Teens get "Hands-On Preservation Experience", also known as HOPE Vidal Gonzales, center, of Santa Clara Pueblo applies mortar while reconstructing one of the walls at Tyuonyi Pueblo at Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, N.M. Gonzales is one of several Native American youth from surrounding pueblos who are participating in the National Trust for Historic Preservation's HOPE project, which aims to train a new generation of preservationists. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Teens get "Hands-On Preservation Experience", also known as HOPE
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With the sun blazing overhead, the crew of Native American youth tries to work quickly. Their hands are covered with dry, cracked mud. They work to repair the stone walls that make up one of the more prominent cultural sites at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico.
 
The teens spent most of the summer helping with a massive preservation project. It is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's HOPE initiative, or Hands-On Preservation Experience.
 
The trust teamed up with the National Park Service and the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. The goal: To train more young people in preservation skills. At the same time, it helps care for historical sites on public land. From New Mexico and Arizona to Virginia and Vermont, crews worked on some 30 projects this summer.
 
At Bandelier, the work has taken on a greater significance. That is because the teens are restoring structures that were built by their ancestors centuries ago.
 
"I think it's important because we need to know where we came from," said Vidal Gonzales. He is 17 and lives in Santa Clara Pueblo.
 
Tucked into northern New Mexico's ancient canyons, Bandelier has a long human history. It stretches back more than 11,000 years. Back then, nomadic hunters and gatherers tracked wildlife. The region includes mesas and canyons.
 
More permanent settlements popped up several centuries ago. The largest concentration was in Frijoles Canyon. All that's left now are the stone and mortar outlines of what were once grand multi-story structures. They were built into the walls of the canyon and along Frijoles Creek.
 
There are underground kivas where puebloan ancestors gathered for meetings and ceremonies. There are also prehistoric warehouses made up of hundreds of rooms. That's where food was stashed.
 
Tyuonyi Pueblo is one such place. It is where the all-tribal HOPE team worked.
 
They checked the capstones of each wall. If loose, they were removed, the mortar was replaced and the stones were reset. Measurements were taken and the work was documented.
 
The site was first excavated by Edgar Lee Hewett in the early 1900s. In 1916, Bandelier was established as a national monument.
 
Without the maintenance, Bandelier preservation specialist Jonathan Stark said the walls would crumble. They would come down within a decade or two.
 
"The work that we're doing is important to a variety of people," Stark said. "Obviously, the visitors love coming out here and seeing this and learning the history of a place such as this. To the descendants, this is a footprint of their ancestors. (It's) something that proves they were here. It gives perspective to their younger generations."
 
Myron Gonzales is a San Ildefonso Pueblo member who led the crew. He said the teens learned skills they can use to round out efforts in their own communities for preserving cultural sites, language and other traditions.
 
"The biggest factor in developing what they're doing now is being able to provide them with a means of identification," he said. "We come from pueblo communities. In today's society, language is being lost and we're at a crossroads."
 
The crew was recruited by the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. The organization provides stipends and scholarships. It plans to recruit more tribal youth to work on possible future preservation projects with Acoma Pueblo and other Native communities in New Mexico.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are teens motivated to do this work?
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COMMENTS (46)
  • Eric0221-YYCA
    9/14/2015 - 09:34 p.m.

    I think the teens might be very skilled in preservation of ancient projects that were once held up but now it had tumbled down like the wall that the teens are working on reassembling it after it had fallen down. The group that is called HOPE which is a group that does ancient projects which the groups are assigned to do also I think they do collect ancient relics which are stored in an hundred room warehouse which ancient relics are collected in.
    Critical thinking question: Why are teens motivated to do this work?
    Answer: The teens are motivated in this work is because they like to do the assignment in ancient relics or things that they might have collected.

  • John0724-YYCA
    9/15/2015 - 06:26 p.m.

    Well that is really nice of them to rebuild the stuff that there ancestors built long time ago and I think that is kind of important because then we could have a clue to what happened in the past. I know that it is important but I really think that this might be torture because teens are rebuilding things in the hot sun and they have to be careful when they are building because a rock could fall on them.

  • Jason0421-YYCA
    9/15/2015 - 10:02 p.m.

    I think that it is interesting for the Hands On Preservation Experience to be able to learn preservation skills. I believe that if teens are able to learn such techniques, this would allow more people to be able to preserve important artifacts. I think that teens will do a better job in preserving since they are younger.

  • samanthas-1-ste
    9/16/2015 - 11:26 a.m.

    Its so good that teens are getting involved in our community. Our national parks are extremely important and need to be taken care of.

  • caymanm-2-bar
    9/16/2015 - 09:22 p.m.

    Teens are motivated to do this work because they want to find out what their ancestors built and did here. Vidal Gonzales says, "I think its important because we need to know where we came from". I think this article was interesting.

  • reidi-4-bar
    9/16/2015 - 11:47 p.m.

    I wonder how many loose stones there are to pull out of the wall. I could not imagine being a 17 year old boy who is spending his summer in the scorching sun with dirt caked hands. I give these people credit for sacrificing there summer to help.

  • emilys-ver
    9/17/2015 - 01:17 p.m.

    I think this is cool because now a days kids spend their summers inside on the phones. If I had this opportunity I would take it because it sounds like a awesome activity.

  • sofiat-4-bar
    9/17/2015 - 10:46 p.m.

    Teens are motivated to do this work beacause they want to keep their ancestors stories and past alive. I am interseted in this because my family is freinds with a navaho family and i love hearing their stories that their grandparents and parents told them and by just telling me thse stories they are keeping their culture alive and the fact that they have done 30 projects in one summer is amazing.

  • ameliaw1-mil
    9/20/2015 - 12:19 p.m.

    I enjoyed this article about teens helping preserve historic sites. This is good because we want people for generations to come to be able to see the same historic sites we could. It also sparks an interest to teens in the field of preservation or national park service. It's so cool to see the kids working so hard and giving up their summer to serve. I hope this project continues and more and more people can be a part of this. I know many people will appreciate their work.

  • annabel1226-yyca
    9/24/2015 - 10:00 p.m.

    Wow the students must have learn a lot about Earth. I think they will be the scientist of the ground if there is such as thing. Oh! It must have been a good experience.

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