Crow Canyon Archaeological Center’s Sandal Biography Project is a collaborative effort that explores Ancestral Pueblo footwear traditions. Through function and fashion, footwear ties all humans to both the physical acts of walk, running, and dancing as well as the social dimensions of identity, status, and community. Drawing on the perspectives of Zuni and Tiwa/Piro weavers and a clothing archaeologist, we investigate Ancestral Pueblo sandal weaving practices using an object biography approach. In addition to understanding the use of sandals in the past, our project seeks to reconnect descendant communities with materials and landscapes of their ancestors, to decolonize museum spaces, and to revitalize Indigenous footwear traditions. Through collaborative collections research, we demonstrate methods that Indigenous artisans, archaeologists, and museum professionals can use to develop new understandings of the past, present, and future.
Pueblo weavers Chris Lewis (Pueblo of Zuni) and Louie Garcia (Tiwa/Piro) and clothing archaeologist Dr. Benjamin Bellorado (Crow Canyon Archaeological Center), examine an assortment of Ancestral Pueblo sandals in the Mesa Verde National Park Visitor and Research Center during the Sandal Biographies Project.