Marc Simmons: Clothing of the Pueblos of New Mexico
"I was reading an article recently by Marian Rodee, a noted expert on Pueblo textiles and clothing. She described a prehistoric shirt found intact in a cliff dwelling and compared it to a modern Pueblo shirt that is visually similar.

In clothing of the Indians, Rodee pointed out, it is possible to observe "continuity over long periods of time."

Her statement got me to thinking about confirming evidence that is plentiful in the historical record. Traditionally, the Pueblos clung to certain articles or styles of dress that were firmly grounded in the past.

That remains true today only in the costuming one sees in public rituals, such as the corn dance. For everyday wear, Pueblos mainly sport the latest Walmart fashions.

Invariably, 16th-century Spanish explorers expressed admiration in their journals for the Native people here who went clothed and wore "shoes," that is, the rust-colored Pueblo moccasins, or teguas.

The Chichimec Indians spread thinly across northern Mexico were scantily dressed, if at all. So finding people on the upper Rio Grande who wore shirts, dresses, blankets and woven belts meant they were culturally advanced to the European way of thinking."

Get the Story:
Marc Simmons: Trail Dust: Pueblo clothing yesterday and today (The Santa Fe New Mexican 1/30)

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