What Are Some of the Customs of the Jumano Indians?

Jumanos were instantly recognizable, as they customarily marked their faces with horizontal bars or lines. Men were also known to cut their hair short and decorate it with paint, but leave one long lock to which bird feathers were attached.

The writings of early Spanish explorers refer to the Jumano as a “naked” people, but this did not appear to be the custom by the time European settlers began reaching their territory in modern New Mexico and Texas. They wore clothes made from tanned skins and likely wore moccasins on their feet. Women would wear short sleeveless tunics with a short skirt or apron, and both genders wore capes or cloaks in inclement weather. The practice of facial painting and tattooing likely arose as an identifier in trade between tribes.

Early Spanish journals also indicate that the first explorers were greeted cordially by the Jumanos, who shared their food and celebrated in the evenings with music and dancing. They primarily hunted bison for food using bow and arrow, but also had farming villages which grew corn, squash and beans. Piñon nuts and cactus fruit were also included in their diet. They were also known to trade peyote, so use of it may have been customary.