Unexpected Grace — A message from Crow Canyon’s president

Posted November 24, 2021

This year, “gratitude moments” have lifted our spirits and focused our resolve to do good in the world. We’ve cultivated the habit of taking a moment to recognize and appreciate the people in our lives who silently and thoughtfully make the world a better place, day in and day out.

And then come the surprises. The moments of unexpected grace that moved us to tears. We couldn’t believe how many people supported our efforts to document the voices and stories of Native American elders. We were taken aback by acts of extraordinary generosity to Crow Canyon by our donors. We were humbled by the kindness, patience, and compassion shown to us by our Native American advisors and partners. Gratitude is not a static feeling. It drives our actions by impressing on us the responsibility we have to the people who believe in our mission and trust us to deliver. It sustains and motivates us to be better humans than we could have imagined.

We embrace the values of reciprocity, generosity, gratitude, and community that are evoked by the concept of Thanksgiving. Crow Canyon also has a responsibility to educate the public about the harm that is caused by false representations of Native American culture and community. Mythologizing the story of the first Thanksgiving masks the cultural violence experienced by the ancestors of contemporary Indigenous people, and the hundreds of years of strength and resilience that was necessary to produce the diverse and thriving Native cultures of today.

Crow Canyon is committed to making the human past accessible and relevant. Cultural continuity is relevant to our Native partners, and this requires valuing Indigenous history as told by Indigenous people and learning history from Native people. November is American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage month, and we were honored to learn from Indigenous scholars and leaders such as Winona LaDuke, Dr. Joseph Aguilar, and Ricardo Caté in our webinar series. Indigenous scholars, Lyle Balenquah and Rebecca Hammond, taught us about hundreds of years of diverse Native American history and perspective on a trip to the ancestral lands contained within the Bears Ears National Monument.

Crow Canyon gives thanks for your support of our mission. It is your kindness and generosity that allows us to celebrate, appreciate, and reciprocate the wisdom and perspective we have received from Indigenous people, communities, and cultures.


The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center acknowledges the Pueblo, Ute, Paiute, Diné (Navajo), and Jicarilla Apache people on whose traditional homelands this institution sits, and upon which we work and reside.

Our mission-related work would not be possible without Indigenous people in the past, present, and future. We respectfully recognize, and honor, ancestral and descendant Indigenous communities for their contributions to all humankind.

Crow Canyon is grateful to all Indigenous people and supports the preservation and protection of cultural traditions, ancestral connections, and sacred lands.


Liz Perry

President & CEO

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center