Published on November 7, 2012 by Amy
The Pueblo de Cochiti, (Cochiti), is located 55 miles north of Albuquerque, New Mexico and is contained within 53,779 acres of reservation land that sustains 1,175 Pueblo members according to the 1990 BIA census. Cochiti, the northernmost Keresan Pueblo in New Mexico, is located in Sandoval and Santa Fe Counties, approximately 13 miles northwest of Interstate 25 and 35 miles southwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The topographic elevation varies from 5300 to 6800 feet above mean sea level and is characterized by the Rio Grande, which flows through reservation lands. The principal land use includes farming, livestock, recreational, economic development, and agricultural and Pueblo home/residential construction purposes. The demographic breakdown includes: 880 acres for agricultural; 4,443 acres of lake areas and wild river Bosque/wetlands; 7,042 acres dedicated to economic development consisting of residential and commercial lease properties and a golf course; and 41,424 acres of rangeland, pinion/juniper woodlands and Pueblo and residential use lands.
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The people of Cochiti continue to retain their native language of Keres. They maintain their cultural practices and have instituted programs dedicated to teaching and educating the younger generation Pueblo traditions and cultural practices emphasizing the native language. Cochiti is well known for their craftsmanship in making jewelry, pottery, (storyteller), and drums.
Water in the Rio Grande, flows through Pueblo lands and is intermittently stored behind Cochiti Dam, which at a maximum capacity stores 502,330 acre feet of water known as Cochiti Reservoir. Cochiti has recently developed a Farm Enterprise Plan, which included the restoration of large acreage’s of traditional farmland inundated by seepage caused by the storage of water behind Cochiti Dam. The reclamation of these lands, in cooperation with the US Army Corps of Engineers, (COE), was completed in September of 1994.
The Santa Fe River which headwaters in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains east of Santa Fe NM flows downstream through Santa Fe NM, La Cienega, NM and finally into pueblo lands at the mouth of La Bajada Canyon. The river flows through Pueblo lands and discharges into the Rio Grande several miles hence.
Historically, Cochiti has had no private employers or economic enterprises. This was changed with the Pueblo’s acquisition of the Town of Cochiti Lake and the creation of Cochiti Community Development Corporation, (CCDC) in 1995. The Town of Cochiti Lake was established under a 99-year lease agreement with private investors to establish residential housing units under a strict building code and relative covenants. The property has been under the direct management of Cochiti since the early 1980’s and has been a primary revenue source for the community.
Of primary importance to the Pueblo de Cochiti are the land, air and water on and adjacent to the reservation, which is the lifeline of the Pueblo Traditions and Culture. The Pueblo is located in the heart of the traditional homeland and it would be impossible to retain peoples and culture if the environment is impacted to the point where the Cochiti decide the land is dangerous to utilize for habitat, farming, fishing, hunting, and maintaining Cultural Tradition.