Crow Canyon collaborates with American Indians to enrich our understanding of past and present American Indian cultures and share that knowledge with others. Working closely with the Native American Advisory Group and other American Indians, the Center seeks to broaden and enrich the perspectives gained through archaeological research, incorporate indigenous voices in its education curriculum, and initiate research and education projects that are relevant to the concerns of American Indian communities today.
The American Indian Initiatives department collaborates with the archaeology and education departments to engage learners of all ages in an inclusive and dynamic study of the human past. Crow Canyon's education programs provide instruction in archaeology and involve the lay public and American Indian communities in the actual research process. Through Crow Canyon's programs, students of all ages gain an understanding of past and present cultures in the Mesa Verde region, archaeological research and ethics, hands-on education, and the importance of the continuation of American Indian cultures.
In 2014 Crow Canyon launched the Inspiring Students Project. This is a partnership between Pueblo communities and Crow Canyon to develop student programs focused on issues that Pueblo people themselves have identified as priorities: the preservation and continuation of their native languages, cultures, and histories; providing culturally relevant educational experiences that inspire students to succeed academically and professionally.
In 2016, Crow Canyon is proposing to add two new initiatives that are culturally relevant and directly benefit American Indian communities in the Southwest.
- The Partners in Self-Determination Initiative aims to collaborate on community-based research, education, and economic development projects, and develop tribal capacity to assume full control over institutions and resources, such as the management of cultural resources.
- The Continuing Culture initiative organizes activities and delivers products to assist American Indians in the reclaiming and reinvigorating of traditional cultural languages, practices, histories, and lands. Our first project in this initiative is the revitalization of a kiva (ceremonial building) at the Pueblo of Zuni in New Mexico.
Principles that Guide Our Work
- Empowering Native Students—Providing educational programs that focus on helping American Indian students develop confidence, self-esteem, and a strong sense of cultural identity.
- Building Native Nations—Supporting American Indian nations to increase their capacities to assume full control over their own institutions and resources.
- Indigenizing Institutions—Instilling American Indian core values, knowledge, perspectives, and priorities into the mission and activities at Crow Canyon, including:
- Everyone's history matters.
- Archaeological sites are sacred to contemporary American Indians and must be treated with respect.
- Archaeological research and American Indian oral histories are essential to building a more inclusive story of the human past.
What Does the American Indian Initiatives Intern Do?
An American Indian initiatives intern is responsible for providing support to the American Indian Initiatives Department to enhance Crow Canyon's commitment to American Indian involvement in archaeology and education, as well as its commitment to American Indian communities. Interns are also invited to develop their own projects.
The intern will gain experience in some or all of the following areas:
- working with the field, laboratory, American Indian initiatives, and education staffs in cooperation with the Native American Advisory Group to assist in the delivery of multicultural education programs on the archaeology, cultures, and histories of the Southwest
- contributing to the development and implementation of the Inspiring Students Project and the Partners in Self-Determination and Continuing Cultures initiatives
- developing and indigenizing curricula related to Crow Canyon’s mission
- assisting in the development of research designs that implement elements of indigenous archaeology
- developing agreements for collaborative service and outreach projects for American Indian communities
- researching and writing grants to fund American Indian initiatives projects at Crow Canyon and in American Indian communities
Course Work and Skills Required
- advanced undergraduate or graduate course work in American Indian studies, ethnic studies, archaeology, anthropology, education, museum studies, natural resources, history, sociology, political science, or a related field
- ability to work as part of a team (intern will attend and contribute to department meetings)
- ability to work in multicultural settings including Native communities or with traditional people
- ability to work well with students ranging from fourth graders to adults, many of whom have no previous archaeological experience
- ability to work and live in outdoor settings and perform rigorous physical duties