The Zia Pueblo north of Albuquerque, New Mexico is part of the larger Pueblo community of southwest Native Americans. The Zia Pueblo has been occupied continuously since 1250 AD. The Zias are noted for their pottery and their use of the sacred sun symbol.
Traditionally a circle with rays pointing in the four directions, the Zia symbol is painted on pottery and drawn in the ground for various ceremonial purposes.
Four is sacred to the Zia and represents a variety of natural forces:
The four directions
The four seasons
The four phases of the day – sunrise, noon, evening and midnight
The four phases of life – childhood, youth, adulthood and old age
The four sacred obligations – to develop a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit and a devotion to the well being of ones people.
The Zia Pueblo has its own flag
The Zia symbol is also used on the New Mexico state flag, highway markers, and as design elements in state buildings. You might have seen the symbol as a design on a tee shirt or a coffee cup or a pendant and thought “Oh, yeah, the state symbol of New Mexico”. Well, I’m not sure New Mexico ever got permission to use the ancient Zia Pueblo symbol, but that’s another story. I do want you to know that the symbol originated long before there was a state of New Mexico and its flag.