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Kurt Dongoske – “Zuni Heritage and Cultural Landscape Documentation through Film: Zuni and the Grand Canyon”

September 18, 2017 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

From the time that the Zunis (A:shiwi) emerged on to the surface of the Earth, the Grand Canyon, and the Colorado River have been sacred. According to the narratives that describe the emergence of the Zuni people (A:shiwi) from Earth Mother’s fourth womb, sacred items that identify the Zuni people, the Etdo:we, Kya Etdo:wa, Chu Etdo:wa, and Mu Etdo:wa/La Etdo:wa (sacred bundles) and Eledeliwe, were the first to emerge; the people then came out into the sunlight world at a location in the bottom of the Grand Canyon near present day Ribbon Falls. The creation narratives also describe the Zunis’ (A:shiwi) subsequent search for the center of the world, Idiwan’a (the Middle Place). The people moved up the Colorado River and then up the Little Colorado River, periodically stopping and settling at locations along these rivers. At the junction of the Little Colorado and the Zuni Rivers, many of the supernatural beings, or Koko, came into existence. After a long search the Zunis located the middle of the world and settled there. The Middle Place is located in today’s village of Zuni. From the Pueblo of Zuni, the A:shiwi continue to maintain very strong cultural and spiritual ties to the Grand Canyon, Colorado River and the Little Colorado River because of their emergence and migration narratives.

The Pueblo of Zuni has been an active participant in the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program, administered by the Bureau of Reclamation, since the mid 1990s. During that time, Zuni ancestral sites and traditional cultural properties have been adversely impacted by the operations of Glen Canyon Dam. In order to mitigate, in part, the adverse effects caused by operations of Glen Canyon Dam on those characteristics that make Zuni ancestral (archaeological) sites Register-eligible under criteria A and B, Reclamation consented to fund a Zuni effort to document the importance of the Grand Canyon, the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers, and Zuni ancestral sites from a Zuni perspective as part of an educational development program for use in the Zuni school systems, for the general Zuni public, and stakeholder participants in the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program. Successful completion of this project was envisioned as achieving, in part, Reclamation’s Section 106 responsibilities for mitigating potential adverse effects caused by Glen Canyon Dam operations to Zuni traditional cultural properties in Grand Canyon.


September 18, 2017
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


DuVal Auditorium, Banner-University Medical Center
1501 N Campbell Ave
Tucson, AZ United States
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