Long before the European explorers and settlers reached this nation, the Pueblo Indians existed in a well-developed and complex civilization in what is now New Mexico. The Pueblo Indians were peaceful tribes living in a primitive urban environment. The word Pueblo is Spanish for village and is in fact what these peace-loving Native Americans developed.
The Pueblo Indians were deeply spiritual and operated under a government that was the shared responsibility of their separate clans. The Pueblo Indians were first encountered by Europeans in 1539 by a Spanish missionary named Marcos de Niza. By 1600, the Spanish occupied Pueblo country and within just a few decades, missionaries occupied nearly every village. In 1680, a mass Pueblo revolt drove the Spanish from the territory briefly until it was reoccupied in 1692. The territory remained under Spanish and Mexican control until after the Mexican War in 1848 when it landed under jurisdiction of the United States.
The architecture and craftsmanship of the Pueblo Indians is of great interest to many. Their building and shelter designs from the simplest dwelling to the village great house were far superior to many of the rudimentary dwellings of other tribes. The Pueblo Indians are also greatly praised for their artistic ability and craftsmanship that is demonstrated through their pottery skills.
Even in present day, Pueblo Indians continue to live a communal life. Most Pueblo Indians speak a variation of two primary languages, Keresan and Tanoan, with other sub-dialects. There are still 19 Pueblo tribes in New Mexico. Though the Pueblo Indians have fallen prey to modernization and white culture, they still continue to practice some of their ancient ceremonial beliefs. The Pueblo Indian Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico is operated by the New Mexico Pueblos and showcases many of artifacts and historical documentation of this ancient tribe in a 10,000 square-foot museum.
Joseph Paige © 2006