On March 16 the President of the United States released his proposed 2018 federal budget. While the proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and other departments have received the lion’s share of media attention, other important agencies will be affected. Among them is the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) which provides crucial funding for research and outreach in the humanities. The federal investment is small, about .0037% of the federal budget, but the impact is huge. The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, along with many of our partners, has benefitted from this support, as have our local communities.
In 2003 Crow Canyon proposed to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that we launch a summer teacher training workshop. Since then, NEH has supported the development and delivery of eleven programs, both Summer Institutes and “Landmarks Workshops” that brought more than 425 teachers to Crow Canyon from all over the U.S. These teachers have a unique opportunity to learn about archaeology and Pueblo history and bring those experiences back to their classrooms across the country. They play a crucial role in bringing the exceptional educational lessons of Crow Canyon to students who may never come to our campus.
These teachers aren’t only in the social studies or history disciplines; they teach many different classroom subjects. The lessons they learn—from the science and practice of archaeology to the past and present of Pueblo peoples—inform their perspective on the world and on their students and their place in the world.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Crow Canyon received two NEH Challenge Grants that enabled our nonprofit research and education organization to fund our fledgling endowment. One of these NEH Challenge Grants ended in 2004 and helped raise more than $2 million in nonfederal contributions. This endowment now supports continuing development of educational materials designed for K–12 students. These lessons are posted on Crow Canyon’s website and are accessible from anywhere in the U.S. or the world. Together, the teacher workshops and distance learning materials have helped Crow Canyon reach many more students than we could have otherwise. Developing different teachers’ workshops every year has also helped Crow Canyon’s education staff enrich the programs they offer the more than 2,000 students who enroll every year in our programs designed for students.
Crow Canyon has a large impact on the local economy of Montezuma County, Colorado. The NEH teachers and the students and adults who join other programs at the Center every year are part of the national $800 billion a year heritage tourism industry, an industry that brings $55 million to our county. Beyond that, every year our nonprofit is responsible for a total economic output of more than $6 million in staff payroll and purchased products and services in this economically disadvantaged, rural county. NEH has played a pivotal role in our success.
The NEH also has a tremendous impact at the state level. In the four years between 2008 and 2012, the NEH has provided $7.7 million to Colorado to support the arts, sciences, and the humanities. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science and History Colorado, as well as Crow Canyon, have used these funds to ensure that students of all ages receive balanced, well-rounded educational experiences that bring the arts, the sciences, and the humanities together. Americans should be proud of the work of the NEH that strengthens teaching, facilitates research, preserves access to cultural resources, and provides opportunities for lifelong learning.
If you think it is important that the NEH not be eliminated, you may wish to share your views with your congressional delegation. The National Humanities Alliance can help you make these contacts if you click here.
Thank you for your support of archaeology, humanities, and the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.
Deborah Gangloff, Ph.D.
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
President and CEO