Invited to Secluded Indian Reservation (Zuni Pueblo Tribe)

Dec 25, 2022 1.4M Views 2.7K Comments

Far from any population center in western New Mexico is home to the Zuni Pueblo people. Join me as we enter a tribe that’s stayed secluded from the outside world. Here the locals retain their language, spirituality, and connection with the dramatic landscapes they call home in this special corner of America.

► Buy Zuni Pueblo art and jewelry:
► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello
► Researched by: Kymberly Redmond

-Good morning, guys.
In the United States
there are 356 Indian reservations
with the Navajo Nation being the largest
but there are many other smaller tribes
that people have
little understanding about.
Such as the Zuni Pueblo Tribe
in New Mexico.
That’s where we’re going today.
It’s right on the border
of the Navajo Nation
but they have a different language,
culture, food, traditions, way of life,
and until recently
it’s pretty much closed-off
to the camera and the outside world
but we got an invite.
So we’re going in
and trying to get understanding
of what the Zuni Pueblo Tribe is like.
Let’s do this.
♪ melodic acoustic guitar ♪
All right, guys.
So really amazing geography out here.
Far removed from everything.
It has a special feel.
I don’t know what that is yet.
Can’t put my finger on it.
This is another interesting exotic corner
of the United States
that I think 0.01% really know about.
So here we are.
It’s like a different universe out here
for me at least coming in here.
-Pretty much, yeah.
-You’re far-removed?
-Yeah, we’re pretty isolated.
We’re the farthest away
from the other Pueblos up North.
[door opens]
So this is my home, welcome to my home.
-This is beautiful.
-My husband, he does taxidermy too.
So he done those.
-Oh, wow.
Clybert, what are you making here?
-I am making some moccasins.
Got a foot pattern
and that’s the finished results of it.
CANDRA: Traditional wear.
They use these for like a ceremonial…
CLY: I was saying to my wife,
“I’m going to try a marathon today.”
So I’m, like, sitting there
with a big bag of Dorito chips,
eating away, and a can of soda.
The day of the race I was like,
“Oh, what did I get myself into?”.
[Candra giggling]
PETER: So week of training
before the marathon?
-[chuckling] Yeah.
PETER: So from couch
to Albuquerque marathon, under four hours?
-Under four hours.
Our great-grandmother,
she grew up to be 108 years old
she always used to tell us
when we were growing up
that she was one of the runners
that used to go Pueblo to Pueblo
to deliver messages for…
For the tribal leaders.
-So that’s how it worked here?
Between different Pueblo tribes,
you’d just run between them?
CLY: Yes.
CANDRA: That’s how
they communicated back then.
-How many miles?
-From here to Hopi it’s at least
four days of running.
-That’s cool.
-I think that’s where
I kinda got that idea of,
“Yeah, I think I can do it.”
[Candra giggles]
What makes me not?
-If granny can do it, I can do it.
[all laughing]
CANDRA: It’s our sacred mountain.
PETER: Okay.
This mountain over here?
-Yeah, that one right there.
It has a lot of stories.
I’m pretty sure you heard
about the great flood.
-Well we have our own story.
A long time ago they said
there was a great flood.
It filled the earth with water
and the people went up
all the way to the top
and it was receding, the water…
-It made those marks.
There’s two rocks that formed.
It’s a brother and a sister,
and they sacrificed themselves.
They thought that was something that
would help the water line go down.
-Oh really? So they sacrificed themselves
to get the water down?
To what, save the people or…
-Yeah, and then eventually they said that
they turned into those rock formations.
My daughter, she cleaned her room.
She’s like,
“There’s somebody coming?”
“Can he see my crowns?”
-Okay, let’s see it.
Oh, her crowns, tell me about those.
-She does beauty pageants
all around the country.
So this one here is Supreme Me.
This was actually
the last one we went to in Atlanta.
-So you get out and about,
you’re all over the country?
-Oh yeah, yeah.
This one, this was her highest
title she’s won so far.
-Proud mother?
-Oh, yeah.
She’s very well-spoken.
A lot better than I am. [giggles]
-Are we gonna meet her today?
-Yeah, she’s in school right now.
[doors opening]
-When you live out here, do you feel very
connected to Arizona or the United States
or do you like, “We’re in our own nation.”?
CANDRA: I think we are
in our own nation, yeah.
-Yeah, I think we’re just
kind of so adapted to, you know,
just kind of focusing on
our own Pueblo cultural activities,
and values, and norms within here.
-So we’re kind of just adapted to one here.
-Right, but even though
you see all these influences
from the outside like the UPS,
the US flag?
-Oh, yeah.
-You’re connected in a way
but disconnected?
CLY: Yes, exactly.
PETER: That’s interesting.
CLY: We’re kind of…
We’re our own sovereign nation.
PETER: So this was built by the Spaniards?
-Yeah, this was a Catholic church.
Inside they have really beautiful murals.
-What is this up here, that’s an oven?
-Yeah, that’s an outdoor oven.
They heat it up with wood,
there’s a hole in there.
Underneath there’s ashes
and so when they heat it up,
the coils underneath, it heats up.
So it creates this nice warm oven.
-You just said for Thanksgiving
you put your turkeys in there?
-Yeah, just…
-So you guys celebrate Thanksgiving?
[Candra laughs]
I wouldn’t have thought to be honest.
-Yeah, we celebrate Thanksgiving.
You know, Zunis like to eat.
-Is that a Zuni thing or do you think
a lot of Native cultures do that?
-Yeah, a lot of cultures
celebrate Thanksgiving.
It’s not like we’re haters about it.
It’s just a big festive time?
-Meet up, eat food.
All right.
Dancing area?
CANDRA: Kachina Dancing.
So the dancing
is a big part of your culture?
CLY: Yeah, cultural dancing.
And this is one of the kivas here.
-Explain what a kiva is exactly.
-A kiva is an establishment society
for men to all gather up
and do their religious practices
in that place.
-Okay, so do you go here?
-No, I don’t but that particular kiva
was the ones that built our home.
-And your religion is what?
How would you explain it?
It’s more of a spiritual…
-It’s both spiritual
and religious practices.
-Is there any Catholicism in it or no?
-[both] No.
-We… That’s what we got away from
during the…
CANDRA: Pueblo revolt.
CLY: Yeah, during the revolt.
-That’s when the Spanish
were trying to come in
and have us stop doing
our religious practices.
CANDRA: Back then when the treaties
were signed after the Pueblo revolt
they basically said,
“We’re not gonna enforce.”
We just want some sort of peace
but we’re not gonna enforce
that you have to be this way.
-‘Cause they burnt
a lot of sacred artifacts and stuff.
That’s the reason why the revolt happened.
-You had the revolt back in the 1600s but
in more recent times let’s say late 1800s,
how did you guys retain your land?
Because you have beautiful land up here.
How did you hold onto this?
CANDRA: Um, I think it
just had to do with the treaties.
They wanted to come back
but in order for them to come back
they couldn’t, like, take the land.
-They just kind of left us alone.
There was another village
out a little bit further.
It’s called Hawikuh.
Back then before the Pueblo revolt
there was a battle of Hawikuh.
But that was with Coronado.
He heard a rumor that Zuni had gold.
[all laughing]
-And it was the seven cities of gold
but of course we have no gold. [laughs]
-You don’t have gold?
Do you have any resources out here?
CLY: No, no, no.
CANDRA: No, nothing, I wish we did.
[all chuckling]
The majority of the population here,
they’re all self-employed.
They all make jewelry, fetishes, pottery,
anything they can do.
Basically they’re survivors out here.
-‘Cause there aren’t many jobs?
-There’s no jobs.
There’s the Tribal building jobs but
of course they want to hire professionals
and it’s kind of hard to be at that level
when there’s not much
people that went to school.
-Like you see, we’re very secluded so…
-If you take somebody that’s always
been here out, they’re gonna suffer
’cause they don’t know how to
take care of themselves out that way.
We want them to get out
and go see the world, you know?
Go get an education, come back,
and show the people it’s okay.
There’s another world out there.
I think that’s kind of like
what we’re doing with our girls.
My parents always took care of me
when I was young.
So when I went out to go live my life
I got a job in Albuquerque
and I lasted about three years
and then I decided to come back home.
-Okay, how’s it feel being back?
-I like it because, you know,
I have my family.
We’re fortunate enough
to have jobs in Zuni and…
-What are your jobs
if you don’t mind me asking?
-Well I take care of my uncle
but I also take of disabled individuals.
-Okay, what about you, Cly?
-I’m a Tribal judge.
-A judge?
[all laughing]
-No, I work for the Zuni BIA, forestry.
-I’m in charge of the fields crew
that goes out and do field reductions
out in the forest.
-That’s a great job to have out here, huh?
Before I used to work
for the Forest Service
as a hot shot for 15 years.
-Oh yeah?
-For those that don’t know,
the hot shot is the guy that
jumps into the wild fire, right?
-And tries to, like, basically
out there with a pick trying to…
-Yes, it’s called
a professional elite wildland firefighter
at a high endurance level.
PETER: So the stars out here at night
must be unbelievable.
CLY: Yeah.
PETER: But you were saying off-camera
that no ones gonna come out here at night.
[Cly and Candra groan]
-Because of the spirits?
They say they’ll get hunted. [chuckles]
There’s some spirits out there they say
that could mess you with and all that.
Just because it’s
their territory more like.
But during daytime it’s fine?
-During daytime it’s fine.
-Once the sun goes down
everybody’s supposed to be at home
’cause that’s the time
when the spirits come out.
That’s the time when, you know,
the sorcery happens and all that stuff.
-The sorcery, can you explain that a little
or is that something not to talk about?
-Well I don’t know much about it but,
you know, there are stories.
There’s things that happen, you know?
Just like the Navajos have the skinwalker.
-They were used in good and bad but…
-The skinwalker and then the Crow have
the little men I believe they’re called.
-Oh, yeah.
-And the Siberian Yupik do too.
-Here they have, you know…
-Can we get out?
CANDRA: When we emerged
from the four worlds
we had to bring the witch with us
because he had control over the rain cloud.
When he came out
from the underworld he said,
“I have to go with you because
I have the rain cloud.”
-But if you don’t have the rain cloud
how are you gonna grow your crops
and whatever you’re gonna survive on?
-And he also explained
that he’s the reason…
He’s the one that
will keep the world balanced.
He had the power to eliminate people
and we had the power to bring them in
but if there’s no one to take out
then the world will just always be full.
PETER: Cly, is this where you did two days
of marathon training before the big race?
-Yeah, actually the road.
The road we came in on.
-So would you say on the reservation,
this specific area is the most sacred site?
CLY: The whole surrounding
outskirts of Zuni is very sacred.
It’s protecting the whole middle village.
It’s how it was explained to me
from my grandparents
and those are the same exact stories
that we’re trying to pass down
to our new generation.
-How is the new generation taking it?
The new generation…
The good thing about it is that they’re
teaching the Zuni language in schools now.
-So the youth speak Zuni?
The majority of ’em…
-Like all of ’em or…
-Not all of them.
We’ve always been
speaking Zuni in our homes.
Like in the kiva areas.
-Yeah, that’s something
that’s really mandated
for everybody to be speaking Zuni.
-How would you say hello in Zuni?
-Yeah, Keshe.
-Thank you?
-It’s not related to Navajo at all?
-Totally different?
-Totally different.
-That’s very impressive, you guys are
holding onto your language out here.
I think that’s quite rare isn’t it,
with a lot of the reservations?
-Yeah, it is.
If I can recall,
there’s some Native Americans
that’s completely lost their language.
-How is your tribe
managing to hold onto it?
-It’s gotta start from the parents.
They gotta teach ’em
as soon as when they’re right from birth.
You guys wanna go up a little more?
[Candra laughing]
PETER: I feel like if we climb a little
more it means we’re going to the top.
CANDRA: Hey, you figured him out already.
[all chuckling]
CLY: This is where I come out here
to talk to my ancestors a lot.
Just because the sacred mountain
is right here
and it’s like I can only be out here
to communicate with them
and to release a lot of distress,
the pressure, and you know,
everything else that I’m going through.
Hours of meditation just walking up here
and just sacrificing everything that I have
to get to the top
and then letting everything go.
So that’s my way of understanding that
there is something out here
that’s listening to me.
PETER: You guys are obviously
so connected to your land
and it makes perfect sense why.
Some of the reservations,
they don’t have total control of the lands.
Some stuff can be sold off,
some stuff is homesteaded.
-The federal government has
some weird stuff going on with resources.
What about your reservation?
Are you guys pretty secure here?
Are the lines firm here
or what’s that story?
I feel that the land here
has always been Zuni land
and it’s real secure that there’s no way
anybody’s every gonna take it away.
-So there’s no homesteading on any of this?
-No homesteading or anything like this.
Yeah, it’s always tribal land.
-Every tribe is different
how they’re governed from what I’ve seen.
So whoever’s done that job here
has done a good job, right?
-Absolutely, yes.
♪ melodic acoustic guitar ♪
[doors opening]
PETER: So we’re going up
to some springs here?
-There’s a natural spring.
PETER: So that was
super interesting in the car
we were talking about gender roles.
In your culture if you get divorced
the woman gets absolutely everything.
CANDRA: Yeah, for the most part.
No prenups. [chuckles]
In our culture it’s supposed to be the man
leaves his mom’s house
and goes, (bes) with the wife
and the children.
Never the woman leaves the house
and go be with the man’s family.
When my boys get old enough
I expect them to leave.
Go help establish a home with the wife.
-And if it doesn’t work out then, you know,
they leave and start from scratch.
-They give up everything.
-[laughing] Yeah.
PETER: I’ve been told some tribes,
some reservations are like anarchy
and others are like full control.
How would you say it is here?
CANDRA: In our history we actually had
a white guy attend sacred rituals.
CLY: Oh, Kushin.
CANDRA: Kushin.
PETER: How was that?
CANDRA: He was actually
a part of, like, um…
CLY: He was the first non-Zuni
to be a bow priest.
PETER: A bow priest?
A bow priest is an individual
that’s high in religious sectors.
-So he was appointed to be one of those.
PETER: So this is your natural spring?
You’re gonna let me in?
What do I gotta do?
[all laughing]
What do you need me to do?
-Dive in that cold water.
-I’ll be baptized again.
Okay, so you’re just getting fresh water?
-Yeah, it actually tastes pretty good.
-I’ll bet.
-I remember coming when I was a little girl
and this whole area
was just gushing with water.
And then that water would eventually
come here and there was a pond there
and that’s where it just led
to the stream over there.
CANDRA: You think so?
CLY: Yeah.
PETER: You said if you have children
everything goes to your daughters?
-Yes, because you know how I said
the boys have to leave the house?
-They go to live with the girl
who has her own home.
[chuckling] So if you have
more than one daughter
you have to make sure you have
other arrangements for the other two.
-So there are a lot of
family issues with that or…
They all want the house or…
-So would you say it’s material out here?
A lot of these disputes are more material
because, you know, there’s family
heirlooms that are being passed down.
-So if there’s one, you better
make sure you have more than one
to pass down to the other sisters.
-So you have three daughters…
-You gotta set up a strategy, huh?
-Yeah, so one…
-Who’s getting the truck?
[all chuckling]
One for sure is going to have to
stay at our house where we’re at.
-And we have another piece of land
that can probably be divided into two.
So they’re gonna probably end up
doing what I did, make my own home.
-That’s what you did, you had the land
and then you built a home?
-Yeah, but I don’t have any sisters.
-So my mom was like,
“Well, what’s gonna happen to my house?”.
You know but the the only reason
why we had to have a house
was because you know when I was
telling about the religious commitment
that him and my dad have?
We needed a big house to be able
to take care of a lot of the events
that happened during that year.
-What are the events
happening at your house?
-Cooking, a lot of cooking
because he’s gonna be in prayer.
The women go the men at the kiva,
feed the men that are in there and…
-How often does this happen?
-Every four years for him.
-Starts in January, ends in December.
-So every four years
there’s a celebration for one year?
CANDRA: It’s actually every year,
it’s just that there’s different groups
that handle the other years.
-When you have a year of ceremony
is that like you do something every day,
or something every week,
or how does that work?
-Yeah, every day from first thing
in the morning do… it’s like a prayer
and then in the evening, a prayer
and then there’s certain times in the month
that I have to be fully committed
to doing my full prayer
and the actual ceremony
at an establishment.
Like at a kiva.
That’s where the women come in
to do the traditional cooking
mainly for the ladies to be cooking
it’s to give offering.
The men give the offering
to the people that has passed.
To give them thanks and all that.
-CHILD: What’s up?
CANDRA: [laughing] He says, “What’s up?”.
PETER: Whose place is this?
CANDRA: This is my mom’s house.
-Oh, cool.
-This is the house
that I was supposed to inherit. [giggles]
Let’s see.
PETER: How you doing, sir?
MAN: Hello.
CANDRA: This is my dad.
-Peter, Raylan.
-Peter, nice to meet you, Raylan.
RAYLAN: It’s my wife and I.
And this is where everything happens.
-It’s called a knifewing design,
it’s a more of a traditional design.
-Your father made that?
He made the whole thing,
and then heated it up,
and just flipped it over,
and burned it onto a piece of cardboard
but you know, see, this is
more different than the design of my dad.
But it represents
the same knifewing design.
The stamp of protection.
-Protection for the home, protection from?
-Any negativity.
-Any negativity that might be
coming towards you or… You know?
I always go out in the morning
before I start anything.
I do offerings.
I ask for guidance.
Make it a good day for everybody
and just you know…
Just the survival part of it where
there’s always these issues that arise
and for us to make the right choices
and say the right thing.
-So this is your full income,
this is how you live now?
-Do you want more work,
or no, you have plenty?
-We have plenty
and then there are the age. [laughs]
-How long does it take
to make one of these?
-This is taking me at least three days now
and my wife is probably gonna inlay them
for another… maybe a week.
-If you don’t mind me asking,
what’s that cost at a store
or if someone bought that at a show?
-The necklace that we made in this design
we sold it at least $3,500.
-And then the whole set
was like $5,000 so…
-That would mean with the bracelet…
-That’s a great business.
…the necklace and earrings.
-So yeah, we’re very fortunate
that we, you know, have this knowledge
of what our parents taught us like this.
I was raised up by traditional parents.
They were always committed to
keeping on traditions
and teaching us the values
of our culture and the religion.
-What percentage in the town here…
How many people here roughly?
CLY: About 36,000.
CANDRA: Roughly around there.
-36,000 on the reservation?
-What percentage do you think
keep their traditional ways
like you’re talking about
versus those that don’t?
CANDRA: Probably like 90 at least.
[Peter surprised] 90 keep it? Wow.
-They all have at least the knowledge
of what we’re here for.
PETER: Zuni Pueblo, you’re right next to
the Navajo Nation.
I mean it’s right there.
-But do you stay very separate
or do you associate with them a lot or…
-A long time ago it was like
conflict between our tribes.
-Them raiding our community.
Taking the women.
-And vice-versa.
-Vice versa, okay.
But we’ve gotten to a point
where we don’t need that no more.
You know, we’re past that.
For me the past is past.
There has to be love now instead of war.
Like you know that saying? [laughs]
And I think that really helps you
spiritually and mentally.
That you can always encounter
somebody that’s been an enemy in the past.
You can have that friendship connection.
I think the mountain over there,
Candra probably pointed it out.
-Yeah, we were just there.
-They used to live up there
when the great flood…
-Also if, you know, long time…
When they still had the encounters
with the enemy it was hard for them to…
-Oh, they lived at the top of the plateau?
-Yeah, yeah.
-See these are my grandson and his friends.
You’re granddad’s the coolest guy in town,
he’s making a YouTube video.
[Raylan laughing]
Did you know that,
he’s all over social media now?
-The like to be outdoors.
Right after school
they go out in the forest.
They hunt for antlers like those.
-Oh, yeah?
Where do you go hunting,
out there near the mountain there?
[boys mumbling] Anywhere around.
-Okay, who’s driving?
[all laughing]
PETER: This guy?
This is what happened last time he drove,
flat tire, door came off.
RAYLAN: Yeah, we’re fixing his ride.
We’re taking this apart
and putting it together for him.
These guys dance.
PETER: You guys dance?
[all] Yeah.
RAYLAN: There’s two types,
the more traditional religious type.
It’s only done in the plaza.
-But we also have social dances.
Where it can be done for the public.
-Do you guys speak Zuni?
-They just know girl words,
how to lure a girl in.
[all laughing]
PETER: You know the words to get ladies?
[boys shushing]
PETER: What is shh?
Shh means let’s go out to the mountain
and look at the sunset?
[all laughing]
PETER: What is this called here?
KEITH: This is called
the ancestral rich treasures of Zuni
or we call it a ARTS for short.
You see a lot of the galleries
down the road here
they’re actually owned by outsiders.
-And none of them are Zuni owned.
-None of these are Zuni owned down here?
-No, they’re not.
-So a group of artists here in Zuni
started this gallery
in hopes to really promote
their artwork on their own.
Come on in.
So I’m a two dimensional artist.
-I do a lot of paintings,
graphic design on computers.
Basically all of these here
are some of the work I’ve done.
-Oh nice, Keith.
-So this one is a glimpse of Mesa Verde.
Pretty important to Zuni people and this is
one of those things that I wanted to make.
-Mesa Verde is important to Zunis?
-That’s pretty far away too.
So there’s a lot of ancestral sites
within the Southwest region
that Zuni has a lot of connections to.
There’s a whole migration
that Zuni had to do prior to settling here
and so a lot of those historical sites
around the Southwest
are related to the Zuni people.
-So you have different artists,
obviously a different style here.
-So if someone’s coming through the area
is there a website I can direct them to?
-Yes, it’s called
-I’ll leave that in the description, guys.
-One of the biggest things
permanent in Zuni is fetish carvings.
Those are like little replicas
of different animals.
They’re like little talisman
that people carry around.
-Wow, okay.
-And so these are some of
those fetish carvings
that some of the families have done.
-So someone could see one on your website
and order it online?
-These are very cool.
-So here’s an example.
And so what does this mean in Zuni exactly?
Is this like a good luck omen
or something or…
-Yeah, so this one is an eagle.
It represents the direction of up
and is one of the messengers of the gods.
That ones a horse.
It’s good luck for people
that have livestock.
This one is actually a bear.
It’s also a symbol of strength
and also healing.
PETER: So you don’t have like a real bad
neighborhood in your reservation?
-Not really.
-Like a real bad one?
-No, I think my mom’s area is pretty bad.
Because in that area there’s a lot of
alcohol and bootlegging
’cause Zuni is a dry town.
It’s a dry village.
-So someone is the provider there.
CANDRA: Especially if they can’t
get a ride to the bar.
-Yeah, if they can’t get a ride to the bar.
-It’s a dry town but there’s a bar?
-There’s a bar off the reservation.
[Candra giggling]
-Oh, you gotta just go over the line?
-It’s like 15 minutes drive.
So a lot of people always ask me,
“How does it work with housing?”.
Like is the government
paying for this housing
or these people paying for the housing
or it just depends?
-It’s… They don’t pay for it.
-The government doesn’t?
-The government don’t pay for it anymore.
-Anymore, no?
The government built it
but it’s for the household.
-Do you have a housing shortage here
like a lot of places?
-Oh yeah, yeah.
-You do?
-So this is like the hood right here.
[Candra giggling]
-This is what you’d call the hood?
-And for anyone living in there,
I’m not clowning on you.
There’s some nice people in there I’m sure.
-There’s nice people in there.
Only when they’re drunk. [chuckles]
When they get drunk they’re not so nice.
-I don’t know where she’s going.
[speaking Zuni]
WOMAN: Hello.
PETER: Hello.
-This is my mom.
PETER: Hello.
Your son is giving us a great tour today.
-Oh, really?
[all chuckling]
Those are my nephews and nice.
[surprised] Oh, my daughters.
Those are my two daughters!
[all laughing]
PETER: So is it weird
seeing American flags here or no?
Like when you see the flags, some people
are into it, some people aren’t or…
CANDRA: Yeah, no.
They’re just very patriotic, these guys.
-So some Zunis are gonna be
very patriotic to the US?
-Yeah, because especially
they served in the military.
-Not many people serve in the military
but when they do they’re very proud of it.
-Of course they have every right to be
’cause they’ve seen a lot.
They went through a lot.
-Now whose house is this?
-This is his mom’s.
PETER: Oh, okay. Hello.
MAN: Hello.
CANDRA: Cly’s brother.
PETER: Cly’s brother?
-Who served in the military here?
-That’s my nephew.
-He’s in Oklahoma.
After work she’s still the cook.
[all laughing]
PETER: And this gentleman?
CLY: He’s my in-law.
[all laughing]
PETER: You’re the prep cook?
PETER: We have Navajo Nation.
Which is all of that.
Hopis are inside.
Then we have Zuni, which is very clear.
And then the checkerboard.
-What’s the checkerboard?
MAN: Sort of like parcels,
the Hopi here, Navajo here,
Hopi again, and all that stuff.
So it’s called a checkerboard.
-Why is it setup like that?
-It’s been handed down
from generation to generation
that the Hopi Indians own these lands,
the Navajos own these lands, and you know?
-You guys are pretty set
with your boundaries, right?
No issues with that?
-We have recently,
the Zunis bought a piece of land
which are called the Zuni heavens.
-Your reservation is expanding?
-Not the whole reservation, just a parcel.
-But you bought a little part?
With that new lands going on, we had to
do a lot of archaeological clearances.
Really on that thing.
-Really? Okay, so you actually do
archaeological digs
to see whose pottery and whatever is there?
-We did a lot of excavation
in the new land area.
The burial grounds and all that stuff.
Like pottery shards and everything
was discovered on that thing.
In order to have the clearance
on that thing.
For them to move in they have to do that.
PETER: Okay, so I’m sitting
next to a Zuni princess.
Tell me about that.
[Candra chuckling]
-Go ahead and introduce yourself in Zuni.
CLY: Say your Zuni name.
[little girl speaking Zuni]
[little girl speaking Zuni]
Hello, my name is Layla Patatilla.
I am eight years old.
My clans are [speaking Zuni].
My parent’s names are
Candra and Clybert Patatilla.
[speaking Zuni]
[all chuckling]
PETER: You know what that’s called?
It’s called a dead kitty.
Isn’t that crazy?
That’s the name for it.
[Candra laughing]
PETER: That’s terrible.
LAYLA: So he killed my kitty?
[all laughing]
PETER: No kitty killing here.
PETER: This is the Red Roof Inn?
CLY: Yeah, this is the Red Roof Inn.
-What is that?
-That’s the jail house.
You know, like the hotel, Red Roof Inn?
-They got a free continental breakfast?
[Candra laughing]
-Nice jail.
-This here is one of the Shalako houses.
Something similar to the one that we had.
-When will your Shalako happen?
November 26th.
It’s like the end of the year celebration
for the Zuni people.
-So your calendar is not the same,
it doesn’t end on the 31st of December?
-No, no.
-When does your calendar end?
-Our Calendar ends
on the winter solstice time.
When it starts is when the new year starts.
So that will be when
the whole village is fasting.
Fasting means they’re doing an offering
and doing prayer stick meditation.
-So everybody fasts?
-Yeah, everybody is fasting for spending
and for non-fatty food.
-Okay, for how long?
-For 10 days.
Four days of non-fatty food and spending.
-Spending as in no shopping?
-No shopping, and clearing outside,
or burning, or anything like that.
CANDRA: Anything to do with Mother Earth.
CLY: Yes.
-What about eating?
-Eating, you can eat.
-After the four days
you can eat greasy stuff.
-After four days?
CANDRA: It’s kind of like
a time for us to nourish our bodies.
CLY: Cleansing.
CANDRA: Cleansing, nourishing, purifying.
-Are you really tied into astrology?
Our elders go by the stars.
You know they’re the ones
who set everything
like for when the winter solstice,
summer solstice is gonna be.
By looking at the stars and knowing that
the star had moved in a certain direction
or a certain place at a certain time.
Time of the year.
So that’s how they’re able to predict
on when summer is,
winter, spring, and autumn, and fall.
-So it’s different every year?
-So it’s different every year.
CANDRA: And the whole prediction
of the moons, full moons.
They know when months
are passing by with the moons.
-So the constellation is a big influence
in your lives here?
-Big influence in our lives here.
-Is that getting passed down
from the elders?
-Oh yeah it is.
The very high sector religious people
are the ones that know
the events, and the calendars,
and all that just by the astronomy stuff.
But yeah, this is Zuni.
So glad you were able to come out here
and get a little bit of input from us.
-Thank you.
-Our culture, our people, and our land.
It’s quite an honor to have a visitor
come and ask these kinds of things
because we rarely are recognized
as Zuni Native American.
That we are here
and this is our roots.
This is where we belong.
So I’m so glad and honored
to have you here.
To have us share
some of our thoughts with you.
So I thank you a lot for coming out here.
-Thank you, the honor is mine
because you don’t have to let me in
and you have to have enough trust
that I come in with a camera
and show this story like I saw
and so thank you.
-Yeah, you’re welcome.
-You guys are awesome.
♪ melodic acoustic guitar ♪

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