From January 20 to 23, I went to Santa Fe and San Ildefonso in New Mexico with Dr. Laughlin and my classmates. I was totally surprised by the architecture of the housing and the rich collection of Native American cultures. I expected to see traditional suburbs but instead I found almost everyone has built houses resembling traditional adobe homes which I had never seen. Houses, businesses, government buildings including museums are almost built in this style. The colors seem to blend in with the desert. One of the most exciting events I attended in New Mexico was the museum presentation of the Zuni tribe. Although we actually did not meet the Zuni tribe, we learned a lot about them because Dawn Kaufmann who is a guide at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture shown us in details how Zuni tribe is different from other tribes in New Mexico. In terms of their origin, Japanese migrated to the North America and those decedents had strong connection with Zuni and influenced Zuni culture. I became so fascinated by this information that I started researching the Japanese influence on Zuni culture, which might be reflected in Zuni artworks such as potteries and quilts, and other cultural connections . Nancy Yaw Davis mentioned in his book, The Zuni Enigma, that Zuni language and culture are the result of merger with a group of 13th century Japanese pilgrims because many disasters such as storms, earthquakes, floods, and drought initiated the pilgrimage (35). They crossed the ocean to the east, arrived in California, and moved on and arrived at Zuni, settling there by 1350AD. She displays considerable evidence linking Zuni and Japanese language, culture, and physiology. For instance, the Zuni language bears no resemblance to other North American languages, but exhibits similarities to old Japanese: Zuni religion bears similarities to Shinto, both of which share a high incidence of a kidney disease, and skull which remains show unusual dental features in common between Zuni and Japanese. Thanks to the great trip to New Mexico, I could encounter with possible descendants of Japanese. I focus on Zuni people, religion, and kin and clan, and find out how they live in the United States.
The reservation of the Zuni Indian is located in the southwestern corner in western New Mexico and consists of approximately 12,000 people. Its area comprises of 342,046 acres, and this is high, rugged ground, with an average elevation of 7,100 feet (Leighton and Adair 6). There are no many trees to protect people from strong sun rights to protect the soils from being washed away by heavy rains and severe wind in summer or spring. There is also a tremendous daily swing in the temperature. Zuni people were initially occupied sporadically for thousands of years by nomadic hunter-gathers who were attracted by the abundant wildlife in nearby mountains and streams. The village had been established in the area by about 400AD. Many groups migrated through the area between 1130 and 1150. Gradually, in the late 1200s, many groups united with progressively larger and larger communities in western New Mexico and northern Arizona and formed today’s Pueblo (Lanmon 5). As to the people themselves, the Zuni adults seem to be short of stature and light bone. According to Nancy Yaw Davis, “the height of the men varies more than the women’s, but generally the population is short, averaging about five feet and four inches” (6). Generally speaking, both Zuni men and women are inclined to gain weight in the middle age. Some Zuni are believed to have “thrifty gene,” which was biologically adaptive in the past, making it easier for the body to store food for lean times (Leighton and Adair 6). The gene is linked to weight problems and a high incidence of diabetes. Zuni women are more likely to be obese because of bearing several children (6). The Zuni have thin faces and small facial features. They have healthy dark skin and shiny straight black hair. Every time when I...
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