Social distancing means a number of changes are in store for all of us. One place which has closed its boundaries to outsiders during this time is Santo Domingo Pueblo. Life inside those boundaries goes on, however, and the people are looking for ways to stay as connected as possible. With some creativity and the extra time on their hands now, there are even ways that the change will yield real benefit.
Along with the rest of New Mexico, the Pueblos have decided to tackle the spread of Covid-19 by staying home. Schools are closed and for some so are their jobs, but the clinic at Santo Domingo remains open. Testing for the virus can be done there. Contact is kept to a minimum with patients waiting in the parking lot for their turn. Meals are being delivered to seniors and food taken to those in need. Signs are posted at the entrances to the Pueblo asking that people think about whether they need to leave or not and requesting they take the necessary precautions to keep the village safe.
Many who live there are seeing this time as a “wake-up call” as tribal member Janice Tenorio described it. She feels it is a reminder of a way of life the tribe once had and an opportunity to go back to some of that. The Pueblo is encouraging families to use this time to teach their children the tribe’s language, to show them how to cook the traditional foods of Santo Domingo and help them develop the skills they will need once they leave the Pueblo to seek employment.
Passing on community values is something the village hopes to model for their young people during this crisis time. Ensuring that everyone there has food, adequate shelter and access to healthcare is the way those values are shown to be tangible things.
As with most difficult times, this crisis will pass too. For the people of Santo Domingo Pueblo, the hope is the time will also be well spent in allowing both families and the community as a whole the chance to find those connections that our busy world too often takes from us.