Saturday, July 6, 2013

Little Sorcerer Point

Reading Craig Martin's Los Alamos Place Names, 2nd Edition, I'm intrigued by mention that the Tewa Indians knew the end of Kwage Mesa (aka, Horse Mesa) as Little Sorcerer Point. This photo is taken from the end of the trail on Kwage Mesa. It overlooks the confluence of Bayo (left) and Pueblo (right) canyons. The unnaturally green vegetation in the Pueblo Canyon drainage is from treated runoff from the Los Alamos Wastewater Plant.

There are at least two Pueblo Indian Ruins visible in the photo. On a ridge to the left of the green vegetation, is a large, bare area. This is Big Otowi Ruins, now on
San Ildefonso Pueblo land (off-limits to recreationists). To the far right of the green vegetation and the road is a ridge with a much smaller bare area, Little Otowi Ruins, now protected by a fenced Department of Energy easement (also off-limits).

From the canyons below, the Tewa dwellers could look up at the point of Kwage Mesa, which they knew as Little Sorcerer Point. In my limited understanding, to the Pueblo Indians, sorcerers were powerful and did not always use their power for good. The intriguing part is that no one knows how the name was acquired. It is supposed to be an ancient name. (I wonder - was there a Big Sorcerer Point?) Now, every time when I go to the end of Kwage Mesa or see it from the Bayo or Pueblo canyons trails below, I study it and wonder how it got its name. It will remain a mystery!

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