Zuni a Favorite Pueblo Visit

Label for Zuni-made products - Hallmark of authenticity

Zuni Indian Reservation

Zuni – a favorite Pueblo visit out of 19 New Mexico Pueblos. “Why?” you might ask.  That’s why I wrote this…

Prior to planning this trip to the American Southwest, neither Tom nor I had heard of the Zuni. Most of us have heard of Apache, Navajo, Comanche Native American tribes, but not Zuni, especially if you are not from the American Southwest. I was curious, did a bit of research, and honestly, while I would have visited for the Zuni inlay jewelry, I would not have planned to stay. When we were welcomed as guests by the Inn at Halona and the Visitor Center, I made time in our travel schedule to spend on the Zuni Pueblo. We are so pleased that we did, because Zuni is a favorite Pueblo visit!

DISCLAIMER:  Many thanks to the Zuni Visitors Center, Kenny Bowekaty, and the Halona Inn for hosting us. While we were hosted at no charge, we received no payment for this post, and this post is our honest opinion.

As we entered the Zuni Indian Reservation, we noticed the landscape changed. The green foliage is quite different from the desert landscapes north and west that we had seen in our previous 3 months exploring the American Southwest. From a predominance of sandstone and red cliffs, around Zuni we began to see green-covered mountainsides with a major sandstone and red rock mountain in the background. We were intrigued and were ready to see more.

We entered the Zuni Indian Reservation or as they call the land, their Providence, which is approximately 450,000 acres along the Zuni River, a tributary of the Little Colorado River. Our first stop – the Visitors Center on the edge of town.

Zuni Pueblo Visitor Center

The Zuni Pueblo Visitor Center stands at the western edge approaching the central part of the Zuni Pueblo. While small and basic, the Zuni Pueblo Visitor Center is chock full of information and history about the reservation and its people. Stop by and sign up for a tour, or better yet, call in advance to schedule a tour.

At the Zuni Pueblo Visitor Center, we were greeted by Tom Kennedy, the Executive Director. Here we began learning about Zuni history from the displays and from Tom. We learned some about Zuni Tribe Government, Zuni tribe religion, Zuni legends, contemporary Zuni Pueblo life, communication and behaviors we might experience – setting our expectations to make Zuni a favorite Pueblo visit. We found everyone in Zuni to be friendly, helpful, and ready to answer our questions or help plan our time in Zuni.

Before leaving the Visitors Center, make sure to ask about photography in the Pueblo, as it is strictly prohibited in many areas. In order to take Zuni Pueblo pictures anyplace in Zuni where it is allowed, a photo permit is required. Equipped with our photo permit and an understanding of sacred areas of the pueblo, we were ready to immerse ourselves in Zuni culture and history.

Tours Made Zuni a Favorite Pueblo Visit

Kenny Bowekaty, Zuni Archaeologist and tour guideA variety of cultural adventures are offered that make Zuni a favorite Pueblo visit.  Kenny Bowekaty, the archaeologist who designs the tours and runs them with guides, took us on a ½-day, 4-6 hour, tour to give us the best understanding of Zuni tribe history, Zuni legends, and Zuni ceremonies.

We started off with background on Zuni tribe religion and how the Zuni came to the Southwest – a Zuni religious belief system – about creation and emergence. Then we were off to Hawikku.

Hawikku

Hawikku is ruins of an early Zuni city considered one of the ‘Seven Cities of Cibola.’ It was the first city Coronado encountered in 1540 in search of rumored gold in the American Southwest. Hawikku, the first city conquered by Coronado and his headquarters, is believed to have been occupied from 1200 until the Pueblo Revolt in 1680.

Hawikku is considered an important heritage site, and part of a National Historic District. The archaeological evidence found in Hawikku informs modern understanding of ancient peoples of the American Southwest – Mogollon and Anasazi cultures. It is believed that these two cultures combined created the Zuni practices of today.

Visiting Hawikku coupled with learning the history was enlightening. Either we don’t learn this history in school or it doesn’t stick. Walking on lands once inhabited by the first Americans centuries ago certainly makes the learning impactful.

The Village of the Great Kivas

The Village of the Great Kivas has been made accessible by the Pueblo of Zuni in collaboration with the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps. The Village of the Great Kivas is 17 miles northeast of Zuni; it is believed to have been in use between 1100-1350 CE. The youth corps has made it possible to walk right up to some of the rooms, the petroglyphs and pictographs, by creating walkable paths. Kenny graciously explained the Kivas and the meaning of the petroglyphs. In the 3 months we had been visiting ancient ruins, it was the first time I understood the meaning of the ancient rock art.

The two Great Kivas near Zuni Pueblo are believed to be associated with the Chaco culture, being outliers of the Chaco Canyon in Northeastern New Mexico. Chaco Canyon was a major cultural center of Puebloan peoples between 900 -1150 CE. We visited Zuni after touring Chaco Canyon, so we had the context to understand the cultural and architectural relationship of the Great Kivas to Chaco. While they are 3 hours apart by car, I recommend visiting and touring both for greater understanding of early American history.

This is not the history that we learned in school, and it shows real with proof from ancient artifacts. Now Tom and I have a much richer understanding of our nation’s history and people than we had before visiting Zuni and Chaco.

Self-Guided Exploration

Zuni Pueblo Art Walk

The Zuni Pueblo Art Walk is a self-guided tour of 19 artists’ studios, some award-winning, through the Pueblo; although we met other visitors on the ArtWalk who hired a guide. Tom and I prefer interacting directly with the artists and finding our way around, which is often an adventure in itself.

The Zuni are respected as fine artists, stonecutters, jewelers, and crafts people. In the area of jewelry making, Zunis are known for their petti-point, needle-point jewelry, and inlays.  Zuni tribe jewelry is considered as some of the finest and most intricate work.

The Zuni are also known for their finished stones that they supply to other Native American tribes. On the ArtWalk, the artists show their work, tell their personal stories, and in some cases create pieces and describe techniques while guests watch. We saw Zuni jewelry, beadwork, Zuni stone-setters and silversmiths, Zuni pottery, Zuni Shalako Kachinas, and Zuni fetishes by stone carvers.

Zuni jewelry Eldrick Seoutewa favorite pueblo visitWalking around the Pueblo in search of each artists’ workshop/gallery, which are generally located in artists’ homes, was a favorite experience in Zuni. It is an opportunity to visit the locals inside the Pueblo, and be invited into some of their homes, which also served as a studio/gallery. We had a glimpse of everyday life, of interior home furnishings, and family life. I was awed at the beauty inside many of the homes and pleased to see all the modern conveniences. From the outside, you have no idea that the homes are so nice.

Artists are connected by technology; they can make sure other artists will be available when guests arrive. An artist we visited suggested we go to another studio and come back to the nearby silversmith who was out at the time. Although I did not think it would be worthwhile to return since his the outdoor environment wasn’t appealing, we were happy we did. His workmanship was superior. A Zuni Lesson – Do not judge anything in Zuni based on how it looks from the outside!

While I was a bit nervous trying to find my way around the Pueblo on foot, Zuni ArtWalk artists’ studios/homes are marked by blue and yellow signposts, pieces of art in themselves – you can’t miss them. When ready to leave their studios, some artists are happy to walk with or drive guests to the next studio to ensure you find it, while sharing facts and history of their family in the Pueblo. This, too, made Zuni a favorite Pueblo visit.

Self-guided Zuni ArtWalk tour maps are available at the Visitors Center.

Visit the Local Galleries and Stores

There are a handful of galleries and artists’ stores on the main street in Halona showing works by Zuni artists who are not included on the ArtWalk. In addition to works from local Zuni artisans, some sell the raw and finished stones and jewelry-making supplies. It can feel a bit strange walking into these stores, since the first thing displayed is supplies; it requires venturing deeper into the establishment to find finished works. It’s interesting to check out the stones and supplies, but definitely go deeper into the stores to see the works by local artists. Speak to those manning the stores; the Zuni are friendly, which makes Zuni a favorite Pueblo visit.

In walking around town, people appear who sell their wares. Some art works are well executed and priced lower than similar items in stores. We were more comfortable buying from reputable sources, either in recommended stores or from individuals on the street who were known by the visitor center. If you want to buy from people on the street, you may want to ask about it at the visitor center.

Zuni Ceremonies

Zuni Ceremonies generally have spiritual significance or can be related to the planting season and the crops. While Zuni ceremonies are often planned, it seems that some are decided upon at the last minute. We asked each day about any ceremonies that might be taking place while we were in the Pueblo. The answer was consistently ‘no.’ While on the ArtWalk, we heard that a ceremony related to planting was happening that day. Still, nobody we asked knew what time it started. We kept asking and checking at the sacred ‘Middle Place’ in the heart of the Pueblo to see if it started. It was the only way to make sure we didn’t miss it.

Zuni historic village Middle Place - ceremonies held hereWe finally came upon it after it had  started. Visitors are allowed to quietly watch Zuni ceremonies from atop the roofs of the homes at the ‘Middle Place.’ No photos are allowed. Sorry, I wish I could show the colorful Zuni tribe clothing for Zuni tribe dances. Envision lots of colors, feathers, fringes, wraps, bead work, face paint, masks, decorated clothing and boots. Imagine dancing, chanting and drums. Or just conjure up an image of an Indian ceremony from an old TV western. It is amazing to see these traditions practiced in daily modern life, making Zuni a favorite Pueblo visit.

While some Zuni ceremonies are planned and there is plenty of advance notice, some seem to crop up like the one we attended. It was a highlight of our visit. Even if they say there is nothing planned – ask every Zuni because different clans have ceremonies that only that clan may know about.

About Zuni and its People

Background

Zuni is one of 19 tribes in New Mexico; the Zuni believe that they are one of the oldest Native American Tribes. While the Zuni started as hunters all those years ago, they were always a peaceful people who became farmers of corn and wheat.

American archaeologists believe the Zuni lived well before 2500 BCE and are descendants of the Anasazi, the early Pueblo people. Yet, Zuni archaeologists assert that Zuni have been in the region for 100,000 years. Zuni archaeologists claim physical proof by evidence found in nearby ruins of a mastodon kill by their ancestors.  The mandible of that mastodon resides in their Zuni Museum in Halona.

Corn Mesa seen from the Zuni Pueblo, also called Dowa YalanneAccording to historians, the Zuni built and occupied Hawikku around 1200. Until the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the Zuni lived in six different villages. After the revolt, until 1692, they lived in a defensible position atop Dowa Yalanne, a steep mesa two miles southeast of present-day Zuni Pueblo. Dowa Yalanne is easily seen from the areas in the present day Pueblo. Once peace was established with the Spanish, the Zuni moved permanently to Halona.

Halona, the Zuni Pueblo today, is believed to be the oldest consistently occupied Native American Pueblo. The Pueblo has never been abandoned since it was settled because the Zuni believe that Mother Earth resides in the Middle Place in Halona. Halona is just 17 miles from Hawikku.

People today

There are approximately 14,000 Zuni living on the reservation today. Currently, 10% are farmers, and 50% are artists. The balance work for the tribal government, local community store, and in schools.

Zuni are generally independent and avoid most outside influence. Unlike many other Native American tribes, the Zuni do not run any gaming operations. It’s one of the few reservations that has no casino. Their lives revolve around their beliefs, religion and family. Their society is matriarchal, so the men move to the familial area of their wife’s family. While living amongst the woman’s family, husband and wife often have their own home. As a religious and peaceful people with their own language, they have preserved their way of life in the pueblo.

Zuni Culture and Religion

The Zuni are very spiritual and steeped in their cultural traditions. Zuni rely on their oral history – mythology or cosmology. Their beliefs about emergence into this world and migration is their ‘cosmology.’ The myths are about how the solar system and planetary systems came about, it goes into the formation of planet earth, and evolution of life.

Zuni believe that they emerged from the earth as other tribes believe – they emerged onto earth in what they call the emergence at the Grand Canyon and made an exodus out of the Grand Canyon.

As do other Pueblo cultures, the Zuni believe in Kachinas, supernatural beings who represent and have charge over various aspects of the natural world. There are hundreds of different Kachinas, representing specific influences on life, from rain to fruit, animals, stars or portions of the solar system, and more.

Zuni Art

Throughout our exploration of the many Native American reservations and pueblos, as well as the trading posts in Gallup, I continuously heard about the superior craftsmanship of works by the Zuni. Zuni are known for their fine inlay work and as stone finishers. Many of the tribes purchase their finished stones for jewelry from the Zuni. As well, I heard that purchasing works in Zuni meant more reasonable prices. I was happy that I waited to buy the inlay jewelry in Zuni. I also purchased a gift directly from a top jeweler in Zuni, and earrings and pendant for myself from a local store.

In addition to jewelry craftsmen, over three hundred Zuni carvers make stone fetishes, small animal carvings used in traditional ceremonies. The different animal figurines represent ancestral or spiritual attributes.  Pottery is also a craft that the women re-introduced in the last century.

We enjoyed exploring Zuni arts and crafts.

Where to stay

The Inn At Halona

Zuni Pueblo Halona Inn is the only BnB in Zuni Pueblo.The Inn at Halona is the only place to stay on the Zuni Pueblo. It is quite unusual to be allowed to stay amidst the tribal people on a Native American Reservation. We were so pleased to be guests of the Inn.

Roger Thomas, who owns and runs the Inn, visits with guests, is very friendly, and happily helps guests with any information needed to explore Zuni and the surrounding area. His wife’s family has had a presence on the Zuni reservation since 1897. After getting married, he and his wife started the Inn in 1998.

 

The Inn is a Bed and Breakfast (BnB) with 8 rooms and sleeps up to 20 people. It’s decorated with Native American and Zuni arts and crafts, with the work of some famous Zuni craftspeople. We found it to be colorful, quaint, inviting, and comfortable. There are several rooms in the main house and additional rooms in the adjacent structure. Several indoor and outdoor common areas are available to guests, from an outdoor garden setting, to indoor kitchen area and living room. Tea, coffee, and snacks are available for guests in common areas serving each building.

A full breakfast is cooked to order by an indigenous staff member. There is coffee, fruit, eggs, breads, jams, meats, and more. We enjoyed daily breakfast while chatting with other guests.

In addition to the guest rooms, there are other larger conference or dining rooms filled with family local Zuni art collections. The large dining area and library is filled with an enormous Kachina collection. There are so many artifacts to take in; in some ways, it is like visiting a Native American museum. We enjoyed the lovely surroundings in our room, common areas, and courtyard at the Inn. It is very reasonably priced and quite a pleasant place to stay. The Zuni staff are lovely and helpful. We highly recommend The Inn at Halona for a stay in Zuni.

Other Lodging

If the Inn is booked, the closest place to stay are small motels and hotels in Gallup, approximately 1 hour north. Approximately 1.5 hours away in Grants there is another BnB which is listed on the Zuni Visitor Center website. If traveling by RV, there is an RV Park 40 minutes away at El Morro.

Where to Eat

Zuni Pueblo Village BistroThere are 2 restaurants in Zuni for lunch and dinner. Village Bistro in the middle of Zuni has very good food. The owner recently moved back to Zuni after spending her life working in a major city. The staff is very accommodating and will adjust menu items for specific requests. We had a very good dinner here.  Chu Chu’s Restaurant serves pizza, salads, sandwiches and more. People seem to like it. Since we had our RV, we ate our own food a couple of nights, so we missed Chu Chu’s.

Otherwise, pick up food at the Halona Plaza next to the Inn or the new shopping complex.

Just before the weekends or before ceremonies and festivals, locals bake breads and other goodies for the upcoming events. We were treated to bread fresh out of the oven by Roxanne, one of the artists on the Zuni ArtWalk. Her family’s bread was sourdough, and it was yummy! If are lucky enough to be around when locals are baking in their outdoor clay ovens, I highly recommend buying their fresh baked goods.

I recommend eating at Village Bistro, arranging dinner with the Halona Inn, or buying food at the new shopping complex supermarket in Zuni, or travel outside of the Zuni for meals.

Conclusion

We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 days in Zuni; we enjoyed visiting with the Zuni people and found them very friendly. With the varied experiences on tours to ancient ruins, viewing a Zuni tribe ceremony, the Zuni ArtWalk, and spending time talking with locals, this fascinating experience in Zuni is forever burned into my memory.

There’s lots more history to learn in Zuni.  Many different tours are available, from visits to other archaeological sites to experiencing ancient and traditional Zuni cooking, music, dance, textiles, or Zuni arts demonstrations. If taking a tour with Kenny, ask him about the emergence and the cosmology of the Zuni.

Please respect the Zuni way of life and do not take photos unless you have asked, have a permit, and are told specifically that is okay to photograph. Leave your camera at your accommodations during religious ceremonies.

Learning the Native American history that was not taught in school made our visit to Zuni a favorite Pueblo visit. If you want to take several tours and spend time in the Zuni Pueblo, I recommend 3-4 days.

78 thoughts on “Zuni a Favorite Pueblo Visit

  1. I never even heard of the Zuni people before and after reading this, sound like calm, peaceful folk. I would love to stay at that cozy bed and breakfast. Wasn’t it too hot in there?

    • Hi Danik, No, it was cool out. I think people don’t realize how cold the southwest can get. I wore a sweatshirt and fleece vest, a hat and gloves. When we visited El Morro, just 40 minutes away, it was so cold and windy that I wore my ski jacket over the layers I just mentioned and I was still cold. We were there in April and the December through April can be very cool in the southwest, especially at night and in the mornings.

  2. I literally had to google Zuni because I wasn’t even sure what I was reading about or where was this. So thank you for writing this post and bringing awareness to the world! It seems like an inspiring experience. I am going to look the tours you mentioned.

    • Arunima, I am so glad! Please if you go and meet either Tom Kennedy or Kenny, please tell them that you learned about Zuni from this post. I am positive they will help make your visit memorable.

  3. I’ve never visited a pueblo before and hadn’t heard of Zuni so thank you for sharing. (Unfortunately, you are quite right, our perception of American history leaves a lot out.) I especially liked that they had set up the ArtWalk so you can see and purchase from some of the talented craftspeople. I find that the art in a new area is a great way to get a glimpse into the life of the people there.

    • Yes, the ArtWalk was a favorite part of the Zuni visit. We almost didn’t do it, but decided to stay an extra day since the weather forecast was not a good one to do a drive to our next stop. It was such a pleasant hiccup in our trip.

    • Nicole, if you are into the art and jewelry, it’s definitely a place to visit. The ArtWalk is different than going to galleries since you visit artists in the studios or homes, and get to talk with them directly. While we bought from only a few, they were all so friendly and helpful!

  4. This is a fascinating read! I hadn’t heard of the Zuni people before. We love to explore culture and history when travelling, so will certainly bear this in mind for our USA travel planning. The Village of the Great Kivas looks like a wonderful place to explore.

    • Thanks Alex, While we loved our visit to Zuni – it being our favorite Pueblo visit out of 7 in in 3 weeks. We loved all of the southwest, which we explored over 3 months time. Have you been to the American Southwest?

  5. I’m honestly a bit ignorant when it comes to American map, probably because I’ve never been to the USA before. So much hassle for a broke Indonesian passport holder like me. 😛

    But I love reading through an article about somewhere in the USA that is not New York or Los Angeles. Zuni sounds like a place to go when you’re interested in history and culture. Which I’m so keen to explore whenever I travel. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    • Marya, Yes, it is always humorous to me that those not from the USA, basically think visiting New York and Los Angeles gives a sense of the US. The US is so diverse, that sometimes I think each state could be a different country. The Zuni are in New Mexico, along with 18 other tribes. I had not been to New Mexico or Arizona prior to this trip and i am ashamed to admit it. They are both incredible states, with diverse landscapes, so much natural beauty, and filled with diverse culture. We spent 3 months traveling around both states, and there is still so much more to see and do.

      If you want to learn more about the area, and see it in photos, this blog has 7 other blog articles on other areas that we visited. If you read those, let me know what you think. I hope that someday you get to visit.

  6. This was such an interesting read. I – like a few other commenters – had not heard of Zuni but it’s so nice to hear your story. It’s great when you can come across a culture that has preserved many of its traditions. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Wow! I’m so excited! We have been studying the native people of the American Southwest with our sons and we had read briefly about the Zuni but I’m going to use your piece with them this week as a lesson!!!

    • That’s so cool Elizabeth. Consider taking them to Zuni and doing some of the tours. The Inn has rooms that will accommodate families.

  8. I had never heard about Zuni or about the people there. And to find there are so many amazing things to see is like finding gold. I would really be interested in visiting Hawikku. Great post.

    • If you go, I would recommend combining Hawikku with seeing the Great Kivas because this is the spot where you will see artifacts, petroglyphs, and pictographs. Both really need to be guided tours to get any historical understanding, and for them to have meaning.

  9. Such a great and informative post! It seems like you guys really got to know the place while you were there. I hope I’ll be in the area some day and can check it out for myself 🙂

    • It definitely was an in-depth experience. If you do get to the area, I highly recommend spending at least 1 night in Zuni to really get the flavor of it.

  10. I hadn’t heard of the Zuni people until this article! Thank you for enlightening me on the Zuni Pueblo, the artists and the ceremonies. I understand their reticence to be photographed and to keep their rituals sacred. I am fascinated now, and if I am in the area, I will definitely arrange a visit.

  11. What an amazing and comprehensive article about the Zuni. I would absolutely love to do the exact same trip with the same guide. The art studio and gallery walk sounds absolutely must.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  12. I had never heard of Zuni either. The green landscapes must have been an interesting change from red rock. Great that the pictographs on the caves have been preserved. Nice to have the meaning explained to you. It must have made the art a little more memorable to see it in the artists studio or home. Great that you got to catch a ceremony. I understand the “no photos” rule but it would have been nice to see it. Even a posed start or end one. Such a fascinating experience.

  13. How special to spend days immersed in the Zuni culture. I’m so glad to read about your adventures and would love to follow your lead. The artwalk really appeals to me. I’m grateful that the Zuni people are so welcoming after all these years.

    • Elaine, I hope you get a chance to visit. Let the Visitor Center know you are coming and what tours you are interested in before you go. Since there are a limited amount of guides, its best to book in advance.

  14. I shouldn’t have read this post: Now it makes me yearning for this place…. I always wanted to visit New Mexico for exactly what you are describing. Why I haven’t yet? Because I’m not driving and usually a trip like this in the US is close to impossible without your own vehicle. As soon as things change a bit in the US, I have to find someone to drive me around 😀

    • Yes, New Mexico is best done with a vehicle. When you have a travel companion, perhaps consider New Mexico. While we had many stops in New Mexico, I have only written 1 other post. I hope to share more.

  15. I’m glad that you shared this article as it is very informative and meant to be shared especially we get to know about the Zuni culture and the Zuni people. I love that Zuni people are independent and are deeply influenced by their own beliefs, religion and family. You can really see how important their tribe and culture is to them by preserving it and avoiding outside influences. Zuni ArtWalk is a great way to showcase Zuni artists works too! It looks like you’ve learned and enjoyed a lot during your visit in Zuni. I hope I can visit too soon! Thanks for sharing this Wendy!

  16. Despite having a large collection of Zuni jewelry and a few other pieces of Zuni art (and having visited a couple other pueblos), we’ve never really thought about visiting Zuni pueblo and certainly would have planned it as a day trip. I can see that would be a mistake, as my husband and I would really enjoy a more in-depth experience. Thanks for the great info.

  17. I love learning about different cultures when I travel, but Zuni is a new one for me. I haven’t visited that part of the US, but Chaco rings a bell from when I was in Mexico. We really should learn as much as we can about other cultures, especially if they reside in our own country! I’m English so in this case I have an excuse! 🙂

  18. This is so fascinating, we also had never heard of this area or the people and culture of it either. I love discovering places like this that people really should be more aware of. It reminds me a lot of our time in the Australian outback and discovering a lot about aboriginal culture.

    • Yes, we visited Australia and the outback and Aborigines last year. I did see some similarities to the Native American tribes and also the Maori of New Zealand. But Zuni was definitely more unique.

  19. What an educational post! I love learning about new cultures and I had never heard of the Zuni. How lucky that you happened upon a ceremony and got to witness! Thank you so much for sharing this. It may be something my husband and I have to visit while we explore the Southwest.

  20. I would love to visit Zuni. Never heard of it and now I’m intrigued. The Inn At Halona looks so lovely and I just love the decor in the room. I also would love to shop and get my hands on some of the local artist’s goods 🙂

  21. Now this was an interesting read and I would love to visit the Zuni people. I put the pueblo on the list for a future visit. Unfortunately as I have Sudan and Iran stamps in my passport a visit to the US right now is quite complicated. I just found out about this last month when I was planning to visit a friend in San Francisco.

    • I am sorry that you may have difficulty visiting the US. If you do get to Zuni, please let them know where you learned about Zuni.

  22. I did not know so much about the Zunis. It was interesting to read about them and their ceremony and culture in general. It is fascinating to know how old they seem to be. Enjoyed reading this post.

  23. That’s so interesting that you got to live within the reservation for 3 days. You really got to know the land and the people! I have not heard of the Zunis before. I thought the Taos Pueblo is the longest continuously lived pueblo?

    • We visited the Taos Pueblo. While I enjoyed that, there is truly no comparison to the in-depth experience we had in Zuni. You cannot possibly have the in-depth experience in Taos Pueblo as we had in Zuni. Taos has very few residents and is mostly set up to show tourists what the lifestyle once was and then they have local crafts and a bit of local cooking. That is a 1-2 hour experience.

  24. Dear Wendy & Tom, I am the Innkeeper at the Inn at Halona where you and your husband spent a couple of nights upon your visit to Zuni in April, 2018.
    This comment is not intended to “drum up business” for our establishment: rather and far more importantly, it is provided in appreciation of the information you have just presented to travelers wanting to know about and possibly visit our community.
    Your review and comments are getting around Zuni and I want to acknowledge that you have indeed done plenty of research and thus performed due diligence in coming up with your thorough and factually accurate narrative about Zuni, one of the pueblo native communities in our region that is the easiest to visit, especially in regard to making contact with local folks quite directly and learning about the rich history but also the contemporary lifestyle of our community and its creativity in all manners of artistic endeavors.
    As you recall, we had animated discussions about the nature and current format in effect in Zuni as far as cultural tourism is concerned. You provided us with some valuable observations, recommendations and input in that regard.
    Your “Table of Contents” is better organized and accurately documented than most of the other reviews I have seen about our community for the benefit of visitors.
 And of course, ALL your photographs (not just the ones taken at the Inn at Halona!) are attractive and informative! As I was studying your instructive commentary, I recalled reading about Zuni being estimated worth a “2-3 hour visit” in one of the most respectable Tour Guides: what a pity!
    Thank you for providing all of us here with an excellent information package for our visitors, which we will pass around, along with references to AdventurousRetirement.com! I rest assured that your other travel impressions and recommendations about other destinations must also be accurate and to the point.
    From reading the comments posted about your Zuni travelogue, I see that some contributors did not even know about Zuni: I can vouch for the fact that the information and advice they are getting from your impressions and recommendations are just right!
    – Roger Thomas / Innkeeper/Inn at Halona in Zuni, New Mexico

    • Roger, Thank you again for hosting us. We enjoyed staying at the the Inn at Halona. I am happy to hear that you see this as an accurate portrayal of the Zuni. Whoever wrote the review in the tour guide obviously only intended to do a quick trip to Zuni, rather than giving time to take in the culture, meet the people, and see the historical sites.

      I am pleased that you see my post as an “excellent information package” for your visitors. Please share the link with visitors rather than printing it or reproducing the content. Thank you again!

        • Thanks Roger! You can also go to my Adventurous Retirement Facebook page and share it to your personal or business Facebook page(s). Then people can click through from there.

  25. It’s rightly said that of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport or in this case your post. I had not heard about Zuni or even other native tribes earlier. It is so interesting to learn about Zuni, their history and culture. I especially loved the Art Walk. The Inn looks nice and cozy too. Thanks for sharing!

  26. I really didnt know much about the Zuni people until reading this. Very insightful. Thanks for the tour into the Zuni culture and way of life. There are so many rich Native American cultures that can be explored.

    • You definitely should. We spent 3 weeks visiting many of the reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. I am thinking of doing a round-up article on all of them.

  27. What an interesting post, i truly enjoyed reading as i learned something completely new and something i’ve never heard of before! I never heard about the Zuni tribe, and i find it beautiful that they are more focused on their beliefs and their lifestyle. I think it’s great how they advertise where the artist lives, and that they actually welcome you in their homes, where they also share their experiences and stories. Then you can really understand how they live!

    Thanks for the great read!!

  28. What a fantastic experience! I grew up in southern California and most of my childhood vacations were road trips through the American southwest, so it always has and always will hold a special place in my heart. Seeing a ceremony like the one you described sounds like such a mesmerizing once in a lifetime experience. In a way it makes it more special that you were unable to take photos – something you truly have to remember with your heart

    • I hope you get to go. And let them know where you learned of them please. Also I have 9 other posts on the American Southwest. If you decide to go, you may want to check them out.

  29. I wasn’t familiar with the Zuni until reading your post, so it was fascinating to learn a bit about their culture through your adventure. The artisan work you showcased from the ArtWalk is so impressive. If I were visiting, I would have walked away with some of that jewelry. The statement necklace in what looks like turquoise stones is absolutely stunning. I can’t imagine how much talent, time, and patience it must take to make such a beautiful piece. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for future travels to the Southwest!

  30. I’ve never been to this area before, but now that I live somewhat closer it has become a part of my list of options to travel. The artwalk sounds like something I would like to see, I love to look at art and handmade goods.

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