What does Mesa Verde mean to me?

Mesa Verde was a surprise for me. I did not know it existed until I started looking for jobs. Once I began to do research on what this place protected I found myself being pulled in. The more I read, the more I learned about a people who had a life similar to my own. The Ancestral Pueblo People may have lived in some exciting places; but the work, the cooperation, and the spirit of these people can be compared to my community and family back home.

When I first came to Mesa Verde; it was my first time being so far from my family. Throughout my college life I always wanted to run home and be with them. When I came here I was reminded about the way my family works together. If someone makes dinner, they don’t have to wash the dishes. When it snows, my dad or brother go out and clear the drive way. If something needs to be fixed or created, my dad and grandfather are the ones I go too. If an artistic touch is needed; my family asks for my help. Each of us have are own skills that we apply to help out each other. The Ancestral Puebloan way of life reminded me, and made me miss, my family back home.

The Kivas made me yearn for those late night talks I had with my family in the living room. Where we knew we should be sleeping, but couldn’t stop laughing and telling stories. The times when I couldn’t handle the stress of school or my anxiety and my parents and grandparents would pray with me. The stories my grandparents and great aunts/uncles would tell us of them growing up flash through my mind whenever I look at a ‘family household’ for the Ancestral Puebloans.

Now as a seasonal returner, Mesa Verde still holds the same meanings to me; the meanings have just changed slightly. As I have grown older I see these places with a different perspective. I am still reminded of my family back home, but now I also see my hopes to create a family and a family home of my own someday. When I look at the bricks of sandstone the Ancestral Puebloans used I am shown of the hard work and dedication it takes to build a home. When I look at the construction dates for dwellings and can see the movement of the people as families and communities grow I am taught about the change that happens in life. We add people to our families and communities but yet, sometimes they move away. Throughout Mesa Verde there is evidence of the physical home changing, evolving, throughout time; just like how my home continues to change.

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