Beginning in 1962, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation developed five dams, two reservoirs (including Abiquiu Reservoir), five tunnels, two channels, and several processing facilities. The social impact of this project has been significant, with landowners forfeiting property due to eminent domain, water drawn away from the Navajo Nation, new lakes appearing amidst several desert communities, and so on.
Before the United States conquered this land, people here possessed a broad number of named cultural identities based on residence, ancestry, tribal affiliation, social status, and so on. Because the U.S. government did not possess the language necessary to understand these diverse nuances, they tended toward the wholesale categorization of the locals between simplistic terms.
“Faraway, Nearby” was how O’Keeffe and her husband Alfred Stieglitz, in their frequent letters to one another, described their relationship while she was in New Mexico. This phrase referenced an emotional closeness despite physical distance, as well as O’Keeffe’s capacity—through the modern conveyances of trains and automobiles—for returning to Stieglitz in New York.
The internet, the latest technological revolution, has reduced the distance between every place on earth to zero. Until now, access to this technology has been restricted to consoles and computers. But another technological revolution, intent on eliminating the need for intermediary devices, may be on the horizon.