Thursday, November 15, 2012

Southwest circuit/Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde, sort of

Anasazi is the name, in Navajo, for those who lived in the Four Corners area. Two of the best known Anasazi sites in that region are Chaco Canyon or Mesa Verde. Professional photographers, and folks like James, have the sort of camera that begins to do justice to the complexity of the sites size, architecture and the days changing light.  I don't have a camera of that sort or skills of that calibre.  Sometimes I feel comfortable sharing blurry images with you if it expresses some feeling or thought.  An image that is out of focus in a way that's distracting - not so much.  Lack of pictures of the sites explained.

While in Cortez, Colorado we toured The Anasazi Heritage Center, the museum of the Native cultures in the Four Corners region.   Centers and museums of this sort often tell as much about who studied the community as those who were, or are, a part of the community being studied.  Culture by its very nature is always complex and complex ideas are hard to share.

The teacher in me was thrilled to see how kid friendly this sharing was.  Couldn't help think of Alice in Wonderland when I read directions on these drawers.  These drawers held items that related to trade.  "Traders carry stories and ideas as well ideas between cultures" was the idea.  In the drawer were pieces of jade, abalone, and fur.  Printed beside each item were the words "Pick me up".   Explicit directions to hold a bit of an idea in your hands.

The researcher in me was thrilled with the layers of history that were displayed in so many ways throughout the museum.  This is a tiny chunk of the timeline that ran the length of the museum directed to students.  It was the sort of place where a child or a student would want to visit again and again.  So many discoveries to be made.

Down the hall was a room that was a room that was filled with portraits of those living in the area from about 1912 through 1932.  I was, and am, entranced and haunted by the photos that said so much with the look on a face and the drape of a cape.

Anasazi Heritage Center -

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