Chimney Rock Archaeological Area
Except as noted the photographs are from the Pagosa.com archives from previous events.
NEW Dances of the Ancient Event at Chimney Rock National Monument
May 27th, 2017
Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA), is proud to announce the first annual Dances of the Ancients event on May 27 sponsored by the Pagosa Sun. This culturally significant event will be both powerful and captivating! Two Pueblo dance groups will gather at Chimney Rock to dance in the Great Kiva, home to their ancestors. The Acoma Rain Dancers from Acoma Pueblo and the Oak Canyon Dancers from Jemez Pueblo are both all-children dance groups and will be performing at 10am and 1pm, one day only. There can be no better way to connect with Chimney Rock than through the descendants of the Ancient Puebloan people performing celebratory dances in traditional dress.
The Acoma Learning Center established the Acoma Rain Dancers Dance Group in January 2013 after a request was made by youth patrons for an after school activity. The staff decided to organize a youth group aimed at increasing involvement in traditional activities and spirituality. Through this group, the children have learned to pray and now understand the meaning of prayer in dance. The children find great joy by bringing smiles to the audience and are always surprised to be praised by random people. The Acoma Rain Dancers is a unique group because it solely involves young children, ages 3 to 13, and their parents. The fathers of the children sing and the mothers play a key role in getting the children dressed and ready. The children come up with the choreography and choose the songs they want to dance to. The group will be performing a traditional rainbow dance which is a pueblo social dance. It is said that the children hold the most power, so their dancing and singing are heard by the spirits to bring moisture to the land and good health and fortune to all the people around the world, not only native people.
The Oak Canyon Dance group was started by Julian Fragua and his brother Odell Fragua. The brothers were inspired by their experiences with their grandfather and his cousin, dancing at various places when they were young. The Oak Canyon Dancers are a family dance group that consists mostly of Julian and Odell’s children and immediate family. The name, Oak Canyon, is their clan name in the pueblo, which is passed down from the mother’s side. All of the dances are performed by the children, ages 9 to 14, and are accompanied by live native singing and a pueblo drum. Some of the dances that the Oak Canyon Dancers perform are the eagle dance, the shield dance, the buffalo dance, the butterfly dance and the plains native traditional dance. The eagle dance honors the eagle for being a huge part of their culture. This dance symbolizes the blessings of their people giving them strength, courage and spiritual healing.
The shield dance symbolizes the warrior and the brave men in their tribe who protected their people. The shield dance honors these strong, courageous men and also the brave men and women who serve our country and protect our nation. The buffalo dance symbolizes their honor of the great Bison which gave them large amounts of meat for nourishment, hide for clothing, shelter, blankets, drums, and bones for tools that were needed for daily living. The butterfly dance symbolizes the growing and entering into summer, and the plains native traditional dance, which comes from the plains native culture, is a dance for completion and is an intertribal dance at pow-wows.
Tickets for this event are $15.00/adult and $5.00/child (ages 5-12.) Guests should plan to stand for the performance, or bring their own camp chairs or blankets. Each performance will include both dance groups. Guests should plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to performance check-in. The regular 9:30am, 11:00am and 1:00 pm 2-Hour Walking tours will NOT be offered during the Dances of the Ancients. An Early Tour Dances of the Ancients Package is available if you would like an early tour of the Pueblo Trail ONLY at 8:30am or 11:30am. This combination package begins at the upper parking lot with a one-hour guided tour of the Pueblo Trail. You’ll see several unexcavated sites along the way to the Great House Pueblo, with awe-inspiring views of the San Juan Mountains and the two pinnacles. This moderately-challenging unimproved trail has a 200-foot elevation gain and exposure to heights and steep drop-offs. Parents are asked to closely supervise their children for the safety of all attendees.
Following the tour, visitors will then attend the Dances of the Ancients event. Tickets for this package are $20 plus a booking fee ($7.50 for children 5-12) and are non-refundable. Guests who plan to attend the Early Tour Dances of the Ancients Package should check in at the Visitors Cabin at 8:30am for the 9am tour and 11:30am for the noon tour. In the event of cancellation due to inclement weather, rain checks will be available. For details, please call the Visitor Cabin (970-883-5359) 9:00 – 4:00 Mountain Time. Reservations are strongly recommended as there is limited space for this event. Walk-ins available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
CRIA is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that runs the daily operations and interpretive program at Chimney Rock National Monument in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the San Juan National Forest. CRIA relies upon tour and program fees, merchandise sales, grants, and generous donations in order to preserve this important part of Colorado’s history. Public support is vital for continued programming and site preservation. Thank you to The Pagosa Sun for sponsoring this culturally significant event. If you are interested in joining our volunteer team or are able to make a donation, please go to www.chimneyrockco.org.
A Century of Historic Preservation:
The Antiquities Act
One hundred years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt signed “An Act for the Preservation of American Antiquities,” otherwise known as the Antiquities Act of 1906. This was the first time the United States recognized, in law, that the material remains of our past were a valuable part of our heritage.
The Antiquities Act set the stage for a comprehensive body of law and policies that became the foundation for the cultural resource management programs of federal land managing agencies. The Act created criminal sanctions for the destruction of antiquities, provided for permits to authorize study of archaeological sites, and allowed presidential designation of outstanding archaeological, historic and scientific areas and national monuments for long-term preservation. The Antiquities Act has an outstanding record of preserving archaeological and historic resources.
Friends of Native Cultures mission is to promote responsible cultural stewardship and preservation by sponsoring indigenous peoples of the southwest in presenting their traditional dances, music and songs for the public at archaeological sites in the Four Corners region.
The 2006 Chimney Rock Native American Cultural Gathering celebrates and preserves the past in today’s world through traditional Native American song and dance.
Take this opportunity to join in the Antiquities Act Centennial Celebration as well as recognizing the Native cultures that were present here 1,000 years ago and that are still alive and thriving today.
Sources: The Antiquities Act of 1906, by Ronald F. Lee; Friends of Native Cultures Orientation Material by Caroline Brown
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