For centuries the Tewa Pueblo People of Santa Clara Pueblo have unknowingly been practicing permaculture out of necessity to provide food, water, and shelter for their families and the community at large. Within the past three generations there has been a dramatic loss of sustainable living amongst the Tewa people. We are forgetting what it means to be Tewa Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo. By forgetting and neglecting how we once were able to sustain our lives, we are unintentionally damaging our own bodies, community, and traditional culture. If we continue to sustain our lives through unsustainable ways our carbon footprint will be to deep to undo. We must began to make planes, and take action on how we can sustain ourselves more eco efficiently in order to preserve Santa Clara's traditional culture and the livelihood of the people. .
The Santa Clara people came from the Puye Cliff Dwellings around 1550, Puye is about 10 miles away the current pueblo. Santa Clara ancestors lived at Puye for approximately 300 years before being forced to move closer to the Rio Grande River due to severe drought. The Rio Grande River provided the new inhabitants with plenty of water for irrigation. Having the river close by the pueblo people adapted to having the semi easy access to help irrigate their fields for corn, verities of squash and pumpkins, and chili. Unknowingly the original pueblo settlers began a very strong sustainable life style system within their own community. Essentially they were inadvertently practicing permaculture. Confirming what permaculture really is, my Aunt Roxanne Swentzell says that, "Permaculture is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way." ( Swenztell, 11/14).
Roxanne Swentzell is a globally recognized sculptor from Santa Clara Pueblo. Swentzell who may be a world-renowned artist is becoming just as recognized for her efforts in sustainable living.