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American Indians - Southwest Bands

The indigenous peoples of North America are thought to have arrived here more than 16,000 years ago, having descended from people who lived in Siberia. Since that time, they have diversified into hundreds of distinct nations and bands. We're taking a look at what sets those groups apart.

Southwest Indians - Who Are They?

Southwest Indians lived in what is now Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Colorado and the northern part of Mexico. The climate in these regions is extremely dry. Water was hard to come by so it was used very carefully. Some Southwest Indian tribes are the Apache, Navajo, Hopi and Zuni.

Southwest Indians - Shelter

Tribes lived in apartment-like buildings made of adobe. Adobe is a mixture of clay, straw and sometimes animal poo that is formed into bricks and dried in the sun. These shelters were usually built on cliffs that had large, shallow caves. Wooden or bone ladders were used to reach higher buildings and rooms.

Southwest Indians - Food

The very first Southwest Indians hunted mammoths until they became extinct. There weren't a lot of animals in the desert so the Indians didn't often hunt for food. Instead, they were farmers. One of the most important foods they grew was maize (corn). They grew 24 different types of corn. They also grew beans, squash, melons, pumpkins and fruit. For meat, they often ate wild turkeys.

Southwest Indians - Clothing

The climate was warm so Southwest Indians didn't wear a lot. Their long hair was enough cover for most of them. Moccasins were usually worn on the feet. Some tribes also grew cotton to use for clothing when the weather got cold.

Southwest Indians - Ceremonies

Southwest Indians believed in Kachinas, which were spirits from ancestors who returned with the clouds and rain. They believed the spirits once lived among them but were offended and left. Kachina dolls were made from wood and had masks and costumes to look like the men who dressed up as Kachina spirits.

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