Pueblo people of history comprise the Tanoan, Keresan (Queres), and Zuņian linguistic families of New Mexico, and the Hopi, of Shoshonean affinity, in north east Arizona.

These are distributed as follows, the tribes or villages noted being only those now existent or that recently have become extinct:

Linguistic Stock:

1. Tanoan

2. Keresan (Queres)

3. Zuņian

4. Shoshonean



1a. Tewa, Tigua, Jemez, Tano, Piro

2a. Eastern and Western

3a. Zuņi

4a. Hopi


Tribes or Villages:

1b. Nambe,


San Ildefonso,

Jan Juan,

Santa Clara,

Pojoaque (recently extinct) Hano Isleta,




Isleta del Sur (Mexicanized) Jemez,

Pecos (extinct) Practically extinct,

Senecu, Socorro del Sur, (both Mexicanized)

2b. San Felipe,

Santa Ana,



San Domingo Acoma,

Laguna, and outlying villages

3b. Zuņi and its outlying villages

4b. Walpi,








The Pueblo tribes of the historical period have been confined to the area extending from north east Arizona to the Rio Pecos in New Mexico (and, intrusively, into west Kansas), and from Taos on the Rio Grande, New Mexico, in the north, to a few miles below El Paso, Texas, in the south.

The ancient domain of Pueblo peoples, however, covered a much greater territory, extending approximately from west Arizona to the Pecos and into the Texas panhandle, and from central Utah and south Colorado indefinitely southward into Mexico, where the remains of their habitations have not yet been clearly distinguished from those of the northern Aztec.







Their prehistoric settlements, known as the Anasazi and Mogollon cultures, extended southward from S. Utah and S. Colorado into Arizona, New Mexico, and adjacent territory in Mexico.

The transition from archaic hunters and gatherers to sedentary agricultural populations occurred around the first century, when maize, squash, and beans were widely adopted; the trio of foods is still used by the Pueblos.

Although agriculture provided the bulk of the diet for these early populations, hunting and gathering was an important source of additional foodstuffs.

Pottery manufacture began about a.d. 400 and was used for cooking and water storage.

Clothing was woven from cotton, grown in warmer areas, and yucca fiber.

Early houses among the Anasazi and Mogollon were pit houses, which were replaced by adobe and stone surface dwellings throughout the region by the end of the first millennium.

Villages were variable in size and architectural content, but most included circular, often subterranean structures known as kivas (apparently a derivation of the pit house) and storage pits for grains.

Prior to the 14th and 15th cent., densely settled villages were more the exception than the rule.

Large pueblos were found at Chaco Canyon, dating to the 11th and early 12th cent., and at Mesa Verde, where multistoried cliff houses were inhabited in the 13th and 14th cent.

Changing climatic conditions forced the abandonment of much of the region by the early 14th cent., with populations migrating to their present-day locations in the Rio Grande valley and a few other isolated areas (the Hopi mesas).



The Pueblo speak languages of at least two different families.

Languages of the Tanoan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock are spoken at 11 pueblos, including Taos, Isleta, Jemez, San Juan, San Ildefonso, and the Hopi pueblo of Hano.

Languages of the Keresan branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock also are limited to Pueblo people Western Keresan, spoken at Acoma and Laguna, and Eastern Keresan, at San Felipe, Santa Ana, Sia, Cochiti, and Santo Domingo.

The Hopi language, which belongs to the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock, is spoken at all Hopi pueblos except Hano.

The Zui language may be connected with Tanoan, falling within the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock.

Social Structure Among the modern Pueblo, men are the weavers and women make pottery and assist in house construction.

The status of women among both the Western and the Eastern Pueblos is high, but there are differences related to the different social systems of each.

The Western Pueblos, including the Hano, Zui, Acoma, Laguna, and, the best known, the Hopis, have exogamous clans with a matrilineal emphasis and matrilocal residence, and the houses and gardens are owned by women; the kachina cult emphasizes weather control, and the Pueblos who follow this cult are governed by a council of clan representatives.

Among the Eastern Pueblos, there are bilateral extended families, patrilineal clans, and male-owned houses and land; warfare and hunting as well as healing and exorcism are more important than among the Western Pueblos.

The Spanish added new elements to the government in the form of civil officers, but the de facto government and ceremonial organization remained native.

In recent years the Bureau of Indian Affairs introduced elected officials in Santa Clara, Laguna, Zui, and Isleta.

The Hopi have an elected council on the tribal level.

The Kachina and other secret societies dealing with war, agriculture, and healing still carry out their complicated rituals and dances: for some occassions, the public is invited.

The reservation population in Arizona and New Mexico was just over 36,000 in 1980.

Contact with the Spanish Initial contact with European populations came in the 16th cent., when Spaniards entered the Rio Grande area.

The seven Zui towns were reported by the Franciscan Marcos de Niza to be the fabulous Seven Cities of Cibola, leading to the first intensive contactsa Spanish exploration party under Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1540.

Due to increasing pressure on the existing food supplies, the initially friendly Pueblos became hostile and then revolted; their resistance ended in a mass execution of Native Americans by Coronado.

In 1598 Juan de Oate began full-scale missionary work and moved the provincial headquarters of the Spanish colonial government to Santa Fe.

By 1630, 60,000 Pueblo had been converted to Christianity, and 90 villages had chapels, according to Father de Benavides.

Determined to put an end to the suffering caused by their Spanish oppressors, the Pueblos staged a successful revolt in 1680.

Pop, a medicine man, led a band of Pueblos which killed 380 settlers and 31 missionaries, and forced the remaining Spaniards to retreat to El Paso.

However, the Pueblos lost 347 of their number in one attack on Santa Fe.

Fearing Spanish reprisal, villages were abandoned for better fortified sites.

In 1692 De Vargas, with the cooperation of some Pueblo leaders, reconquered the Pueblos in New Mexico.

The Western Pueblos, however, including the Hopi, remained independent.

The Pueblo have the oldest settlements N. of Mexico, dating back 700 years for the still occupied Hopi, Zui and Acoma pueblos.

The Europeans who settled in the Southwest adopted the adobe structures and compact village plans of the Pueblos.

The Pueblos, for their part, adopted many domestic animals and assorted crafts from the Old World, including blacksmithing and woodworking.

See E. P. Dozier, The Pueblo Indians of North America (1970); Robert Silverberg, The Pueblo Revolt (1970); J. U. Terrell, Pueblos, Gods, and Spaniards (1973); A. Ortiz, ed., Handbook of Indians of North America: Vol. 9, Southwest (1979); L. Cordell, Prehistory of the Southwest (1984).