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Pueblo Farming Project

Pueblo Indian farmers and Crow Canyon staff planting and harvesting experimental gardens as part of the Pueblo Farming Project.

Farming is a fundamental part of Pueblo identity—one that is integrated into every aspect of traditional Pueblo culture.

Pueblo leaders are especially concerned with preserving knowledge about farming and ensuring that this knowledge is transmitted to younger generations. Crow Canyon researchers are interested in learning about traditional agriculture in order to better understand the farming practices that might have been employed by Pueblo Indians in the Four Corners area in ancient times. The Pueblo Farming Project is a collaborative effort that addresses the interests of both groups.

Since 2006, the Crow Canyon staff has been working with traditional Pueblo farmers to document their farming practices and the cultural context in which they take place. Pueblo farmers visit Crow Canyon in the spring and fall to teach the Center's researchers and educators about Pueblo Indian farming, food storage, and food preparation. Together, they have planted and harvested several experimental gardens on Crow Canyon's campus, using farming techniques and varieties of seeds employed by the Pueblo farmers in their own fields.

These activities are being recorded using a number of techniques—video and audio recording, still photography, written records, and detailed measurements of the plants and environment. Crow Canyon staff are comparing their findings to the results of other archaeological, botanical, and ethnographic studies to understand the relationship between the techniques used by traditional Pueblo farmers today and those practiced by Pueblo farmers in ancient times.

In turn, the knowledge generated by the Pueblo Farming Project—including information about specific farming techniques and the cultural contexts in which they are practiced—is being used by Crow Canyon and Pueblo educators to modify or develop lessons for use in American Indian communities and in Crow Canyon's campus programs. The goal is to keep knowledge of traditional farming alive by incorporating relevant activities and discussions into the classroom.

Components of the Pueblo Farming Project have been funded by The Christensen Fund, the State Historical Fund of the Colorado Historical Society, the National Geographic Society Genographic Legacy Fund, the National Science Foundation, and the Qwest Foundation.

 

History Colorado, State Historical Fund

 

National Science Foundation