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American Indian Initiatives

The Great Sage Plain, with ancestral Pueblo ruin insert.

Ruins are an ancestral place, where spirits still dwell. They signify places we used to live—our homeland. It helps us connect to the past, the condition in which ancestors used to live. They serve as monuments to our history; it's a textbook to open each time we go back.
Micah Loma'omvaya, Bear Clan, Songòopavi
( Full reference)

At the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, we have a rare opportunity to explore the connections between American Indians today and those who lived in the past.

Crow Canyon is located in the Four Corners area of the American Southwest—the ancestral homeland of the Pueblo people, whose nations today are located in Arizona and New Mexico. American Indian lands in or near the area today include those of the Ute Mountain Ute, Southern Ute, Paiute, Navajo, and Jicarilla Apache, and the reservations of numerous other tribes are not too far distant. All of these indigenous peoples are interested in the past because they consider their relationships to their ancestors to be sacred.

Ernest M. Vallo, Sr.

The name for this area [in Keres], including Mesa Verde and the Great Sage Plain, is katach-ta kaact, meaning "wide area of dwellings." All of our cultural and traditional beliefs originated here a long time before the final migration took place.

Our ancestors built these dwellings here, and their spirits still live in these places. That's what makes them so significant. We want to encourage others to preserve these dwellings. We want future generations to come and observe, because our cultural and traditional ways bring the soul nourishment.
Ernest M. Vallo, Sr., Eagle Clan, Pueblo of Acoma

As researchers and educators, we at Crow Canyon believe that dialog with native peoples is essential to reconstructing a history that is inclusive, accurate, and informed. Working closely with Crow Canyon's Native American Advisory Group, the American Indian initiatives department facilitates collaboration with American Indians in the design and implementation of the Center's research projects, education curriculum, and domestic travel adventures. American Indians' many contributions to Crow Canyon programs provide a rich, authentic experience for both students and adults.

Our collaborations with American Indians also include the identification and implementation of initiatives that address indigenous peoples' interests and concerns, including native language programs, cultural preservation efforts, educational initiatives, and programs for elders.

Finally, Crow Canyon serves as a resource for American Indians and for educational institutions, museums, and government agencies on issues relating to native peoples.

See also:
Peoples of the Mesa Verde Region (an illustrated chronology)
American Indian Contributions to Crow Canyon Programs
Crow Canyon as a Resource for American Indians
Initiatives (description of current initiatives)
eNews stories about American Indian initiatives & activities at Crow Canyon
Links to American Indian Web sites


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The development of the American Indian Initiatives Web pages was made possible in part by a generous grant from the Qwest Foundation.