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Author Topic: Anasazi  (Read 2374 times)
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2007, 11:48:22 pm »

Introduction and translations by Dr. James R. Harris
Expedition material and subsequent translations by Gary Vey.

Oral Tradition and History
of the Ancient People

Information concerning the ancient ancestors of the Eastern Pueblos is scarce but certainly not totally missing. What contemporary descendants are able to tell us of their forefathers ranks high in value as we piece together the elements of this complex historical equation.

In 1976 a well educated and articulate Jemez Pueblo man named Joe S. Sando, son of Juanito Sando, published a book titled, The Pueblo Indians. Pages seventeen to nineteen of Chapter 2, summarizing most of the oral tradition concerning Eastern Pueblo origins known to Professor Sando. (See also the "Historical Outline," pp. 207-208). Some quotes from his text follow:

The people came from the north to their present areas of residence, from the place of origin in Shibapu, where they emerged from the underworld by way of a lake.

I suggest that just as we speak of the Old and New Worlds being separated from each other by two great oceans, this ancient Pueblo tradition portrays a journey from an earlier world through water to the present world. From our studies of emergence symbols coupled with inscriptions it is clear that emergence from the first world to the fourth and present world does not end the emergence cycle. Rather we are continuing to emerge with a potential to reach the Seventh World and the realm of Yah, whose name appears so often in the inscriptions of the Ancients.

During their journeys they were led by the War Chief. This chief served for life. With his assistants and annually appointed captains and their staffs, they constituted a force responsible for clearing the path upon which the people traveled. And with them came the Great Spirit, and he guided the ancient ones through the many arduous tasks of daily life. For unknown ages the ancient people were led from place to place upon this great continent [North America]. Many of them finally settled in the four corners area [the junction of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico], where they developed their civilization and settled for some hundreds of years before moving to their present homeland. As the ancient one related, it was in order to preserve the people from total annihilation that the Great Spirit impelled them to migrate. This they did, in groups and in different directions. Thus it is that the people created new dialects.
The country where the ancient people lived was a vast open land of deserts, plains, and mountains. Here they built their villages and enhanced their lives. But they were filled with longing for perfection in their lives, harmony with their environment, and so they moved from time to time to other places with better sources of food and a better environment. (Sando 1975, p.17).


The monumental constructions and prosperous communities that spread over a wide area from northeastern Arizona to northeastern New Mexico are called to our attention by Sando. He was concerned with pointing out that the great success of the Pueblo people was maintained because when "they came face to face with nature, [they] did not exploit her. They became part of the ecological balance instead of abusing and finally destroying it."(Sando, 1976, pp.18-19).

It seems probable that learning to live in harmony with nature was a long process (even for the ancients). The most ancient Hohokam prospered using channel irrigation and thus maximized the use of the waters of the Salt and Gila Rivers. A series of dry years resulted in abandoning channel communities and removing some to areas near the river and extending colonization establishments to the Verde, the Little Colorado, the San Juan, the Virgin, the Lower Colorado, and also the Sevier River.


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