An eight year effort to preserve history in New Mexico brings together indigenous people, policy-makers and researchers, including a University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor. Carrie Heitman and her colleagues are trying to draw attention to the Chaco Canyon area, home to the 15-hundred-year old ruins of a once thriving culture.
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[00:00:03.720]Massive stone buildings with hundreds
[00:00:05.960]of rooms are evidence of an ancient,
[00:00:08.010]but once thriving culture, in the Chaco Canyon area
[00:00:10.960]of New Mexico.
[00:00:12.660]Anthropology Professor Carrie Heitman visited the area
[00:00:15.660]for the first time as a college student.
[00:00:18.480]Being able to discover and sort of have
[00:00:21.350]your curiosity sparked by that experience was
[00:00:24.680]really powerful, and it just inspires you to ask why
[00:00:27.880]and why and why and why.
[00:00:29.960]It's just that, you know, 20 odd years later,
[00:00:32.040]I'm still asking those same kind of questions.
[00:00:34.820]Heitman and her colleagues have created
[00:00:36.500]a book and multimedia project with an important goal.
[00:00:40.120]We're trying to educate and share information about
[00:00:43.160]that landscape from various perspectives
[00:00:46.560]so that we can do the best we can
[00:00:47.960]to preserve it into the future.
[00:00:50.080]Oil and gas exploration threatens
[00:00:52.430]areas of the canyon.
[00:00:53.860]An effort is underway to locate ancient sites
[00:00:56.510]beneath the surface and provide that information
[00:00:59.220]to the Bureau of Land Management.
[00:01:01.520]If a site location wasn't digitized,
[00:01:03.400]if it wasn't in the database of like the state
[00:01:05.700]of New Mexico, for instance, it didn't exist,
[00:01:08.210]it effectively didn't exist for the decision-making process.
[00:01:11.150]So they were kind of making decisions
[00:01:13.530]without the full spectrum of information.
[00:01:16.320]The book project is also a collaboration
[00:01:18.600]with indigenous people of the area.
[00:01:20.690]The online edition features videos with cultural experts,
[00:01:24.260]sometimes in their native language.
[00:01:27.558](man speaking in a foreign language)
[00:01:30.690]Together, Heitmann and other stakeholders hope
[00:01:33.370]to protect the area for the future.
[00:01:35.990]It's part of who we are as a nation, right?
[00:01:38.530]Understanding the history of the nation going back
[00:01:41.410]to early inhabitants and being really proud and in awe
[00:01:47.710]of what native people of this continent did
[00:01:51.940]and accomplished: their engineering, their artistry,
[00:01:55.600]their rich and complex belief systems.
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