-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.