- from Southwest Peoples
With flat-topped mesas, steep canyons, and towering buttes (byoots), the American Southwest is spectacular to look at. But with its dry, scorching deserts, the land also provides enormous challenges to people living on it. For many years, though, Native Americans of the Southwest have lived in harmony with the land. They cherish it and use its resources wisely.
Over thousands of years, these people evolved from nomadic hunters and gatherers to farmers living in settled villages. When Spanish explorers arrived in 1540, thousands of Native Americans lived in isolated communities scattered throughout present-day Arizona and New Mexico. Different groups spoke different languages and had different customs and beliefs. But all treasured the land they lived on. Come meet the people of the Southwest, from prehistory to today.