The Student Conservation Association and Canyon de Chelly National Monument joined together this summer to host an all Native American high school crew for students from the local community.
During the five-week program, these young men and women were provided valuable job and service-learning experiences to enrich their lives with a greater sense of connection to the resources and history of Canyon de Chelly.
The Native American crew model was based on the SCA national crew model, with special consideration for the specific needs of an all native crew. Crew members consisted of eight participants with a keen interest in the Canyon de Chelly ecosystem who were recruited from local high schools and two crew leaders who were also selected from the local area. In addition, one non-native SCA crew leader assisted with providing the two crew leaders with guidance, training, and hands-on learning experiences.
The overall purpose of this project is to protect the natural character of Canyon de Chelly by engaging youth through conservation efforts of their local community and by ensuring they are provided with training, career development and education.
Prior to participation, park staff provided general orientation, mentoring, and presentations that included instruction from local people with traditional ecological knowledge. The crew’s primary duties included reseeding of disturbed roadsides, repairing hiking trails, restoring the watershed, cultivating farmland, and preparing the foundation for the traditional Navajo hogan at the park’s visitor center. The crew camped together in and out of the canyon the entire time.
After the program concluded, one parent remarked that she saw how the students, including her daughter, had grown and matured by their participation in this unique program.
To learn more about Canyon de Chelly Native American SCA crew, view the video at the link below.