Published on August 24, 2013 by Amy
To anyone traveling along the road eighteen miles northwest of Bernalillo, New Mexico, Zia Pueblo is almost invisible. It is situated on a rocky knoll, where it blends into the landscape like a natural feature of the terrain.
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For six-hundred plus years it has weathered the worst that man and nature could inflict upon it — and it has survived.
Although the Pueblo itself is inconspicuous, its Sun symbol is familiar to all New Mexicans, for it is the official New Mexico State insignia appearing on the state flag and adopted by the New Mexico Legislature in its salute, “I salute the flag of New Mexico, the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures.
Zia Pueblo suffered disasterous losses in the Pueblo Revolt. Six-hundred people were killed and additional conflicts lasting for years reduced the population still further.
They are a small community of agriculture workers and livestock raisers, but they have a strong sense of identity and have produced beautiful traditional works of art.
Prominent among Zia crafts is pottery, unpolished redware with white slip, with decorations in brown or black are produced often with a bird motif. The Zia tradition is faithfully adhered to; innovation is avoided. Some Zia painters have achieved recognition for their watercolors.
The traditional language of the Zia Pueblo is Keresan, but many may speak Spanish, some speak Navajo and most also speak English.
The principal festival of the year for the Zia Pueblo is the Corn Dance on the feast day of Our Lady of the Assumption in August.
Wonderful traditional costumes and ceremonies make this an important event in the life of the Pueblo and one which is very attractive to visitors.