Smoki presents Pueblo connections
The Smoki Museum's newest exhibit, "Connections Northwest/Southwest: Paquime and the Pueblo World," opens on Saturday, Oct. 17, with an opening reception at 1 p.m. Presenting the largest loan the museum has ever had, the exhibition displays items from the Amerind Foundation in Dragoon that features the connectivity between what is currently the American Southwest and Mexico.
Originally purposed to show the connections people have over time, the goal is for an understanding of the broad scope and arc of the Pueblo world, museum Executive Director Cindy Gresser said. The Pueblo culture didn't end at what is now the Mexican-American border.
"We think of these Pueblo people as isolated in this very small area, that's our current view," Gresser said. "But if you step back in time, that area becomes much larger and their interconnections becomes very clear."
One example is Casas Grandes in Chihuahua, Mexico, said curator Andy Christenson. He said it's probably the largest late pueblo site in the area, probably had up to 2,000 people and had a complex society. Trading for copper and turquoise, it's just one instance of a connection that is between modern day Mexico and the Southwest, Christenson said.
And there are a variety of connections, such as the aforementioned pottery and turquoise, but also corn, beans and squash that came from the south, Christenson said. There are also birds, a theme that's given plenty of focus in the exhibit as they are important aspects of mythology and ceremonials, he said.
"Particularly macaws, they were breeding macaws at Paquime," Christenson said. "Now, macaws are tropical birds, they're from way down south and so they were bringing them up and they were breeding them and they were coming up to the Southwest."
Macaws were being brought into the Prescott area and other parts of northern Arizona, Christenson said. The exhibit will have a whole section on macaws and birds that includes an actual macaw.
Follow reporter Jason Wheeler on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.