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El agua es la vida y la vida no se vende : The Cochiti Pueblo and the cultural impact of the Cochiti Dam : water, landscape and spiritual connection

by Acquisto, Kalen Jesse


The people of the desert Southwest have significantly felt the global water crisis. This paper explores the constant struggle for water rights by focusing on the Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico, a community which plays a central role in understanding the issue of water shortage and disputes over water claims in the Southwest. The building of dams, a primary solution to the water crisis, also creates environmental and social impacts on the local cultures. This ethnographic study explores to what degree land conversion, as a result of dam building, has affected the Cochiti people’s native agricultural lands and practices. This paper incorporates perspectives of multiple stakeholders, including local farmers and ranchers, lawyers, forest rangers and members of the Cochiti community. The multiplicity of voices reveal the complexity of water sharing, as every party involved upholds different values and often one profits at the expense of others. The struggles of the Cochiti illustrate the difficulty in finding balance between environmental sensitivity, corporate interests and traditional cultural practices. Specifically, this project identifies the need for maintaining control of the water distribution, stabilizing the environmental issues resulting from the Cochiti Dam and preserving the cultural traditions of the Cochiti Pueblo. Exploring these issues on a local and global level is integral for the future of our environment and local cultures.


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Includes bibliographical references.

Administrative Notes

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Copyright restrictions apply.
Colorado College
Digital Origin
born digital
48 pages : color illustrations, color maps
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Montano, Mario
Degree Name
Degree Type
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued