The Water Is So Clear, That A Blind Man Could See

The title refers to Blue Lake near Taos, New Mexico, where Taos Indians won a long battle to have their sacred land returned to them by the U.S. This program, telecast just days before Congress acted to restore the land to the Indians, examined the relationship of the Taos people to their land, and the way in which ecology is bound up in Indian religion.

Much had changed since the filming of The Water Is So Clear, That a Blind Man Could See, specifically that the U.S. government returned Blue Lake and 48,000 acres of mountain land to the Taos Pueblo Indians in 1970, only weeks after this episode was broadcast. (picture link: Richard Nixon signs land back to the Indians) Paul Bernal, the Taos Pueblo elder whose voice was heard in this episode, had successfully negotiated with the U.S. government to have Blue Lake returned to his people. He died in 2003 at the age of 92.

Today Blue Lake is only open to members of the Taos Pueblo community, as it continues to serve as the place for ceremonial and religious events. The community’s economy relies on a casino, tourism, crafts and food sales. Following custom, their traditional homes still do not carry electricity or running water, though most residents live mostly in homes outside of the Pueblo itself.