Deloria (Dee) Lomawaima is serving as a Pueblo Indian scholar for this year’s National Endowment for the Humanities workshops, “Mesa Verde National Park and the Construction of Pueblo History.”
Her first experience here was 18 years ago, when she attended High School Field School.
“That’s what got me so interested in archaeology and the past,” said Lomawaima, who is a member of the Hopi Tribe. “I was learning about myself, because these are my ancestors.”
She remembers what an awesome peer-education experience it was to have other HSFS participants ask her about her experience as a Hopi. She also cherishes the memory of the camping trips, and she especially appreciates the experiential nature of Crow Canyon’s programs.
“I never thought I could do something this hands-on until I got here for High School Field School.”
She attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, for museum and Southwest studies, and then transferred to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in cultural resource management.
After college, she returned to Crow Canyon, this time as an educator.
“All the people I remembered were still here,” she said, reeling off a list of names that included people who still work at Crow Canyon today. Educator Rebecca Hammond was in her first year when Lomawaima met her. Another current educator, Tyson Hughes, was in the same High School Field School class and also was a classmate at Fort Lewis.
She enjoyed transitioning from student to teacher, because visiting Crow Canyon opens students’ eyes as they learn information that’s not in their textbooks.
“It piques their interest to a point where they understand that everyone’s history is important, and there’s a lot more history than American history. When I was an educator, that’s what I emphasized.
“As an educator, here all day every day, you get to be a part of what Crow Canyon is about. I appreciated the work that goes into everything. My goal was to teach others, the best I could, about who I was and where I come from,” and most of all, that the descendants of the ancestral Pueblo people who inhabited this region remain in the Southwest. “We’re still here.”
Now, as a scholar for the NEH workshops, she gets to be a part of bringing back someone else’s history―that of American Indian children whom NEH participants will teach in their own classrooms.
“We’re a tunnel of communication to take care of our kids.”
She hears teachers say, “I never knew that.” “We don’t teach that in our schools.” “That’s not in our curriculum.”
“Then they take it home and teach it to their kids.”
Her ties to the Center are strong. Her mother has participated in programs. Crow Canyon has taken people to Hopi for the dances. “Everybody knows my parents. I call Crow Canyon my second home.” Her son practically grew up here, she said, and now she is introducing her young daughter to Crow Canyon.
Lomawaima, who has taught intervention math to fourth graders at the Tuba City Boarding School in Arizona, is now moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, but she promises that she’ll be back at Crow Canyon.
“Crow Canyon was a big part of who I am today, because they introduced me to this world of learning and observing. As long as they ask me, I’ll always come back.
“It’s a bond I know will never go away.”