Museum of Native American Artifacts

When the first Europeans reached the shores of this continent nearly five hundred years ago, it was a vast, fertile land that supported millions of culturally distinct people who spoke in hundreds of different languages. Although no one knows for sure, a few experts believe as many as 20 to 60 million people were then native to North America. Who are these ancient Americans, Anasazi, Crow, Cherokee? And where did they come from? Via the Alaskan land bridge? How did they hunt, fish, farm, and live their lives? Now, thousands of years later, these artifacts have been recovered throughout almost all of North and South America.

Anasazi Pottery

One of the most dazzling of Native American artifacts is clay pottery. The creativity, style, and utility of Anasazi pottery was like nothing seen before or since. Around Mesa Verde and the Anasazi Capitol of Chaco Canyon, beautiful and functional pottery was found in large quantities. Ancestral Puebloan clans likely had their own styles and markings to identify the sub-culture.

Walk America’s Past

The Museum of Native American Artifacts invites you to “Walk Through America’s Past,” where we will use the actual artifacts to give you a glimpse into what life was like for America’s first inhabitants. Going back over 14.000 years, up to the modern day American Indians, these artifacts have been uncovered throughout all of North America and many are on display at the Museum of Native American Artifacts. The museum is divided up into five different time periods arranged in chronological order. View our Online Gallery or browse the Internet Gift Shop for your own authentic Native American Artifact.

Anasazi Predessesors

CCTHITA (Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska: official website) was the Tribal Government representing over 23,000 Tlingit and Haida Indians worldwide. They were a sovereign entity and had a government to government relationship with the United States.  The Council’s headquarters was in Juneau, Alaska but their commitment to serving the Tlingit and Haida people extended throughout the United States. Join hands with them and seek a better day for Tlingits, Haidas, and all indigenous people.

It is important to remember all Native American peoples, past and present, passed over the land bridge from Asia to North America in the distant past. This makes them the oldest Native Americans, who were the predecessors of the Anasazi, who settled in the four corners region (Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, etc) of the present United States.

Alaskan Tribes, Anasazi Predecessors:

Native Village of Afognak
Agdaagux Tribe of King Cove
Native Village of Akhiok
Akiachak Native Community
Akiak Native Community
Native Village of Akutan
Village of Alakanuk
Alatna Village
Native Village of Aleknagik
Algaaciq Native Village (St. Mary’s)
Allakaket Village
Native Village of Ambler
Village of Anaktuvuk Pass
Ancient Beringian
Yupiit of Andreafski
Angoon Community Association
Village of Aniak
Anvik Village
Arctic Village
(See Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government)
Asa’carsarmiut Tribe
(formerly the Native Village of Mountain Village)
Native Village of Atka
Village of Atmautluak
Atqasuk Village (Atkasook)

Were Chacoans the Master Gardeners of New Mexico?

According to a published study, the core region of Chaco Canyon could only have supported a couple hundred residents. This leads to the conclusion that maize would have had to be imported to sustain the permanent residents. Further analysis reveals there is only about 4,700 acres of tillable land, and not all of it is suitable for growing maize. Does the fact they thrived in this dry, inhospitable canyon for multiple centuries make the Anasazi of Chaco Canyon (aka Ancestral Puebloans) the original master gardeners of New Mexico?

All across the United States there are volunteer Master Gardener organizations that work with the Extension Service and their communities to provide educational services to gardeners. In New Mexico, the first program established was in Bernalillo County in 1981 by Jim Saiz. Training was also available to surrounding counties and later those counties established their own programs. As the need arose and resources became available this web site, the first MG web site for the state, was begun as a service to the community. To contact the Extension agent for the various counties where programs exist write or call to the various counties. They can put you in touch with the volunteers for their counties. Some counties also have web sites for their volunteers and these are also listed below.

All Master Gardeners have received specialized training to help with educating the public on gardening. This web site was designed, paid for, and managed by one of those Master Gardeners to provide on-line help to the public. All materials may be downloaded and copied and distributed as long as those materials are being used for educational purposes and are not being sold by you.

Their Constitution stated “We, the Albuquerque Area Master Gardeners, in order to provide plant science and practical horticulture learning opportunities by which local gardeners may become Master Gardeners, to plan and develop advanced training experiences for them, to increase their knowledge of botany and related sciences, to conduct all types of educational or service activities related to home gardening as volunteers cooperating with and with the support of the Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service and the Council of Albuquerque Garden Clubs, Inc., of which we are a member, and to help promote and support botanical and horticultural beautification and ecological projects planned by the City of Albuquerque and the County of Bernalillo, do hereby establish the Albuquerque Area Master Gardeners Association.”

Did Social Inequality Doom Chaco?

There has been much research surround economic and social inequality among the residents of Chaco Canyon in the 9th through 12th centuries. A study analyzing radiocarbon dating concludes that social inequality began as early as 150-200 AD. There is evidence of social inequality based on relationships and solar and lunar alignments.

Looking at Inequality By The Numbers

The Program on Inequality and the Common Good periodically releases a “data chart pack” with summary charts that look at inequality trends. Our latest edition includes the most recent data available on income and wealth distribution. We’ve just published an updated version, which you can review here online. It’s a great tool for educators, activists, etc. Jobs with Justice and the Institute for Policy Studies have just published an innovative new resource to help trade unionists understand why the U.S. economy has gone into the ditch — and how we can get the economy working again for working families.

Responding to the Economic Crisis

It is time for all of us to learn more and organize for fundamental changes in the U.S. economy. The IPS “Sensible Plan For Recovery” calls for a “Green Stimulus” package, a halt to foreclosures, limits on excessive CEO and profiteering from the bailouts, a closing of the “casino economy,” and a series of proposals to limit inequality.

Learn More: Causes of the Economic Crisis

The Working Group has a regularly updated list of tools to help us learn more and analyze the changes facing our economy. We are not going back to some golden age of economic growth and low cost energy. Nor should we allow the economy to be organized to permit the extreme inequalities of the last three decades.

Tell Congress: A Sensible Plan for Recovery
Tell Congress: No Bailout with Strong Conditions. Here’s our Plan for a Sensible and Fair Recovery.
Make Speculators Pay for Wall Street Meltdown
Where to find $900 billion to pay the costs of recovery and Main Street economic stimulus.
Tax Wealth As Much As Work
Eliminate the tax preference for income from corporate stock dividends and capital gains and generate an estimated $100 billion a year from the wealthiest Americans.

CEO Pay Bashing
Has Jim DeMint, the right-wing senator leading the assault on federal domestic spending, finally gone too far? His corporate benefactors may soon come to think so.

Reverse the Great Tax Shift
Few Americans realize just how incredibly little, historically speaking, our nation’s wealthy now pay in taxes.

Taxes and Transparency: Our Opaque Opulent
Mega-millionaire residents of Manhattan’s finest luxury towers pay less of their income in federal taxes than the janitors in their towers do. Once upon a time, we had a law that discouraged that distinction.


Don’t Pave Chaco

About  the Chaco Alliance

The Chaco Alliance is a grass roots citizens’ group dedicated to preserving and protecting Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Although our primary focus at this time is to stop the paving of the road into Chaco, we are interested in all threats posed to the canyon, including those posed by energy exploration in the area.

Chaco Culture NHP in North – Central New Mexico is a very special place. It was inhabited for many hundreds of years and its culture peaked a millennium ago – before that of the more widely known Mesa Verde site. It is located in San Juan County, New Mexico and is accessible via US Highway 550, County Road (CR) 7900 and finally CR7950. Chaco is a World Heritage site and to those of us who have spent time there, it is a gem that is not duplicated anywhere else in the United States.

Because CR7950 is currently unpaved, the number of visitors to Chaco remains moderate. The result is that those who do make the effort have an experience that cannot be duplicated at highly impacted sites such as Mesa Verde. There is no need to sign up for “tours”. One can drive their own vehicle on the park roads, hike or bicycle. Permits for backcountry walks are readily available, free with Park admission and unencumbered with quota systems.

All of that may soon change! Federal money has been allotted to improve (pave) the sixteen mile dirt road (three miles of the sixteen have already been paved using New Mexico funds). An NPS study indicates that visitation levels could soar more than five fold, overwhelming the infrastructure and staff while putting sacred sites at risk. The quality of the visitor experience will also be irrevocably altered. The unpaved road has long protected the canyon. Immediate public outcry is needed now to save the park from becoming a tour bus turnaround.

Please join us them in stopping any paving. Email Congressman Tom Udall, he earmarked the funding, and recommend that any road improvements be in the form of fencing, good signs, and proper maintenance. Urge him not to grant any more money for this project (see 2008 March/April Rio Grande Sierran: Chaco Update, below). We are pleased to announce that the San Juan Citizen’s Alliance and the 8,000 member Rio Grande Chapter of the New Mexico Sierra Club have formally stated their opposition to the paving.

Because of pressure from the group and others, the Federal Highway Administration has lifted the Categorical Exclusion and agreed to run an Environmental Assessment (EA) under NEPA. URS Corporation is working with San Juan County, NMDOT, and the Federal Highway Administration to evaluate alternatives for improving the unpaved portion of CR 7950. The County continues to pursue paving although the low-impact options we have been presenting will be considered.

Attendance at the public meetings is crucial, and we will post those times and places, when they are known, on the web site. Input via email is also important, and although many of you have already written, it is important to write again. Five main points must be stressed:

1) The paving of the road will be a disaster to this World Heritage Site. Increased visitation will overwhelm the staff and infrastructure, threaten sacred/archaeological sites, and change the nature of the visitor experience forever.

2) An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be completed, not simply the Environmental Assessment (EA).

3) Public meetings must be held throughout the state, not just in San Juan County. As mentioned in the July/August update article below, newspapers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe have opposed the paving.

4) Improvement to the road needs to be in the form of good maintenance, fencing, and good signs, not paving. Paving will decrease the safety of the road.

5) All planned energy exploration near Chaco needs to be made public. A protective zone must be established around the park. Our organization also continues to research whether proper consultation has occurred with the numerous Native American tribes that claim cultural affiliation with Chaco.

Thanks to all of you for all the support.

Chaco Astronomy

Chaco Observatory

Mission and History of the Chaco Observatory
Chaco’s Mission for Astronomy

Chaco’s Night Sky Initiative: Since 1991, Chaco Culture National Historical Park has offered a strong astronomy component in its public interpretive programs. Public programs emphasize the practices of the Chacoan people a thousand years ago, as well as modern approaches to viewing the same night sky they viewed–in a remote environment with clear, dark skies, free from urban light pollution.

Astronomy also provides a framework for helping to protect Park resources. All Park lighting has been retrofitted to reduce light pollution and enhance night sky viewing. In 1993, the Park designated the night sky as a critical natural resource to be protected and has worked on efforts to reduce the threat of urban light pollution in the Southwest. Chaco Culture is currently partnering with the University of New Mexico to qualitatively measure the light pollution which is coming into the Park from neighboring communities.

UNWANTED LIGHT INVASION: Even from one of the darkest areas in North America there is still light pollution. Click on the image above to reveal all of the light trespass currently visible from Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

NIGHT ASSESSMENT: The CCD camera which was used to record this 90 second image of Chaco Culture’s astronomy cadre will be used to quantitatively monitor light pollution coming into the Park from surrounding communities.

The Park established an on-going partnership in 1991. Star parties have been offered twice yearly. In January 1997, brought thier astronomy equipment to Chaco. He was so impressed with the skies above Chaco that he offered to donate a domed observatory and equipment to the Park.

The Chaco Night Sky Program:   The Park began constructing a permanent observatory at the Visitor Center in 1998. In May 1998, Superintendent C. T. Wilson, John Sefick, staff, volunteers, and hundreds of visitors participated in the dedication of the Chaco Observatory. The Observatory now serves many different purposes, adding a new dimension to Chaco’s interpretation of astronomy:

The 100,000 Park visitors per year now have the opportunity to attend the educational astronomy programs, slide shows, night sky, and solar observations scheduled throughout each week.

Serious amateurs can use Chaco’s state-of-the-art Charged Coupled Device (CCD) imaging system to conduct research and image the night sky.

Amateurs can use the many telescopes available to view the very dark skies of northwestern New Mexico.

Volunteers who wish to sharpen their teaching skills can learn to present to the public basic information regarding our scientific understanding of the universe and star lore from a variety of cultural perspectives.

EVENING PROGRAMS: The Chaco Observatory is open to Park visitors during the summer on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. An informal program about archaeoastronomy is followed by observing, weather permitting.

NATIONAL AWARD: In 1999, the National Park Foundation awarded Chaco Culture National Historical Park and the Albuquerque Astronomical Society an Honorable Mention in the category of education at its Partnership Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Ancient Connection–Modern Connections:   The Chacoan people were intimately aware of all their surroundings. They were close observers of the sky and seasonal cycles, and their observations provided them with the invaluable ability to time their agricultural and ceremonial events, which were central to their survival. Today, Puebloan descendants carry on many of these same traditions.

Visitors are drawn to the Park to learn about the monumental Chacoan sites, to view the pecked and painted images on canyon walls, to observe scattered pieces of pottery, and to ponder the greatness and meaning of the Chacoan world. It is natural to wish for a connection with the people who flourished in this stark and challenging place. The constancy of the night sky, so clear and brilliant at Chaco Canyon, is a special connection that we all can share, as we look to the stars to better understand our place on Earth.

MODERN SUN WATCHERS: Keeping with the traditions of ancient and modern Puebloan cultures, Chaco encourages the safe observation of the sun as part of its astronomy program.

It was TAAS that introduced John to Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The Park had established its Night Sky Program in 1991, so John’s suggestion of relocating his observatory into the Park was well received by Park officials. The photo shows the delivery of the dome to Chaco in March of 1998.
John donated approximately $40,000 worth of astronomical equipment to Chaco. In return, Chaco Culture, through revenue generated through its bookstore, gave approximately $50,000 for the construction of the buildings to house John’s equipment.

Construction of the Chaco Observatory began in March of 1998. A location near the Visitor Center was chosen because the site had been archaeologically compromised during the construction of the Park’s Visitor Center.

The Chaco Observatory was dedicated on May 30, 1998 and immediately began an outreach program to Park visitors. Today, nearly 10,000 people participate in its programming which includes interpretive presentations about Chacoan astronomy, tours of the night sky and explanations of deep-sky objects imaged at the Chaco Observatory. Solar observations are conducted during the day. If you are an amateur or professional astronomer who would like to volunteer, click here.

The Chaco Sky: LSSS La Sagra Sky Survey

LSSS La Sagra Sky Survey & Chaco Canyon

Operated by the Observatorio Astronómico de Mallorca (OAM), the Observatorio de La Sagra is situated in the mountains of Andalucia, Southern Spain.

International Dark Sky Poster, Tyler Nordgren

Chaco Canyon has long been recognized by many night sky purists to be one of the best locations in America to stargaze. Today, amidst this ancient landscape, once teeming with Anasazi, visitors To Chaco Canyon can experience the same dark sky that the Chacoans observed a thousand years ago.

The main activities are the development of strategies and tools for discover and track Small Solar System Bodies, particularly Near Earth Objects, and Space Debris in the course of the La Sagra Sky Survey (LSSS).

Space Debris & Other Projects:

Instrumental References
MPC (Minor Planet Center)
ESA (European Space Agency)
IAU (International Astronomical Union)
The Planetary Society:

Shoemaker NEO

You can only extract information, pictures and news if you cite (with link) as the source of origin of the material. For more information read the Creative Commons license agreement that governs the site.

American West Museum


The Museum of the American West, located on the northwest edge of Lander, Wyoming, is on a popular route to Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

Special arrangements for tours of the living village and services may be made. For more information please contact the MAW office or contact us via email.


Tours of Pioneer Village by appointment. Call for more information.

Visit our Farmer’s Market every Tuesday beginning at 5PM
August-Sept Farmer’s Market
Traveling exhibits are on display in the Coutant House throughout the year.
Professional photographer Michelle Motherway has some wonderful photos on display during the month of August. Recently returning in-house photographer Milt Boyer will show his collection of photographic treasures from the 4-corners region, cliff houses, Mesa Verde, Grand Gulch, and other Anasazi and Ancestral Puebloan strongholds.

SUPPORT MAW (Museum of the American West)

Join the museum today and help us build for the future

Museum of my American West, Lander, Wyoming

Native American Humanities

North Dakota Native American Humanities Council

For the latest on the history and heritage of North Dakota


The North Dakota Native American Humanities Council is an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The NDHC, and the other 55 state and territorial councils, were founded by the federal government on the premise that, “An advanced civilization must not limit its efforts to science and technology alone, but must give full value and support to the other great branches of scholarly and cultural activity in order to achieve a better understanding of the past, a better analysis of the present and a better view of the future.” This includes ancient Anasazi, or Ancestral Puebloan Societies, as well as the Anasazi descendant tribes like the Zuni, Hopi, or Puebloan Villages. Simply put, a nation that does not know why it exists, or what it stands for, cannot long be expected to flourish. In this vein, the NDHC uses the tools of history, literature, philosophy, ethics, and archeology to illuminate what we as a nation and as individuals stand for and why. The NDHC supports public initiatives that create opportunities to think critically about fundamental issues of the human experience in order to understand and enhance American culture.




  Does Fracking Threaten Chaco Canyon?

The mission of most public advocacy groups  is to educate the public on the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking.” This is an economic, environmental, and political issue, but above all it is a human health and human rights issue. Water contamination, air pollution, noise and light pollution, odors, road damage, property rights violations, negative effects on local businesses, and other problems are common complaints from are residents.

In Chaco Canyon, like any areas of the country, fracking is a concern. So much so, that in New Mexico, The BLM recently deferred the sale of oil and gas leases in the Chaco Canyon area. Famous for being home to the Ancient Anasazi of Chaco Canyon, this shallow, windswept home to Great Houses and the Sun Dagger must be protected.

These problems not only impact the people in the area, but their pets, their livestock, and their crops. Wildlife and plants in the area are also affected. The effects are not confined within the area, as the water people drink, the food that people eat, and the air people breathe may come from within the Shale.

Responsible citizens focus on public awareness through this website, public presentations, media interviews, reports, social media, and a documentary which is now available online, working with area residents, industry employees, industry regulators, government officials, and other grass-roots organizations to help eliminate negative impacts. Research has been conducted on air quality, which has been peer-reviewed and published, and are currently researching effects to public drinking water through GIS and mapping.

Trail Race


Two Premier Trail Races in the Pineywoods of Texas.

Hog’s Hunt and Rocky Raccoon 25/50K trail races have become Texas classics. The two races represent a combined history of 47 years. An enjoyable course in the tall pine trees winds its way around Lake Raven. Well stocked aid stations and friendly volunteers add to the fun. And yes, we’ve heard the rumors, but its simply not true about Chaco Canyon National Historic Park,  a race there was not cancelled due to nearby fracking. It seems there was simply never a race schedule for the Anasazi stronghold of Chaco Canyon (Northwest New Mexico). Back to reality…..

Update Nov 6th: The 25th Annual Rocky Raccoon Trail Run will be held this Saturday, Nov. 7 at Huntsville State Park.

The 50K starts at 6 a.m., with the 25K and 5-mile events starting at 7 a.m.

Late registration and packet pickup will be held at Shelter No. 1 inside the park from 4:30 p.m.-to-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6 and resume at the same location at 4:45 a.m. on race day Saturday, Nov. 7.

If you or someone you know would like to volunteer Saturday, please have them contact us.

As of 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, the course was in excellent condition and the area had received only minimal rainfall during the previous 24 hours.

Update Aug 21st: 2015 Rocky Raccoon race applications are now available. New this year – 5 Mile Trail Race has been added!

Globe Town and the Anasazi of Chaco Canyon

Globe Town
Climate Change: Anasazi and Chaco Canyon Effects

Globe Town shows how countries are connected globally through trade, immigration, or international assistance, along with country profiles of issues such as energy use and climate adaptation. This is true in the present, as well as in ancient times, like when the Anasazi ruled Chaco Canyon.

Myths circulating online about climate change cause misplaced apathy or alarm. A website built to be the antidote has won a major global award for a team from the University of Southampton. Globe-Town shows how no one is isolated from the consequences in an interdependent world. The site also reveals how responding to climate change presents a world of opportunities to inspire individuals and entrepreneurs.

“The World Health Organisation has estimated that climate change is killing 150,000 people a year. In order to tackle this challenge, we all need to know how it affects us personally and what we can do about it. Globe-Town does this by connecting the global with the local, so we can explore the risks, responsibilities and opportunities of climate change in an increasingly interconnected world.”

Globe-Town builds heavily on the increasing amount of freely available open data online, with much of it originating from the World Bank’s open data portal which provides a rich variety of well-organized information around all aspects of sustainable development. By opening up the facts of climate change in different countries, Globe-Town shows how no one is isolated from the consequences in an interdependent world. The site also reveals how responding to climate change presents a world of opportunities to inspire individuals and entrepreneurs.” This is covered in more detail in the Ancestral Puebloan book “Anasazi of Chaco Canyon“, including the environmental impact of the great houses constructed in Chaco.