On June 9, 2007, a meeting of two worlds happened at the Annual Middle Rio Grande Water Assembly. The Assembly had been grappling with water shortages due to growth of overuse and where we could mitigate the deficits. The Assembly, titled “Growth, Ecology and Traditions”, hoped to find solutions by reductions in use in all the water use sectors, concentrating on the demands of growth, the needs of ecology, and traditional uses.
I was able to film most of this and created a DVD of a small part of it, which I titled “Pueblo Perspectives”. I chose part of an introduction of a panel by the late geologist Dr. Frank Titus, who I felt well represented the modern culture. He was focused on the present and immediate future and what various sectors could do to reduce use. In the immediate past, we had always searched other regions to find the next source, so this was an improvement over past perceptions and attitudes. He offered an economic and water law solution that ignored the large differences between the water laws of New Mexico and Texas, using a solely legal-monetary solution. This was very modern in its approach, concentrating on science, law and economics to find solutions. Frank was the heart and soul of the Assembly. We certainly would have floundered in drafting a Plan if it were not for his wisdom, intelligence, humor and gentle guidance.
There were two gentlemen on the panel representing their respective Pueblos whom I chose to represent the Pueblo world: Everett Chavez, from Kewa (Santo Domingo) Pueblo, and Peter Pino, of Zia Pueblo.
Everett Chavez is a perfect example of living in two worlds, the modern and Pueblo. Although he addresses modern problems and the struggle to solve them, there is an undercurrent of spiritual concerns and an emphasis on traditional agriculture. The aspirations of his people combine modern solutions to supply and infrastructure with their desire to continue their culture.
Peter Pino, who was a friend to me and countless others, gives us a remarkable talk that includes the importance of self-provision, sharing, and spiritual values that have great meaning today. Unfortunately, Peter passed on recently. He is sorely missed.
The contrast between these two cultural perspectives is stark. But maybe we can see the intersections after all these years and find the tradeoffs necessary to begin the transformation we all know must take place if we are to remain in our common world.
Click here for Pueblo Perspectives video.