Sometimes it’s the little things that signal positive social change. We focus our public education efforts at Crow Canyon on raising awareness and understanding of American Indian culture, historical time depth, and contemporary vibrancy. It is important to our Native advisors and partners that we emphasize that archaeological sites are not seen as “ruins” by descendant communities. These sites are still inhabited by the spirits of the ancestors, and they are important to maintaining Native cultural continuity in the present and future.
On a recent trip to Bear’s Ears National Monument, our Chief Outreach Officer Sarah Payne chatted with a non-Native visitor who told her that these sites are “ancestral sites,” and not “ruins.” Hearing an accurate representation of Native culture and history from a member of the public is a small but critical element of combating misrepresentation and discrimination against Native people.