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  • Thumbnail for 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
    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.