The 2013 CSE trip was to New Mexico, where we investigated several themes, water management in a water-poor area, administration of public park land, effects of climate change on civilizations, and, intertwined throughout, the way the history of the many cultures in the region shape the present state of affairs.
Early in the trip. We spent a morning with Albion Geology Field camp alumna Page Pegram, now with the Office of the State Engineer’s Interstate Water commission. Page met us in the bosque along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque and explained some of the complexities of complying with interstate water agreements, protecting endangered species and conserving as much water as possible for New Mexico residents.
Native American History and Cultures
Our look at the long and important history of Native Americans began with a visit to the Chaco Culture National Historic Park, arguably the most fabulous archeological site in North America and also one of the most enigmatic. Real questions persist, with discussion of both how the civilization flourished in such a demanding environment and why the area was ultimately abandoned. The relationships among people, culture and climate are central to this discussion. We also visited Bandelier National Monument where more recent Pueblo cliff dwellings are well preserved, and Sky City at Acoma Pueblo, where modern descendants of the Chacoans still live in the longest continuously inhabited community in the country. Finally, we visited the Four Corners Power Plant, one of the most polluting plants in the nation, and considered the complex relationship between the plant and the Navajo Nation, in which it is located.