Zuni Pueblo is the largest of the nineteen New Mexican Pueblos. It covers more than 700 square miles and has a population of over 10,000. Furthermore, they are considered the most traditional of all the New Mexico Pueblos, with a unique language, culture, and history, which is due in part to geographic isolation.
Kenny Bowekaty is a member of Zuni Pueblo and an archaeologist. Additionally, he proudly follows the traditional path forged by his ancestors. As a result, he is both a member and a spokesperson for the Zuni clans. Drawing on his unique background and experience, he creates tours that draw from the cultural heritage, unique history, arts and crafts, and scenic beauty of Zuni Pueblo. Overall, his goal is to educate and, frankly, he is well suited for the role.
Zuni Cultural Adventures
Visit Halona:Idwan’a (The Middle Village)
Immerse yourself in the Middle Place through an oral presentation of “The Migration Story.” The presentation is given during a walking tour of Zuni’s most historic and culturally significant neighborhood.
Unguided visits are discouraged, because this is an active neighborhood.
Zuni Building Techniques Through the Ages
Learn about ancient, traditional and modern building styles and techniques at Zuni Pueblo. Centuries of building with adobe, sandstone, wood, cement, glass, and even steel are part of Zuni Pueblo’s legacy.
Shiwi (Zuni) World View
Sample the history, culture, and religion of the A:shiwi through analysis of the impacts of the Spanish, study of the community’s structure and organization, as well as the role traditional religion plays in daily life.
Artist Studio Demonstration
Visit with Zuni artists to learn about Zuni arts and techniques from traditional pottery, stone “fetish” carving, silversmith/jewelry, wood carving, painting, bead work and more.
Ancient Pueblo Cuisine
Discover the original Pueblo diet and learn about traditional foods and cooking traditions.
Traditional Zuni Cooking
Gain hands-on experience learning about Pueblo bread baking and/or traditional foods from experienced Zuni bakers and cooks.
Traditional Zuni Embroidery & Pueblo Textiles
Explore the history of Pueblo weaving, techniques and embroidery with accomplished artists Elroy Natachu and Kandis Quam. Discover the hidden meanings in traditional Pueblo clothing and designs.
Native American Music & Dance
Learn from award-winning local musicians Shelley Morningsong (N.Cheyenne) and Fabian Fontenelle (Zuni/Omaha) about traditional and contemporary Native American music and dance.
Archaeological Adventure Tours
Step back in time in Hawikku, one of the fabled “Cities of Cibola.” This was the site of “first contact” between Europeans and Native People in the Southwest in 1540 with the arrival of Coronado. Furthermore, this was one of the only sites extensively excavated by archaeologist Frederick Hodge from 1917 to 1923. It is a featured exhibit at the A:shiwi A:wan Museum & Heritage Center.
Village of the Great Kivas Tour
Experience this Chacoan-outlier village site with its “great” kivas as well as extensive nearby rock art (petroglyphs & pictographs). This “two-tours-in-one” provides a glimpse into the culture and society of Zuni’s distant past, with links to more recent history. Furthermore, the elaborate petroglyph and pictograph panels viscerally connects visitors to the past.
Historic Farming Village Tour
Visit historic Zuni farming village sites to learn about Zuni’s rich agricultural past through personal and cultural stories.
Badger Springs Tour
Visit this remote back country Great House to experience a rich variety of ancestral images etched into the sandstone cliffs.
Other remote back country tours may be available. Contact Zuni Pueblo for details.
Special Tour Experience
Re-Discover the Cities of Cibola
Spend a full day touring six of the seven ancestral villages, including Halona:Idiwan’a (present-day Zuni Pueblo), Hawikku (Where Coronado first arrived), and the unexcavated sites of K’wa’kin’a, Kechiba:wa, Mats’a:kya, and Kyaki:ma.
Hike Feather Rock
As you enter Zuni, there is a noteworthy rock formation east of the Village. It is a natural window known as Feather Rock. Though it isn’t visible from the road, there is a small cliff at the top, near the opening. Not only is the view magnificent, the formation has a story to tell.
The Zuni visitor center introduced a hiking tour to the cliff in 2019, allowing visitors to walk into the opening of Feather Rock as Kenny tells the tale of the Salt Lady. The folklore not only provides insight into Zuni Pueblo, it also provides a lesson on living in harmony with nature and appreciating the resources bestowed.
Please be aware that there are restrictions in place for non-Zuni visitors related to witnessing religious activities. Furthermore, they ask that visitors respect their cultural privacy by following the appropriate etiquette and guidelines.
Elahkwa, Thank You, for respecting Zuni traditions.