You are here

Descendants of Mesa Verde Anasazi Help Produce a Musical Masterpiece


Mountain view at Zuni (aka Zuni Pueblo) in northwestern New Mexico. Photo by Renee Ann Wirick via Flickr.

The Zuni, Hopi, and other Pueblo Indians in some 20 communities in New Mexico and northern Arizona can trace their ancestry to the very same Indians who so mysteriously abandoned the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings seven centuries ago. If you’ve ever doubted whether the modern pueblo culture straddles the ages, have a look at this amazing video.

Don’t be fooled by the beginning, just stay with it and go with the flow. Be sure to turn up the volume, keep a sharp eye, and get ready for a surprise.

Postscript: This marvel of sound engineering was produced by laying in multiple tracks of performances by various artists at different times and places all over the world. If you want to learn more about the Twin Eagle Drum Group, the making of this video, and a companion documentary, visit this site.

Thought for the day: Imagine what one of those Ancestral Puebloans at Mesa Verde might have thought if she had been transported 700 years into the future and shown this audio/video -- seeing, in effect, where her people's DNA went and what happened to her culture.

Traveler trivia, no extra charge: Ten years ago, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) reported that Stand By Me was the fourth-most performed song of the 20th century, having been performed more than seven million times. The 1961 release by Ben E. King & The Drifters is by far the best known version.


More cultural diversity mumbo jumbo staged for the camera.

Would somebody out there please explain the meaning of the term "mumbo jumbo" to Anon? If he is going to be a bigot, he should at least be a literate bigot.

Mumbo Jumbo, or mumbojumbo, is an English phrase or expression that denotes a confusing or meaningless subject. It is often used as humorous expression of criticism of middle-management and civil service non-speak, and of belief in something considered non-existent by the speaker.*

Hardly "mumbo jumbo," however you define it
One of the dangers in using a catch all name like "Anasazi" is that it disguises real differences between the people lumped together. The Ancestral Puebloans descendants speak at least 6 distinct languages and differences between the peoples played a major role in the collapse of their civilization in the four corners region. Details in my recent book, The Ancestral Puebloan Primer (available from,, and specialty book stores).

Thanks for the feedback, Eric. Regular readers of the Traveler know that I've used the terms Ancestral Puebloans and Anasazi more or less interchangeably. I'll probably use Ancestral Puebloans much more often in the future.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide