La Corua - A Sonoran Tradition
In the Sonoran borderlands, most ancient places of habitation are located near
water. During times of drought, many streams shrink back to their spring-fed
sources, other disappear completely.
Some Sonorans believe that the life of a spring depends upon
La Corua, a
snake guardian. The corua appears to be a thick-bodied snake, fearsome in appearance,
but non-venomous. Some say it has a cross between its eyes, and long fangs
or even tusks which it uses to maintain the subterranean passages of the spring.
La Corua spends most of its time in the water or below ground,
but one may see it sunning itself on rocks next to a spring.
Tradition has it that if you kill the corua, the spring will
dry up. This is said to have happened at Tanque Verde and other
For more about La Corua, see James Griffith's
Beliefs and Holy Places,
University of Arizona Press, 1992.