In 2014, the U.S. Forest Service released the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. Developed by federal, state, tribal, and local governments and stakeholders, it calls on land managers to work collaboratively and use the best science to safely and effectively respond to wildfire, restore and maintain fire resilient landscapes, and promote fire-adapted communities. In January and February of 2016, the City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County adopted the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Resolution, whose goals are to:

  • Protect communities through mitigative activities in the wildland-urban interface
  • Promote fire-adapted communities
  • Develop a landscape strategy using a collaborative process
  • Conduct project planning at the landscape level in high priority areas

To support these goals, the Forest Service is analyzing lands in the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed, and expects to implement landscape-scale treatments (such as landscape restoration and watershed management) beginning with two areas within the Fireshed—Pacheco Canyon and Hyde Park. These and subsequent activities have the potential to affect traditional resources and practices, and in order to avoid adversely affecting them, the Forest Service has contracted with Aspen CRM Solutions to conduct an ethnographic assessment of traditional and cultural ways of life in the area.

The Aspen CRM Solutions team is made up of four individuals:

  • Emily Brown, archaeologist and project manager
  • Tamara Stewart, archaeologist
  • Andy Carey, ethnographer
  • Jeff Brown, historic preservation and GIS specialist

Click on the map for a print-ready PDF version.

The Ethnographic Assessment

The ethnographic assessment is focused on the traditional cultural ways of life of communities along the southwestern flanks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  Among the themes that will be considered are traditional stories; boundaries and place names; resource manipulation and technology; religion/medicine; significant people, places, and beings; response to contacts with other ethnic groups, and adjustment and persistence.  It will identify the affiliations of traditional communities and summarize the nature of their relationship to the southwestern Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

The Communities

There are 13 federally recognized tribes known to have ancestral and shared lands within, and proximate to, the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed area. Additional tribes may have associations with the area through relationships with other groups, the existence of trail networks, resource-gathering locales, or in other ways.  Descendent communities of Hispanic land grants and other historic communities also have historic ties to the area and continued traditional use.  The following tribes and land grant communities were included in the contract issued by the Forest Service, with the understanding that during the course of the work, other communities may be added with the approval of Forest Service staff.


  • Pueblo of Jemez
  • Pueblo of Zia
  • Pueblo of Santo Domingo (Kewa)
  • Pueblo of Santa Ana
  • Pueblo of Cochiti
  • Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh
  • Pueblo of Santa Clara
  • Pueblo of San Ildefonso
  • Pueblo of Nambe
  • Pueblo of Pojoaque
  • Pueblo of Tesuque
  • Pueblo of San Felipe
  • Jicarilla Apache

Land Grants

(incorporated into the Santa Fe National Forest and within the Fireshed project area adjacent to Forest land)

  • Juan de Galdon
  • Santiago Ramirez
  • Santa Fe
  • Talaya Hill
  • Talaya Hill/Santa Fe
  • Salvador Gonzales/Santa Fe
  • Sebastian de Vargas
  • Cañada de los Alamos
  • Lamy/Huestra Señora de la Luz
  • Pecos

Historic Communities Within or Adjacent to the Fireshed Project Area

  • Santa Fe-Cerro Gordo
  • Santa fe-Hyde Park
  • Santa Fe-Apache Canyon
  • Tesuque
  • Chupadero
  • Glorieta
  • La Cueva
  • En Medio
  • Cañada de Los Alamos

The Process

Gathering the information needed for the ethnographic assessment will involve both archival research and extensive interviews and meetings with tribes, descendant communities, and other stakeholders.

— Research will focus on the changing nature and physical evidence of diverse cultural groups’ use and occupation of the area from Paleoindian times through the subsequent centuries of use by Archaic, Ancestral Puebloan, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo-Euro/American peoples, up to the present day.  Potential information sources include existing ethnographic literature, published and unpublished materials found at the Laboratory of Anthropology library, the State of New Mexico’s Archaeological Records Management Section (ARMS), the State Records Center and Archives, SFNF files, Indian Claims Commission data at the University of New Mexico Law Library, the Fray Angélico Chavez History Library, and traditional knowledge keepers of tribes and settlement communities. Land grant records and other historic texts, maps, letters, photographs, journals, business records, court testimonies, mineral patent and lease information, census data, property boundary and use descriptions, and any other relevant sources of information will be examined.

Interviews and Meetings — Presentations will be held for tribal governors and administrators, historic community leaders and members, and for other identified groups, if determined appropriate.  Input will be sought from stakeholders in various formats that include electronic, verbal, written, focused work groups, field visits and guided discussion sessions, larger group discussions, personal field visits upon request, and follow-up phone calls.  Information will be sought regarding traditional use localities, important ethnobotanical resources, geographical features and other landscape elements, oral history data regarding area resources and important locations, and other areas of significance, focusing on the larger landscape.

The Report

The material collected will be compiled into a confidential report that will be submitted to the Forest Service.  It will contain the following:

  • Information on traditional use of the area from ethnographic literature and other written sources of information.
  • Results of interviews and consultation with tribes and historic communities regarding traditional resources and uses of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
  • Descriptions of historical and contemporary resource use in and around the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, including the Pecos Wilderness.
  • Descriptions of significant places and resources that should be considered in planning for efforts in support of the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Project.
  • Consultation record for meetings, interviews, conversations, and events, including transcriptions and meeting notes.
  • Summary of potential effects to traditional cultural resources and practices in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains from large landscape-scale projects.
  • Recommendations and further considerations for management of potential effects landscape scale projects with regard to traditional cultural resources.

The report will not include a site-specific inventory of resource locations within the Fireshed.

How to Participate

The primary benefits of this research to each participant community are input into the long-term management of the project area, and the preservation of traditional use areas and resources.  Community leaders and members who wish to participate and provide input are encouraged to contact us by email, by phone, or in writing and we will be happy to meet with them at a convenient location, to hold meetings in their communities, and to undertake field visits to areas within the greater Santa Fe fireshed with community leaders and members.

While there can be no monetary benefits for participants, results of interviews and consultation with members of the tribes and historic communities regarding traditional resources and uses will form an important aspect of both short-term and long-term planning efforts by the Forest Service in support of the Greater Fireshed Project.  All information regarding ethnographic resources will be protected and will remain confidential.

Upcoming Public Meetings

  • Friday, September 22, 2017 – Santa Fe Convention Center (201 Marcy St)Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition Open House.  Topics will include wildfire risk assessment, fire history, forest health, watersheds, wildlife, protecting your home, and more.

To receive updates on upcoming events and other ethnographic assessment updates, please subscribe to our mailing list here:


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