Cochiti Pueblo life changed after creation of dam
Leaders of Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico say their way of life changed after the federal government built a dam on the reservation.

Tribal families spent the summer and fall at their orchards and farms along the Rio Grande. That began to change after the government bulldozed the area in the late 1950s.

"That was a big mistake," council member Joseph Henry Suina told The Santa Fe New Mexican.

In the 1960s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began work on the Cochiti Reservoir. The dam flooded tribal lands, making it even harder to continue farming on the reservation, and it drove the silvery minnow to near extinction.

"It changed the whole relationship not only between people and the land but the (helping) relationship of people to each other. We became more private," Suina said of the dam. "We still get together for ceremonies, but it's different."

The tribe eventually received some money to compensate for the losses to the dam. Last year, the tribe and the Army Corps signed an agreement to co-manage the Cochiti Lake area.

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Rio Grande Voices: Culture interrupted (The Santa Fe New Mexican 7/6)