The Pueblo Indians are a group of peoples who had lived in the Southwest for almost 1,000 years before non-Indians began arriving in their lands in the mid-sixteenth century.
The early Spanish explorers believed that the Pueblo Indians were all members of the same group because they lived in similar houses. They called these houses and the people who lived in them “pueblos,” the Spanish word for “village” or “town.”
Although they shared a way of life, the Pueblos did not consider themselves one people. Each village, instead, was like an independent nation. Still today, the Pueblo peoples of the Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico usually do not called themselves Pueblos, but rather identify themselves by their village name. The Zuni and Hopi, who live further to the west, are also Pueblo peoples.
The word pueblo, which means “town” or “village” in Spanish, is used by non-Indians to describe both the traditional dwellings and the native peoples of the American Southwest who lived in them. However, Pueblo Indians usually identify themselves by the name of their village.