Grant to help uncover the forgotten history of the region of gold
Long before the first white settlers came to Golden, the town and surrounding area was inhabited by members of at least three Native American tribes who had their own rich culture that flourished in the area for thousands of years.
Now the city of Golden is commissioning a new study that will aim to deepen the existing understanding of these tribes and their worlds – and perhaps get those who live in the city today to consider some aspect of their home. and its history. in a different light.
According to a memo sent by senior city planner Lauren Simmons to the Golden Planning Commission, the city of Golden recently received a certified local grant of $ 25,000 from the Colorado State Historical Society, History Colorado.
This grant will be used to fund what the city calls a Native American ethnographic study that will allow it to hire an ethnographic consultant who will interview members of the tribes formerly present in Golden and consult the literature and documents relating to their presence to find as much as possible. on what happened in Golden before European colonization.
Simmons further explained that the effort qualifies as an ethnographic study because the goal is to gain a Native American perspective on the Golden region and its past and have members of that community tell their story.
“A lot of Golden’s history really has to do with its mining-related colony, so this study is all about really looking and seeing what else is out there and getting them (the Native Americans) and having their point. look at that time and that history in Golden, ”says Simmons.
She added that the intention of the study is to provide a basis for future projects that will help the city communicate and showcase this story and its importance to residents and visitors. A page on the city’s Guiding Golden page also states that another goal of the project is to help the city build a stronger relationship with descendants of Native American communities that once lived in the area.
The page reads: “The city hopes to lay the foundation for trusting and collaborative relationships that could develop over time to include Indigenous participation in the preservation and interpretation of Indigenous history, develop future initiatives. educational and add under-represented voices in the city’s ongoing work for regional heritage.
However, Simmons further explained that the $ 25,000 will likely be enough to just cover the cost of the study, with the city having to find or provide additional funding for other projects.
In a discussion at the June 3 planning committee meeting, Simmons said that while the project will lead to exciting new prospects for the city, it will likely reveal troubling truths as well.
Planning Commission member Crissy Fanganello was among those who expressed support for the importance of acquiring such knowledge, even when it can be difficult to tackle.
“I think the more we can have this forward-looking approach to how we educate people about what happened here that we maybe haven’t learned like we see in other parts of the country and how are we revealing some of the uglier sides that are really important to know and be responsible, “she said.” So this is a really interesting project. “
Simmons said the city, especially the Golden Museum & History Park which will be working closely on the project, is already considering ways to share the results of the year-long study with the community.
“Obviously we can publish an article and it’s easy to do,” she said. “But is there anything like an illustrated book or a museum exhibit? Are there other ways of disseminating information? “
First, however, the city will complete a public input process to get residents’ feedback on what the study should aim to do. To that end, the city recently posted a forum on guidancegolden.com that asks residents about the project.
Recent responses include a suggestion that one of the goals of the project is to determine if there are any sacred or ritual spaces that can still be preserved. Another respondent suggested that the project could lead to “real talk and tell the truth about the Western character of Golden”.
During the conversation with the town planning commission, Simmons repeatedly pointed out that while the city should develop certain goals for the project, it will need to strike a balance with as open a mind as possible about what it will discover and what these findings will lead to.
“We really see this as a step or a zero step,” Simmons said of the study.