Carved in ancient stones, Avanyu, the great horned water serpent holds the spirit of the Rio Grande

It is with both reverence and trepidation that we have identified the Rio Grande Return with the great horned water serpent known by the Tewa name, “Avanyu.” There are countless images of the great water serpent on rocks throughout the Galisteo Basin and along the Rio Grande corridor.  As we were developing a logo to represent this initiative (Rio Grande Return), to develops and funds conservation and restoration initiatives along the Rio Grande, it occurred to us that this representation already exists, and has existed for thousands of years, as the water spirit Avanyu.

Because Avanyu is a Native American deity, it has been a concern that allying this endeavor with Avanyu would be presumptuous on our part.  We have consulted with several Native American friends who have assured us that Rio Grande Return is a sincere offering to the spirit of the Rio Grande, to Avanyu, and not another instance of appropriation of  Native American culture.

We sincerely hope that the Rio Grande Return is recognized as a gift, and that the conservation donations collected from each purchase, is in turn a gift, or an offering of appreciation to the waters that sustain us all — the springs, the aquifers, the thunderstorms, the waters of the Rio Grande — the spirit of Avanyu.

Rio Grande Return