Zuni Bridegroom sewing wedding bootsWilliam Pennington, 1910P80.1427
Zuni Bridegroom sewing wedding boots
William Pennington, 1910


The Farmers

Four thousand years ago, the ancestors of the Pueblo farmers began planting corn and living in large dwellings built from stone and adobe bricks (sun dried clay). Spanish explorers arrived in 1539 and named the local people Pueblos after the Spanish word for "village". At that time, the Natives had settled villages and could grow crops by using irrigation, which yielded a plentiful and dependable food supply. They kept a two to three year supply of dried food and grain stored so they would not go hungry if a drought came. To supplement their crops, the men of the village often held hunts, adding deer, antelope and rabbit meat to their diet.

Pueblo groups consist of many tribes who speak a variety of languages with differing customs and origins. The Hopi, who live in the western regions of the area and whose name means "peaceful ones", live in the longest continually inhabited communities in North America. The Zuni whose name means "people of the town" established their villages on high, flat-topped mesas and are descendants of the Anasazi.

During their centuries of living in a sedentary agrarian society, Pueblo Natives were able to afford time to develop their decorative arts, something, which is more difficult to develop when following a nomadic existence. Pueblo groups are known for their pottery, basketry and textiles.