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The Zuni (Zuñi) people are a Native American tribe in west-central New Mexico. They were one of the Pueblo tribes who inhabited the Colorado Plateau and the Rio Grande. The Zunis were also believed to be the descendants of the Anasazi, known as the cliff dwellers.
The Zunis are also one of the Pueblo tribes who practice adherence in the Kachina (spirit) dolls along with the Hopi and certain Keresan tribes.
Zuni Tribe Early History
- The River Valley in New Mexico is home to 19 original tribes including the Zuni people. They have inhabited New Mexico for 3,000 to 4,000 years.
- Being able to reside in a river valley, the Zuni used irrigation techniques that enabled them to farm maize, squash, beans, and sunflower seeds. They were also able to domesticate animals such as sheep and goats.
- When the Spanish colonizers encountered the Zuni people in the 16th century, they were living in Hawikuh and five or six other towns, later on, to be called the Seven Cities of Cibola. This area is known as the rumored empire of gold sought by Francisco Vázquez de Coronado and other conquistadors.
- By 1500, the word Pueblo was adapted to name the towns inhabited by southwest Indians.
- In 1629, the Spanish colonizers sent a mission at Hawikuh but the Zunis tried to expel them. By 1643, the Spaniards started another mission in Halona.
- In 1680, Chief Popé led a coalition of the Pueblo, Zuni, and Hopi people against the Spanish. Located in New Mexico and Arizona, this was known as the Pueblo Revolt (1680-1692).
- The Pueblo Revolt was mainly due to the suppression of the religion of the tribes by the Spanish colonizers. This revolt was a major victory for the Zunis and the other Pueblo tribes because the Spaniards were forced to withdraw from the area of Santa Fe, but eventually reconquered the area in 1692.
Zuni Culture and Tradition
- The Zuni people were descendants of the Anasazi, cliff dwellers. They lived in villages near their ancestral homes of the Anasazis.
- The Zuni constructed a sacred building called Kiva. It was built underground comprising of circular underground chambers. The Kiva was used for spiritual ceremonies and secret rites. The Zuni used prayer sticks or ‘pahos’ during their rites and ceremonies in calling the sacred spirits.
- The Zuni people associated the creation of the sun, moon, earth, sky, men, women, and all creatures to “Awonawilona, the maker of all”.
- Part of the Zuni belief system is the Kachina dolls. They symbolize the powerful spirits of deities, natural elements, and animals. Each Kachina possesses different powers such as weather, fertility, protection, and healing.
- The Zuni have their own language. Today around 6,000 Zunis speak English.
- The Zuni have been known for making turquoise and silver jewelry, beadworks, baskets, and pottery. Pottery played a vital role in the Zuni community. They designed their pottery religiously and in relation with their rituals honoring Mother Earth, Awidelin Tsitda. Traditionally, the women used to create pottery but today men are also engaged in the activity.
- One popular art of the Zuni people is the carving of animal fetishes. These are carved out of stone or other natural material. It is said that these carvings have spiritual components and possess special powers of healing, luck, and protection.
Zuni Tribe Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the amazing and rich history and cultures of the Native American Zuni tribe peoples.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Zuni Word Search
- The Zuni Way
- Kachina Dolls
- The Pueblo Revolt of 1680
- Zuni Pottery
- Famous Zunis
- Zuni Legacy
- Zunis Then and Now
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Link will appear as Zuni Tribe Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 22, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.