The River Gave us Life

An interview with Antonia Torres, Cucapah

The Colorado River Delta is home to many diverse groups of people. With many stories to tell about the rich cultures and environment here in the Delta, we bring you a special one: Antonia Torres, representative of the Cucapah Community Museum in the valley of Mexicali.

Watch the video or read on for some highlights of our conversation.

What is your name and where are you from?

Well, my name is Antonia Torres González, I am an indigenous Cucapah, from here in the Mexicali valley.

Why do you care for the Colorado River?

It is part of our culture. We understand that the river gave us life, the river fed us, that is why we are the river people or river guardians. That is what they named us too, because my ancestors always lived on what was the river bank of the Colorado River Delta. So, we have a respect for the river because it is like one’s mother or father—the one who fed us. We did not fish commercially, but to eat. We fished for the consumption of our families who lived and who still live…we have a community near the river.

How do you remember the Colorado River?

The Colorado River used to be… abundant water came to us. Water that could be said to be clean because as a child I drank water from the river. My family did too, we all drank the water, which came from river. We used it to wash, to use in the houses of the Cucapah families.

What legacy would you like to leave to the next Cucapah generations?

To take real care of how little we have left. I am telling the children about how important it is, and I have taught them that the Sonoran Institute does restoration work. We have a river on the side of our community and that in the future they can do restoration work on the part of the river where we live there at kilometer 79.

What do you think of the Laguna Grande restoration site?

That the Sonoran Institute has done a good job here on this site, it is a place that is needed. There is a need for places where people can go for a walk and see…to have enough water to ride the boats and all that. Now, I’m seeing the importance of the ecosystem for animals.


Blog post by Corinne Matesich, Marketing Communications Manager, and Rabí Hernández, Communications Coordinator. Video production by Rabí Hernández.