Native American groups have inhabited the territory of New Mexico for thousands of years, many centuries before Europeans reached the Americas. When the Spanish came to New Mexico in the 1500s, they brought with them their Roman Catholic religion. Those missionaries traveled to this new territory to bring their faith to the Native American people and converted many. However, Native beliefs and customs persevered and became intertwined with those brought by the Spanish colonists.
New Mexico is home to 22 tribes, including the Navajo Nation, Jicarilla Apache, Mescalero Apache, and 19 pueblos. Each tribe is unique and has its own traditional language, customs, values, prayers, songs, ceremonies, traditional attire, and way of life.