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Pueblo

Social Structure

Among the modern Pueblo, men are the weavers and women make pottery and assist in house construction. The status of women among both the Western and the Eastern Pueblo is high, but there are differences related to the different social systems of each. The Western Pueblo, including the Hano, Zuñi, Acoma, Laguna, and, the best known, the Hopi, have exogamous clans with a matrilineal emphasis and matrilocal residence, and the houses and gardens are owned by women; the kachina cult emphasizes weather control, and the Pueblo who follow this cult are governed by a council of clan representatives. Among the Eastern Pueblo, there are bilateral extended families, patrilineal clans, and male-owned houses and land; warfare and hunting as well as healing and exorcism are more important than among the Western Pueblo.

The Spanish added new elements to the government in the form of civil officers, but the de facto government and ceremonial organization remained native. The Bureau of Indian Affairs introduced elected officials in Santa Clara, Laguna, Zuñi, and Isleta, and the Hopi have an elected council on the tribal level. The Kachina and other secret societies dealing with war, agriculture, and healing still carry out their complicated rituals and dances: for some occasions, the public is invited. In 1990 there were some 55,000 Pueblo in the United States, the largest groups being the Hopi, Zuñi, Laguna, and Acoma.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: North American indigenous peoples


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