A rare glimpse into Native American culture: Stories at Sunset at Chimney Rock National Monument

Photo courtesy Chimney Rock Interpretive Association
Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) will present the Stories at Sunset program on Monday, July 8. At this special program, guests will gather at the Great Kiva off the Mesa Village Trail as sunset approaches to listen to stories about Native American culture and history, told by Dinah Rosetta.

By Nadia Werby
Special to The SUN
Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) is proud to present the Stories at Sunset program on Monday, July 8.
At this special program, which only occurs twice a year, guests will gather at the Great Kiva off the Mesa Village Trail as sunset approaches to listen to stories about Native American culture and history, told by Dinah Rosetta.
Afterward, guests will return to the upper parking lot to enjoy one of Chimney Rock’s spectacular sunsets. Bring a blanket or camp chair for comfort, a light jacket and a flashlight to light your path back to your vehicle after sunset. Reservations are encouraged as space is limited. Walk-ins are accommodated if space is available. Tickets are $16/adult and $8/child (5-12). Guests must arrive for check-in and drive/walk to program location between 6:30 and 6:50 p.m. The program begins at 7:15 p.m. and sunset is at 8:31 p.m.
Rosetta is a member of the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico and lives in Espanola, N.M. Growing up in the Santa Clara Pueblo, she was surrounded by many renowned potters and other artists. Dinah began making pottery at the age of 8 and sold her first pottery piece to a tourist who was visiting the Pueblo.
In 1998, she decided to try her hand at figurative pieces. She utilized the Santa Clara style of producing the figurative forms and creating a more unique contemporary style of pottery pieces.
This process is quite lengthy. First, one must dig the natural clay, sifting and cleaning out any impurities from the clay. Next, white sand or volcanic ash is added as a binder for the clay to become usable for pottery pieces. After hand-forming each piece, they are allowed to dry. Upon drying, each piece is sanded and a thin coat of red clay paint is applied so that the piece can be stone-burnished. This creates a shiny or a matte finish on the piece before the piece is pit fired. The firing takes three steps: first warming up the piece; second, a hot firing to ensure the piece is hardened by the firing; and, lastly, the fire is smothered by horse manure, so that the smoke turns the piece to cobalt black. After the piece is allowed to cool, it is accented with feathers, semiprecious stones or wood. The sculpture pieces are now ready for sale. Each piece has a story or a specific meaning, which is then shared with the buyer.
Rosetta participates in Native American fine art shows from Nevada to Oklahoma. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of the pottery process and the story that has inspired each piece. Through the task of working on each piece, Rosetta constantly gives thanks to Mother Earth for the materials she is provided with, as well as the ability and knowledge to form each piece into a unique piece of pottery sculpture.
Early tour/stories
package available
Prior to the Stories at Sunset program, a guided tour of the Pueblo Trail will be offered for 25 people. Following the tour, guests will attend the Stories at Sunset program. Reservations are encouraged as space is limited. Walk-ins are accommodated if space is available. Tickets are $20/adult and 8/child (5-12).
Solstice on the San Juan
The CRIA board of directors has decided not to reschedule the 2019 Solstice on the San Juan event that was canceled due to weather. If you purchased a ticket for this event, please contact the CRIA office at 731-7133 to receive complimentary tickets to any tour or special event. CRIA offers a minimum of three special events a month and multiple daily tours. Check out www.chimneyrockco.org to view the 2019 calendar and tour times.
More about
Chimney Rock
Chimney Rock National Monument is located 17 miles west of Pagosa Springs and 3 miles south on Colo. 151. For more information about monthly programs and tour times, please visit www.chimneyrockco.org or call (877) 444-6777. A booking fee applies to each ticket purchased online or through the call center. Purchasing your tickets in advance is the only way to guarantee a spot for the monthly and annual programs. Most programs are at full capacity prior to the event, but we will accommodate walk-ins if space is available.
CRIA is a nonprofit organization which operates the interpretive program at Chimney Rock National Monument under a participating agreement with the USDA Forest Service/San Juan National Forest. For more information, please visit our website at www.chimneyrockco.org.

This story was posted on July 5, 2019.