Great Seal Of The Zuni Tribe Dowa Yallane  


Keshhi! Welcome to the Official Site of the Zuni Tribe

Pueblo of Zuni    |    PO Box 339   |   1203B State HWY. 53    |    Zuni, NM 87327   |   Phone: 505-782-7000    |    Fax: 505-782-7202


One aspect of the culture is the language it self. The language that the Zunis possess is of uniqueness than that of any other pueblo or tribe. Unlike other languages that are classified in language categories, the Zuni language is isolate and is not compared with any other language. The Zuni language has been in existence long since the people have emerged into this world. Not only is the language a way of communicating, it also helps in teaching traditions to younger generations. The language plays a big part in religion for it is believed that it is the only way they could communicate with the ancestors (ancient ones). As time progress, the quality and amount of language spoken is affected by other introduced languages such as English and Spanish.

Language is the most powerful media that Zuni People use to express their culture and heritage. The Zuni language is traditionally learned from elders and parents, but many projects have been established to produce the spoken only language to a written language. The language is incorporated into teaching methods in public schools and other cultural resource programs, such as the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center. Over time, audio recordings of old zuni dialogue from elders has been taken to be another way of perserving the language and for the younger people to learn.

In February of 1989, the Zuni Literacy Program was introduced into the School District. The Zuni Public School District media centers were awarded an equipment grant from Apple Library as a part of its "Apple Library of Tomorrow Program." This equipment, which brings state of the art technology to the media centers, has allowed the district to begin production of both print and electronic versions of a Zuni/English Dictionary and has facilitated easy production of multi-media Zuni language materials. Using the Apple equipment, along with "HyperCard" and other software, Suzette Wyaco-Becenti and other staff of the Zuni Library Literacy Center staff have begun to create "stacks" which incorporate text, sound, and graphics into intriguing multi-media programs.

At present, our prototype of the Electronic Zuni/English Dictionary has English definitions for 864 words, as well as pictures and pronunciation for many of the words, as well as pictures and pronunciations for many of the entries. We have completed the transfer of many previously published Zuni language materials to HyperCard stacks, also with sound and graphics. We have also used the Apple equipment to publish a bilingual book titled Uses of Native Materials in Zuni Pueblo, which was written by high school English classes. A Zuni language calendar was also recently produced. These electronic and print resources are quickly becoming an important part of the District's efforts to incorporate Zuni language into the curriculum of the schools. The electronic stacks are designed to be used by people of all ages. Zunis, from ages five to seventy-five, have easily learned to use the dictionary and story stacks. Both Zunis an non-Zunis are excited about this new approach to learning the Zuni language.

Future plans include: working with high school students to develop new stacks; placing a pilot computer in a kindergarten and other classrooms to test and develop new materials; working with universities, museums, and other agencies to broaden the scope of the project to include interactive-video, computer networks, as well as other technologies; and placing computers in other community locations to gain more community feedback and input.

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