The Ancient peoples of the American Southwest, like most other Earth cultures, started out with the family as the basic unit of societal organization.

In time, they identified with an extended family, or clan. Among Native American Indians in the Southwest, clan ties follow matrilineal blood lines. Later, clans banded together as tribes or nations. Many modern-day Native American Indians still maintain their clan relationships and responsibilities.

Clans are very important to our understanding of the history of the Anasazi. The oral histories of clans, passed from generation to generation, combined with scientific information and archaeological observations, have helped us to discover or confirm who constructed specific Anasazi sites and where their ancestors live now.

The following is a partial list of clans which have existed from ancient times to the present:

All Kinds of Beads
Elk
Red Shell
Ant
Fire
Sage
Antelope
Flute
Sand/Earth
Badger
Frog
Shipewe
Bear
Habovu
Snake
Bear Strap
Hawk
Snow
Blue Green Flute
Horn
Spruce
Buffalo
Ivy
Squash
Butterfly
Kachina
Sun
Calabash Squash
Kachina Badger
Sun Forehead
Cholla Cactus
Lizard
Tadpole
Cloud
Mountain Lion
Tansy Mustard
Corn
Mountain Sheep
Tcaizra
Cottonwood
Mouse
Tobacco
Coyote
Nabovu
Turkey
Crow
Oak
Turkey Buzzard
Dance Kilt
Opuntia Cactus
Turquoise
Deer
Parrot
Water
Dove
Pinon
Yascha
Drab Flute
Porcupine
Yellow Bird
Eagle
Rabbit
Yellow Finch
Earth or Sand
Rabbitbrush
Young Corn

The following is a partial list of names of ancient and modern tribal names from the Southwest:

Acoma
Jemez
San Juan
Agate Basin
Kayenta
Sandia
Apache
Keresans
Santa Ana
Archaic
Laguna
Santa Clara
Athabaskin
Mesa Verde / Verdean
Santo Domingo
Basketmakers
Mogolion
Sevier Fremont
Chaco/Chacoan
Nambe
Shoshone
Cliff Dwellers
Navajo
Sinagua
Clovis
Northern San Juan
Tanoans
Cochiti
Numic
Taos
Cohonia
Palute
Tesuque
Eastern Hisatsinom
Papago
Tewa
Eastern San Juan River
Pecos
Tigua
Fremont
Pecuris
Tiwa
Hakataya / Hakatayan
Pima
Towa
Haru Santa Ana
Pojoaque
Ute
Havasupai
Prescott
Uto-Aztecan
Hisatsinom
Puebloan
Walapai
Hohokam
River Hohokam
Winslow
Hopi
Salt-Gila R. Hohokam
Yavapai
Hopi Bear Clan
San Felipe
Zia
Islela
San Idlelonso
Zuni

A tribe is a larger unit made up of clans, which are made up of families. The names we give to ancient and contemporary tribes originated in different ways. Some are Spanish or English phonetic versions or the original native word. For example, Tesuque is a Spanish word that approximates the tribal word which is phonetically spelled Te-Tsu-Geh. Some tribal names are literal translations of a native word. The Spanish word “Pueblo” is used to describe some tribes who call themselves “The People” in their own language. Other tribal names are based on the tribal language, like Tewa, Towa and Tiwa or Keresan. Others are simply Spanish or English names unrelated to words in the native culture, like San Ildefonso, Santa Clara and Fremont.