"Ultima came to stay with us the summer I was almost seven. When she came the beauty of the llano unfolded before my eyes, and the gurgling waters of the river sang to the hum of the turning earth. The magical time of childhood stood still, and the pulse of the living earth pressed its mystery into my living blood."
Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Luckiest Indians (Bandolier)

Normally you wouldn’t call Indians ‘lucky’ with all the kicking off the land and all that. But if you could see where they lived you may be inclined to be a little bit envious. These Indians made their homes in the foot of volcanic rock cliffs. The holes were called cavates which is a combination of ‘cave’ and ‘excavate’. Many of the holes they were living in were natural and they hollowed them out to be larger and then built homes out in front. The effect is really quite striking.
I just cant imagine how wonderful it would be to be a child of about 10 or 15 and be able to go around exploring all the different walkways and hand holds and paths in the rock. It really seemed like the best community to live in.
The crowning feature of Bandalier National Monument was the Alcove House with a restored kiva that you could climb down into. Kivas were ceremonial rooms underground which was where decisions were made and where male children were talked to about traditions.

Unfortunately, the Tyuonyi (chew-OHN-yee) moved off the land before the spanish even got there and moved some miles away to a different reservation. It may have been from over hunting or that the land couldn’t really support the people any more.

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