National Geographic : 1940 Nov
Indian Tribes of Pueblo Land Photograph by Clifton Adams To Make a Navajo Blanket, She First Spins Her Own Wool The Indian woman sits upon a sheepskin before her wood-framed, mud-domed house, or hogan, at Tuba City, Arizona, in the Painted Desert. Should anyone die in the dwelling, it would be abandoned and the family would build another. Furnishings consist chiefly of a bed and built-in bench, which serves as a shelf. A smoke hole pierces the center of the roof. Coyote pelts hang beside the doorway (pages 555 and 569). Coronado expedition; and, finally, the period of American occupation opens about the mid dle of the 19th century. The vast stage for the drama of these amaz ing people, herein called the Southwest, con sists primarily of Arizona and New Mexico. It includes also southern Utah and Colorado and the northern parts of the Mexican States of Sonora and Chihuahua.* Generally speaking, the entire area is semi arid, though it is only in southwestern Arizona that true desert conditions exist. Because of its scarcity, water was highly important to the Indians. Its location deter mined the sites of their settlements, and pray ers for rain constituted the most prominent * See the National Geographic Society's map, "The Southwestern United States," with pioneer trails and historical notes, issued as a supplement to the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for June, 1940; also the map "Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies," December, 1939. feature of the religious ceremonies of the agri cultural tribes (page 566). Imposing ruins, marking the sites where the prehistoric inhabitants dwelt, early caught the imagination of white travelers. The Spaniards noted many of the remains. When American occupation began, some of the ruins were mapped and first described in detail. Public interest was aroused by these descriptions, and "cliff dwellers" became a household term. Solving the Mystery of the Cliff Dwellers Up to 1880 there was relic hunting, but no systematic excavations were made until after that date. Even in this period the digging was primarily to obtain specimens, beautiful pottery being the principal lure. Not until the present century was well under way was any serious attempt made to determine the age and periods of the ruins.