|Hopi Gambler Katsina|
"In our history we talk of things that occurred a long time ago, of people who had enormous amounts of power: spiritual power and power over people.
I think that those kinds of people lived here in Chaco...Here at Chaco there were very powerful people who had a lot of spiritual power, and these people probably used their power in ways that caused things to change and that may have been one of the reasons why the migrations were set to start again, was because these people were causing changes that were never meant to occur...There are some things in our migration histories that we don't understand, but I think that some of those things were never meant to be understood. They served a purpose when they were needed and now that purpose is, or that need is no longer there. It's no longer necessary to repeat that portion of the story." (Lekson, Stephen H. A History of the Ancient Southwest, 199)
A woman from Santa Clara Pueblo, also in New Mexico, adds to the subject:
"[Chaco was] full of energy, a different energy that before or after...a hierarchical structure: it was the idea of Pueblo society that we know today, where everybody is equal...a different ideology." (Lekson, Stephen H. A History of the Ancient Southwest, 199)
Pueblo people today don’t build palaces and they resist elites. They have been at the living of their lives for over a thousand years, and they’ve learned about what is important to them. Shared governance is to them much better than establishing elites. They’ve learned what has and what has not worked. To these folks, Chaco was an important campsite on their migratory path. Then there were problems and it was time to move on, learning and seeking new remedies which were perhaps actually old remedies. It was time for them to follow the clouds to new places, to rethink their solutions, and to build new ways. Pueblo people don’t shun Chaco. They embrace it, and they have learned from it.
Now I’m back in Gallup, my folks freed to their enjoyments. I sit on my motel bed drinking road coffee and thinking about the day. Once again, Chaco enlightens and challenges.
Chaco was a response to the needs of the time. Its fate was something that has happened to many other societies, and continues to happen. Combining economic, political, military and ritual power too closely is a dangerous practice, easily becoming a toxic witch’s brew. I will never be Puebloan, but I can understand the lessons they learned as they migrated their chosen paths. So Chaco really lives on for all of us, as a monument of achievement and of caution.
This is Part 3 of a 3 part post. Please enjoy these words and look at the other posts:
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