Native American sites, museums and casinos Chimney Rock and Ignacio Colorado

August 17

Durango- Chimney Rock- Ignacio Colorado

 Wendy wanted to go to a casino. Yes I heard right. Wendy who brings lunches with us wherever we go, Wendy who orders on pizza for seven

people who just finished an eight mile hike uphill, thought it might be fun to check out an Indian Casino.

Boy – do I have a reputation.

 I fell asleep early Tuesday night, so Wendy and Eric planned Wednesday’s excursion: Chimney Rock, the Ute cultural center and the Ute casino.

 We drove to Chimney Rock, purchased tickets to the guided tour and then drove most of the way up the mountain. The tour had two parts. The first part consisted of a tour around a lower area, with several examples of pit houses, stone houses constructed around 850 CE by the Ancestral Pueblo, This time our guide was an older woman with an Australian accent. Her calves and thighs visible under her green park ranger shorts said outdoor hiker, but her long polished finger nails seemed more appropriate for a Bloomingdale shopper.

But she left me in the dust as she charged up the summit.

The second half of the tour brought us up to the summits where we could see incredible views of the valley below as well as the double obelisks of Chimney Rock. We learned more about the Kivas, the circular construction built for – well that depends on who was giving the tour. Perhaps they had a religious/spiritual purpose or purpose or something else. Nevertheless we saw many examples of them in all the sites we visited. It was the one constant. We learned that the different sites might have been connected and in fact there were clear site lines between a series of settlements from Chaco to Chimney Rock.

A kiva at Chimney Rock

Wendy and Daniel in front of Chimney Rock

Back down the mountain we found a shady picnic table and had one of those aforementioned cheese sandwiches lunches.

Onto Ignacio where we spent some time in the Ute Cultural Center.

It It is my personal theory that Casino money builds nice cultural centers- but that is only a theory. The Ute Cultural Center had a series of interactive exhibits one particularly interesting one featured the Indian Schools. The presentation pointed out that much of the purpose of the Indian Bureau schools was to eliminate traditional culture by indoctrinating the children with western values and forbidding the speaking of the Ute language. Still there was not a completely negative recounting of the time spent in the Indian Schools by the elders of the Ute and there was a hint of remembered good times and camaraderie as well.

And then we went to help fund the Cultural Center


The Ute Cultural Center, Ignacio Colorado

First a stop at the rules and regulations- where Eric pointed out the rule about no smoking while using oxygen tanks. Always a favorite of his.

Then into the casino.

Wendy- how do you know which machine to play

Me- You walk up and down the aisles until one sings to you.

I don’t know that much French but I could understand her subsequent explanation to Daniel.

All and all we didn’t do to badly- a couple a big hits and probably a net gain of about $30 dollars.

Back to the valley of the Walmart- where I showed that Walmarts have supermarkets- and then a wrestling match with an unfamiliar food processor and another dinner on the deck


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