years ago: A
long time ago, people lived in what would become the Southwest Region
of the United States. Some scientists say people came to this region
about 40,000 years ago from Asia. Some say 25,000 years ago.
Hunters and Gatherers: These
early people were hunters and gatherers. They hunted for buffalo. They
gathered wild fruit and vegetables.
Cave Drawings: They
left traces of themselves on cave walls. Pictographs are rock
drawings. Petroglyghs are rock carvings. These early people left both
pictographs and petroglyghs that date back more than 11,000 years.
To paint pictographs (rock drawings), the Ancient Ones used twig
brushes dipped in naturally colored vegetable fats. These early people
painted hands, animals, dancers, hunters, gods, and medicine men. Even
though these paintings are thousands of years old, some still exist in
caves all over the southwest. Some are still brightly colored.
The Three Sisters: As
time went on, around 300 CE, people began to settle down and grow
crops. The three major crops were the Three Sisters - maize, squash,
and beans. Farmers used irrigation to water crops in dry areas.
Weavers and Potters: They
raised sheep for food and wool. They used the wool to make colorfully
woven blankets and clothing. The women made clay baskets. They also
wove baskets from long grasses. Over time, the women became the
potters, and the men became the weavers. One of their favorite designs was
a zigzap pattern that represented lightning and rain. Without rain,
the Anasazi could not have grown corn.
Clan Councils: They
governed themselves using a simple tribal system of clan
representation. Every clan, or family group, had a representative who
spoke for their clan at village meetings. These people worked out
their problems in a peaceful manner.
Gods of Nature: They
believed in many supernatural beings. Everything they needed they got
from nature, so it is not surprising that their gods were the gods of
nature. They developed a rich religious life.
Like most early people in the Americans, they
used impersonation to honor their gods. The men dressed up in
colorful costumes at religious ceremonies, to look like their gods and
to attract the attention of their gods. Rain played an important part
in their religion. One of their most exciting dances was the
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Back in Time
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Return to the Southwest