Canyon of the Ancients


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CANM-2 CANM-1Getting to Know Canyon of the Ancients National Monument

Published April 2005

The beautiful, rugged canyons and mesas of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument have supported many people from many cultures for thousands of years.  Alcove dwellings, pottery sherds, stone tools, petroglyphs, and homesteads all offer clues about the people who have lived here.  More than 20 tribes as well as Spanish explorers, ranchers, and homesteaders have all woven their histories into the land.  More recently, archaeologists have come to learn about those who came before while recreationists and artists have come just to find inspiration in the rare combination of history and natural beauty that defines the Monument.  Each group and indeed, each person, views this place from a unique perspective.

“I don’t think that people consider the perspectives that others may have on a beloved landscape,” author Teresa Cohn commented.  “My hope (in writing this book) is that people will understand Canyons of the AncientsNational Monument from perspectives other than their own.  There are many layers of relationship to this landscape.”

Ms. Cohn, a Colorado native and author of Getting to Know Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, carries a deep connection to the canyons of Southwest Colorado herself.  She worked as an educational intern at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, a premier archaeological and education research institution in the Four Corners area, and enjoyed getting to know the region from the ground up.  Ms. Cohn met many people from many different cultures who shared her connection to the same landscape, but in very different ways.  Her goal in writing Getting to Know Canyon of the Ancients National Monument was to understand how people connect to this place from their divergent cultural and historical perspectives.

The book is the result of dozens of interviews with Native Americans, ranchers, homesteaders, archaeologists, geologists, recreationalists, artists, and land managers.  It is a unique combination of stories, photographs, and original artwork; together the elements depict peoples’ intimate tie to the land.  Basic information about Canyons of the AncientsNational Monument guides visitors through this harsh but ruggedly beautiful canyon country administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.  A series of educational activities that can be accomplished in the classroom or on the Monument help educators of all types highlight the Monument’s cultural and natural resources and show students how to be effective stewards.

“It was an honor to be a conduit for people’s stories about this wonderful land,” Ms. Cohn concludes.  “It was a privilege to spend more time in a place that I love.