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Southwest Region It is impossible to think of people here without thinking of a particular mountain that they have a special relationship with. They look to it for all sorts of things; portents of weather immediately ahead, signs of winter they will have; they look to it for evergreens and eagle feathers which they use in dances, and for pigments and other materials to use for their ceremonies.

-Alfonso Ortiz, Tewa Pueblo

The traditions of the native people of the Southwest are deeply rooted in the land where their ancestors have lived for tens of thousands of years. This vast region - stretching from what today is southern Utah and Colorado, throughout New Mexico and Arizona, and south into Mexico - is the oldest known area of human habitation on the North American continent. In this land of desert and mountains native people gathered wild plants and cultivated their own crops. To compensate for much needed rainfall they constructed irrigation canals, some of which are still in use, in Arizona. They also established trade networks stretching from present-day Georgia through Central America.

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