December 29, 2013

0925 UNITED STATES (New Mexico) - A Zuni Governor

The Zuni are a federally recognized Native American tribe, one of the 21 surviving pueblos in the 21st century. The majority of them live in the Pueblo of Zuni on the Zuni River, a tributary of the Little Colorado River, in the McKinley and Cibola counties in the western part of New Mexico, but in addition to the reservation, the tribe owns trust lands in Catron County (New Mexico) and Apache County (Arizona). In 2000, 10,228 people were enrolled as Zuni. They traditionally speak a language isolate that has no known relationship to any other Native American language. It seems that the Zuni have maintained the integrity of their language for at least 7,000 years.

The Zuni were and are a traditional people who live by irrigated agriculture and raising livestock, and archaeology suggests that they have been farmers in their present location for 3,000 to 4,000 years. Many contemporary Zuni also rely on the sale of traditional arts and crafts. Some Zuni still live in the old-style Pueblos, while others live in modern houses. Their religious beliefs are centered on three deities (Earth Mother, Sun Father, and Moonlight-Giving Mother), as well as Old Lady Salt and White Shell Woman, as well as other katsinas. The Zuni make a religious pilgrimage every four years on the Barefoot Trail to Kołuwala:wa, also called Zuni Heaven or Kachina Village. Another pilgrimage conducted annually for centuries by the Zuni is made to Zuni Salt Lake. The Zuni Tribe is governed by an elected governor, lieutenant governor, and a six member Tribal Council, with elections being held every four years.

The picture reproduced in the above postcard was made by Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952), an ethnologist and photographer employed in 1906 by J. P. Morgan to produce a series on the North American Indian, a work which lasted more than 20 years. Curtis' goal wasn't just to photograph, but to document, as much Native American traditional life as possible before that way of life to disappear. He wrote in the introduction to his first volume in 1907: "The information that is to be gathered ... respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost." Curtis made over 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Indian language and music, and took over 40,000 photographic images from over 80 tribes. He recorded tribal lore and history, described traditional foods, housing, garments, recreation, ceremonies, and funeral customs, and wrote biographical sketches of tribal leaders.

About the stamps
On the first postcard
The first stamp is part of the series depicting Hawaiian shirt, about which I wrote here. The second and third are parte of the Mail a Smile commemorative series, about which I wrote here.

On the second postcard
The first and the last stamp, depicting a laborer on a hoisting ball at the Empire State Building and a textile worker, are part of the series Building a Nation, about which I wrote here.

The second stamp, designed by Derry Noyes and issued on February 13, 2014, honours the president Abraham Lincoln. It features a black-and-white photograph of a close-up view of the statue of Abraham Lincoln by sculptor Daniel Chester French, composed of 28 blocks of white Georgia marble, housed inside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Zuni people - Wikipedia
Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico - Wikipedia
Pueblo of Zuni - Official website
Pueblo of Zuni - Official website of the Zuni Pueblo Department of Tourism
Edward S. Curtis - Wikipedia

sender 1: Mikaila Michel (direct swap)
sent from Parlier (California / United States), on 25.06.2012
sender 2: Denise
sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 21.03.2014
photo: Edward S. Curtis

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