Photographer's Note

Historic and Modern Tribes
Ancestors of modern Indian tribes were familiar with this area before Spaniards arrived here over 400 years ago. The Jicarilla Apache and Southern Ute camped and hunted in the San Luis Valley. They also collected the inner layers of bark from ponderosa pine trees for use as food and medicine. The Jicarilla Apache continue an ancient tradition of collecting sand from the Great Sand Dunes for ceremonial uses.

Spanish Explorers 1694
Don Diego de Vargas was the first European known to have entered the Sun Luis Valley, although hunters and herders from Spanish colonies in present-day northern New Mexico may have entered the valley as early as 1598. In 1776 Juan Bautista de Anza and the large group of men probably passed near the dunes after raiding a group of Comanches. At this time the Sun Luis Valley was a travel route between the High Plains and Santa Fe for Utes, Comanches, Apaches, and Spanish soldiers.

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Additional Photos by Zbigniew Kalinowski (fotka) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 710 W: 10 N: 2181] (9013)
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