The Pueblo People traditionally inhabited New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona, mostly subsisting on agriculture. The Spanish were the first Westerners to encounter them, in the 1500’s, and called their towns “Pueblos.” Most pueblos are constructed as apartments, with a flat roof of one level acting as the floor and front yard of the next. Ladders then connect the floors or varying levels. Hopi, Zuni, Taos, and Acoma are the best-known Pueblos today.
The Pueblo people have somewhat succeeded in keeping their pre-Spanish way of life, retaining many of their traditional arts and crafts such as pottery, jewelry, and Kachina dolls. Traditional ceremonies, many not open to the outside public, continue to be held. Most Pueblo communities retain some of their traditional architecture, though many have added modern materials to their homes. Tourism is fairly well developed in some communities, not so much in others.
Pueblo Peoples most recently descended from the Ancient Pueblo Peoples, often referred to as the Anasazi. The historical sites of Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, and Hovenweep offer some of the best, most well known examples of the Ancestral Pueblo culture. However, some current villages, such as Acoma, Zuni and Hopi, have been settled for at least 1000 years, so it is a misnomer to label everything of a certain era of the 'Anasazi Period.'
The desert surrounding the Rio Grande Valley helped reduce the number of intrusions into these lands, until the mid-nineteenth century. Pueblo People developed maize farming, despite being in one of the more arid regions of North America. The Spanish conquered the People in the early 1600’s, were thrown out in the later 1600’s during the Great Pueblo Revolt, but returned a short time later, though not as dominant as before the revolt. Traditional enemies included the Navajo, Comanche, and Apache. According to Western understanding, the Pueblo tribes officially came under the control of the United States government in the late 1840’s. Despite all of this, the People have maintained much of their traditional lifestyle, with 35,000 Pueblo People now living in New Mexico and Arizona region, mostly along the Rio Grande River Basin.
These "dry farmers," learned to use as little water as possible for their crops, which also restricted the types of corn, beans, squash and cotton that they could grow. Pottery vessels held and stored food and water. Turkeys were domesticated for ceremony, food and warmth, as the feathers were plucked. The art of weaving and cloth material were known before the arrival of the Spanish, who then influenced these endeavors during their occupation of the lands.
Pueblo Peoples are world renowned for their jewelry and pottery. Each of the various People have sacred beliefs with regard to rain and/ or water, and symbols or motifs of these life renewing events often show up in their artwork. The famous Turquoise Trail began because of the mining efforts of these People. Traditional and sacred ceremonies still occur throughout the year and particularly in the late fall or winter months.