We all know that the environment has a powerful effect on the way we live—and the way we live has a powerful effect on the environment. People who live in the Rio Grande/rio Bravo Basin are keenly aware of this relationship. El Rio tells stories about how communities live in the microenvironments that this river basin creates. The survival of these historically and culturally distinct communities has depended on their understanding and care of this fragile environment. This exhibition explores some of the strategies they have used for living within the region's available resources.
El Rio has three areas: Traditional Knowledge, Cultural Identity, and Sustainable Development. These are the human dimensions of the basin's complex ecological, political, and economic landscape. People turn to local traditional knowledge in their occupations - to understand themselves and their communities, and to make a place for themselves in their local economies. The social and physical environments they act within also shape their life choices.
Each exhibit area tells several stories that highlight the relationship between people and environment in particular regions. Through these stories, you will meet the different communities that live in the region today. You will learn how their traditional knowledge can be a resource for managing the environment and how their local culture often provides a foundation for sustainable development.
As you experience these El Rio stories, ask yourself: Do any strategies found in the river basin suggest ways of understanding and acting in my own natural and cultural environments? What strategic cultural resources are available to me? We invite you to reflect on how these Rio Grande/rio Bravo basin stories relate to your experience of your own community.