Pueblo (Indian tribes)

  • Grades: 6–8, 9–12

Pueblo (Spanish for "town") refers to the village-dwelling Indians of the southwestern United States, including the Hopi of northeastern Arizona, the Zuni of western New Mexico, and the Rio Grande Pueblos. Descendants of the prehistoric Anasazi peoples, the Pueblo Indians numbered 52,939 at the time of the 1990 U.S. census. Linguistically they are diverse. The Hopi and Tanoan Pueblos of the Rio Grande speak Aztecan-Tanoan languages; the languages of the Zuni and of the Keresan-speaking Pueblos of New Mexico have not been clearly related to any existing linguistic family.

The Pueblos cultivate the land. In addition, the men weave, and the women make pottery. These economic activities are practiced by all Pueblos, although culturally they are not uniform. The Western Pueblos as the Hopi and Zuni are called were too remote to be brought under effective control by the religious and governmental authorities of Spain. Their comparative isolation, reinforced by deliberate resistance to acculturative pressures, enabled the Hopi and Zuni to preserve more of their ancestral heritages than have any other Indian tribes in the United States. They still enact the pageants of their traditional ceremonial system and retain their indigenous social structure and much of their technology. The kachina cult, followed by many Pueblos, is aimed at maintaining a harmonious balance in the universe and encouraging weather conditions conducive to agriculture.

The Eastern Pueblos include the peoples of Acoma and Laguna, in the high plateaus of west central New Mexico, as well as along the Rio Grande, including the villages of Taos, Isleta, Jemez, Nambé, Picurís, Pojoaque, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, San Juan, Sandia, and Tesuque. Historically, the Rio Grande Pueblos are noted for their resistance, both passive and overt, to alien encroachments.

Bibliography: Acatos, Sylvio, and Bruggman, Maximilien, Pueblos: Prehistoric Indian Cultures of the Southwest, trans. by Barbara Fritzemeier (1990); Dozier, E. P., The Pueblo Indians of North America (1970; repr. 1983); Eaton, Linda B., Tradition and Innovation: The Pottery of New Mexico's Pueblos (1993); Hotvedt, Kris, Pueblo and Navajo Indian Life Today (1993); Keegan, Marcia, Pueblo People (1997); Lamb, Susan, Pueblo and Mission: Cultural Roots of the Southwest (1997); Morris, Earl H., The House of the Great Kiva at the Aztec Ruin (1996); Sando, Joe S., Pueblo Nations (1992) and Pueblo Profiles: Cultural Identity through Centuries of Change (1998); Silverberg, Robert, The Pueblo Revolt (1994); Scully, Vincent, Pueblo: Mountain, Village, Dance, 2d ed. (1989); Terrell, J. U., Pueblos, Gods and Spaniards (1973); Trimble, Stephen, Talking with the Clay (1987); Underhill, Ruth M., Life in the Pueblos (1946; repr. 1991); Wright, Barton, Pueblo Cultures (1986).

  • Subjects:
    Native American History
top

Grolier Online

Award-winning Scholastic GO! blends authentic, nonfiction texts; engaging videos; world newspapers; interactive maps; daily news feeds; and the best collection of curated websites into a robust and engaging digital resource to support students, teachers, and librarians in reaching all of their academic and literacy goals.