Cultural labels such as "Anasazi" (Hisatsinom), Hohokam or Mogollon are used by
archaeologists to define cultural differences among prehistoric people. It is important to
remember that culture names and divisions are assigned by individuals separated from the
actual cultures by both time and space. This means that cultural divisions are by nature
arbitrary, and are based solely on data available at the time of analysis and publication.
They are subject to change, not only on the basis of new information and discoveries, but
also as attitudes and perspectives change within the scientific community.
Archaeological research focuses on items left behind during people's activities; fragments of pottery vessels, human remains, stone tools or evidence left from the construction of dwellings. However, many other aspects of the culture of prehistoric peoples are not tangible. Languages spoken by these people and their beliefs and behavior are difficult to decipher from physical materials. Cultural divisions are tools of the modern scientist, and so should not be considered similar to divisions or relationships the ancient residents may have recognized.
The story we have chosen for The Eagle Expedition has been gathered from a group of
stories illustrated and published by one of the most famous Native American Indian Woman Artists of this century, Pablita Velarde. In hoe book, Old Father the Storyteller; she shares a collection of stories from her native Santa Clara Pueblo, and provides paintings to illustrate their lessons. Dale Stuart King published old Father in 1960. The story we have selected is an excerpt from a longer story, and we call it The Journey Home.
Ancient Pueblo or Ancestral Puebloans is the preferred term for the group of
people often known as Anasazi, who are the ancestors of the modern Pueblo peoples. Their descendants do not prefer the term "Anasazi", though there is still some controversy amongst them on a native alternative. The modern Hopi use the word "Hisatsinom" for the Anasazi. The word Anasazi is Navajo for "Ancient Ones" or "Ancient Enemy." The Ancestral Puebloans are also known for their unique style of pottery, today considered valuable for their rarity. The Ancestral Puebloans disappeared for as yet undetermined reasons. Many have speculated that a change in local climate and resulting agricultural failures may be the reason.