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Zuni

In Northwestern New Mexico, South of Gallup, can be found the 'center of the universe'. Called 'Idiwan'a' by it's people - the Shiwi, as they call themselves - or the Zuni as they are called by the outside world. There, in the Middle Place, resides a colony of artists who are bound to their past by their traditions. Contemporary Zuni's are bringing into the new millenium the heritage of their People in the various forms of their artwork.

Zuni Pueblo is located about 150 miles southwest of Albuquerque and about 40 miles south of Gallup. The Pueblo lies in the Zuni River Valley surrounded by beautiful sacred mesas. The main reservation is located in McKinley and Cibola counties and is about 450,000 acres, but the tribe also has holdings in Catron County, New Mexico and Apache County, Arizona. The elevation ranges from nearly 6,000 feet to about 8,000 feet so there is great variety in the types of habitats, vegetation and natural resources.

The Shiwi have farmed the Zuni River Valley and many of its tributaries for thousands of years, raising primarily corn, squash, beans, and other vegetables. Many varieties of these plants are native to the Zuni Reservation. Many Zuni's also raise sheep and cattle, and the reservation is divided into individual grazing allotments.

The Zuni pueblo is a colony of artists...nearly every family has at least one working artist providing a part of the family income. Jewelry making, Pottery, fetish carving and fine art are all to be found within the pueblo and may be purchased at the numerous trading posts and sometimes directly from the artist. Some of the jewelry made in Zuni is called "Petit Point". The tiniest pieces of turquoise, coral, mother of pearl and other stones are cut and pieced like a puzzle and the result is an very intricate, complex design. Pottery making experienced a revival in the 1960's, but since that time a whole new generation of potters have taken the art to a new level.