The 19 pueblos of New Mexico

The Seattle Times: Travel: Exploring New Mexico pueblos

The 19 pueblos of New Mexico are the oldest tribal communities in the United States, having descended from the ancestral Pueblo cultures that once inhabited Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde and Bandelier.

[mjh: can you name them without looking?]


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Central Arizona’s Apache Trail turns 100

Apache Trail turns 100 by Carl Holcombe, The Arizona Republic

Since 900 A.D. and probably before, Apache Trail has been vital to life in the Valley. It has been a trade route, a path to cooler climates and water recreation, the scene of legends and the key to the construction of a dam that provided the foundation for the Valley’s rise from the desert floor.

This year, the paved version of the trail turns 100.

The trail, which is also Arizona 88 and runs from Apache Junction east to Roosevelt Lake and south to U.S. 60, rolls through areas flush with jagged rocky towers that rise from hills alongside the Superstition Mountains. Colossal mesas jut from the earth, green moss brushes the sides of bulbous rock formations and archaic remains of Native American cliff dwelling tribes stare out across miles of empty, rocky desert.

The earliest documented use of the trail was by the Salado tribe in about 900 A.D. as a footpath to cooler summer home locations. Historians believe the Anasazi later followed the trail to trade pottery with the Hohokam and gain access to water, Akers said.


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Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Four Corners region entices all types of outdoor enthusiasts by Scott Willoughby, Denver Post Staff Writer

Ranging from Mesa Verde National Park’s tranquil walking tours to do-it-yourself adventures within lesser-known Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, the Four Corners hub of Cortez combines a wealth of outdoor activity with rich Indian heritage and spectacular scenery. And to top it off, it’s almost always summer.

Canyons of the Ancients

Protected by former President Clinton in 2000, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is 3 miles west of Cortez and offers a unique variety of do-it-yourself recreational options in one of the densest archeological landscapes in the world. An estimated 30,000 archeological sites exist within the vast 164,000-acre monument, including 6,000 recorded sites in the form of cliff dwellings, shrines, petroglyphs and sweat lodges, among others.


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The Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway in Southwestern Colorado and the Four Corners

Trail of Ancients wins Scenic Byway designation By John R. Crane

The Trail of the Ancients, 116 miles of scenic highway in and around Cortez flanked by mountains and archaeological attractions, recently garnered National Scenic Byway designation.

Also designated Sept. 22 were 364 miles of culturally rich roadways in Utah linked to the Southwest Colorado path.

The Trail of the Ancients’ change from state-designated byway to a regionally significant attraction makes it the nation’s first and only archaeological byway, said Lynn Dyer, director of Mesa Verde Country Information Bureau in Cortez.

“This makes us tied with Oregon with the most scenic byways (10) of any state within the U.S.,” Dyer said.

“It will bring more exposure to our area,” Dyer added. “It’s absolutely perfect timing to be going on the same time as the Mesa Verde Centennial.” …

Archaeological sites along the Trail of the Ancients include Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument on the Utah-Colorado border, Lowry Pueblo west of Pleasant View, Anasazi Heritage Center near Dolores, Hovenweep National Monument west of Cortez and other landmarks.

To learn more about their culture, I stop at Edge of the Cedars State Park on the route’s northeast corner in Blanding.

The park’s museum holds the area’s largest collec-tion of Anasazi artifacts. Outside, eerie statues depict three-dimensional rock-art figures. Exhibits inside contrast the lives of the Ancient Ones with present-day tribes. In the restored ruins behind the museum, a ladder allows access into a restored kiva, an underground ceremonial chamber.

Kivas were important to the Anasazi. The ruins at Butler Wash have four. The site lies a few miles to the west of Blanding on the Trail of the Ancients.

From a roadside parking area, a pathway leads to a viewpoint, which overlooks the end of a box canyon. A sharp ravine separates visitors from the cliff-bound structures. In spite of the distance, the structures have impact.

“Maybe it’s the lack of guard rails and protective rangers,” fellow visitor Mick Sears observes, “but I am more impressed with this site than the mega-ruins of Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon.” …

Not all Anasazi homes were built beneath overhangs. A few miles away at Mule Canyon, the Ancient Ones built on flatlands. The site contains the remains of a two-story tower, a block of square rooms and a roofless kiva now protected by a canopy.


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Cibola National Forest – Sandia Trails


Posted in Uncategorized |

Damage to the Quarai ruins at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument

ABQjournal: ATVs Damaging Historic Area By Beth Hahn, Mountain View Telegraph

One of the most historic places in the Estancia Valley area has been damaged by all-terrain vehicles.

Damage to the Quarai ruins at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, near the land grant community of Manzano, could destroy delicate cultural and historic artifacts, monument Superintendent Glenn Fulfer told Torrance County commissioners recently.

As a result of the damage, Fulfer said the monument could get a new security gate and lock boxes.

Artifacts ranging from Spanish spear heads to pottery shards have been found among the ruins.

Most of the pueblo remains unexcavated, and Fulfer said that makes the park vulnerable to visitors who wander off the gray gravel trail.

Quarai was once home to 300 to 400 Tiwa pueblo-dwellers.

Today, the red sandstone ruins of Quarai— a massive church and a few pueblo structures— is open to the public almost year-round.

During a tour of Quarai earlier this month, Fulfer said that of the three sets of ruins included in the Salinas Pueblos area, Quarai is the best-preserved.

“Quarai is important because there is little physical evidence left of history where Spanish settlers came in contact with Native Americans,” he said. “These are capsules in time. These churches have gone through very little physical change.”

At Quarai, the church once known as Nuestra Señora de La Purisima Concepcion de Cuarac, stands about 40 feet tall, with walls three to six feet deep.

Quarai, along with Abó and Gran Quivira, contain some of the oldest church structures in New Mexico.

The church at Quarai was built during the late 1620s or early 1630s. It was abandoned in 1677 after a combination of drought, disease and Apache raids drove the residents from the area.


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Ohkay Owingeh, formerly San Juan Pueblo

ABQjournal: San Juan Pueblo Tries To Change Name By Martin Salazar, Journal Northern Bureau

SAN JUAN PUEBLO — The green sign off N.M. 68 north of Española says San Juan Pueblo, but mention that name to Pueblo Gov. Joe Garcia and he’ll likely correct you.

The pueblo plans to officially change its name back to what it was before Spanish missionaries arrived in New Mexico more than 400 years ago. It has already changed some signs and is identifying itself by its original name in correspondence.

“It’s Ohkay Owingeh (pronounced O-keh o-WEENG-eh),” the ponytailed, gray-haired governor said during a recent interview, casting aside the Spanish name bestowed by Don Juan de Oñate during his 1598 expedition to New Mexico.

Oñate christened the pueblo San Juan de los Caballeros when he took possession of it on July 12, 1598, according to “The Place Names of New Mexico,” a reference book considered an authority on names in the state. Oñate chose the name to honor his patron saint — John the Baptist. …

The book Place Names of New Mexico by Robert Julyan lists the pueblo’s original name as O’ke and translates the word as “we are the brothers.” But Garcia said Ohkay is Tewa for strong and Owingeh means place or village, adding that his translation of the name is “place of the strong people.”

“It sets our purpose in life, but it also impacts the perception we get from the rest of the country,” Garcia said. “It means a lot more.”


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Edge of the Cedars State Park, Blanding, Utah

Tiny Utah town has impressive Anasazi, dinosaur museums Ron Dungan
The Arizona Republic

You will probably never plan a trip to Blanding, Utah. But if you travel in the Four Corners area and find yourself passing through, the small town’s museums are worth stopping for.

Don’t miss the Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum. It has an impressive display of Anasazi artifacts.

The museum is built near a ruin, part of which has been restored. As ruins go, Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde are more impressive, but Edge of the Cedars has excellent examples of pottery, knives, arrowheads, awls and other items.

Much of the year, you’ll see snow on the Abajo Mountains in the background as you walk by the ruin walls, an impressive sight that gives you an idea of why the Anasazi lived in the valleys rather than the mountains.


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Chaco Road continued

Farmington Daily Times Plan to pave dirt road to ancient canyon draws mixed reviews

The highway bill that President Bush recently signed — $286 billion in spending — contains $800,000 to smooth the ride on the recommended route into Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

San Juan County, which owns the road, plans to apply chip seal — layers of oil and crushed rock chips — to 13 miles of dirt.

With five miles already done, and three more previously scheduled for next spring, the entire 21 miles connecting major artery U.S. 550 and Chaco could be paved within a couple of years. …

The park, in northwestern New Mexico, gets about 80,000 people annually, and chief of interpretation Russ Bodnar says opinions about the road are evenly split.

“Some of them are just absolutely appalled that the access to a national park could be so horrible. Other folks walk in and tell us that they realize it makes Chaco a special place,” he said.
Park officials are taking no position on the paving, since it’s San Juan County’s road. Nor have they estimated its impact on visitation.

Can’t we spend a bit of that $800,000 on some guestimates? mjh


Posted in Chaco |

Doc Long Picnic Area, SANDIA CREST ROAD

The Albuquerque Tribune: La Vida
Trail Tales: Nature pioneer’s name lives on at camp area
By Ollie Reed Jr.
Tribune Columnist

But 90 years ago, this part of the mountain was a wilder place of greater solitude. What roads existed here then were dirt and rock and a trip to the mountains from Albuquerque was an enterprise requiring some planning beyond tossing a bottle of water and a tube of sunscreen into the back seat.

It was during this period that William Henry “Doc” Long established his field camp on the site now occupied by the picnic area named for him.

Long was a pioneering forest pathologist, a man who studied the diseases of trees….


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Soon to be flooded

.: Corvallis Gazette-Times :. Archives
Colorado dig at dam site running out of time, money
The Denver Post

PARKER, Colo. — Amid the weedy expanse that soon will become this growing town’s reservoir, Erik Gantt and his archaeological crew are fighting a battle against time.

The group from Fort Collins-based Centennial Archaeology Inc. was invited to Douglas County nearly a year ago to investigate findings that ancient people lived at the creek site southwest of Parker for thousands of years, building homes, creating artistic objects and hunting food.

But budget overruns due to time-consuming discoveries on the Rueter-Hess Reservoir land have prompted the Army Corps of Engineers to ask that archaeologists abandon the 6,500-year-old site early next month.

Bulldozers would shovel dirt over sites that have already yielded some of Colorado’s oldest pottery and what may be a one-of-a-kind kiln. …

Because only 1 percent to 2 percent of the site was excavated, meaning more money would be needed, town officials argued that a cap should be put on the work. …

But if the archaeologists pack up next month and rebury dig areas, the decision could add to a continuing nationwide debate over whether public needs should trump preservation of prehistoric finds. …

“There are complex deposits all along (Rueter-Hess) that you simply couldn’t have planned for,” said Larry Todd, an anthropology professor at Colorado State University. “If your only concern is economics, then it’s impossible to argue against.

“But everyone involved here has to know that you’re dealing with an irreplaceable, nonrenewable piece of history.”

The site was home to prehistoric people that lived there 6,500 years ago to about 1,800 years ago. The oldest artifacts predate Egypt’s pyramids by more than 3,000 years and Plato’s teachings in Greece by more than 6,000 years.

A different project —

Ah, Wilderness!: study area under water within a few years

A team from SWCA Environmental Consultants is wrapping up four years of investigations this summer because the Animas-La Plata Project, a settlement of American Indian water-right claims, will leave the study area under water within a few years.


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They said “no.”
Environmental victory at Red Paint Canyon
by Sherry Robinson

In the end, all the people who cared about Warm Springs and Red Paint Canyon — Apaches, ranchers, farmers and residents — spoke with one voice.

They said “no.”

Last week, the Division of Mining and Minerals turned down an application to drill in an area that’s both fragile and sacred.

mjh’s Blog: More About the History Around the Monticello Box

mjh’s Blog: Help Save A Special Place in New Mexico


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The Big Meltdown

Arctic melt likely to worsen, scientists warn – Environment –

The rate of ice melting in the Arctic is increasing and a panel of researchers says it sees no natural process that is likely to change that trend.

Within a century the melting could lead to summertime ice-free ocean conditions not seen in the area in a million years, the group said Tuesday.

Melting of land-based glaciers could take much longer but could raise the sea levels, potentially affecting coastal regions worldwide.


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Chaco and Mesa Verde

Q: Are the Chaco Canyon ruins related at all to those at Mesa Verde? EB

A: There are connections between Chaco and Mesa Verde. I’m not an anthropologist or historian. I can say that both were built by the Anasazi, sometimes known as Ancestral Puebloans. I believe the big construction at Mesa Verde started later than the big construction at Chaco, which was occupied for at least hundreds of years and had about a 200 year run of Great Houses (about 950 to 1150AD). People surely moved back and forth between the two locations (among many others throughout the Four Corners). Mesa Verde may have been occupied later than Chaco (into the 1300’s).



Posted in Chaco |