Jemez

Jemez is the only remaining Towa-speaking Pueblo in New Mexico. It is located approximately 50 miles northwest of Albuquerque, and consists of two thousand or so members, most of whom live in the traditional village of Walatowa. The Jemez people migrated to their present homeland from the Four-Corners area in the late thirteenth century. By the time of first European contact, the Jemez people were one of the largest and most powerful of the Pueblo cultures, occupying many strategically located villages on high mesas and in canyons that surround Walatowa. In those days, Jemez consisted of an estimated thirty thousand tribal members. In the 1830s, the survivors of Pecos Pueblo, once-mighty trading center near what is now Santa Fe, joined Jemez. Today, the Pecos culture still survives at Jemez, with its own distinct traditions preserved intact.

As with many other Pueblos, Jemez pottery witnessed a revival in the twentieth century. This resurgence was influenced in part by Pecos pottery traditions. Today Jemez is one of the most important pottery-producing Pueblos. Modern Jemez pottery takes a wide variety of form and decoration: matte surfaces and highly polished redware, elegant melon jars, intricate polychromes, gracefully simple tan swirl-design ollas, and many more.