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Native Americans were the first people to live in America. Learn more about the Pueblo tribe.

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Pueblo Tribe

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Pueblo Indian Crafts
The Anasazi were the first ancestors of the
Pueblo to discover how to make crafts.

The Pueblo Indians lived in the southwest quarter of the United States, what is now New Mexico and Arizona, as well as parts of Texas, Colorado, and Utah. The Pueblo can be divided into several different tribes: Hopi, Taos, Jimez, Zuni and Tigua. Though they spoke different languages, these tribes had enough cultural and social habits that they were all classified as Puebloan. The Pueblo Indians are said to have descended from another tribe known as the Anasazi, or Basket Makers, who first found out how to grow crops, create pottery, and raise turkeys. For a while, the Anasazi spread out over a large territory. Then, when they had developed their farming techniques enough, they built permanent villages.

Pueblo Homes

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Pueblo homos
Behind all the Pueblo houses were
mud-brick ovens, called hornos.

One of the main characteristics of the Pueblo Indians is the way they build their houses. While most Native Americans lived in tepees or wigwams, Pueblo Indians built actual houses out of wood, adobe, stone, and dirt, with a wooden roof covered with mud plaster. The houses, which were built up to five stories high, were called "pueblos" (the Spanish word for "town") and were very useful for hot weather, because they kept the inside of the house cool. The doors were always at the top of the house, so that if an enemy attacked, the Pueblo Indians could pull up the ladder that led to their door. Each band of Pueblo Indians would live inside a small group of houses, and each family got one room. On the side of the "town", there were mud-brick ovens called "hornos", where women baked food.

Pueblo Life

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Pueblo Pottery
The Pueblo were well-known for the
striking black-and-white designs on their
clay pottery.

The Pueblo Indians planted corn, beans, squash, cotton, tobacco, and sunflowers. To store their food, the Pueblo grew gourds (that were later hollowed out) and made pots with creative designs. Though they depended mostly on their crops to survive, the men did hunt animals such as deer, antelope, bear, and rabbit with bows and arrows; women gathered berries and nuts. Women were in charge of keeping the house and taking care of the children. They also took part in the political and religious part of the tribe. Men in the Pueblo tribe farmed, hunted, fought, and participated in the government. The Pueblo government was unusual because it was a theocracy (a government that is influenced by religion). So, the chief of the tribe was also the head priest, called the cacique (pronounced kah-seek).

Pueblo Kiva
Pueblo men gathered in the town's "kiva"
to discuss the village's troubles and problems.

Pueblo life was centered around religion and culture. For example, the Pueblo built a "kiva" in the center of each town. This was a place where rituals and ceremonies were performed and where men could come together to meet each other and talk about the current troubles. Marriages and divorces were common, but women were also considered more important than in other tribes. Women owned the houses, and property was passed down from mother to daughter. The Pueblo Indians did not live by rivers or ocean, so they did not have canoes or rafts. They walked everywhere, and used a dogsled to carry supplies. They used these to trade with other tribes around them, including the Navajo and the Comanche. Usually, the Pueblo would trade for shells, corals, and turquoise that they could use in their crafts.

Pueblo Clothing
Pueblo clothing was mostly
made out of cotton fiber, but
the Pueblo sometimes wore
rabbit or deer fur. They usually
wore paint and feathers
for religious ceremonies.

The Pueblo Indians were famous for their delicate necklaces and their amazing pottery, on which they drew detailed and colorful designs. They also wove cloth from the cotton they grew, and used animal hides as blankets, aprons, and breechcloths. Men only wore breechcloths or kilts and a cloth headband, and women wore dresses (they were called "mantas). Both men and women put their hair up into a bun (known as a "chongo"), and used paint and feathers for religious ceremonies. When the Spanish came to the Pueblo region, they brought goats, horses, cows, and sheep, so the Pueblo Indians substituted much of their cotton clothing with wool. They also forced Pueblo women to wear blouses underneath their mantas.


Pueblo and the Missionaries
When the Spanish missionaries arrived, they tried
to convert the Pueblo Indians to Christianity.

The first Europeans to encounter the Pueblo were the Spanish missionaries in 1539. Soon, the Spanish took over the entire area, and established missions in every Pueblo village to try to convert them to Christianity. Unfortunately for the Spanish, the Native Americans of that area showed resistance, and in 1680, the Pueblo Revolt saw the Spanish out of Pueblo territory. The Pueblo Indians are the first Native American tribe to ever have accomplished anything like this, and they continued to live in peace until 1692, when the Spanish returned. The Pueblo religion was suppressed, and many Pueblo Indians were sold into slavery. Later, Pueblo territory came under the Mexican government, and soon afterward, the American government. Throughout, the Pueblo Indians pretended to obey all their country's laws, but secretly kept all of their ancient traditions alive.


Books on the Pueblo

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Links to other sites on the Pueblo

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Ancestral Puebloans of the Southwest http://www.thefurtrapper.com/anasazi.htm
Anasazi and Pueblo Indians http://teacher.scholastic.com/researchtools/
Tigua Indians of Texas http://www.texasindians.com/tigua.htm
Pueblo Indian Sign Language http://www.flagler.edu/about_f/gal/kelleymcgregor.html
Pueblo People http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pueblo_people
Pueblo - Leslie Marmon Silko http://www.blitz21.com/creativeweb/silko.html

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