Perspective, experience, and connection come to life in a symbolic image

When we asked our friend and partner, Nate Francis, to design a new logo to honor Crow Canyon’s 40th anniversary and welcome the decades to come, he approached it very thoughtfully. “It took a while to figure out how I was going to do this project,” explained Nate.

Nate’s family originates from the Tewa-speaking Pueblo people of New Mexico and Arizona, he grew up in the Four Corners region, and presently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Nate is passionate about teaching Ancestral Pueblo history and the history of his Tewa ancestors as a guide and through his involvement with Crow Canyon. “I appreciate the path Crow Canyon has created in teaching the public about the ancestral world by allowing Indigenous people to tell our stories,” he shared.

In designing the logo, it was important to Nate to weave in elements from his ancestral past and present-day experiences. He explains the ideas behind his illustrations.

“I came up with the perspective of looking inside a pottery bowl which is broken into four sections, each representing a pottery sherd, because in the Indigenous perspective everything is in fours, 4 directions, 4 worlds, 4 seasons, 4 phases of life and more. Then, when you take the imagery out, the four panels and logo in the middle represent “4” and “0” for 40 years.”

Upper left: “This sherd represents agriculture. The top image is of rainclouds because Indigenous tribes believe without water there is no life. The next image is of the corn maiden, the corn mother and life giver to Pueblo and Hopi Tribes. In the ancestral world, agriculture was the reason for building permanent homes and to settle from being nomadic.”

Upper right: “This sherd represents human movement. The big circle could represent the ‘middle place’ and migration where Pueblo and Hopi were in the search of before finding their place in this world. The petroglyphs depict a panel in Bears Ears National Monument, where I served as a Tewa/Hopi scholar during a Crow Canyon trip.”

Bottom left: “This sherd represents the Chaco culture. The left image is of a t-shaped door that is a sacred symbol to Pueblo and Hopi culture that was highly used in ancestral Puebloan times. The next image is of the Bears Ears National Monument, an area that holds a special meaning to various Southwestern tribes.”

Lower right: “This sherd represents human existence. The lower image shows the summer solstice as Father Sun comes up behind Ute Mountain (Yucca Mountain in Tewa), starting to warm the land. This can be seen from Bears Ears as you look to the east. The stars represent human observance of celestial surroundings.”

Learn about Nate and his art at and @unek\francis on Instagram.

2022 Spring Newsletter

The Spring Newsletter is Here!

Much is happening at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center! Over the past year, our amazing staff, scholars, and volunteers have done great things and we’re excited to share their recent accomplishments and other news from Crow Canyon. Keep reading to learn more.

– This year, Crow Canyon is partnering with the Cortez Cultural Center to bring you the Archaeology Research Program! We are inviting citizen scientists to join us in an archaeological survey of the Hawkins Preserve.

– Volunteers are making a big impact on curation collections! For National Volunteer Month in April, we highlighted the contributions of our lab volunteers on two ongoing projects including rehousing pottery vessels and studying obsidian artifacts from Aztec Ruins National Monument.

– We congratulated Kelsey Hanson on being the recipient of the Crow Canyon 2022–2023 Lister Fellowship, which is awarded every two years to a Ph.D. student and comes with a $10,000 stipend to support their research and dissertation work.

– Crow Canyon scholars and friends published these notable and newsworthy publications!

– Crow Canyon’s 2021 Field Report, read here

– “Reading Between the Lines: The Social Value of Dogoszhi Style in the Chaco World,” published in American Antiquity

– “Becoming Hopi: A History” published by the University of Arizona Press

– Last but certainly not least, we mourned the loss of Director of IT Dylan Schwindt in December. Dylan was truly a brilliant, creative, talented, and compassionate soul. We established the Dylan Schwindt Memorial Fund to honor our dear friend.

To view the full Spring Newsletter, click here:

Artist Finds Long-Lasting Inspiration Through Crow Canyon’s Archaeology Research Project

The sprawling, stark desert landscapes of the American Southwest have long drawn artists from around the world looking for inspiration. For Scott Evans, it’s the oft-hidden story of how humans have adapted, survived, and thrived for thousands of years in this sometimes unforgiving land that has provided not only artistic inspiration but a deep passion for the study of past cultures.

That passion, and the friendships and deep connections he’s made along the way, are what brings him back to the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center year after year.

In the 1980s and 90s, Scott—who taught printmaking, design, and drawing at Idaho State University before retiring in 2016—found a visual interest in ancestral Pueblo cliff dwellings and other structures when he visited the Four Corners area with his wife, Paula. During one trip, he spotted a Crow Canyon rack card in a Cortez motel and hoped that one day he would be able to participate in a weeklong Archaeology Research Program.

Finally, in 1998, Scott attended his first Crow Canyon excavation program. He hasn’t missed one since.

“I return to Crow Canyon because for me it is a place that befriends and rejuvenates,” says Scott. “Every visit to Crow Canyon has provided me with some new discovery and the people connected with the center have always given of themselves so generously.”

Scott says that the connection between archaeology and his art runs deep. He says there have been numerous direct influences, as well as smaller moments that have been collected over the years and filed away for future use. One of the first pieces that he developed out of his Crow Canyon excavation experiences began years ago with a trench at Shields Pueblo.

“(I created) an etching titled As The Crow Flies, and it dealt with the direct line from one point to another. In just five or six steps as I descended into the trench I traveled across centuries, from modern ground surface advanced technology to kiva floor and artifacts that perhaps were the most advanced of their day.”

“Moments such as this are what I take away as source material,” says Scott. “A fact or concept shared in an evening program, an artifact or feature revealed during excavation, observations about lives of past inhabitants compared to our own, all become fuel for some future creative fire.”

He says that Crow Canyon’s current research project, the Northern Chaco Outliers Project, has led him to re-engage a series of etchings that he started years ago with the overarching title of Outlier.

“This is a project about detachment and connection, imitation and influence as well as expansion and escape,” he says.

Scott says that he always tries to bring two thoughts with him when he goes out onto a site to do excavation work. The first is the message that Crow Canyon tries to instill in all of our program participants—”It’s not what you find, it’s what you find out.”

“I learned early on that the best way to feel a sense of accomplishment was not to worry about how many artifacts I was finding but to focus more on the excavation I was performing,” says Scott. “My goal is to dig a good ‘hole,’ letting that be the valuable contribution to the advancement of that unit.”

Scott adds that the second thought he brings with him to the field took some time to fully cultivate and keep at the top of his mind—being respectful of both the place and the people and culture who call it home.

“I believe it is important to show the utmost respect for the site and the unit in which one is working, because that midden or that structure was and is someone’s home environment,” says Scott.

Scott says that it’s almost impossible to list all of the experiences, influences, and inspirations he’s gained over 20 years of programs with Crow Canyon.

“I return to Crow Canyon because I enjoy contributing a small yet meaningful fraction to a greater whole, a contribution that is richly appreciated by all at this institution. That is Crow Canyon’s way – to invite and welcome, to enlighten and encourage, to entertain and to challenge – to value and nurture each individual,” says Scott. “It is an experience that I can acquire nowhere else.”

For more information on how you can be a part of Crow Canyon’s Archaeology Research Program, click here or call 800-422-8975, ext. 451.

Trustee and traveler Leslie Cohen leaves a legacy at Crow Canyon

A Massachusetts native, Leslie Cohen first came to Crow Canyon on a 1996 Backcountry Exploration trip led by Bill Lipe. Over the next 16 years, she participated in more than 25 research and exploration programs at Crow Canyon.

With years of deep connection as a program participant, volunteer, trustee, and donor, after her passing on Dec. 5, 2022, Leslie secured her legacy at Crow Canyon by leaving a significant bequest.

Leslie always exhibited a thirst for knowledge. With an M.Ed. in special education and experience with special needs students in New England, Leslie chose a new path by completing a second master’s degree in 2002, this time in anthropology and archaeology. She was also elected to the Crow Canyon Board of Trustees. She moved to Santa Fe and worked in archaeology as a professional and a volunteer. She authored a series of publications independently and in collaboration with friends from Crow Canyon. Leslie had a focus on ceramic analysis but her subjects weren’t always technical: two of her published pieces highlighted the accomplishments of Bertha Dutton, one of the first female archaeologists to work with the National Park Service.

Following a medical setback in 2014, Leslie moved into an assisted living facility, where she was cared for until her passing. Leslie’s foresight in making a planned gift has made possible the purchase of three new-to-Crow Canyon vehicles. It is a fitting use of Leslie’s generosity, after her decades of tooling around the Four Corners backcountry in Crow Canyon vans of varying condition. Thank you, Leslie Cohen!

For information about making a planned gift to support Crow Canyon’s future, contact Sarah Grace Pretzer at or 970-560-7545.

Read the full Summer 2023 newsletter here.

Summer 2023 newsletter special 40th Anniversary issue

In the Summer 2023 newsletter special 40th Anniversary issue:

Let’s Celebrate!

Get all the details about the 40th Anniversary Conference and Celebration in October – learn about speakers and activities planned and how to register

Exciting Experiences Abound!

Read about the many activities happening on Crow Canyon’s campus and in the field, and the people involved

Upcoming Programs and Activities

Check out what’s coming up, learn more, and register

Trustee and Traveler Leslie Cohen

Read a tribute to our friend and partner Leslie Cohen and her incredible impact on Crow Canyon

Read the full newsletter here!

Crow Canyon Welcomes the Newest Members of Cultural Explorations Team

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center is proud to welcome a pair of new additions to our Cultural Explorations team.

Tayler Hasbrouck comes to the Cultural Explorations team after working for several years in the outdoor industry. Tayler’s background includes such diverse positions from ski patroller to dude ranch manager—and now she’s excited to start working with our participants to help them get the most of their experience.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with a new audience and helping them forge bonds with the cultures and history of the Southwest and beyond,” says Tayler, who holds a B.S. in Parks and Recreation Management from Western Carolina University.

Adam Kackstetter has a strong background in experiential education and program development for the Southeast Alaska Guidance Association, and he’s excited to share his love and appreciation for people and history with the Crow Canyon community.

Adam says that in his spare time he likes to “hike, bike, pack, float, forage, learn, identify, and generally be in the great outdoors exploring new places.”

“Tayler and Adam bring a wealth of talent and experience to our team of exploration coordinators,” says Sarah Payne, Chief Outreach Officer at Crow Canyon. “We’re excited to have them here at Crow Canyon.”

Cultural Explorations travel seminars enable you to travel the American Southwest and beyond with exceptional scholars and like-minded fellow travelers. Each tour is developed by our Cultural Explorations staff and guest scholars with a strong educational focus and the opportunity to change the way you see the world.

For more information on Crow Canyon’s Cultural Explorations travel seminar program—including a catalog of upcoming trips—click here or call 800-422-8975, ext. 457

2023 Spring Newsletter

In our latest newsletter, we welcome you to our 40th anniversary year! Register for upcoming programs and events, and learn about the latest project initiatives, including the Mobile Learning Lab and presenting research results on the road!

See the newsletter here.