Chapter Two

Land as Living Culture

La Cieneguillla

The history of this land is intricate and interconnected.

Centuries of human existence show their cultural imprint. From time immemorial Indigenous peoples have lived within this large area leaving behind petroglyphs, former pueblos, understated shrines, and oral memories.

The Caja del Rio is home to pre-colonial petroglyphs dating back to the 13th century by the Pueblo people of the Middle Rio Grande Valley. The birds and wildlife depicted in the petroglyphs are still seen in the area to this day, highlighting the importance of the Caja del Rio as a sacred site and critical wildlife corridor.

The Caja Del Rio holds a deep historical value and it continues to remain of vital importance to the Pueblos of the middle Rio Grande.

Pueblo people built villages, farmed, hunted and gathered food from the earth. The Pueblos of Tse’nah’teh, Tse’gu’ma, Guicú, Pindi, Pueblo Quemado de las Cieneguitas and Tres Arroyos remain as a legacy along the Río Santa Fe. Cochiti and Tesuque Pueblo people continue their tradition of conducting ceremonies within and share their perspectives about these areas today.

Phoebe Suina