Chaco Heritage Project


With a grant from the NEA-NPS Imagine Your Parks initiative, UNM’s Maxwell Museum fostered continuity of creative expression among Southwest Native artists by funding residencies to access ancient Chaco materials in the Maxwell and Chaco Culture National Historical Park Museum collections, as well as a tour of the Park. The Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies partnered by funding two public programs related to these artist residences at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in October 2016 and at Santa Fe’s La Fonda Hotel in March 2017.

Artists from New Mexico Pueblos and the Navajo and Hopi Nations recognizing Chaco as a cultural heritage epicenter participated. Jurors who selected the participants were Clarence Cruz, Ohkay Owingeh traditional Pueblo potter; Nathan Hatfield, CCNHP Chief of Interpretation; Linda Lomahaftewa, Hopi/Choctaw 2D artist; Ira Wilson, Navajo, Manager of Shumakolowa Native Arts; and Lea McChesney, Maxwell Curator of Ethnology.

The ten finalists selected for the artist residencies were:

  •  Amanda Beardsley, Hopi/Laguna/Choctaw, Painter
  • Jerry Dunbar, Ysleta Del Sur, Quill Work/Pottery
  • Ray Garcia, San Felipe, Jewelry/Pottery
  • Lorraine Gala Lewis, Laguna/Taos/Hopi, Pottery
  • Ramona Sakiestewa, Hopi, Multimedia/2D
  • Gwen Setalla, Hopi, Pottery
  • Delwyn Takala (Tawvaya), Hopi, Hopi Overlay Jewelry
  • Adrian Wall, Jemez, Multimedia
  • Patrick Willink, Navajo, Graphic Design/Jewelry
  • Aaron Yazzie, Navajo, Painter

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center served as a co-sponsor of the artists’ public program at the conclusion of the residencies. The artists shared their experience working with these resources with family and community members, Maxwell and IPCC members, as well as other project participants, engaging audience members in their creative processes. Representatives from three tribes whose heritage the artists represent also participated in this program, including Mr. Alfred Lomaquahu, Vice Chairman of the Hopi Tribe; Mr. Gaylord Martinez, Lt. Governor of Laguna Pueblo; Ms. Nancy Torres, Manager for the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Department of Cultural Preservation, Tigua Indian Cultural Center & Museum.

A second public program in Santa Fe, part of the New Mexico Day program in advance of the Society for Applied Anthropology Meetings at the La Fonda Hotel, engaged a wider audience. An artists’ roundtable included a PowerPoint presentation with images of new work they began after their residencies and their comments about how the Chaco Heritage Project inspired them.

People of Chaco

Chaco image #2 caption


Chaco image #3 caption