—Zunian, Zuñian, adj., n.1. a member of a group of North American Indians inhabiting the largest of the Indian pueblos, in western New Mexico.2. the language of the Zuni.Also, Zuñi /zooh"nee, zoohn"yee/.
* * *North American Pueblo Indian people living in west-central New Mexico, U.S. They call themselves Ashiwi.Their origin and early history are uncertain. When first encountered by 16th-century Spanish explorers, they were living in seven separate towns thought by the explorers to be the fabled Seven Cities of Cíbola; under the Spaniards they were crowded into a single pueblo. The traditional occupation was corn farming; basketry and pottery were also well developed. Religious life centred on gods or spirits called kachinas. Today the Zuni number about 12,000.
* * *▪ peoplealso spelled Zuñi,North American Indian tribe of what is now west-central New Mexico, on the Arizona border. The Zuni are a Pueblo Indian (Pueblo Indians) group and speak a Penutian language (Penutian languages). They are believed to be descendants of the prehistoric Ancestral Pueblo (Ancestral Pueblo culture) (Anasazi). Zuni traditions depict a past in which their ancestors emerged from underground and eventually settled at the tribe's present location.When Pueblo tribes first encountered Spanish colonizers in the 16th century, the Zuni were living in Hawikuh and five or six other towns. Collectively these towns came to be called the Seven Cities of Cibola (Cíbola, Seven Cities of), host to a rumoured empire of gold that was sought in vain by Francisco Vázquez de Coronado (Coronado, Francisco Vázquez de) and other conquistadors (conquistador). In 1680 the Zuni and other Pueblo tribes defeated the Spanish through the Pueblo Rebellion. The tribes retained their independence until 1691, when the Spanish reconquered the area.Zuni society is organized through kinship and includes 13 matrilineal clans. Like other Pueblo peoples, the Zuni are deeply religious and have a complex ceremonial organization. Religious life centres on gods or spirit-beings called kachinas (kachina) (katsinas).Most Zunis farm, raising corn (maize), squash, and beans. Since the early 19th century the Zuni have been known for making silver and turquoise jewelry, baskets, beadwork, animal fetishes, and pottery, all of very high quality. Many Zuni have chosen to adopt only some parts of modern American life and to maintain much of their traditional culture.In the early 21st century the population of Zuni Pueblo was some 10,000 individuals.
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