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waltonksm

Mesa Verde, Cliff Palace

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I am just now getting to these photos after 4 years.  Actually, I sort of "miss-placed" the images due to a hard drive problem.  Mesa Verde is a  World Heritage Site.   I first visited there in 1969, then again in 1982.  I was amazed at how the Park Service had INCREASED public access to the site.  When I was there before in the summer of 69' they made sure that no one made it into the site.  We could only look from a distance. In 1982 I was given (with a group of about 8 people) a tour of Spruce Tree House, and was locked into the area by a Ranger that was anxious to go home. I had to scale the 10' locked gate to get out. I had spent extra time taking photos, and the Ranger had not done a head count to see if someone might be missing. It was after 5 PM when we finished.  They explained that we were given this tour ONLY because there were so few of us (it was late November, and cold.) Anyway, my intent here is to show the site, but also illustrate the emphasis on being a part of the experience. The Park Service works to INCREASE your contact with the ancient ruins and overall improve your experience and education about the site and the peoples that lived there.  And no, when over 65 and overweight I no longer negotiate trails with drops and climbs at 7000' elevation. 

 

Cliff Palace

 

Cliff Palace

 

An older couple at the lower left of the next image seem to have lost interest; at least the man has.  Or perhaps just tired after the walk to the structure. I really like to see the images at full resolution so I can "look in" on the tourists.  I am not sure that you can get enough magnification in this format to do so.

Cliff Palace

 

 

This last one has a bit of extra "stuff" going on.  The Park Ranger is into his presentation, with hand gestures keyed to his talk; a tourist toward the left is taking some photos in the direction facing away from the presentation.  There is a young girl seated about ten feet in front of the ranger. She is dressed in a very long and modest dress. To her right (left of her) are two women wearing bonnets and dresses that would be like what some of the "old Russians" living on the Kenai Peninsula would wear here. They are not too likely to be Amish.... it would be a tough trip with a horse and buggy to make it to this park.

 

Cliff Palace

 

 

In the process of looking up information on the structures and the people who lived here, I searched for the term "Anasazi." Years ago that was a term they were translating to mean the "ancient ones," referring to the ancient culture that lived here. However, it seems that now, this term has fallen out of favor, and has been translated to mean "ancient enemies" by the Navajo. Therefore the contemporary Puebloans do not like the use of this term.  They are viewed as the descendants of this ancient Pueblo culture.  

 

So with all of this lengthy description, I am trying to present the idea that "truth" and "fact" change with the change in cultural values.  At the Mission San Juan Capistrano there were some Park Service signs in front of a sort of jail cell that said this is where the "unruly Indians" were confined when they did not do the work the priests had assigned to them.

 

So the Park Service "culture" has changed to INCREASE access to these wonderful houses, and at the same time the descriptions are worded in a different manner these days, to correspond with changes in social sciences and in the cultural identity of current tribes in the area.

Edited by waltonksm
typos/spelling. Left ojut an image
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Interesting. Thanks for sharing these with us, Walton. 

 

Mesa Verde is also a fictitious bank in the AMC series "Better Call Saul" (prequel to Breaking Bad). :) 

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Interesting to see something of pre-European Americas.  Even here in Australia, so much of taught history focuses on Western Europe up until European colonies developed locally in th 18th Century.  

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