Local Partnership Brings Resources Together for Cultural Education

Posted August 20, 2023

Less than five miles from the Crow Canyon campus resides an inspiring Native American cultural hub: the Cortez Cultural Center. Not only does the center welcome tens of thousands of visitors each year who are on their way to cultural sites like Mesa Verde National Park; it also stewards Hawkins Preserve, a 122–acre cultural asset open to the public, and it is the caretaker of a large collection of Ancestral Pueblo artifacts.

In 2022, the Cultural Center and Crow Canyon developed a new partnership that is already making a big difference. “One challenge is a collection of Pueblo artifacts donated to us in 2004. They are displayed in a public exhibit, but there’s no background, context, or interpretation,” explained Rebecca Levy, Cultural Center Executive Director.

This became a perfect opportunity for Crow Canyon’s research lab staff and interns to help document and analyze the artifacts. “They’re helping us better understand what we have which will lead to a plan for displaying and/or repatriating the pieces based on exhibit and ethical best practices,” said Rebecca.

The resulting informative exhibits will ultimately help visitors to the region learn more about the area’s Pueblo history and culture and encourage visiting cultural sites with respect. The two organizations are also working together to learn more about Hawkins Preserve’s history and significance. “We’ve only done minor excavation that’s been re-covered,” shared Rebecca. “Crow Canyon has been able to use non-invasive research techniques to further explore the site. Their findings show that in addition to Ancestral Pueblo use of the site, evidence of Navajo and Ute use exists as well.”

A key goal in this new partnership is furthering educational opportunities. It’s off to a great start considering dozens of Crow Canyon College Field School participants, students, interns, and citizen scientists have had the opportunity to participate in and learn from these exciting collaborative activities.

“I love being able to offer as many programs to as many participants as possible,” shared Rebecca. “I see both our local community and visitors really benefiting from this partnership.”

Click here to learn more about the Cortez Cultural Center.

Click here to learn more about Hawkins Preserve.

This story is from the 2022 Annual Report: Read the full report.