Published by Brian Slezak on 21 Jul 2008
Over the next two days, July 8 – 9, we learned an enormous amount about the Pueblo and Navajo cultures, such as these are two different societies of differing ancestry. We also served the local community and got some work done around the school. I was part of the work crew, and our first project was assembling some playground equipment. The school had an entire playground worth of equipment that still needed assembly, and we were going to get done what we could. Imagine if you can large boxes, tubes, and plates stored in a large garage, and everything is well marked but mixed up as randomly as possible. Some of this stuff required 3-4 people to more it was so big, and yet some of it was small pieces and parts which fit around 100 to a quart bag. Long story short, it took us four hours just to figure out what we were building, identify and locate all the parts, and prep. it for assembly. Ha! The manufacturing company was the culprit of the problem, as they just threw everything together wildly and shipped it out. Wow.
Believe it or not, that was our morning and afternoon. Later in the evening we traveled to Chaco Canyon. (See some of my pictures on my Facebook album as well.) This is a canyon area where the Chacoan culture, ancestors of the Puebleans, thrived around 800-1200 AD. They built extravagant stone cities throughout the valley that were very well constructed for what one would expect. There were two mind boggling traits about this culture. 1. There are no earlier structures built before the ones there now. No other buildings are found in deeper layers of earth. These 800 AD structures are the original ones on this land. 2. After building these structures that stretched many hundred feet and occupying them for 300-400 years, these people picked up and left. The best explanation given for this movement was their believe that their people were like the clouds, ever changing and ever moving. Like the clouds, they were not created to be unchanging or stay in one place. So after a few generations, they moved on and left behind this comfortable life they’d built for themselves.
Learning about this ancient Native American culture was enlightening, and awe inspiring. As a child there were two specific cultures I dreamed of experiencing within my lifetime. The Mayan culture, and the Native American culture. I’ve already been moved by each of them, but my time here is not yet complete.