Zuni Indian Harvest Festival


Every fall when I was growing up on the farm outside of Chenoa in central Illinois, when all of the crops had been harvested, my three brothers and I would put on our nicer clothes, pile into whatever car we had at the time, and my Mom and Dad would take us to the 116 Club in nearby Roanoke for our annual harvest dinner. The 116 Club was owned by an Italian family and we would enjoy dish after dish of homemade pasta, delicious fried chicken and mashed potatoes. As you might imagine, four growing boys could really put it away. Even though both my Mother and Father are no longer with us, the tradition of the harvest dinner continues today with my family. When the crops are all in from the fields, you take a moment to celebrate the harvest and give thanks. Recently, we had the opportunity to experience a much older harvest-celebration tradition.

When we were in Gallup, New Mexico, we learned that the Zuni Indians were having their annual harvest celebration on their pueblo about 30 miles outside of Gallup. We were told that it would entail colorful costumes, traditional dances and a market where they would sell their handmade wares. While not my family’s traditional harvest dinner, we were so fortunate to be able to experience the Zuni’s ancient harvest celebration. 

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