Southwest Indians

The Native Americans from the southwest region of the United States inhabited in the present-day states of New Mexico, South Colorado, Arizona, and northern Mexico. The Apache, Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo, and Zuni tribes were the predominant tribes that made up the Southwest Indians.

Although the environment in the southwest is dry, with occasional droughts, the soil is fertile. This allowed the Southwest Indians to cultivate the land using their indigenous techniques of dry farming and irrigation.

The Zuni population lived mainly in New Mexico. The tribe was renowned for its ceremonial dances. The Pueblo, on the other hand, were primarily sedentary farmers who also excelled in pottery, textiles, as well as construction of underground chambers known as 'Kivas', which they used for religious ceremonies. The Apache Indians were hunters and gatherers who were skilled in horticulture. They were famous for their fighting prowess, and presently, they have a sizable population in Arizona and New Mexico.

The Navajo Indians, or Dine, were by far the largest tribe of them all, and they were some of the first farmers who cultivated melons, beans, and corn. They lived in houses called 'Hogans', which were made of wooden barks and mud. The door of a Hogan always faced east, to welcome the rising sun.

The Hopi Indians descended from the Pueblos, but they have a unique language. Presently, they reside in Arizona's Black Mesa. Traditionally, after a baby was born, the naming responsibility would be given to the village elders. Then, the baby would be carried to a cliff and named when the light of the rising sun touched the baby. The Hopis were also expert craftsmen who were known for their exquisitely crafted 'Kachinas', which were wooden dolls dressed in masks and costumes. The basket-making techniques that they used several centuries ago are still being applied today.

The Southwest Indians used to wear dresses that were made of flowers and feathers. Besides their unique clothing, their skills in pottery, basket-making, and other crafts made them stand out from the other Native American tribes. Turquoise stones were considered sacred objects among the Southwest Indians, and they were used to promote happiness, health, and prosperity.

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Southwestern Resources




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American Indians