- Associated Press - Saturday, May 28, 2016

SANTO DOMINGO PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) - A Santo Domingo Pueblo housing project is intended to keep the Native American community connected with tradition while linking commuters to trains.

Homes will be constructed opposite the New Mexico Rail Runner station, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported (http://bit.ly/1VneVSW ). Residents who work or go to school outside the community take the trains to Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Four years of planning and funding from at least a dozen groups helped the Santo Domingo Housing Authority break ground on the project last week with a Kewa prayer and spiritual offering.

A path stretching 1.5 miles will connect the village with the train station and Santo Domingo Trading Post, where tribal art will be displayed.

The trading post is scheduled to open this summer after a $1.5 million renovation.

“We grew up having the trading post,” said Paul Coriz, who remembers his family buying or bartering for dry goods, moccasins and food. “It was our Wal-Mart.”

Coriz said marketing the pueblo is important to attracting visitors.

“It’s going to be a challenge to bring in people from other areas who want to see the trading post,” Coriz said. “We need to get together so people can find out there is a way to see our work here.”

Librarian and tribal housing council member Cynthia Aguilar says the renovation will help the tribe, which does not operate casinos, sustain itself.

She remembers her grandfather saying that at first, casinos “prosper, but money comes and goes. It won’t stick to your hand.”

“I’m proud of our tribal members,” she said. “They’ve started their own businesses, and it’s sustainable. We’re resilient and self-sufficient without gaming.”

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com

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