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Northern New Mexican pueblo preserves cultural history through tours with the Laboratory

San Ildefonso Pueblo brought together academic and cultural learning on a recent tour of Cave Kiva Trail in Mortandad Canyon.
August 24, 2015
Students from the San Ildefonso Pueblo Summer Education Enhancement Program recently toured Cave Kiva in the Mortandad Canyon at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Summer Education Enhancement Program has also provided students with visits to Bandelier National Monument and Bradbury Science Museum’s archaeological exhibits to promote the connection of science and culture.

Students from the San Ildefonso Pueblo Summer Education Enhancement Program recently toured Cave Kiva in the Mortandad Canyon at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Summer Education Enhancement Program has also provided students with visits to Bandelier National Monument and Bradbury Science Museum’s archaeological exhibits to promote the connection of science and culture.

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“Through these collaborative efforts, we are protecting the untold parts of history, providing opportunities to connect with cultural heritage and assisting in educational growth.”

Students gain new insights into their ancestry

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Aug. 24, 2015—San Ildefonso Pueblo’s Summer Education Enhancement Program brought together academic and cultural learning in the form of a recent tour of Cave Kiva Trail in Mortandad Canyon.

“Opening up this archaeological site and sharing it with the descendants of its first inhabitants is a privilege,” said LeAnn Purtzer, archaeologist with the Environmental Stewardship Services Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Through these collaborative efforts, we are protecting the untold parts of history, providing opportunities to connect with cultural heritage and assisting in educational growth.”

In past years, the pueblo’s summer program for students has been primarily centered on cultural traditions and teaching the younger generations practices that have been passed down. However, this year the program changed gears and is working to bring the youth academic enrichment through emphasis on science, math and language arts in addition to honoring tradition.

Through the program, which offers Tewa classes in the morning and opportunities such as the Cave Kiva Tour, the importance of history and cultural connectivity is still incorporated into the curriculum. The Summer Education Enhancement Program has also provided the youth with visits to Bandelier National Monument and Bradbury Science Museum’s archaeological exhibits to promote the connection of science and culture.

“It is good for the students and for our cultural preservation to be able to show them where their ancestors came from, and how close it is to where we are today,” said Cultural Resources Advisor at San Ildefonso Pueblo, Bryan Montoya. “Collaborating with the Laboratory’s archaeologists to provide our students with these opportunities gives them a hands-on experience with their past, as well as a meaningful academic experience.”

About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, BWXT Government Group, and URS, an AECOM company, for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.


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