The level of development of agriculture among the Pueblo Indians is immeasurably higher than that of their predecessors. They constructed extensive irrigation systems, which were of great importance in this rather arid region. The main agricultural crop was still the same corn (they grew more than ten of its varieties), in addition, pumpkins, red peppers, lettuce, beans, and also tobacco were grown. The fields were cultivated with a wooden hoe. Along with this, the Pueblo Indians tamed dogs and raised turtles. Hunting was for them only an additional source of food. They hunted for deer, and more often for the completely extinct animals nowadays, a bit like the South American llama. Hunting was one of the male occupations. Men also weaved and made weapons. Women cultivated the fields. The construction of dwellings was also an exclusively feminine affair. The Pueblo Indians were wonderful potters, although, like all the rest of the American Indian population, before the arrival of the first Europeans they were not familiar with the potter’s wheel. Ceramics were made by men and women together.
In the pueblo, women played a significant role. In the era of the appearance of the first Spaniards, matriarchy completely prevailed in almost all Indian tribes. Treated areas were shared and distributed equally among women heads of families. After the wedding, the husband moved to his wife’s house, but only as a guest. ‘Divorce’ was carried out without any difficulty. After the marriage of the marriage bonds, the husband was to leave the house. The children remained with their mother.
Residents of each pueblo were divided into a number of tribal groups. The names they were given usually by the name of any animal or plant. All members of the clan considered this totem to be their ancient ancestor. Several tribal groups constituted a phratry — a generic association that also bore the name of an animal or a plant. Gathering in the phratries, the inhabitants of pueblo performed religious rites, during which the entire life cycle of a totemic animal, such as antelope, was usually depicted. In the life of the Pueblo Indians religion occupied an exceptional place. Religious ideas were inextricably linked with agricultural skills. When the mother had a child, she first of all smeared the mouth of the newborn with cornmeal gruel. The father of the same gruel painted sacred signs on all the walls of the dwelling. In the same way, all the other important events of life in the consciousness of the Indian Pueblo were associated with corn. The main deities were considered the sun and mother earth. A significant role was played by the jointly sent religious rites – ritual dances. The most important of these was the so-called snake dance – the ritual act of worshiping snakes – the legendary progenitors of the Indians. The priests danced, holding a rattlesnake in their teeth. At the end of the ritual, women showered corn rattlesnakes with corn.
Of particular importance for the Pueblo Indians was and still is the so-called kachina. This is something like a dance drama, which was performed in ritual masks depicting certain deities. The miniature reproductions of these deities are the “children’s Kachins” – dolls. Receiving such dolls as a gift, Indian children had to learn in advance to recognize the characters of ritual dances.
All religious rituals were performed either in the pueblo square or in nib. Inside the sanctuary there was a kind of altar with images of totem animals of this or that phratry. For example, in the “serpentine kiva” the main decoration was a curtain with hollow bodies of serpents made of cloth sewn to it. During the ceremony, the priest, who was behind the veil, thrust his hand into the body of such a snake, causing it to move.
Up until the middle of the XIX century, the inhabitants of the North American pueblo of the southwest did not come into close contact with the whites and thus retained without significant changes the characteristic features of their culture, which has not undergone any qualitative changes over the past six to eight centuries.