Legendary New Mexico: Native American Pueblos, Distinct Languages

Legendary New Mexico

While there are striking similarities among the 19 Native American Pueblos in the state of New Mexico, there are distinct differences in the languages.

With six separate types, Tiwa, Tewa, Towa, Keres, Zuni, and the Athabaskan languages including Navajo, historians say it’s important that all the cultures continue to encourage the youth in speaking the language.

For the Tiwa language, the four Pueblos still using it to this day include Isleta, Sandia, Picuris and Taos.

In Tewa, the list includes Nambe, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Ohkay Owingeh, Santa Clara and Tesuque.

For the Towa language, Acoma, Cochiti, Laguna, San Felipe, Santa Ana, Santo Domingo and Zia still practice the language in everyday life.

The only Pueblo to use Keres is Jemez.

Language has not only played a prominent role in the distinctions of all the Pueblo cultures, but in major U.S. conflicts like World War II. That’s when the Navajo Code Talkers, a group of soldiers who used their Athabaskan based language to communicate vital information to help out America’s troops and throw off any of the Japanese soldiers trying to listen in, were largely considered heroes for what they offered.

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