One of 19 Pueblo tribes, Zuni is located 35 miles south of Gallup, New Mexico. The Zuni lands occupy an area about the size of Rhode Island, although the population (est. 12,000) is concentrated in the village of Zuni. This area of the country was inhabitated more than a thousand years ago by people called the Anasazi. The Zunis are considered to be direct descendants of these ancient people. While related to the other pueblo tribes they remain unique in many ways. One way, for example, is their language which is spoken only by them and shares no similarity to any other known language.
When the Anasazi culture dispersed, most of its people migrated to the northern Rio Grande Valley and its permanent water source. The Zunis, located in far western New Mexico, stayed where they were and because of this location their contact with Spanish explorers was minimized. This isolation preserved and nurtured their traditional way of life and they remain today deeply religious people with their culture intact.
The Zunis are known world wide for their fine jewelry and animal fetishes.