Indian tribesmen in the Rio Grande valley in New Mexico have held meetings in local villages to discuss the best way of protesting to the government against what they see as the theft of their water rights.
GV & SV Dam on Rio Grande (2 shots)
SV TILT UP..River bed with little water flowing
GV & SV People in Indian village (4 shots)
CU Sign "Community Hall"
GV,SV & CU Indians holding water rights meeting (5 shots)
GV Dry riverbed
CU Water gauge in Albuquerque TILT UP to LV..& SV..hose playing
SV European fisherman sitting by water's edge, ducks on water
SV Ducks on water, PULL BACK to flowing river
GV Scenes at water's edge
GV ZOOM BACK..muddy water and ditches
Initials ES. 1600 ES. 1630
This film includes a sequence shot during a tribal council meeting of the San Felipe and Santo Domingo sub-tribes. It is believed this is the first time a camera has ben allowed to film proceedings at such a meeting.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Indian tribesmen in the Rio Grande valley in New Mexico have held meetings in local villages to discuss the best way of protesting to the government against what they see as the theft of their water rights.
The meeting follows the completion of a scheme which diverts the waters of the Rio Grande away from the Indian villages to the chief city in New Mexico, Albuquerque.
The Indians claim they have been using the waters of the Rio Grande for nine hundred years - and say the small irrigation channels provided for them do not allow water to penetrate far enough into the soil to enrich the land in this arid part of the United States.
The problem facing authorities in New Mexico is that there is just not enough water to go around - and at present the water is going to Albuquerque, where, officials believe, it is most needed.
SYNOPSIS: The Rio Grande is a vital waterway in the American state of New Mexico. For centuries its waters have provided irrigation for Indian farmers, but in recent years the demand elsewhere for Rio Grande water has increased sharply.
Indian tribal communities along the river claim the latest irrigation schemes mean they are missing out and are losing the water rights that are traditionally theirs. The Indians have used the river for nine hundred years.
At community centres in many villages, elder tribesmen have held council meetings to decide what action to take. These are members of the San Felipe and Santo Domingo tribes - and so concerned are they that they allowed cameras to film their council meeting for the first time. They say they've been betrayed by the government and will go to the courts to seek justice. The dry riverbed is evidence of the change caused by the diversion of river water to New Mexico's chief city, Albuquerque. Because of its size, officials believe it has the greatest needs - but scenes like these anger the Indians who feel their need is greater than the ducks. Irrigation channels have been provided for Indian settlers, but local people say that in this arid country, water from the channels is insufficient to penetrate the soil to any depth. Some authorities believe the present difficulties will drive the Indians out of their homelands.