Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

While each blanket she weaves is unique in color combination and design, Cordelia is quick to acknowledge her weaving ancestry. "My ancestors on both sides were Navajo. When the Spanish brought sheep and wool, they started weaving Indian patterns. There's no clear picture of: is it Spanish? Is it Indian? It's like the peopleÑwe're part Indian, we're part Spanish, we're part Anglo."

For all her love of weaving and the recognition she has achieved for her art, her "garden is the main thing. Weaving is just a hobby." She not only grows food for her family but sells corn, peppers, and dahlia bulbs--the flower and vegetable strains she has developed over the years. "Gardening is my life," she says. "Just to see the little plants emerge from nothing--it's like a child. If you tend it with care and love, it will respond."

As treasurer of the Rio de Chama Acequias Association, Cordelia works to preserve the water and farming rights of the families in her community. "Si no hay aglla, no hay z'ida," she says. "If there's no water, there's no life." Living in a community makes self-sufficiency possible. "Sure, we can go to work in Santa Fe. But why our area is special is that it's more comforting, more fulfilling to do it here with our neighbors."

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes