A Moment of Gratitude – A Message from Crow Canyon’s President

We would like to invite you to our future. But first, a moment of gratitude…

Dear Crow Canyon supporters,

These days we begin every meeting at Crow Canyon with a moment of gratitude. I’m particularly grateful when our Trustee Dr. Joseph Suina sets the tone with a prayer in his Native language of Keres. He reminds us to bring good hearts to our work, and to be mindful of the ancestors who lived on the landscape where we study and teach.

Cancelling our 2020 programs due to COVID-19 gave us the opportunity to bring our mission to the world in new ways. We shifted from in-person programs to distance platforms in order to continue engaging the public in Crow Canyon’s research.

The extent to which our reach exceeds our grasp is overwhelming. We involved thousands of people all over the country this year and continue to see interest grow. Curiosity about the people who lived centuries and millennia before we did draws people to our interactive webinars, and they return week after week because what they learn satisfies more than curiosity. Archaeology exposes the time depth and unity of the human experience, particularly when it comes to extraordinary change events. Pandemics, droughts, wildfires, social conflict, and scores of other challenges have shaken communities and families in all cultures across time and space.

At Crow Canyon we believe that possessing detailed knowledge about our shared humanity generates cultural understanding, empathy, and respect for others. We believe that possessing this knowledge bolsters resilience and helps people make better decisions in their lives and work. Crow Canyon’s scholars are in a unique position to contribute value to the world in this moment: a perspective on how science, Indigenous knowledge, and appreciation for other cultures can create solutions in the present and future.

This is not just an abstract concept. The research results we share and discuss in our distance programs are actionable at a time when people are aching to act. For example, the study of how people in the past experienced and overcame the impact of climate change and drought on food production provide immediate options for sustaining water resources and agriculture in the present.

While distance platforms have extended our reach, we have a line of sight to safely drawing people in closer. The vast landscape of the Four Corners is a spectacular outdoor classroom. Our 170-acre campus is a social-distancing paradise of open space filled with teachable moments in human-environment interaction. We are working now on plans to safely layer in-person programs for students and participants back into our work.

Dr. Suina shared with us at a recent meeting how deeply disconcerting the act of social distancing is for the modern Pueblo of Cochiti, where he lives. They trace their ancestors to the large villages that were founded a thousand years ago, where people lived very close together and needed to make patience, understanding, caring, love, and concern a way of life that is still pursued in Pueblo communities today.

At Crow Canyon we start every meeting with gratitude because it is truly a gift to be able to study and learn from Indigenous cultures, whose resilience and ingenuity has continued relevance for understanding our world today and our shared path to the future.

Thank you for being a part of our family from afar. We know in our hearts we will see you again soon.


Liz Perry

President & CEO

President’s Update – May 2021

Dear Crow Canyon supporters,

We have so much to be grateful for this spring, and YOU are at the very top of our gratitude list. I am constantly moved by your contributions to our mission in the world, your participation in our webinars each week, the encouraging messages you send to our staff, and the donations you make that sustain us. Your love and support inspire us to put our heart and soul into our work, and to innovate new ways to engage you with cutting-edge archaeological research, education, and American Indian knowledge.

We are also grateful that the return of sunny weather and improved pandemic conditions have allowed us to get out of our home offices and venture outside on our beloved desert landscape! As soon as it was safe to do so we jumped in our trucks and hit the canyons to scout out new projects and programs that allow us to bring students and citizen scientists back into our work.

When we had to halt our public and student programs due to the pandemic, we vowed to use our time well. Our staff worked on publications, grants, and research, as well as internal projects that had been on the back burner such as revamping our old website (stay tuned for the new one!), professional development for staff, and campus improvements such as trail maintenance and building upgrades. At the same time, our educators and travel coordinators jumped headfirst into digital and distance programs, creating the weekly webinar series and virtual student programs.

We held our first Board of Trustees meeting of the new year via Zoom on March 19, 2021. Our longtime Trustee Dr. Joseph Suina of Cochiti Pueblo opened our meeting with a prayer in his native language of Keres, setting the tone for a meaningful and collaborative session. Our Board Chair, Ricky Lightfoot, reminded the Board and staff that our mission would not be possible without the contributions of Indigenous people in the past, present, and future. Reciprocating the generosity of our American Indian partners and including Indigenous knowledge in all of our projects and programs at Crow Canyon are ongoing goals for the organization.

Crow Canyon ended 2020 in a strong financial position, thanks to our generous donors and to federal PPP loans that have been forgiven. We are delighted to begin a careful process of reinitiating some on-campus and travel programs in addition to our new online programs. Our public archaeology and dendrochronology interns are arriving this month, as well as the college students participating in our National Science Foundation-funded field school. We will keep you posted as new program opportunities become available!

Thank you once more for everything you do for Crow Canyon – we hope to see you in the coming year!



Your extraordinary generosity — A Message from Crow Canyon’s President

In an extraordinary year, you made an extraordinary difference.

2020 was a year of unknowns. Crow Canyon staff gathered in our “virtual meeting room” at the end of every week to review our goals, discuss the latest challenges to meeting them, and decide on next steps. Our motto became “when in doubt, find a way to do good in the world at this moment.” We didn’t need to search far. Students, parents, and teachers needed distance learning. Our Native American partners needed support and supplies. Our professional communities needed us to publish and share the results of our research. Nearly everyone needed a way to safely connect with the shared human experience through virtual means.

While the conditions brought upon us by the pandemic did not stop us from delivering our mission to the world, they did prevent us from doing something we believe is deeply meaningful: physically sharing the landscape of the central Mesa Verde region with you.

Your extraordinary generosity supported us in 2020 even though you couldn’t gaze in person across the plateau, walk on trails and discuss the human past with us, smell the junipers and the approaching rain, feel the sun warm your face, and run the soil between your fingers. In fact, hundreds of you who have never once been to Crow Canyon supported us and learned about our mission through webinars, Zooms, and calls.

Over the past 37 years, this remarkable landscape has traditionally been what drew people to Crow Canyon. The stunning Colorado Plateau encircled by mountain ranges, the mesa tops and canyons, the well-preserved archaeological sites and the often-surprisingly strong emotions they evoke. The timeless importance of this sacred landscape to Indigenous people affects visitors from all over the world. Many visitors to Crow Canyon have touched the earth beneath their feet and felt a visceral connection between themselves and its ancient inhabitants.

We are deeply humbled by the magnitude of your support in a year when we weren’t able to see our old friends and greet new ones in person. Your support has inspired us to new heights of creativity, fueled by the desire to reach you even more deeply from a distance. Our landscape will continue to whisper in your ears and tug at your hearts, and we dearly hope to see you here soon as we continue to honor your generosity with our work and live up to your faith in the value of our mission in the world.

With sincerest love and gratitude,


2021 Spring Newsletter

While 2020 was filled with unprecedented challenges, the staff and scholars at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center accomplished some amazing feats that furthered our mission.

– Engaged in education efforts that highlighted archaeological preservation ethics and pushed our educators outside their comfort zones

– Incorporated Native American perspectives into Crow Canyon’s work guided by American Indian Outreach Coordinator Becky Hammond, member of the Ute Mountain Ute tribe

– Honored with a planned gift by Legacy Society member Lois Minium that will support Crow Canyon into the future

– Saw 18,000 registrants for our 50 webinars in the Discover Archaeology webinar series

– Acquired a high-level tree-ring measuring stand and trinocular microscope to conduct analyses of the tree-ring samples recovered from our excavations

– Continued our multiyear work at the Haynie site studying the Lakeview community and kept the public engaged through webinars, social media, and regular presentations from the field

– Sent our Cultural Exploration team to Ute Mountain Tribal Park to lend hands, feet, tools, and time to work on its Pool Canyon trail that has been closed for years ago due to a lack of maintenance

Check out our full Spring Newsletter here! Want to receive future newsletters? Be sure to sign up for our eblasts.