Explore: Bandelier National Monument

Painted Cave, backcountry of Bandelier Nationa...
Image via Wikipedia

“The canyons and cliff dwellings of Bandelier National Monument are telling a story, and this time it’s through the voices and artwork of the American Indian tribes whose ancestors inhabited this sliver of northern New Mexico.

After nearly a decade of careful consultation with neighboring pueblos and a year of construction, the monument unveiled its $4 million renovated visitors’ center, museum and high-definition documentary with the help of pueblo dancers and artists in a celebration Wednesday.

The renovation was done with the hope that visitors will better understand the wilds of Bandelier and the pueblo people’s enduring connection to the place, said Rod Torrez, the monument’s chief of interpretation.

“There really are few places where you have such a strong integrated viewpoint from the local tribes in an exhibit,” he said. “A lot of places just hang on to what they’ve had, and they might refresh their cases and things, but they’ve never gone that extra step. Here, I can walk through this museum and feel confident that what I’m looking at is something that’s accurate and true to the heart of the people who are around here.”

Nestled among pine trees and canyons made of welded volcanic tuff just south of Los Alamos, Bandelier was inhabited more than 10,000 years ago, back in the days of nomadic hunters. More permanent settlements began to pop up nearly 1,000 years ago, the remnants of which line the floor of Frijoles Canyon and are carved into its walls.” Read more.


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