Museum of Northern Arizona exterior


The Zuni, who call themselves A:Shiwi, live on and near the pueblo of Zuni on the Colorado plateau. Today’s Zuni people are direct descendants of the Ancestral Pueblo people who settled in the region thousands of years ago.

The Zuni people speak the Zuni language, which is distinct and not related to any other language. Along with the Hopi they are a traditionally agrarian people, growing corn, beans and squash. The Zuni people also keep livestock.

Until they moved together for defense following the Pueblo Revolt 1680, the Zuni lived in seven towns along the Zuni River and traded with other pueblo tribes, as well as Native American tribes in what is now Mexico. Exaggerated stories of the wealth of the seven cities drew Spanish conquistadors to the area, with the first contact beginning in 1540. The Spaniards introduced new items, foodstuffs, and religion to the Zuni, and interrupted trading patterns, which led to a steep decline in Zuni population.

Today, the nearly all the Zuni people live in a single large town, Zuni Pueblo, as well as neighboring Blackrock, and several farming villages such as Pescado.