Information about the Zuni

The Zuņi or Ashiwi are a Native American tribe, one of the Pueblo peoples, who live in the Pueblo of Zuņi on the Zuņi River, a tributary of the Little Colorado River, in western New Mexico. Zuni is 55 km (35 miles) south of Gallup, New Mexico and has a population of about 12,000, with over 80% being Native Americans, with 43.0% of the population below the poverty line as defined by the US income standards. However, the low income and lifestyle of Zuni is not considered poverty by the people. ([1])


Zuņi speak the Zuņi language, a unique language which is unrelated to the languages of the other Pueblo peoples. The Zuņi continue to practice their traditional shamanistic religion with its regular ceremonies and dances and an independent mythology.

The Zuņi Tribal Fair and Rodeo is held the third weekend in August. The Zuņi participate in the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial.


The Zuni, like other Pueblo peoples, are believed to be the descendants of the Ancient Pueblo Peoples who lived in the desert Southwest of New Mexico, Arizona, Southern Colorado and Utah for a thousand years.

Archeological evidence shows they have lived in their present location for about 1300 years

Before the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the Zuņi lived in six different villages. After the revolt, until 1692, they took refuge in a defensible position atop Dowa Yalanne, a steep mesa 5 km (2 miles) southeast of the present Pueblo of Zuņi. After the establishment of peace and the return of the Spanish, the Zuni relocated in their present location, only briefly returning to the mesa top in 1703.

Frank Hamilton Cushing, a pioneering anthropologist associated with the Smithsonian Institute, lived with the Zuni from 1879 to 1884. He was one of the first participant observers and an ethnologist.

A recent controversy involving Zuņi is the proposed development of a coal mine near the Zuni Salt Lake, a site considered sacred by the Zuni although off their reservation. The mine will involve extraction of water from the aquifer feeding the lake as well as construction between the lake and Zuni [2], [3].


The Zuņi were and are a peaceful, deeply traditional people who lived by irrigated agriculture and now by the sale of traditional crafts. Their location is relatively isolated, but they welcome tourists. Carved stone animal fetishes, jewelry, needlepoint, and pottery are popular items.

There is an old Spanish mission, Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission, which is a popular attraction; and a tribal museum, A:shiwi A:wan Museum & Heritage Center.

Of late, Gavin Menzies suggested that the Zuni shares some affinities with the Japanese people, owing to the similarities in their languages.

Books on Zuni by Frank Cushing
  • Jesse Green, Sharon Weiner Green and Frank Hamilton Cushing, Cushing at Zuni: The Correspondence and Journals of Frank Hamilton Cushing, 1879-1884, University of New Mexico Press, 1990, hardcover ISBN 0826311725
  • Sylvester Baxter and Frank H. Cushing, My Adventurers in Zuni: Including Father of The Pueblos & An Aboriginal Pilgrimage, Filter Press, LLC, 1999, paperback, 1999, 79 pages, ISBN 0865410453
  • Frank H. Cushing, My Adventures in Zuni, Pamphlet, ISBN 1121395511
  • Frank Hamilton Cushing and Barton Wright, The mythic world of the Zuni, University of New Mexico Press, 1992, hardcover, ISBN 0826310362
  • Frank H. Cushing, Zuni Coyote Tales, University of Arizona Press, 1998, paperback, 104 pages, ISBN 0816518920
  • Frank Hamilton Cushing, Zuni Fetishes, pamphlet, ISBN 119917971x and ISBN 1122267045
  • Frank H. Cushing, designed by K. C. DenDooven, photographed by Bruce Hucko, Annotations by Mark Bahti, Zuni Fetishes, KC Publications, 1999, paperback, 48 pages, ISBN 0887141447
  • Frank Hamilton Cushing, Zuni Fetishes Facsimile, pamphlet, ISBN 1125285001
  • Frank Hamilton Cushing, Zuni Folk Tales, hardcover, ISBN 1125914106 (expensive if you search by ISBN, try ABE for older used copies without ISBN)
  • Frank Hamilton Cushing, Zuni Folk Tales, University of Arizona Press, 1999, trade paperback, ISBN 0816509867 (reasonably priced)
  • Frank H. Cushing, edited by Jesse Green, foreword by Fred Eggan, Introduction by Jesse Green, Zuni: Selected Writings of Frank Hamilton Cushing University of Nebraska Press, 1978, hardcover, 440 pages, ISBN 0-8032-2100-2; trade paperback, 1979, 449 pages, ISBN 0803270070
  • Frank Hamilton Cushing, Zuni Breadstuff (Indian Notes and Monographs, V. 8.), AMS Press, 1975, hardcover, 673 pages, ISBN 0404118356
  • Frank Hamilton Cushing, Outlines of Zuni Creation Myths, AMS Press, Reprint edition (June 1, 1996), hardcover, 121 pages, ISBN 0404118348
  • Adapted from the Internet-Encyclopedia article, "Zuni" http://www.internet-encyclopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Zuni July 24, 2003, updated August 30, 2003
  • Archaeologies of the Pueblo Revolt: Identity,Meaning, and Renewal in the Pueblo World, edited by Robert W. Preucel, University of New Mexico Press, 2002, hardcover, 224 pages, ISBN 0-8263-2247-6

The above includes excerpts from Wikipedia.org, the free encyclopedia:

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