North American Pueblo Indian people living in west-central New Mexico, U.S. They are believed to have descended from the prehistoric Ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi) culture. When they first encountered 16th-century Spanish conquistadors, the Zuni were living in seven separate towns thought by the explorers to be the fabled Seven Cities of Cíbola. Zuni society is organized through kinship and includes a complex religious system centring on spirit-beings called kachinas (katsinas). Most Zunis farm, and many are engaged in making high-quality silver and turquoise jewelry, baskets, beadwork, animal fetishes, or pottery. Many Zuni people prefer to maintain their own cultural traditions, eschewing much of the dominant American culture. Early 21st-century population estimates indicated some 10,000 Zuni descendants.