by Peter Twitchell
Native Pueblos for over a thousand years built their homes in the sides of hills and protected cliffs. Yucca plants grew on mesas and the Pueblo women built mud adobe stoves and baked delicious loaves of bread.
In 1540, the first white men arrived before the railroads. Clay, water and white powdered rock were made into beautiful decorated bowls in cow dung fueled adobe ovens, the heat rose to 1200 to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. It was a source of income at the Indian Market in Santa Fe. Men wove belts for added income.
Tourists flocked to the West and Pueblos charged rent for parked vehicles. Bow and arrow games in the village kept the archers on their target. The village helped each other. The more dependents a family had they were given extra grain to keep everyone fed. The people took care of each other.
Camera fees were charged by the Pueblo. When there was food for everybody, everybody ate and when there was work, everybody worked. In contrast to simple life of the village, large cities sprung up close by.
Thousands of people came and inhabited the land. Naturally these people must have food. The Pueblo used irrigation to water their fields and grow crops and farming became a way of life. This demanded the need for more water. Fields water supply became a mere trickle.
Corn was their food and there was no water for it. Pueblo people are represented by their Council – the tribe picks up the issue of water shortage.
In Washington, John Collier of the Bureau of Indian Affairs talks to the tribe about the issue of water with them. Reservoirs hold rain water for the summer months. Logs were used to carry water to the fields but they rotted and steel pipes replaced them.
Sometimes water was lost in the canyons but lining them with concrete will hold the water and take it to the fields where it was needed. But even with government help much of the work was up to the Tribes.
Today hundreds of years later dams were constructed to keep the water flowing through the canyons to water the desert and fields. Later natural springs of water in the hills provided pristine pure water from the mountains.
Much of the history of the Native American voices provided the history of the West. Thank you.