On Saturday, September 22, 2012, between the third and fourth quarters of the NMSU vs. UNM football game, Zia Pueblo was recognized for its Sun symbol and given credit for its presence on the New Mexico State Flag. Representing Zia Pueblo were Mr. Wilfred Shije, Governor and Mr. Peter Pino, Tribal Administrator.
The invitation to participate in the game came from Ginny Van Doren, graduate student and Intern with the Pan Am Center. Justin McHorse, Director of the American Indian Program, recommended that Zia Pueblo be recognized during the celebration because Zia Pueblo’s symbol was incorporated into the State’s flag. With the support of the President’s Office, Special Events, Athletics, and the American Indian Program, the recommendation came to fruition.
Mr. Pino described the meaning of the Zia Sun Symbol in the following quote from the Spring 2012 issue of El Palacio Magazine:
“For the people of Zia, the rays have very structured and layered meanings, and they are traditionally viewed counterclockwise. The four rays at the top (north) are the world’s directions: north, west, south, and east. The rays to the left (west) are about time: spring, summer, fall, winter. Those at the bottom (south) are about the stages of a person’s lifetime: child, adolescent, adult, and elder. Those to the right (east) are about a person’s being: heart, mind, body, and spirit.”
Contributed by Justin McHorse, M.S.
Director, American Indian Program