Making Connections to the Mesa Verde Region

Drawing by RomeroThe ancient villages that dot the landscape of the Southwest tell a rich and compelling story of a vibrant people, yet many of today’s educators don’t have the tools and basic information to include this history in school curriculum.

In response to the problem, Cochiti Pueblo tribal member Dr. Joseph Suina, professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico’s College of Education and a member of Crow Canyon’s Board of Trustees, came up with a solution: the Pueblo Indian History Curriculum Project, an initiative to include ancestral Pueblo history in schools. The project is a collaboration of Pueblo elders and educators with Crow Canyon staff and associates.

The project has resulted in a curriculum designed to help students make connections between ancestral villages in the Mesa Verde region and ancient and modern Pueblo villages in the Rio Grande valley. It will be available for Colorado educators and the Cochiti Keres language and culture programs at the Bernalillo and Santa Fe Indian high schools.

The curriculum includes ways to learn about the past, and it provides information about the Pueblo people who lived in the Mesa Verde region for thousands of years. Students explore why people moved out of this area in the late A.D. 1200s and learn about resources that attracted people to the Rio Grande valley. They also study ancestral villages in Bandelier National Monument.

Crow Canyon managed the curriculum project, and funding was provided by the History Colorado State Historical Fund and Crow Canyon. Numerous Cochiti Pueblo people provided expertise for the project, and several Crow Canyon staff members worked on the curriculum. Artist Salvador Romero created the line drawings (see illustration) for the lesson plans, and Dr. Suina wrote several lessons.

 

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The Pueblo Indian History Curriculum Project is supported in part by the State Historical Fund (a program of History Colorado, the Colorado Historical Society).

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