Before the coming of the so-called "civilized" Europeans, North America was inhabited by traveling bands of ancient people. Nomadic tribes, these early ancestors of Southwest Native Americans traveled the land in search of food from the thriving herds of large animals.

After the Anasazi left their great houses and cliff dwellings in the 12th and 13th centuries, their culture immigrated with them. Thus, their influences can be seen even today in the Hopi, Zuni and Pueblo cultures.

The Anasazi had many gods . Like other Native peoples, nature was represented by their gods. The Earth mother, the sun god, and the rain god were a few of the Anasazi gods. The Anasazi held secret religious ceremonies in underground rooms called kivas.

Referred to as "Hisatsinom" by their Hopi descendants, the people are probably better known as "Anasazi," the Navajo name said to mean "ancient enemies." Other, more traditional, Native Americans may simply refer to these ancient people as the "old ones." Whatever the name, it is evident that these people not only settled in, but were also a thriving population and cultural center for the southwest.

Pueblos were multistory buildings. They were made of adobe. Adobe is a mixture of sand and straw that is dried into bricks. There was very little wood in the dry landsThe Anasazi had to carry wood from miles away to use for roof beams for their pueblos.

Early pueblos were built on top of mesas or high, flat-topped hills. Pueblos had very few windows or doors on the lower levels. People moved from one level to another by ladder.The Anasazi had no windows and doors on the first level to protect themselves from their enemies. If they were attacked, they pulled up the ladder.

There are several famous pueblos that can be visited today in the South West.Pueblo Bonito or "Beautiful Town" was built under the tall canyon walls ofChaco Canyon in New Mexico.

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