Gifts of the Earth

For thousands of years, hunter-gatherers lived on the Pajarito Plateau, gaining knowledge of their environment. This understanding of the available resources, their location, use, and seasonality was, and continues to be, passed on from generation to generation.
sumac berries
The sumac bush had many uses. It’s bright-colored berries are rich in Vitamin C.

photo by sally king

The Land Provides All
There are hundreds of species of native plants and animals found in the wide range of habitats on the plateau. The people gathered piñon nuts, amaranth seeds, cactus fruits, grass seeds, seasonal berries, and a wide variety of leafy plants for food. They made tools from juniper, mountain mahogany, and other woody plants. Some plants were used for ceremonial purposes, dyes, or medicines.

Remaining In Sync
The ebb and flow of rainfall on this landscape created constant fluctuations in the growing seasons and availability of resources. Adapting to these conditions by gathering the foods that were available each year and by storing foods from previous years was critical to the survival of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Their diets changed seasonally and annually.

Domesticated turkeys provided important protein and soft feathers for warm turkey-feather blankets.

photo by Ernesto burciaga

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance RD

Los Alamos, NM 87544


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