What Was the Religion of the Jumano Indian Tribe?
Little is known of the Jumano Indians’ spiritual or religious practices, although the historical record indicates it may have involved hallucinogens, such as peyote, as part of Jumano ritual. In the 1600s, Spanish priests witnessed Jumano catzinas, a kind of ritual dance performed for religious reasons.
The Jumano tribes embraced at least three distinct peoples, all living between the American Southwest and the Southern Plains. The Jumano interacted with European settlers, including the Spanish who colonized Southwest Texas and other adjacent regions inhabited by the tribe. Christian missionary efforts date as early as 1630, and by 1682, Jumano chief Juan Sabeata traded the souls of his people for protection from the Apache. Jumano’s receptivity to Christian teachings was often motivated by practical interests in protection and trade. The gradual dissolution of Jumano culture after the late 1700s makes the historical record with respect to tribal spirituality something of a patchwork, but new scholarship continues to emerge.