Time Era

Historic time period: Beginnings–1861

Pueblo Pots

The Pueblo Indians of New Mexico have been living in the upper region of the Rio Grande River for more than 600 years.

During that time, their way of life has been challenged many times, but they have managed to maintain their most basic beliefs and traditions.

The people of the Santa Clara Pueblo have the same word for clay and for people, nung, because they believe that the first people emerged from Mother Earth.

Clay is a very important part of their lives. They say prayers when removing it from its home — the earth — and while preparing it for making pottery. Creating pottery fulfills them spiritually and creatively. Selling it provides income with which they support their families.

The area where the Pueblo Indians live is hot and dry. Their ancestors made pots in which to collect and store water. Investigate the roles that pottery and water play in their lives by discovering the symbolism of two modern pots in "Explore Pueblo Pots," and by reading When Clay Sings.

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When Clay Sings book cover

Featured Book

When Clay Sings

by Byrd Baylor

When Clay Sings, Text copyright 1982 by Byrd Bayl and Illustration copyright by Time Bahti. All rights reserved. Used by permission from Scribner.


  • Explore Pueblo Pots

    Explore Pueblo Pots

    Learn From Objects

    Try your hand at being a potter and make a Pueblo-style pot.

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