News CSWS Blog

A Message from the Director

June 25, 2020

As I wrote in my last message the Center of Southwest Studies has experienced a severe budget cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s health and economic impacts on our community and Fort Lewis College. We have no idea how long this pandemic will last and the overall consequences of it are still not fully understood.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the American Alliance for Museums virtual conference and I paraphrase here something that one of my favorite sheroes, Dr. Johnetta Cole, said about museums that I found both meaningful and inspiring - Every aspect of our lives are going to be changed for far longer than we are comfortable with. The sacrifices we are making now will make a stronger and more resilient society in the future. By adjusting our expectations and addressing our fears, we will be able to provide new models and a reimagining of what the future can look like. The freedom that accompanies this moment provides us the space to be more creative and innovative…

This is a transformative moment for the Center of Southwest Studies as we discover new ways to better serve and train our Fort Lewis College students, engage with the public, and learn new ways of presenting programs and making our collections more accessible. This crisis is giving us the opportunity to reflect on our mission and to reimagine what the future looks like. As I mentioned in my last message, we want to hear from you. Over the next couple of months, we will be putting our planning team together and start our listening tours as we explore the different possibilities that will assist us in creating a new model and reimagining what the future will look like for the Center.

As the staff comes back on campus over the next month, we will be preparing the Center to slowly reopen the archives, library and museum gallery by appointment starting in August. Visitors to the Center will be expected to follow all Fort Lewis College health and safety guidelines to come onto campus and while visiting the Center of Southwest Studies. Information will be posted on our website soon as to what the health and safety protocols are. We look forward to welcoming you and providing you with a safe and enjoyable experience.  

Stay safe and strong!

Shelby J. Tisdale, Ph.D.


Thursday, June 25, 2020/Author: Tapley-Booth, Julie/Number of views (852)/Comments (0)/
Categories: CSWS BlogNews

A Message from the Director

June 18, 2020

I hope my message this week finds you and your loved ones staying healthy and safe during these challenging times.

As you have probably heard or read in the newspaper the Center of Southwest Studies was not spared from the budget cuts made at Fort Lewis College. The Center staff has been furloughed two days per week for the next year. Given our limited hours and the ongoing impacts of the pandemic we will not be able to reopen with the regular hours as we had in the past. When we do reopen and you come to see the beautiful PIVOT: Skateboard Deck Art exhibit or to do research in the archives and library we want to ensure that the health and safety of you, the students and the staff are our top priority. To do this we will be following the procedures and protocols set in place by the College as well as the additional protocols we are putting in place for cleaning and sanitizing areas and items after each use at the Center. Soon we will be adding information to our website as to when and how you can arrange for a tour of the exhibit and when staff will be available to assist you with your research. 

We have also been informed that over the next year the College wants the Center to come up with a plan to become more financially sustainable in the future. With change comes opportunity and we will take this coming year to explore different options and to possibly re-envision what the Center of Southwest Studies will be in the future and how we can best serve our FLC students and faculty, as well as the Four Corners community. To do this we want to hear from you—Our Community!  As we start planning for the future of the Center, we will be conducting listening tours both on and off campus. We will keep you posted when we start to schedule these. As much as we prefer to meet in person, given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we may end up doing these listening tours via Zoom.

This is our “new normal” at the Center of Southwest Studies. Please be patient with us as we work through these changes and adjustments. We will do our very best to serve you and your family and friends as we navigate through this together. We want everyone to continue to enjoy what the Center has to offer while remaining healthy. Most of all we look forward to welcoming you back. We have missed you!

Stay safe and strong!

Shelby J. Tisdale, Ph.D.



Thursday, June 18, 2020/Author: Tapley-Booth, Julie/Number of views (410)/Comments (0)/
Categories: CSWS BlogNews

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 (1614)/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 (977)/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 (925)/Comments (0)/
Categories: CSWS BlogNews

Hours of Operation: Visits & research by appointment beginning August 3, 2020.

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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
College Records: 970-382-6951
Museum: 970-247-7456