Prounounced "Hay-mess," or traditionally as "He-mish", the Jemez are a federally recognized American Indian tribe
with 3,400 tribal members, most of whom reside in the pueblo
village known as Walatowa
, a Towa word meaning "this is the place". Oral traditions say their ancestors originated from a place called "Hua-na-tota," which is apparently identical with the Shipapu and Cibobe of other pueblo tribes. They migrated to the "Canon de San Diego Region" from the four-corners area in the late 13th century. By the time of European contact in the year 1541, the Jemez Nation was one of the largest and most powerful of the Puebloan
cultures, occupying numerous pueblo villages that were strategically located on the high mountain mesas and the canyons that surround the present Pueblo of Walatowa
. Today, it is the last remaining Towa-speaking pueblo, having absorbed the Towa
-speaking survivors of Pecos Pueblo
when it was abandoned in the 1830's.