|Depart for dances at Cochiti Pueblo after lunch.|
About eight centuries ago, ancestors of the Cochiti people settled down at an idyllic spot on the west bank of the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico. Over the centuries, the resourceful people created an elaborate network of acequias (irrigation ditches) that directed life-sustaining water from the mother river.
The Cochiti people are the northernmost speakers of the Keres language group. The foundations of today's pueblo village on the west bank of the Rio Grande below White Rock Canyon were, perhaps, established as early as A.D. 1225.
This would make Cochiti one of the oldest continually inhabited sites in North American and the oldest of the pueblos in the central Rio Grande Valley.
When a Spanish expedition moved through the area in 1581, the explorers found a village of some 230 homes clustered in a block two and three stories tall. The Cochiti people actively participated in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, but returned peacefully to their villages when De Vargas laid seige.
In the 1980s, a huge earthen dam was completed upstream from Cochiti by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dam and its recreational areas bring many visitors to the area.
Today, the pueblo has more than 1300 residents. It is best known for pottery, storyteller figures and drummaking, and is home to some impressive painters and jewelers as well.