Native American Culture Today

Native American Culture Today is still immensely rich in character. Over seventy percent of Native Americans live in urban areas. Far away from their native land, they are still majorly in touch with their culture. The United States sets aside a certain amount to rejuvenate Native American Culture Today.

Today Challenges

Culture is a way of life. There are certain sets of beliefs and behavior patterns that are shared by the members of similar groups. Values such as these can be best expressed through art, songs or rituals. But language is the critical preservation of a culture. Slowly, but surely, Native Americans are slowly losing their culture. Culture makes up the majority of who we are. It is the definition of our individuality from others. The struggle holding on to Native American Culture Today gets harder as time passes. Despite there are many reservoirs specifically for Native American’s, the rich culture is dying slowly.

Being forced into smaller lands, and into the “American” way of life, they are slowly losing defiance. Native American’s question their choice of lifestyle every day. With questions like, do I decide to live according to the identity of my tribe? Or, do I decide to partake in a modern lifestyle? How much of United States culture do I allow to influence my life? These are questions no one should be forced to answer. Yet here we are with a dying Native American Culture Today.

Sovereignty, for many, is one of the main challenges tribes face today. Since the 60s, the United States has been increasing encouragement for tribes to take a larger and larger part in self-administering programs for their members. They are trying to get tribes to help them, help themselves. One way to revitalizing Native American Culture is through gaming. Some tribes have newfound funds from gaming to help in the process of self-help programs. We all know there is no secret to gaming. People play casino game all the time. We don’t understand that by doing so, we are helping restore one of America’s richest cultures.

Another Struggle with Native American Culture Today, preserving the family. With the United States having such influence on the younger generation more natives are choosing the city life. There are few that stay loyal to their true tribe colors. Others rather live life in the fast lane. However, most do help with the developing of gaming so in the end, they are still helping Native American Culture Today.

Native American Cultural Regions

Native American Cultural Regions can be found most anywhere in the great United States. When one travels the vast areas of the United States, one can find Native American Cultural Regions spread from the Pacific Northwest to the East, Southwest, Northeast, Midwest, and West.

Long ago, before white man came to settle on this continent, there were Native American Cultural Regions already established. With the need for expansion, and need for more homes to be built, unfortunately, the Native American Cultural Regions were oftentimes, uprooted and planted elsewhere and as settlements begin springing up more and more, the Native American Cultural Regions began to move and reestablish their communities in other regions of the United States.

There have been many disputes over property and land, but it is clear to many whose land this really belonged to, and that would be the Native American, and they have rights to claim their Native American Cultural Regions, as they were the first to establish their homes here.

By continuing to live in their own Native American Cultural Regions, the customs, traditions, and family life of these worthy Native Americans can thrive and still be a part of the United States.

Natural Gas Drilling: Chaco Canyon

By Mike Merino

The Chaco Culture Historical Park was the focus of the Celebrate Chaco Art Show at the Cibola Arts Council/Double Six Gallery and is home to one of the most celebrated cultures of puebloan life in New Mexico. Thousands of visitors descend on the Chaco Canyon living museum and the ruins were designated a World Heritage Site. Displays, dioramas and artifacts on display continue to attract interest in a culture that was crucial to the formative era of ancient peoples.

But, the area has also attracted interest in drilling operations for natural gas wells that many feel would be an unwanted intrusion on this delicate landscape.

The initial plans by Cimarex Energy to drill two natural gas wells on state land within the Chaco Culture National Historical Park have been put on hold by the company. The site selected was state land within two miles of the cultural site ‘s visitor center and just one mile from an area known as the “sun dagger” site at Fajada Butte, where light and shadow tracks the cycles of the moon and sun .

Cimarex Energy issued a statement to postpone the proposed project indefinitely because of multiple concerns that have been raised by groups of environmentalists and preservationists over the potential for harm the drilling could do to what many regard as the region’s ultimate ancestral puebloan site. Cimarex regional land manager, Mike Wolfe, agrees.

“We feel our resources are presently better spent in areas that minimize concerns regarding that area of Chaco Cultural National Historic Park,” he said. The State Land Office originally considered the drilling leases for two state land parcels, located on Sections 32 and 36 for the simple reason that proceeds derived from the energy and mineral leases on those two parcels of state lands are designed to fund public education.

Chaco is an important pueblo center that tells us about the past according to Russ Bodnar of the National Park Service at the Chaco Culture Historical Park.

“Chaco became a World Heritage Site on December 8, 1987. We were nominated by the National Park Service under Criteria 3 which says that you have to provide testimony to a civilization that has disappeared. We are working on having that changed and upgraded because obviously the pueblo folks definitely say they haven‘t disappeared and all the pueblos attest to that fact,” he said.

Oil and gas exploration is a double edged sword when it comes to the pros and cons of that practice. The state Historic Preservation Office of New Mexico feels that stepped up gas and oil exploration in areas like southeastern New Mexico presents an opportunity to develop cultural surveys focused on industry development of cultures, and the resulting settlements, towns and cities that were built to support it.

The initial consultations about the Chaco drilling venture involved the SLO, Cimarex, the National Park Service and the Historic Preservation Department of the state of New Mexico. The Chaco site is considered a World Heritage Site and the Preservation Department is continuing to work with the New Mexico Congressional Delegation and the SLO to develop a zone that will protect resources within and outside of the park boundaries and the World Heritage Site.

Tribes at Chaco?

Most likely, the Clan structure of the current Pueblo Tribes was followed at Chaco. home

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3D Digital Reconstruction of the Sun Dagger at Chaco Canyon

Of all the treasures held within Chaco Canyon, the Sun Dagger may be the most enigmatic. A spiral petroglyph tucked behind three huge sandstone slabs proved to be one of the most sophisticated pre-historic calendars known. It was discovered by artist Anna Sofaer in 1977, and was well documented and commemorated in the “Mystery of Chaco Canyon” video, narrated by Robert Redford. Unfortunately, in 1989, the sandstone slabs slipped slightly, and we lost the Sun Dagger forever.

We are proud to announce the Sun Dagger has been re-constructed in 3D for Mac and PC computers, a part of the “Anasazi of Chaco Canyon” computer program. Here is a sneak peak video…. Enjoy!


Language Options in Chaco Canyon Game

Good news for our Latin American and European friends, The Chaco Canyon Computer Game can be played in English, French, Spanish, and German. Simply choose your language when starting up the program, and all menus and screens will show in that language.

Here is the description of Penasco Blanco in Spanish:

Una de las primeras casas grandes de los Chacoan, solo una de solamente dos casas grandes ubicada en el sur del Cañón Chaco. (La otra es Tsin Kletsin). Unica por su planta oval, diferente de cualquiera de las otras grandes casas. Peñasco Blanco tiene cuatro kivas grandes, con dos en la plaza principal. El mayor periodo de construcción fue de mediados a fines del siglo 1000 D.C. Este sitio nunca ha sido excavado, pero Richard Wetherill cree que enormes cantidades de turquesa fueron extraídas del sitio por buscadores Navajos. La última fila de habitaciones aumentó a dos pisos. El sitio fue nombrado por el teniente Simpson cuando él supervisó el Cañón del Chaco en 1849. El nombre traducido al español significa “casa alrededor del doblez del arroyo”.

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Chaco Archaeology Dig (Virtual!)

Anasazi of Chaco Canyon virtual Archaeology dig preview. Below is an image from early, testing version of the game. There are over 40 authentically replicated Anasazi objects, some of which are near exact replicas of important artifacts uncovered in Chaco Canyon. You need to excavate, but carefully, as not to damage these priceless treasures.

Chaco Canyon Anasazi Virtual Archaeology
Screenshot from actual gameplay. Using the brush to carefully uncover an authentic, intact, 3D Anasazi pot from a Great House room in Chaco Canyon.


Macaw skull from Pueblo Bonito

chaco canyon pueblo bonito macaw skull

The wide variety of artifacts found in Chaco Canyon from the Anasazi era is impressive. Especially when you consider the major sites were likely looted several times over hundreds of years before archaeologists were able to conduct a proper survey.

One of the most intriguing and most important finds were the presence of skulls and skeletons of Scarlet Macaws, traded from hundreds of miles south. Like turquoise and chocolate, they were likely prized trade goods, and their perceived wealth may have contributed to a stratified societal hierarchy.

In the Chaco Canyon video game / computer simulation, one of the treasures you may find during your virtual archaeological dig is a 3D replica of a Scarlet Macaw skull, found in Pueblo Bonito by researchers from the American Museum of Natural History in 1897.


Archaeology Gameplay

Image drawing your trowel against the packed sand in one of the interior rooms of Pueblo Bonito. A glimmer of some long lost object…. a piece of pottery, turquoise jewelry, or ancient Anasazi tool? You’ll have to continue digging to find out, and dig carefully to avoid damaging a priceless artifact. This virtual archaeology dig in Chaco is just one of the fascinating parts of the program.

Progress update

The programmers and developers continue to make excellent progress, and our expected launch date is 26 March, 2017. In a recent test, I was able watch an in-game sunset over Fajada Butte, and observe the shadows disappear at high noon against the center wall of Pueblo Bonito. Its looking really good. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more updates.