What Are Some Facts From the History of Southwestern Indians?


Quick Answer

Indian tribes of the Southwestern United States have a rich cultural tradition that encompasses several Native American language groups and their subsequent cultural traditions. Although the introduction of Spanish explorers to this area brought new livestock and European influence, the tribes of the American Southwest already had a well-established culture based on agriculture, herding, hunting and gathering.

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Southwestern Indian tribes are typified by their ancestral link to the land in Arizona, New Mexico and parts of southern Colorado. The Navajo, Hopi, Apache, Pueblo and Zuni are the present day remnants of this area's diverse native cultural history. The tribes in this area were predominantly agricultural with some hunter/gatherer practices used for the benefit of the tribe when weather and resources permitted.

Native religions of the Southwestern Indians were either shamanistic or animistic, and all tribes had rituals and rites of passage to mark developmental milestones and changes in tribal social standing. Gender roles in these tribes ranged anywhere from moderate to rigid, yet all members of a tribe contributed according to their age capacity and physical capabilities. Southwestern Indian culture also had highly developed art techniques in pottery, jewelry, basket weaving and sand painting, which continue to draw interest in modern times.

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