Frequently Asked Questions
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These are some of the most commonly asked questions about Zuni Pueblo. They are in no particular order, but we have attempted to answer them as accurately and as completely as possible. If you have a specific question that was not answered on this page, please feel free to contact us and we will try to answer it for you. Keep in mind that there may be certain questions that we simply cannot answer. Your understanding is greatly appreciated.

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Where exactly is Zuni Pueblo located?   Back to Top
Zuni Pueblo is located in the northwestern quadrant of New Mexico in an area known as the "Four Corners" region. This region is so named because it is the only place in the southwestern United States where four different states - New Mexico (NM), Arizona (AZ), Colorado (CO) and Utah (UT) - intersect. Zuni is approximately 40 miles south of Gallup and about 10 miles east of the Arizona state border. Some visitors mistakingly think that Zuni Pueblo is in Arizona. The Zuni tribe does have land holdings in Arizona, but the community of Zuni is located in New Mexico.

How would a person who has never been to Zuni get to Zuni?   Back to Top
  • From Holbrook, AZ: You will be heading EAST on Interstate 40 until you get to Gallup (about 95 miles). Take the SECOND exit (Exit 20). Look for the Wal-Mart Supercenter to your left. Turn RIGHT at the stoplight (Highway 602 bypass), cross the overpass and go on to the next stoplight (street sign should read Aztec Ave). Go straight past Aztec on the Highway 602 bypass until you get to another stoplight (street sign should read Nizhoni Ave). Keep going straight, past Ellis Tanners, but do not go on to the next stoplight. There will be a merging lane on your right after you pass Ellis Tanners. Take the merging lane, merge with traffic and follow the directions below to get to Zuni Pueblo.
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  • From Gallup: Drive south on State Highway 602 until you get to the Zuni Route 4 (Z-4) turnoff (about 25 miles). Turn RIGHT onto Z-4 and continue travelling south/southwest (about 5-6 miles) until you reach State Highway 53. Turn RIGHT onto Highway 53 and continue into Zuni (about 6-7 miles). OR...if you happen to miss the Z-4 turnoff, you can continue travelling on Highway 602 until you get to the Highway 53 junction (about 5 miles past the Z-4 turnoff). Once you get to the junction, you will turn RIGHT onto Highway 53 and drive west into Zuni (about 10 miles).
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  • From Albuquerque: You will be heading WEST on Interstate 40 until you get to Grants (about 72 miles). Take the SECOND exit (Exit 81). Take the LEFT offramp (to San Rafael) and then turn LEFT to get onto State Highway 53. From there, you will travel approximately 73 scenic miles directly into the Pueblo of Zuni. Please drive with caution! There may be road construction occuring along stretches of Highway 53--certain areas may be rough and bumpy. Also, if you are travelling during the early morning or late evening hours, and especially at night, REMAIN ALERT as there may be deer and elk on the roads.

    What makes Zuni Pueblo so unique?   Back to Top
    The present-day Zuni Pueblo, traditionally called Halona:wa, is believed to have been part of the legendary 'Seven Cities of Cibola' that Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado had searched vainly for in 1540. When Coronado arrived at Hawikku, one of the outlying Zuni villages, he was greeted rather unceremoniously by ancestors of the A:shiwi, who attacked the Spanish newcomers. Coronado and his troops eventually took over Hawikku and discovered that there was no gold or riches. Today, however, Zuni Pueblo is considered to have an extremely rich culture, being one of very few Native American groups who have successfully maintained their traditional practices over the centuries. Unlike other Pueblo groups in New Mexico, Zuni is not as heavily influenced by Spanish culture, and consequently, is the ONLY Pueblo in New Mexico that does not observe a "feast day." However, Zuni Pueblo is known for its yearly religious dances and ceremonies that the public is often allowed to observe. The A:shiwi believe that Zuni Pueblo, sometimes referred to as 'Idiwan'a' or the 'Middle Place' is the center of the universe, and that all blessings that are given to the A:shiwi are also given to the people of the world. The Zuni emergence story tells of the journey to find Idiwan'a with the help of the Twin War Gods and the water strider.

    What is the Zuni emergence story?   Back to Top
    In a fairly large nutshell, the Zuni emergence story tells of the birth of the A:shiwi from the Fourth Underworld -- the womb of our Awidelin Tsitda (Earth Mother) -- to the Daylight World. Yadokkya Datchu (Sun Father) grew lonely for companionship and thus created the Twin War gods, his sons, from the mists of a pair of twin waterfalls. Once the twins had been given life, Yadokkya Datchu sent them down to the Fourth Underworld on a lightning bolt to bring the ancestors of the A:shiwi to the Daylight World. It was a long dangerous journey made by climbing a succession of trees that the twins planted in each of the underworlds. The ancestors of the A:shiwi finally emerged from somewhere deep within the Grand Canyon and were sent on a journey to find the Middle Place of the world, or Idiwan'a. Along the way, the large group of A:shiwi split into two smaller groups by choosing between two eggs. One egg was that of a raven/crow and the other was that of a parrot/macaw. According to the legend, the A:shiwi picked first, and they chose the raven/crow egg, which was very colorful. The other group was left with the parrot/macaw egg, which was dull in color. That explains (in part) why there are so many ravens/crows in this area and why the A:shiwi are naturally attracted to color and beauty. The A:shiwi, having chosen the raven/crow egg, went north and the other group went south. Once they reached this area, the A:shiwi were assisted by K'yan' Asdebi (Water Strider) who extended his legs to the four corners of the world, and where his heart fell marked where the middle place of the world would be. Thus, the journey of the A:shiwi was complete. Of course, the entire story is much more elaborate than this extremely condensed version. The full version of this story, as it exists today, is told entirely in the Zuni language and is approximately five hours long.

    What does the word 'A:shiwi' mean?   Back to Top
    The Zuni word A:shiwi (pronounced: AH-shee-wee) is similar to the Navajo word Diné. It simply means, 'the people,' or 'the Zuni people'. Basically, the Zuni people use the word A:shiwi to refer to themselves, much like the Navajo use Diné to refer to themselves. Locally, people are beginning to use the word A:shiwi much more than Zuni, i.e., A:shiwi Elementary School and A:shiwi Running Club.

    I've seen 'Zuni' sometimes spelled 'Zuñi.' Where did 'Zuñi' come from?   Back to Top
    Many historians believe that the word "Zuñi" (pronounced: ZOON-yee) is derived from an ancient Laguna or Acoma (essentially Keres) word -- either "Sunyi'tsi" or "Su'nyitsa" -- which eventually became "Zuñi" as a result of Spanish misinterpretation. The modern-day spelling of Zuni (pronounced: ZOO-nee) is more widely used and accepted than the somewhat archaic spelling of Zuñi. There is a lot of speculation as to why the ñ was ever used, and to this day, no one has a definitive answer. But all current writings use the modern spelling of Zuni -- without the ñ.
    SIDE NOTE: The word "Apache," is believed to be another Spanish misrepresentation of the Zuni word "A:bachu," (pronounced: AH-ba-choo) which refers to the Diné (Navajo people).


    Is the Zuni language a written language?   Back to Top
    YES, the A:shiwi created a written form of the Zuni language in the 1950s based largely on the modern-day English alphabet. It wasn't officially adopted until the 1960s. For whatever reason, though, the Zuni language in its written form is not as widely used by community members, although it is being taught in the schools. There are efforts currently underway to make better use of the written language. One idea is to offer free or low-cost classes to teach the basics of reading and writing in Zuni to community members, as well as utilizing technology such as computers, the Internet and cable or satellite TV. The ultimate hope is that more community members, particularly elders, will become more adept at the reading and writing of their own native language so that it may be used in contemporary settings to help pass on our proud traditions.

    Can the A:shiwi speak English?   Back to Top
    YES, the majority of A:shiwi are bilingual, speaking both Zuni and English. Both languages are used in everyday settings, including at home. Many Zuni families interchange between the two languages simply because in most cases, the English word is much 'easier' to say than the Zuni word, such as 'book' as opposed to 'ts'ina:i:shokwinne.' There are also many instances in which diglossia occurs. Diglossia is a broad term used in lingustics to refer to a situation in which a word or word root/stem from one language is combined with a word or word root/stem from another language to form a totally new and different word that is used in a particular context or situation. For example, many Zunis have taken to using the word on'adi (or off'adi), which is a general directive to turn something on (or off). It combines the English word 'on' with the Zuni root '-adi' from '-adinaye,' essentially meaning 'the current status of -something- that was physically changed by an action.' Many Native languages have adopted this 'Amer-Indian' form of English, but it seems to be more evident in Zuni Pueblo.

    How has Zuni been influenced by contemporary society?   Back to Top
    As with other Native communities, Zuni has been influenced in many ways by the world around them -- beginning with the arrival of the Spanish in 1540. The Spanish introduced many new customs and items to the A:shiwi, such as Christianity, horses, sheep and hornos. With the advent of the railroads in the 1800s, many more new ideas and customs made their way to Zuni. Because of their usefulness, the A:shiwi immediately incorporated many of these "strange" and "new" customs into their daily lives. Unfortunately, some of these influences have been negative, such as the introduction of alcohol/drugs and gang/domestic violence that have come about as a result of video games, movies, magazines and other forms of mainstream media. Perhaps the greatest threat from contemporary society has been to the Zuni language. Due to certain influences from the 'outside' world, many of today's younger people are choosing not to speak Zuni. In addition, because of the lack of Zuni language skills, these same younger people are not practicing the traditions of our ancestors. For the most part, many young people can understand things said in Zuni, but responses are made in English. This is frustrating for the elders in our community because they know that the future of the A:shiwi depends primarily on the younger people being able to speak the language in order to pass down the prayers and customs to the next generation. It is one of the main reasons why the Zuni Public School District openly promotes the use of Zuni language in the classrooms and why parents are strongly encouraged to use the Zuni language in the home. Despite this, the A:shiwi have endured, maintaining their traditions and culture as much as possible. But as contemporary society grows, so do the problems. As one elder put it, "It's tough to be Indian in this day and age!"

    Hornos? What are hornos?   Back to Top
    Hornos (pronounced: OR-noes), or hebok'o:we as they are called in Zuni, are those strange-looking dome-shaped adobe structures (photo) located throughout the village in groups of three or more. They are outdoor baking ovens that were introduced to the A:shiwi in the 1600s by the Spanish, and are primarily used to bake our delicious Zuni bread during the year, but they can also be used to cook meats and other meals. The ovens, made in various sizes, are constructed on a flagstone and adobe foundation which is lined on the bottom with wet compacted ashes. When dry, this serves as the "floor" of the oven and helps to hold in heat. The oven itself is constructed on the foundation with adobe and flagstone slabs. The walls are approximately one foot thick. An entrance is left in the front as the oven takes shape, eventually becoming dome-shaped as it nears the top. A smoke hole is left at the top to allow smoke and hot cinders to escape. Once completed, the oven is plastered moderately on the outside with wet, sticky red clay and straw, and a fire is built to dry it out completely. Dry juniper branches are used to build a fire and heat the oven to prepare it for baking/cooking.

    What traditional foods do the Zuni eat?   Back to Top
    Traditionally, the A:shiwi have always been able to enjoy a varied diet. Before the advent of the local neighborhood grocery store, the A:shiwi used to maintain small waffle gardens along the banks of the Zuni River where they grew a variety of crop plants such as corn, beans, squash, onions and melons. For meat, Zuni men would go hunting and would bring back a wide variety of small and large game animals, ranging from birds, rabbits and prairie dogs on up to deer, antelope and elk. In addition, the sheep became an important source of meat after it had been introduced by the Spanish. Other protein-laden food items included pinyon nuts, which, during a "good" year, could be gathered in late summer, usually in August. One popular food item still eaten today was introduced by the Spanish--a form of posole, known locally as "mutton stew," or chuleya:we. Unlike regular posole, which uses either pork or beef, chuleya:we uses mutton. It is usually eaten during times of religious observances. Another delicacy for Zunis, as well as other Native groups, is a dish known locally as tsu'balonne, or sheep stomach sausage. It is very similar to "haggis," a well-known Scottish dish, and like haggis, is considered a delicacy! Today, the Zunian diet is as varied as ever, if you include fast food!

    How big (or small) is Zuni Pueblo?   Back to Top
    Zuni Pueblo is the largest of all the nineteen Pueblo groups in the State of New Mexico in terms of population and total land area. Zuni is approximately 700 square miles in area, which includes several land holdings in the State of Arizona. According to the 2000 Census, there were a total of 10,122 Zuni residents, although now, it is estimated that this number is closer to 12,000. However, if you include ALL Southwestern Pueblo groups, the Hopi tribe in the State of Arizona is actually the largest Pueblo in terms of population with a total of 15,275 members recorded in the 2000 Census.

    What is Zuni Pueblo's elevation? Does the elevation affect the weather?   Back to Top
    Zuni Pueblo is 6,266 feet above sea level, which means that for the majority of the year, the weather is fairly pleasant. The high mountain plateau and the semi-arid climate combine to provide short, but sometimes very cold winters, and an occasional snowfall. Springs are breezy and mild and fall temperatures are rarely below 50 degrees. Some years are wetter than others; some are drier. For most of this summer, the entire Southwest was in a period of drought, with a number of wildfires occurring in both New Mexico and Arizona, the nearest being the combined Rodeo/Chediski Fire which burned nearly 469,000 acres around Show Low, Arizona (about 100 miles southwest of Zuni Pueblo). The summers are about average, with daytime temperatures in the 80 to 90 degree range. On rare occasions, temperatures will go up into the high 90s and low 100s. Most of the time, however, daytime conditions are tolerable with air conditioning. Summer nighttime temps drop to about the mid-60s. Winter nighttime temps drop down to the teens, and sometimes below freezing.

    Where can I find the 'old' Pueblo?   Back to Top
    Unfortunately, many visitors to Zuni make the mistaken assumption that there is a separate "older pueblo" in Zuni, similar to "Sky City" in Acoma. Consequently, many visitors also expect to see the famed multi-storied pueblos featured in many historic photographs taken around the late 1800s. It is important to let potential visitors to Zuni know that the present-day Zuni Pueblo is the only occupied Zuni community today -- there is no separate 'old' Pueblo. In addition, the multi-storied houses featured in many historic photos are, no longer in existence. Historians estimate that the last of these structures were seen in the mid to late 1920s. These structures were built primarily for defensive purposes and were used as such until the early 1900s. The way these structures were built, many of the entrances were located on the rooftops and were accessible only by ladder. Whenever a Navajo or Apache raid would come to Zuni, the women and children would flee into the homes through these rooftop entrances. Once safely inside, the men would pull the ladders onto the rooftops to prevent access into the homes. Modern windows and doorways didn't become prevalent until after the 1920s when it became apparent that well-fortified homes were no longer necessary. From that point on, Zuni homes became more modernized. Today, there are many Western-style homes in Zuni, as well as mobile homes.

    What about other historic sites like Hawikku?   Back to Top
    After the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the Pueblo tribes lived in relative peace until 1692 when the Spanish returned to re-conquer New Mexico. In response, the A:shiwi sought refuge on top of their sacred mesa, Dowa Yalanne (Corn Mountain) (photo). After making peace with the Spanish troops, all outlying villages -- including Hawikku -- were 'dis-occupied' (NOT abandoned) by the A:shiwi. The only village that was re-settled was Halona:wa, where the A:shiwi still live today. Most of these formerly occupied villages are nothing more than a few scattered remnants of rocks here and there, but they are still acknowledged through prayer and religious ceremonies because it is believed that the spirits of the ancestors still reside there. There are only two ruin sites approved by the Zuni tribal government -- Hawikku and Village of the Great Kivas -- which can be visited by tourists, but ONLY if you are accompanied by a Zuni guide.

    How can I find and get to the Old Zuni Mission?   Back to Top
    The Old Mission Church, known formally as the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupé (Our Lady of Guadalupe) church, is famous for its walls adorned with life-size murals of Zuni religious deities. It is located in the center of Zuni in an area known as 'Middle Village.' The church is not open every day, but if you are fortunate enough, muralist Alex Seowtewa or his sons, Kenneth and Edwin, will be there to share their stories about this extraordinary artistic masterpiece with you.
  • Smaller vehicles (cars and trucks without camper trailers):
    Travel on Highway 53 until you get to the Turquoise Village jewelry shop. You will be looking for a street light with a green and white street sign that shows you will be turning onto Sandy Hill Road. Once you are on Sandy Hill Road, the road will curve right and you will see a manhole cover just before you start going up the hill. You will turn LEFT at the manhole cover and onto Old Mission Drive. You will drive over a small hill past a few homes until you reach the paved area. From there, you will go around the wall and turn RIGHT onto Plaza Circle and continue to the front parking lot of the church.
  • Larger vehicles (RVs, busses and trucks with camper trailers):
    It is generally recommended that visitors in larger vehicles find a suitable place to park and walk up to the Old Church, or drive up in a smaller vehicle as the streets in the Middle Village area are small and narrow and weren't meant to accomodate excessively large vehicles. Also, since there is not a lot of parking space available in the Middle Village area, larger vehicles tend to dominate most of the space that several smaller-sized vehicles could easily park in. Although it is possible for a bus or an RV to drive into the Middle Village area, most of the residents in the Middle Village consider it intrusive and would prefer that any excessively large vehicles not try to maneuver their way into this part of town.


    Where can we watch some dances?   Back to Top
    There are a number of dances, both religious and non-religious, that occur throughout the year in Zuni. It is generally advised that you inquire about any religious or public dances that might be taking place at the local Visitor Center. If you are fortunate enough to be in Zuni while there are dances taking place, you are welcome to observe. The religious masked dances usually occur at one of the main dance plazas in the Middle Village area, but no matter where the masked dances might occur, please be mindful of that fact that the religious masked dances are NOT to be photographed or videotaped under ANY circumstances. Once in a while, however, there are public dances that occur in Zuni, such as the Zuni Tribal Fair, where you would be allowed to watch and photograph the dances. Locations of these public dances vary, so again, please inquire at the local Visitor Center.

    Are there tours of the Pueblo available?   Back to Top
    There are several types of tours available to tourists. Whenever possible, all tours should be arranged in advance by contacting the local Visitor Center to ensure availability of tour guides. There are walking tours of the Middle Village available, as well as the Zuni Artist Studio Tour, where you can visit the home studios of several Zuni artists and observe them as they create their crafts. As long as the weather is good, there are also hiking areas and tours of ruin sites available as well. For more information about guided tours, contact the Visitor Center.

    Are visitors allowed to go to ruin sites in Zuni?   Back to Top
    Depending on how much time you have, you may visit a couple of designated ruin sites. There are only two sites that have been designated for tourist visitation by the Zuni government. These two sites are Hawikku and Village of the Great Kivas. Both are located approximately 15 miles from the main Zuni village. A typical tour of either of these sites takes between an hour and a half to two hours. The ruins of Hawikku, the ancient village where first contact was made with Coronado, is located west of Zuni Pueblo. The ruins of Village of the Great Kivas, believed to be of Chacoan origin, is located east/northeast of Zuni Pueblo. At Village of the Great Kivas, you can take a short hike to see ancient rock art on the adjoining cliff faces. Both locations require that you be accompanied by a Zuni guide. Tours for either of these sites should be arranged at the local Visitor Center at least one week prior to your visit. The main reason for this is because of illegal excavations that have taken place in the past. If you are found at either of these sites without a designated Zuni guide, you will be asked to leave. Zuni Tribal rangers and other law enforcement officials regularly patrol these areas.

    Do you need a photo/video camera permit in Zuni?   Back to Top
    YES. Camera permits can be purchased at either the Visitor Information Center/Tourism Office, or at the Zuni Tribal Building. Regular camera permits cost five dollars ($5.00) each and video camera permits are ten dollars ($10.00) each. With a permit, you may take photos/videos of scenery and people, but please respect the privacy of individuals and be sure to ask permission before taking any photos or videos of people. Also, please remember that having a photo permit DOES NOT give you permission to take photos or videos of the ceremonial masked dances. These dances are highly religious in nature, and to photograph or videotape them would be considered an act of sacrilege. ABSOLUTELY NO PHOTOS OR VIDEO/AUDIO RECORDINGS OF CEREMONIAL MASKED DANCES ARE ALLOWED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES! If you are caught, you will have your camera(s) and film/tape confiscated. Under extreme circumstances, you may also be asked to leave the Pueblo. When visiting Zuni, be sure to ask if there are any ceremonial dances taking place. If there are, the safest action to take is to respect our policies and leave all camera/video equipment in your vehicles. If in doubt, the most sensible and respectful thing to do is ask. The A:shiwi are very appreciative to those who choose to respect our sacred dances.

    Why are we not allowed to photograph the religious dances?   Back to Top
    As mentioned before, the ceremonial masked dances are religious in nature, and are done in part to pray for the overall health, wealth and prosperity of not only the A:shiwi, but for the entire world. Because we believe that Zuni Pueblo is Idiwan'a -- the "Middle Place" of the world -- our religious prayers are done for all of humankind. To interrupt/disrupt these religious dances in any way would be considered an act of sacrilege, equivalent to disrupting a formal church service. Once this occurs, it is believed that the dance is "tainted" and its religious significance is diminished or destroyed. If there happen to be dances taking place during your visit to Zuni, you are more than welcome to watch with quiet reverence. As long as you are respectful of what these dances mean to the A:shiwi and what they stand for, many Zunis have no problem with Anglos and other non-Zuni visitors watching our ceremonial dances. Always be mindful of the fact that being allowed to watch Zuni ceremonial dances is a PRIVILEGE...most Pueblo tribes do not allow "outsiders" -- even other Pueblo tribes -- to watch their ceremonial dances.

    Where is a good place to eat in Zuni?   Back to Top
    Unfortunately, there are no 'fast food' places like McDonald's or Burger King here in Zuni. But not to worry! There are a few good places here in town that serve delicious, filling meals at very reasonable prices. All are owned and/or operated by local residents. In no particular order, there is:
       
  • Chu-Chu's Pizzeria - serving pizza, burgers, sub sandwiches, salads and fried chicken    
  • Route 53 Cafe - with their famous chili-cheese fries, burgers and Mexican food    
  • Major Market Deli - daily lunch and dinner specials; call 782-5571/5572 for menu    
  • Halona Plaza Deli - daily lunch and dinner specials; call 782-4547 for menu    
  • Tully's - assorted hot foods; located inside the Mustang convenience store.

    Visitors often ask if there are any places that serve "traditional" Zuni food. Unfortunately, there are no restaurants in Zuni at this time that serve traditional Zuni food.


    Does Zuni have local motel accomodations?   Back to Top
    Zuni presently does not have any local motel establishments, although the local Inn at Halona Bed and Breakfast sometimes has rooms available at varying rates. You may call them at 505-782-4547 or toll-free at 1-800-752-3278. There is also the Cimarron Rose Bed and Breakfast, which is located approximately 45 miles east of Zuni on NM Highway 53. The nearest motel accomodations are in the City of Gallup, which is approximately 40 miles (about 40 minutes) from Zuni Pueblo going north on Highway 602. Prices vary according to the motel chain. Please check this link for additional information.

    What else is there to do in Zuni?   Back to Top
    Besides visiting the Old Mission church, designated ruin sites and watching ceremonial events, there are many other opportunities for cultural, historic and outdoor enrichment. You may inquire about any of the following activities at the Visitor Center:
       
  • A:shiwi A:wan Museum & Heritage Center - learn more about the A:shiwi/Zuni culture at the community's own museum.    
  • Zuni Artist Studio Tour - gain exclusive access to some of Zuni's finest artists.    
  • Nature, Architectural & Archaeological tours - discover unique areas of Zuni with a knowledgeable Zuni guide.    
  • Picnics, hiking & fishing - spend quality time at various outdoor locations.    
  • B & L Paywa Bakery - buy fresh-baked traditional bread and other baked goods, and see Zuni bread being made.    
  • Zuni Eagle Aviary - a first-of-its-kind care facility for injured eagles.    
  • Zuni Furniture Enterprises - See and purchase authentic hand-made and hand-painted pine furniture by Zuni carpenters and artists.

    Certain restrictions may apply to some of these activities or to visiting some of the sites mentioned. Be sure to check with the Visitor Center for current information.


    Where can one find authentic Zuni jewelry?   Back to Top
    At the risk of "tooting our own horn," Pueblo Trading Post should definitely be your first stop during your visit to Zuni Pueblo. We carry a wide variety of AUTHENTIC Indian hand-made (NOT machine manufactured) arts and crafts items for sale at competitive prices. Since authenticity has become a major issue of concern in recent years, Pueblo Trading Post assures you that ANY item you purchase in our store is genuine 100 percent hand-made by a Native American. Our items are meticulously hand-crafted by Zuni, Navajo, Hopi, Acoma and other Indian artists. In fact, by purchasing arts and crafts from right here in Zuni Pueblo, you are GUARANTEED that what you buy is the genuine article, hand-made/hand-crafted by a REAL person. ALL local retail arts and crafts establishments (including Pueblo Trading Post) buy DIRECTLY from the artists each and every single day. You simply cannot get that kind of guarantee from any other retail arts and crafts establishment anywhere in the world---not even in Santa Fe! The basic "rule of thumb" to remember is that the farther away from Zuni Pueblo you are, the less likely you are to find GENUINE Zuni-made arts and crafts items. Our motto is: BUY DIRECT FROM ZUNI PUEBLO and BUY DIRECT FROM THE SOURCE!

    How many Zunis do arts and crafts?   Back to Top
    According to statistics, approximately eighty (80) percent of Zuni households do some type of artwork, ranging from silversmithing, pottery-making, fetish carving, weaving, beadwork and drawing/painting. Most of this work is done at home, often within a designated "workroom" where family members work together in a miniature "assembly line" of sorts. For example, one individual may be responsible for soldering bezels on a piece of silver while another family member would cut the stones to fit into the bezels. Another family member would then be responsible for finishing and polishing the work and finally, one other family member will go out and sell the items. Though not typical of a "traditional" family gathering at the dinner table, working together to produce arts and crafts is one kind of family bonding ritual for Zunis, helping to maintain our cultural identity.

    Are the A:shiwi descendants of the Anasazi?   Back to Top
    First of all, despite the fact that the term Anasazi has been widely used for years to refer to the ancestors of today's Puebloan groups, many Pueblo tribes condemn the use of the word simply because it is a Navajo word that translates roughly to ancient enemies. Traditionally, the Navajo have always been considered enemies of all Pueblo tribes. Today, the term Anasazi has more or less been abandoned for the more 'politically correct' term of Puebloan Ancestors. The basic assumption was that the Ancestors lived in the same kinds of structures, practiced the same religion, grew the same plants, made pottery the same way, etc. as today's Pueblo groups do. Therefore, the logical conclusion was that today's Pueblo groups are descendants of the Ancestors. In many cases, the oral histories of many Pueblo tribes included references to recognized Ancestor sites. There is still much controversy and debate as to which modern Pueblo groups descended from which prehistoric society. Did people from Chaco Canyon migrate south and eventually become the A:shiwi? Did the inhabitants of Mesa Verde eventually settle on the Rio Grande and become the Tewa? To complicate matters even further, there are those who believe that the Mogollon people, who lived in the area south of the Colorado Plateau, are also likely to be the ancestors of the Pueblo. In addition to that, there are a few who believe that the Hohokam people from southern Arizona are ancestors of the Pueblo people.

    What other nearby destinations can we go to?   Back to Top
    There are a number of interesting and scenic places to visit other than Zuni, all within a few hours drive. One of the closest and perhaps the most culturally diverse is Gallup, known throughout the region as "The Indian Capitol of the World." There are a number of national parks and monuments in the area as well, including El Morro, El Malpais, Bandera Crater/Ice Caves, Canyon de Chelly, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest/Painted Desert, Aztec Ruins and Chaco Canyon, just to name a few. Regional maps are usually available at the Visitor Center, or you may purchase a map at one of the local gas stations or convenience stores.

    Where can I find more information on Zuni Pueblo?   Back to Top
    There are a number of well-written and informative publications about Zuni Pueblo that are available at many fine bookstores and other retail establishments today. There is also a lot of information on the internet about Zuni Pueblo, although a fairly large majority of these sites provide incorrect or outdated information. In addition, a vast majority of the "good" books written about Zuni are now out of print and are very difficult to find, although you could check your local library. Your best source for current information about Zuni would be to speak with someone from the local Visitor Center.

  • If you have a specific question that was not answered on our list, or, if you have another question that you feel should be on this list, please feel free to write to us and let us know.

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