Chimney Rock celebrates 10th anniversary of national monument designation 

­
­
The Acoma Sky City Dancers and Howeya Family Dance Group performed the Corn Dance and other traditional Pueblo dances, Friday, Sept. 23, in the recently constructed amphitheater at Chimney Rock National Monument in honor of the 10th anniversary of the national monument designation.
Southern Ute Royalty members, Little Miss Southern Ute (First alternate), Shane White Thunder, Miss Southern Ute, Graze Gonzales and Junior Miss Southern Ute, Leandra Litz listened to the presentation of speakers, prior to introducing themselves.
Southern Ute Chairman, Melvin J. Baker gave a warm welcome to attendees at the 10th anniversary celebration. Baker spoke of his hunting experiences in the hills and mountains neighboring Chimney Rock over the years and reminded people to leave behind artifacts they might come across, as he was culturally taught to do.
Little Miss Southern Ute (First alternate) Shane White Thunder offered a traditional prayer in Ute, alongside Southern Ute Brave, Henry Whiteskunk, Little Miss Southern Ute, Cyana Whiteskunk, and Junior Miss Southern Ute, Leandra Litz.
Silhouetted by the late afternoon sun, a Pueblo dancer moves to the rhythm of the drum, performing songs traditional to the Pueblo of Acoma.
The Acoma Sky City Dancers and Howeya Family Dance Group performed traditional songs on Friday, Sept. 23 as part of the tribal exclusive day, organized for tribal members and dignitaries.
A family of traditional Fancy Dancers, Shawn Yazzie and daughter, Jessica Yazzie and son, Jarid Yazzie performed on Friday morning, as part of the tribal exclusive day, organized for tribal members and dignitaries.
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Thumbnail image of
Thumbnail image of
Thumbnail image of
Thumbnail image of
Thumbnail image of
Thumbnail image of
Thumbnail image of
­
­

Chimney Rock National Monument held special cultural presentations and other educational programs from Friday, Sept. 23 — Saturday, Sept. 24, recognizing the ten-year anniversary of national monument status, while also offering free admission to tribal members and the public. Friday’s opening ceremony invited tribal dignitaries from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Santa Clara Pueblo, and Pueblo of Acoma to speak, along with representatives from the Forest Service.  

“This is a footprint of our ancestors, this is just a small piece of the pueblo culture — we need them to be protected in perpetuity,” emphasized All Pueblo Council of Governors Chairman, Mark Mitchell. “We as state, federal, county, and tribal governments, we got to find a way to work together. Places like this are never far behind in our prayers … the tribal footprint extends far.” 

“We would like to thank the Department of the Interior for fulling their trust responsibility to the tribes,” he said.  

“Chimney Rock embodies spiritual, historic and scientific resources of great value and significance,” according to Scott Owen, public affairs officer for San Juan National Forest. “Designation of Chimney Rock as a national monument honors the anthropological, geologic, hydrologic, biological, and scenic resources and enhances the understanding and appreciation of these resources for visitors. Chimney Rock National Monument was designated by presidential proclamation on Sept. 21, 2012, making it the seventh national monument managed by the USDA Forest Service.” 

Chimney Rock National Monument was closed to the public on Friday, Sept. 23, for exclusive use of the monument by tribal members and their families. A second day of free, interactive, and educational public events took place on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Chimney Rock National Monument, drawing over 400 visitors. The events not only recognized the 10th anniversary of the designation of the site as a national monument, but also showcased a new visitors center built in 2021, with interactive exhibits and storyboards — and a gift shop.  

Dance performances were scheduled in the amphitheater throughout the weekend, including performances by Southern Ute Heritage Dancers, Sky City Buffalo Ram Dancers, Pueblo Dance Group, Oak Canyon Dance Group, Third Mesa Dancers, Laguna Pueblo Dance Group, Acoma Sky City Dancers and Howeya Family Dancers. 

“Dances connect us to our ancestors, community, and traditions while honoring gifts from our Creator,” according to a cultural statement by the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. “They ensure that life continues and connections to the past and future are reinforced.” 

“On Sept. 21, 2012, President Barack Obama designated the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area as  America’s 103rd national monument—the seventh to be managed by the U.S. Forest Service,”according to the USDA website for Chimney Rock. “Covering 4,726 acres of the San Juan National Forest between Pagosa Springs and Durango, Colo., and surrounded by the Southern Ute Indian Reservation — the Chimney Rock National Monument is a significant archaeological, cultural, geological and biological site.”

 

Like it? Share it!

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail