Position Statements

Bent Trees

The Colorado Council of Professional Archaeologists (CCPA) has concluded that so-called “bent trees” or “prayer trees” in Colorado are not culturally modified. American Indians harvested natural materials from bark-peeled trees and those trees are rightly regarded as “culturally modified trees” (CMTs). Euroamerican settlers similarly modified trees for a variety of purposes. However, no evidence exists that native peoples in Colorado bent or otherwise altered the growth habits of trees. The CCPA further believes that the identification of “bent trees” as CMTs diverts valuable resources that could otherwise be used to document and protect legitimate cultural resources and results in the dissemination of false and misleading information to the lay public. Read our full statement here: CCPA Statement on Bent trees