The Jumano were first mentioned in Spanish documents in 1583. They are described as nomadic hunter-gatherers. They moved through a large territory and maintained complex relationships with surrounding peoples. The Jumano appear to have joined forces with the Apache in the 18th century, and they faded from Spanish records after 1750.
Juan Sabeata was chief of the Jumano (and also the Cibola) from approximately 1683-1692.
The Suma are also known variously as Zuma or Yuma. The Jumano were also known as Chomano, Chumano, Humano, Jumana, Jumanes, Xoman, Xumana, and Xumano.
The term Jumano has also been used to refer to other groups, such as the Wichita, the Tompiro pueblos in eastern New Mexico, and a rancheria in Flagstaff, Arizona (probably the Havasupai). The associations between these different peoples probably lies in their common practice of tattooing or painting their bodies. The first recording of the term was in 1582 by Diego Perez de Luxan. Contact with the Spaniards was recorded on the walls of a rock shelter called Jumano rock shelter near Bottomless Lakes State Park in Roswell, New Mexico, which is part of the Garnsey kill site. An ancient spring, land bridge, and an American bison bone yard from the Jumano culture are also part of the site.
In historic times, the Suma-Jumano were bordered in the north by the Manso and Mescalero; in the west by the Jocome, Jano, and Ópata; in the south by the Lower Pima and Concho; in the east by the Comanche and Lipan Apache.
The Suma and Jumano were often assumed to have spoken an Uto-Aztecan language, but this assumption is based on only four words with recorded meanings and a few other personal names without recorded meanings. Thus, their linguistic affiliation cannot be determined with certainty. Other researchers have suggested links with Athabascan and Caddoan.
The Jumanos were divided into two different groups: The Puebloan Jumanos, and the Plains Jumanos.
The Pueblos were a group of Jumanos who were given this name because they built houses called Pueblos out of adobe bricks. The houses were brightly painted on the inside and mostly brown on the outside. They spoke Tiwa. They went naked until it got colder and then wore a cotton blanket.
Unlike the Pueblos, the Plains Jumanos lived in teepees and they were nomadic. They would live in one place and farm there until the growing season was over. When they moved, they became hunter gatherers and they usually hunted buffalo.
- Bolton, H. E. (1912). The Jumano Indians in Texas, 1650-1771. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, 20, 66-84.
- Bolton, H. E. (1916). Spanish exploration in the southwest, 1542-1706. New York.
- Griffin, William B. (1983). Southern periphery: East. In A. Ortiz (Ed.), Handbook of North American Indians: Southwest (Vol. 10, pp. 329–342). Sturtevant, W. C. (Gen. Ed.). Washington, D.C.; Smithsonian Institution.
- Hammond, G. P.; & Rey, Agapito. (1929). Expedition into New Mexico made by Antonio de Espejo, 1582-1583 (as revealed in the journal of Diego Perez de Luxan, a member of the party). Los Angeles: The Quivira Society.
- Hodge, Frederick Webb. (1911). The Jumano Indians. Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, 20, 249-268.
- Hickerson, Nancy Parrott. (1994). The Jumanos: Hunters and Traders of the South Plains. Austin: University of Texas Press.
- Kelley, J. Charles. (1947). Jumano and Patarabueye: Relations at La Junta de los Rios. (Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University).
- Kelley, J. Charles. (1955). Juan Sabeata and diffusion in aboriginal Texas. American Anthropologist, 57 (5), 981-995.
- Sauer, Carl. (1934). The distribution of aboriginal tribes and languages in northwestern Mexico. Ibero-Americana (No. 5). Berkeley: University of California.
- Scholes, F. V.; & Mera, H. P. (1940). Some aspects of the Jumano problem. Contributions to American anthropology and history (No. 34; Publ. No. 523). Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington.
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