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Native American Education
Native American Education
Ancestral Pueblo families had to work cooperatively, according to a logical schedule. So it’s not surprising that among the descendants of the ancestral Pueblo people, village harmony and respect for elders have been important values. Knowledge of how to create and preserve resources had to be learned from the experiences of other community members.

In the Pueblo nuclear family, the father was the head of the family. The extended family was the main family unit; members of the extended family worked together as a group to plant and maintain their fields. Family members were also organized into clans, groups of individuals descended from a common maternal ancestor. Clan members took turns in the conduct of the pueblo government, in the administration of justice, and in the responsibility for traditional tribal ceremonies as they do today.

Family and clan ties influenced the ancestral Pueblo education system – a sophisticated strategy for education in which individuals learned the detailed aspects of religion, government structure, survival skills, and craft specialization. They learned general skills, such as farming, and specialized in others, such as medicine. Until the arrival of the Spanish, it is likely that craft specialization was organized around gender – men learned to hunt, weave and make jewelry, and women learned to make pottery and perform architectural repairs. After the arrival of the Spanish, some aspects of craft specialization changed. For example, women learned how to weave with wool.

The Pueblo and Spanish people also educated each other. Pueblo potters taught the Spanish settlers how to produce vessels from local clays, and how to identify native plants for food and medicinal use. The Franciscan friars taught Pueblo laborers how to build with adobe blocks and terrones, and how to forge iron tools.

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