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Lost In Mesa Verde

Niveau 1°
Axe: territoire et mémoire
Problématique: how have Pueblo Indians managed to keep their traditions?

Click here to start the game

Click here if you need/want to know more about the Native American tribes before you start.


Click on the names of the tribes to learn about them.

The Anasazi territory

More than 500 nations live on the American territory (included Hawai and Alaska). If you want to know more about them, click here. You can also click on the name of a tribe on the map to learn about it.

You are a tourist visiting Mesa Verde National park in Colorado.
While you are exploring a little cave, you faint. When you wake up, your group has disppeared, leaving you behind with no connection.
Gather the clues you will find and take the four challenges to unlock the padlocks which keep the safety phone.
The local guides have left a few documents that might help you.
Eeach document will give you clues to find the codes to unlock the padlocks.

On the site you find an introductory video on the people who used to live there. There might be some clues.
Watch the video, then take the challenge.
Iit will give you the first code.

1. Take the challenge

2. Enter the code to continue the game

What's the name of the tribe who used to live in Mesa Verde?
This is the code. Type it clicking on the corresponding letters, do it slowly, each letter at a time.

Wrong, maybe you should go through the document again. Click on the button below to watch the video again and take the challenge.

Well done!! You 've unlocked the first padlock!
Click on the button below to continue

The second document you find is a text.
Read it and take the second challenge to find the second code.

Anasazi: What's in a name?

A thousand years ago, when their civilization arose in the Southwest, the people who built these great stone structures did not call themselves Anasazi. The word did not even exist: It was created, centuries later, by Navajo workers who were hired by white men to dig pots and skeletons out of the desert. It’s a word that recently has fallen out of favor. What is wrong with "Anasazi"? For starters, it is a Navajo word unrelated to any of the Pueblo peoples who are modern-day descendants of the Anasazi. But more than that, the word is a veiled insult. For a long time, it was romantically — and incorrectly — thought to mean "Old Ones." It actually means "Enemy Ancestors," a term full of political innuendo and slippery history. In Navajo, ’Ana’í means alien, enemy, foreigner, and non-Navajo. ’Anaa’ means war. Sází translates to something or someone that was once whole and is now scattered, a word used to describe the final point of corporeal decay, as a body turns to bones and is strewn by scavengers and erosion. Pueblo people have expressed serious concerns about this word. Naming the past can either connect people to their own ancestors or alienate them, and a word as loaded as Anasazi is likely to erode crucial links to the past. Some have suggested using the Hopi word Hisatsinom, a term referring to ancestors. But because Hisatsinom is a Hopi word, it does not account for other Pueblo groups, such as the Zuni or Acoma, or the many pueblos along the San Juan River and the Rio Grande in New Mexico. Many archaeologists and media outlets have turned to using "Ancestral Puebloans," an expression that is rapidly gaining popularity. But the modern Pueblo tribes trace their ancestry to nearly all of Arizona, and as far away as the Mexico City region — far beyond the Colorado Plateau where the Anasazi once lived. Using any single, overarching name, politically correct or not, is simply misleading, because it reinforces the notion that the Anasazi were one distinct group of people. And that is just not true: The archaeological record and reports from living Puebloans reveal myriad ethnicities occupying the Four Corners a thousand or so years ago. So, what name should we use? There is no simple answer. These people were Ancestral Puebloan, Hisatsinom, and Anasazi. And they were none of these.
Craig Childs Oct. 3, 2005

Take the challenge

Enter the code

Answer the following questions on the text . How many "true" answers did you find? This is your code.

Enter the code/Click on the correct number/letter

Wrong, you need to do it again, click on the button to go back.

Well done, you 've unlocked the second padlock!
Click on the button below to continue.

You find a few documents on Chaco Canyon, a place you've already visited with your guide.
Go through the documents and take the challenge to get the third code.

2. Click here to take the challenge

3. Click here to enter the code

1. Watch the video

Here is your next challenge answer the questions with elements from the text, then put the colored numbers in the boxes below.

Each set of number(s) corresponds to an alphabetical letter. Find the code and enter it after closing this window.


Type the code slowly, each letter at a time

Wrong, try again!
Click on the button below to go through the document again.

Type the code slowly, each letter at a time

You did it! Good job, you 've unlocked the third padlock!!
You are ready for the fourth challenge!

You remember your guide told you a lot of things about the Hopi and the way they kept their ancestral traditions. Take the fourth challenge and find the code to the last padlock in here.


By the end of the twentieth century, the Hopi tribe was considered one of the more traditional Indian societies in the continental United States. As far back as they can be reliably traced by archeologists (to the period called Pueblo II, between 900 and 1100), the Hopis have been sedentary, living in masonry buildings. Their villages consisted of houses built of native stone, arranged around a central plaza containing one or more kivas. Hopi villages are arranged in much the same way today. The kiva remains largely as it was in ancient times: a rectangular room built of native stone, mostly below ground.
A tradition of oral literature has been crucial to the survival of the Hopi Way because the language has remained unwritten until recent years. The oral tradition has made it possible to foster Hopi pride during modern times and to continue the custom, ritual, and ceremony that sustain the religious beliefs that are the essence of the Hopi Way. The body of Hopi oral literature is huge.
The Hopis depended and continue to depend on the land. Wild game had dwindled significantly in the region by 1950, leaving only rabbit as well as a few quail and deer. Modern Hopi farmers still use the old methods, raising mainly corn, melons, gourds, and many varieties of beans. Corn is the main crop, and the six traditional Hopi varieties are raised: yellow, blue, red, white, purple, and sweet. All have symbolic meaning stemming from the Creation story.
Women had long hair, but marriageable girls wore their hair twisted up into large whorls on either side of their heads. These whorls represented the squash blossom, which was a symbol of fertility. This hairstyle is still worn by unmarried Hopi girls but due to the amount of time required to create it, the style is reserved for ceremonial occasions.
"In spirit and in ceremony, the Hopis maintain a connection with the center of the earth, for they believe that they are the earth's caretakers, and with the successful performance of their ceremonial cycle, the world will remain in balance, the gods will be appeased, and rain will come." Central to the ceremonies are the kiva, the paho, and the Corn Mother. The kiva is the underground ceremonial chamber. Rectangular in shape (the very ancient kivas were circular), the kiva is a symbol of the Emergence to this world, with a small hole in the floor leading to the underworld and a ladder extending above the roof opening, which represents the way to the upper world. The paho, a prayer feather, usually that of an eagle, is used to send prayers to the Creator. Pahos are prepared for all kiva ceremonies.
While the well-known Snake Dance is preceded by eight days of secret preparation, the dance itself is relatively short, lasting only about an hour. During this rite the priests handle and even put in their mouths unresistant snakes gathered from the desert. Non-Hopi experts have tried to discover how the priests can handle snakes without being bitten, but the secret has not been revealed. At the conclusion of the dance the snakes are released back into the desert, bearing messages for rain. The ritual ceremonies are conducted within the kivas in secrecy. The Eagle dances that follow are rhythmic, mystical, and full of pageantry. Outsiders are sometimes allowed to watch the dances.
source: https://www.everyculture.com/multi/Ha-La/Hopis.html

Take the challenge












Take the challenge

Enter the code here

Go back to text.

Match the slides with the following definitions from the text (you will need a piece of paper)

1. give the name corresponding to the definition,

2. Write the number of the slide corresponding to the definition,

corresponding word or expression
slide number...
An underground ceremonial chamber.

A symbolic cereal dating back to the creation story.

The way the Hopi arrived on earth.

Young Hopi women hairstyle

Sacred feathers

a sacred dance performed by just a few men and preceded by eight days of preparations

another sacred dance very popular among the Hopi people.

3. Write the numbers in the yellow boxes. Keep this figure in mind.

Type the code slowly, each letter of number at a time

Wrong, try again!
Click on the button below to go back to the previous document.

Good job, you 've unlocked the last Padlock, you can now call for help!

Click on the phone to call for help!