San Juan Basin Archaeological Society presentation
7:00pm / Fort Lewis Collage Lyceum
A Different Way to Understand Community: A Closer Look at the Velarde Valley of New Mexico
The Velarde Valley of the Northern Rio Grande, New Mexico, has received only limited attention from researchers. The area is known to have been home to several Classic Period Tewa communities, some of which were inhabited right up to the time of Juan de Onate' settlement of San Gabriel in A.D. 1598. The area is also dense with historic and modern settlements which have a long history of irrigation agriculture along the Rio Grande.
Based on ethnographic studies of recent Pueblo communities, archaeologists have typically presumed that Classic Period settlements represent socially and politically independent communities. However, careful attention to the traditional knowledge manifest in these village sites suggests that they shared a culturally based perspective of the surrounding regional landscape and viewshed. This paper builds from these observations in suggesting that these settlements represent a larger interconnected community. This view offers a new perspective on how we might interpret other clusters of pueblo village sites. I focus on Indigenous ontological perspectives of community that give us a different way of understanding settlement clusters.
Patrick Cruz, is a PhD archaeology student with the University of Colorado, and the Curator of Collections at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, NM. He is also a member of Ohkay Owingeh, a Tewa speaking Pueblo community in northern New Mexico. His interests are in the pre-contact American Southwest, particularly in the events that led up to the abandonment of the Four Corners region at the end of the 13th century as well as its consequences for the northern Rio Grande region of New Mexico. His other interests include Puebloan agriculture and hunting strategies, migrations, landscape archaeology, phenomenology, Indigenous archaeology, historic linguistics, and on Tewa language preservation. Patrick is also a traditional Tewa potter as well as having interests in the study of Pueblo ceramics and pottery traditions.
Patrick gained his BA in cultural anthropology from Fort Lewis College in Durango, and his MA from the University of Colorado in archaeology. In addition, he has twenty years of combined experience in the fields of archaeology and museums including work at the Center of Southwest Studies, Bandelier National Monument, the New Mexico History Museum, and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.