News CSWS Blog

CSWS partners with Colorado State Library to digitize FLC student newspapers

Intertribal News one of the first now offered online

Fort Lewis College student newspapers have been digitized by the Colorado State Library! What an awesome project to preserve this unique aspect of knowledge and history. Thanks to Center Archives Manager, Nik Kendziorski, for seeing this to fruition. The first of the student papers to be published online include FLC Intertribal News!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020/Author: Tapley-Booth, Julie/Number of views (545)/Comments (0)/
Categories: CSWS BlogNews

Doctoral Fellow Presentation on Archival Research Project for Academic Year 2019-2020

The Parral Archive

María (Cony) Márquez Sándoval was the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College Doctoral Fellow for the 2019-2020 academic year. In addition to teaching in the History Department, Cony aided the Center's archives by working with the Parral Archive (El Archivo de Hidalgo del Parral, 1631-1821) materials. She was able to identify documents from the Spanish colonial period that related to the Spanish expansion into the Four Corners Region. She translated these documents from Spanish into English, and we will be uploading the Spanish documents and their English translations side by side on the Center’s website in the near future. In this YouTube presentation Cony describes the project.

Monday, May 18, 2020/Author: Tapley-Booth, Julie/Number of views (621)/Comments (0)/
Categories: CSWS BlogNews

Week of May 11th: Director's Letter

A Message from Shelby Tisdale

I hope my message this week finds you well and staying safe during these trying times. Even though the Center of Southwest Studies remains closed we have explored new ways to keep you informed and engaged through Facebook, Instagram, and emails. We now have our own YouTube channel where you can see our interviews with the two curators of the PIVOT exhibit. Over the weekend I received a text from my dear friend, Arden Kucate, who is a Zuni tribal councilman and served on the Indian Advisory Board when I was the director of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. As you may know the Native nations in New Mexico and Arizona have been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 virus. Fortunately, Mr. Kucate and his loved ones are doing well and staying safe. Thinking of my many friends at Zuni brought back memories of one of my trips to Zuni in the summer of 1985. I was working at the Indian Arts Research Center at the School of American Research in Santa Fe and one of my volunteers, Marianne Kocks, and I went to visit the Nahohai family at Zuni. The Nahohai’s were known for their beautiful pottery and we wanted to get a sneak preview of what they were making for the upcoming Santa Fe Indian Market. As we arrived in Zuni and started to go across the bridge on our way to the Nahohai’s home we were stopped as a group of Zuni men led by a giant Shalako Katsina came across the bridge into the old part of the village. The men were dressed in white and carried live turtles in their hands. They were returning from a pilgrimage possibly to the Lyman Lake area in Arizona. We then drove on to the see the Nahohai’s and when we arrived, they told us that we should stay because after these men had lunch, they would be changing into their dance regalia and would be dancing in one of the plazas. We couldn’t pass this up, so we ate our picnic lunch and then to the plaza where the dance was to be held. The Nahohai’s had also suggested we come back to their house for dinner after the dance. The dancers were bare chested and wore embroidered kilts and sashes and moccasins. Colorful parrot feathers were tied to their hair and each man held live turtles in one hand and gourd rattles in the other. They danced in long lines in the plaza and sang in a soft rhythmic way while shaking their rattles. The little Fire God danced in front of an altar inside one of the houses. The Koyemshi (Mudheads) provided cues for the dancers and served as clowns on occasion. After the dance we went back to the Nahohai’s for dinner. A Koyemshi came into the house and everyone stood up. Milford Nahohai was sitting next to me and he said that Marianne and I should remain seated. We watched as each family member went up to greet the Koyemshi and he blessed each one with his prayers. It was then that I realized how important the Koyemshi are in terms of their spiritual role in the community. After dinner there was another dance and because it was getting so late the Nahohai’s invited up to spend the night at their home. I slept in a room that had a Katsina mask hanging on the back of the door. I won’t go into the dream I had that night but let’s just say it was unlike anything I had ever dreamt before or since. Some dreams seem so real that you are never sure if certain things happened for real or not.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020/Author: Tapley-Booth, Julie/Number of views (574)/Comments (0)/
Categories: CSWS BlogNews

Week of April 27th: Director's Letter

A Message from Shelby Tisdale

I hope my message this week finds you well and staying safe as the Center of Southwest Studies remains closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are planning a number of ways to stay virtually connected as we continue to work from our homes. In the meantime, I thought I would share another story about one of my past experiences with you.

In the early to mid-1980s I was the Assistant Collections Manager at the Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) at the School of American Research (renamed the School for Advanced Research) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. One of the other staff members, Lucy Fowler Williams, who is now the Associate Curator and Senior Keeper of American Collections of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and I went to Pueblo Feast Day dances every chance we got. We knew a lot of the artists from the different pueblos and we would often be invited to their Feast Days to attend the dances and to come to their homes to share a meal. These Feast Days and the relationships that developed with the artists and their families were the highlight of my working at the IARC.

One time, Lucy and I went out to the Hopi Mesas in Arizona to see a Katsina dance. In July we learned that a Niman Ceremony was coming up so we headed out on Friday after work and drove out to Hopi Second Mesa. We didn’t have any money for a hotel room so we pulled up behind the Hopi Cultural Center and put our front seats down, covered up with our sleeping bags, and went to sleep. Just as dawn was breaking we drove out to the village of Shongopovi. There we got out of the car and waited in the chill of the morning for the activities to start. I recall smelling coffee and hearing the hushed murmurs of people as they were getting ready for the first dance of the morning.

As the sun rose a little higher on the horizon a line of Angak’china (Long Hair) Katsinas came up over the hill on the east side of the village. They carried cattails or corn stalks with katsina carvings attached in one hand and gourd rattles in the other as they entered the village. We were so immersed in watching the Katsinas we didn’t notice that the Hopi families had brought out their chairs and were sitting around the plaza waiting for the Katcinas to arrive. Lucy and I found a spot to stand behind one of the families and watched as the Katsinas danced around the plaza to their rhythmic singing accompanied by the sound of their rattles. Periodically, one of the Katsinas would stop by a family and give a young female child the cattail or cornstalk with the Katsina carving attached. The Katsina carvings (often referred to as dolls) are given to young, uninitiated girls to learn about the different Katsinas. They are not to be used as toys.

When the first dance of the day ended Lucy and I went to the Hopi Cultural Center Restaurant where we treated ourselves to the best blue corn pancakes in the world. We then returned to see more of the Katsinas dancing. In the early afternoon we started our five-hour drive back to Santa Fe where we arrived home exhausted but exhilarated by what we had witnessed that day.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020/Author: Tapley-Booth, Julie/Number of views (1130)/Comments (0)/
Categories: CSWS BlogNews

April 20th: A Message from the Director

A Message from the Director, 4-20-2020

I received many positive responses to my message last week and it was great hearing from so many of you. I am looking forward to when we can be together in person again. Today, I thought I would take you down south into southern Mexico and share another extraordinary experience with you. It was 2008 and I took eight members from the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture/ Laboratory of Anthropology to Chiapas, Mexico for a “Maya Arts, Archaeology, and Day of the Dead” tour. This was my second visit to Chiapas during the Day of the Dead celebrations with Traditions Mexico, a tour guide company out of Oaxaca.

We flew into Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico and visited the La Venta Museum and Park, which showcases several spectacular Olmec stone heads and pre-Hispanic stone sculptures. The park is also full of tropical flora and the zoo has several animals including beautiful macaws, jaguars and boa constrictors. We then went to Palenque, the ancestral home of the Mayan people living in the area today. There we explored the monumental palaces and temples, and, also saw Howler monkeys. From there we traveled into the Lacandon jungle to visit the ruin of Bonampak that still has colorful frescoes inside the temples. After visiting some of the Indigenous Lancandon traditional craftspeople we spent the night at a small lodge along the Usumacinta River, which runs between Chiapas and Guatemala. The next morning, we boarded a boat that took us to Yaxchilan, a beautiful ruin perched strategically above a horseshoe bend in the river.

Now it was time to head into the pine-clad highlands and our stay at San Cristobal de las Casa which would serve as our home base for the next four days. We met Walter “Chip” Morris who had lived in Chiapas since 1972 and served as our local guide. We visited local artisan markets and weaving co-ops and watched as the Day of the Dead activities started to take place. We visited the Mayan village of Chamula where we witnessed a fusion of Catholicism with Classic Mayan ceremonies. We visited the cross-clad hilltop Chamula cemetery of Romerio, where we were greeted by a festival with thousands of highland Maya wearing beautiful, colorful clothing, live bands, food and general pandemonium as they celebrated the dead.

The next day, we visited Zinacantan, a markedly different Mayan village on a misty mountain top, where the graveyard tombs were decorated with millions of flowers and attended by somber family members dressed in their finest blue green floral embroidery work. After going through the cemetery, we visited a household of weavers and ate lunch in their smoke-filled kitchen. Afterwards, we visited the San Lorenzo church where we saw a group of men representing the religious hierarchy, or cargo system. They were just finishing one of their rituals that involved the changing of the jewelry on the saints. These four men were dressed in the type of clothing signifying that they were the top-ranking members of the cargo system for that year. As they left the church, they invited us to follow them to one of the homes. The responsibility and care of the religious ornaments and materials are transferred each year to a high-ranking individual within the cargo system and these items are kept in room specified for this purpose at their homes. We entered a large room and chairs were place along the wall on the opposite side of the room for us to sit on. We witnessed the ritual of purifying the jewelry with prayers, songs and the smoke of copal incense. We were given fresh tortillas and a drink called “poche” while Chip talked to the group of men in their Tzotzil Mayan language. We could tell that they were transfixed by what he was telling them It wasn’t until we were walking back to the ce

Tuesday, April 21, 2020/Author: Tapley-Booth, Julie/Number of views (829)/Comments (0)/
Categories: CSWS BlogNews

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Center of Southwest Studies
Fort Lewis College
1000 Rim Drive
Durango, CO 81301

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Phone Numbers

Main Office: 970-247-7456
Library Reference Desk: 970-382-6982
Special Collections Library: 970-247-7135
Archives: 970-247-7126
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Museum: 970-247-7456