Cochiti Pottery from Cochiti Pueblo – English Pronunciation: “Coh-chee-tee,” Traditional Name: KO-TYIT.
The Cochiti people are noted for their hospitality and friendship toward visitors. Cochiti welcomes visitors to many annual dances and ceremonies for which Cochiti is famous.
Many members of the Pueblo live outside the reservation. They have been acculturated into the Anglo-Hispanic community, but most of them continue their association with the Pueblo, especially during the primary feast day. San Buenaventura’s Day in July is marked by dancing and ceremonies of traditional patterns and authentic costumes.
At one time, agriculture was the primary activity of the Pueblo. Dams have been constructed to assist in the elaborate irrigation system that helps maintain the crops, but through the years, as employment outside the Pueblo increased, so agriculture decreased.
The Pueblo has been more affected by contact with the majority culture than many of the other Pueblos with electricity, plumbing, and above all, radio and television, which may account for the preponderance of the Anglo lifestyle in ratio to historic customs. Many of the ancient crafts have been revived, such as pottery and jewelry making, which constitute a good source of income from sales to tourists. One of the most famous pieces is the Storyteller figure, which was revived in 1964 by Helen Cordero. It comprises a seated man with a number of children on his arms and lap, made of clay with varicolored decorations. Animal figures such as turtles, birds, frogs, and lizards are also depicted.
Many Cochiti artists work in watercolors, ink, and oil paint and have achieved considerable fame for their innovative use of color. But the essential product of the craftsmen of Cochiti is the drum. These are made from hollowed tree trunks, mostly aspen, with leather ends laced together around the cylinder. Live trees are not cut down to make these drums, but great care is exercised in the selection of the logs. They are made by other Indians for their excellent quality and tone.
There are a number of festivals and dances in June, July, and August to which the public is invited to see the traditional dances and ceremonies of the Cochiti Pueblo.