Tuzigoot: A Sinagua Remembrance


Written by: Gary Wonning

Lying in the middle of the Arizona high desert , is Tuzigoot, and ancient Sinaguan settlement. Built on a hill overlooking the Verde River Valley it was occupied several hundreds of years ago by the Sinagua Indians, an ancient tribe who lived here at the time.



They were farmers and gatherers who after lived in this area after the Anasazi(The ancient ones) had gone before them. They lived in the area from 500 AD until 1400 AD , when they presumably left, possibly becoming the Hopi’s of northern Arizona. There is some validity to this, the Hopi believe they originally came from the Verde Valley when they left because of religious opposition from other tribes.

Also, contrary to popular belief, the American Indians weren’t avid environmentalists. They knew nothing of replenishing the soil , nor did they have the means to do so, as a result, after years of farming, the land would become depleted and they would move on to another location to continue farming and raising food for their families.

The photos we have all seen of them placing fish near the corn for fertilizer , would  help replenish the soil, but they would have to catch a lot of fish to provide enough nutrients to make a difference.

The abundance of land in this area provided resources for them for many years , if the land remained dormant for a given amount of years, it would replenish itself and once again be able to provide a fertile environment to once again grow crops.

Montezuma's Castle

Montezuma’s Castle

We lived in nearby Sedona for several years, hence I had the opportunity to visit several times. It always amazed me how they could built such a settlement with rocks from the neighboring land , creating a hilltop resort that overlooked such a beautiful vista.

Probably the last time I visited was during a visit my dad made to Sedona . As we stood atop the little village and overlooked the valley below us, I suddenly “saw” us working the fields below us as Sinagua indians. Members of our family today, as well as many of my parents present day friends were laboring in the fields.

Suddenly I realized what my parents mission in life had been.

Living in this environment , the tribe had depleted the soil.

Early in my life , my parents  bought an extremely run down farm. The land was so depleted that the first year dad planted corn, the yield was so parse, we barely harvested more seed than was planted .

Over the years, using mostly natural fertilization, the land was restored to a highly productive state, which it remains in even today.

They had fulfilled their karma, by buying a run down farm and replenishing the soil , the karmic debt had been paid from long ago. Not only did they pay off a karmic debt, they provided a wholesome environment to raise a family and instill good sound values in their offspring.

The author has been a writer/ photographer for over 20 years, specializing in nature,landscapes and studying native cultures.Besides visiting most of the United States, he has traveled to such places as Egypt,the Canary Islands,much of the Caribbean. He has studied  the Mayan Cultures in Central America, and the Australian Aboriginal way of life.Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in many different parts of the world!

He has published several books about the various cultures he has observed.

For more information and a link to his hard cover and Ebooks,and contact information: please check his website.www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments appreciated

one life

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