Native American Traditions
Pottery from the pueblos
People of the Pueblos
Acoma Pueblo is in northwestern New Mexico between Gallup and
Albuquerque. It is believed to be one of the oldest continuously
inhabited cities in the United States, probably built before the
10th century. Called “Sky City,” the pueblo is on top of a
357-foot sandstone mesa. The pueblo covers about 70 acres.
Today, fewer than 50 of the 3,000 Acoma live at the pueblo; most
live in nearby villages.
The Pueblo de Cochiti is in north-central New Mexico, north of
Albuquerque and southwest of Santa Fe on the banks of the Rio
Grande. The pueblo has 53,779 acres of land, used for farming,
livestock, recreation, and residential construction. The 1,175
pueblo members retain their native language, Keres. Each Cochiti
belongs to a clan, and cultural traditions are strong. The
ancient pueblo has been occupied since at least 1250 and
continued to be the main residence of the Cochiti people through
the historic period.
The Hopi Pueblos are situated on top of First Mesa, Second Mesa,
and Third Mesa in northeastern Arizona. The Hopi live in 12
traditional villages with a total population of about 10,000.
Hopi pottery is made at First Mesa villages. Second Mesa
villages are noted for silver overlay jewelry and coiled
plaques. Third Mesa communities focus on agriculture, textile
weaving, and wicker baskets and plaques. The oldest Hopi village
at First Mesa is Walpi, established in 1690. Second Mesa’s
Shungopavi village was first at the base of the mesa and moved
to the top of the mesa after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Oraibi
of Third Mesa is another among the oldest continuously inhabited
settlements in North America, established in 1100 at the base of
the mesa and later moved to the mesa top.
Pottery from the Pueblos: People (continued)
Just south of Albuquerque, Isleta Pueblo is in the Rio Grande
Valley. It is one of the largest pueblos inNew Mexico, with an
area of more than 329 square miles. The pueblo has a population
of about 4,000. Isleta Pueblo was established about 1200. The
pueblo was destroyed after the 1680 revolt; the original Tigua
Indians reoccupied it around 1710.
Jémez lands cover 88,000 acres northwest of Albuquerque and
southwest of Santa Fe along the north bank of the Jémez River.
The only remaining Towa-speaking pueblo in New Mexico, its 3,400
tribal members include descendants of the Pecos Pueblo, which
was inhabited until 1838. When the Jémez country was first
encountered by Coronado in 1541, the nation was among the
largest and most powerful of the puebloan cultures with a
population estimated at 30,000 members.
Picuris Pueblo is on the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo
Mountains on 15,000 acres north of Santa Fe. Once the largest of
the four Tiwa-speaking pueblos, it is now the smallest with
about 340 inhabitants and 1,800 tribal members. The isolated
pueblo along the banks of the Rio Pueblo was first occupied
about 1250 in a migration from a larger pueblo, now in ruins, in
the Pot Creek area.
San Ildefonso Pueblo
The village of San Ildefonso, northwest of Santa Fe, is the
most-visited northern pueblo in New Mexico, About 458 of the
1,500 tribal members live in the pueblo. The flourishing art
community averages 20,000 visitors annually and is the center of
the Pueblo arts revival. The people of San Ildefonso migrated
from the Mesa Verde communities in southern Colorado to what is
now Bandelier National Monument west of today’s pueblo. A
drought in the 1300s forced a move from the high mesas to the
Rio Grande Valley.
San Juan Pueblo
Just north of Santa Fe, the 12,000 acres of the San Juan Pueblo
is surrounded by farmland along the Rio Grande River. It has
been inhabited for more than 700 years, with about 100 of the
original buildings still standing. The largest of the Tewa-speaking
pueblos, its population numbers 6,700. The pueblo is today the
headquarters of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council and
home of the Oke-Oweenge Arts and Crafts Cooperative.
Pottery from the Pueblos: People (continued)
Santa Clara Pueblo
The Tewa-speaking pueblo of Santa Clara, in the northwest corner
of New Mexico on the west bank of the Rio Grande, has a
population of 10,600 people. Their ancestors came from Puyé and
Shufinne and they now act as caretakers for the Puyé
cliff-dwelling ruins. Santa Clara Pueblo was established about
Santo Domingo Pueblo
Today’s pueblo was built around 1700 after several earlier
pueblos were destroyed by flooding along the Rio Grande in
north-central New Mexico. It is near the ancient Cerrillos
turquoise mines, and the village people maintain a tradition of
jewelry-making. Its population of 3,100 makes it the largest of
the Keresan pueblos and the fifth largest of the New Mexican