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Land of Ancient Mysteries

This image depicts just one of the many ancient cliff dwelling sites that are scattered across the four corners region of the US. The common name for the people...
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This image depicts just one of the many ancient cliff dwelling sites that are scattered across the four corners region of the US. The common name for the people that lived in this area (Anasazi) I believe is a misnomer. Anasazi is the Navajo word for "Ancient Enemy"; instead the Hopi who call themselves descendants of the Anasazi, prefer the word "Hisatsinom", which means the "people of long ago". The Acoma, Zuni, and other Pueblo Peoples who also claim to be descendant from the Ancient Ones may not share a preference for this term, but "People of long ago" sounds much more respective than "Ancient Enemy". Unfortunately, because the Ancient Ones had no written language, nothing is known of what they actually called themselves.

We think the story of the ancient ones began sometime between 6500 and 1200 B.C. They led a peaceful existence, and depended on primitive cultivation of plants such as corn, beans, squash, and cotton.

By 900 A.D. The ancient one's culture had started to flourish; they developed basic pueblo structures, and simple pottery. They had grown to have villages across the southwest, and had started building simple Kivas.

It wasn't until around 1150-1350 that the Ancient ones built the cliff dwellings for which they are best known today. These buildings, often several stories tall, were in easily defensible positions; suggesting that the peaceful Ancient ones had finally encountered enemies. Once simple, the kivas had also become much more elaborate. Mysteriously it was also around 1300 that most of their villages near the four corners area were completely abandoned, while the eastern sites continued to flourish and expand.

Its believed that between 1350 and 1500 the remaining villages of the ancient ones had an explosion of population, and they expanded south; eventually dissolving into the Hopi, Zuni, and other pueblo peoples. However by 1600 the Spanish military and church had invaded the pueblo lands and destroyed much of their structures.

Today, there are more than 60,000 Pueblo Indians living in the Southwest; the three main groups are the Hopi in Antelope Mesa, Arizona, the Tanoan and Keresan pueblos on the upper Rio Grande, and the Zu'i in New Mexico. Some of the people farm the land and raise sheep, and cattle; some have professions such as doctors, teachers, artists, writers, and politicians. Many of the people continue to participate in Pueblo ceremonies. In the end, the resilient Pueblo natives have held onto much of their millenia old culture.

Kivas were central to the culture of the ancient ones, and are still considered very sacred places today. We should do all we can to make sure that these wondrous places are allowed to continue resting peacefully, as they have for countless years. It should be known that to walk within the circle, is considered very disrespectful.
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3 Comments | Report
blunder PRO
 
blunder January 08, 2017
Fascinating history. I seem to remember the "Anasazi" disappeared due to extended drought. Is this your understanding also?
blunder PRO
 
blunder January 09, 2017
The Inuit (The people) have a similar situation as th "Anasazi" The common name among whites is Eskimo but that is a possibly derogatory Cree word for the Inuit meaning "raw meat eater". Eskimo has often been used in a racist or demeaning manner and they prefer the name for themselves... Inuit
Witmar
 
Witmar December 11, 2017
absolutely masterpiece!!!