Borderlands lecture event

Borderlands Lecture Series

Roadside History and the Archaeology of the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fé Trail

The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines cultural heritage tourism as "traveling to experience the places, artifacts, and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present." Every year thousands of people drive, hike, or otherwise travel segments of the reconstructed route of the Santa Fé Trail in search of such authenticity. Signs and sources along the route, and online, create a popular yet exclusive narrative of the trail’s history. Professor Minnette C. Church of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs shares the stories of those who lived and settled along the trail but whose experiences were often drowned out by triumphal economic, military, and political narratives. Focusing beyond the trail ruts to see those who lived their lives along the route forces archaeologists and historians to blur traditional boundaries between “history” and “prehistory," and to find the stories relevant to contemporary residents as well as travelers and tourists from afar.