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Chamizal Virtual Ranger

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Badge illustration with text: Virtual Ranger, Chamizal National Memorial

Junior Rangers are special people who are dedicated to their national parks. Their mission is to explore, learn, and protect and to have fun while doing it!

While you can earn your Junior Ranger badge on your visit to Chamizal National Memorial, we have also put together an opportunity for you to become a Chamizal National Memorial Virtual Ranger.

Using the pages of our website, you can complete the online activities to earn your Virtual Ranger badge! When you finish, print your badge to add to your collection!

Orientation

National memorials tell stories that are worth remembering. This one reminds us of an important event in our country’s history and helps us learn from it and celebrate it. Where is Chamizal National Memorial? Use our park map to discover where this important history unfolded and find the answers to the following questions.

Directions

  1. Read the question. Don't click on it yet!
  2. Look for the answer on the park map.
  3. Now click (or tap) on the question to reveal the answer.

A wide, calm river flows between banks covered in low, green vegetation.

NPS / RODNEY SAUTER & 106 GROUP / CHRIS EVANS

Background

You may not be able to tell from the park map, but Chamizal National Memorial and the surrounding city are located in a desert: the Chihuahuan Desert.

One reason people have lived in this part of the desert for a very long time is because there is water from a river that starts in Colorado and flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Listen to Javier Loera talk about what this river means to the people of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. What is the name of the river?

True, that is what we call the river in the United States, but that’s not its only name.
True, that is one name for the river and is what the river is usually called in Mexico. There are other names for the river, though.
True, that is what people of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo call the river, so that may be its oldest name. There are other names for it, however.
Correct! “Rio Grande” is used in the United States, while in Mexico it is called “Rio Bravo.” “Pethla” is how it is known to the people of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo.

Speaking of names, Chamizal National Memorial’s name comes from the word “chamizo,” which is a...

No, you might be thinking of “chorizo”!
Correct! “Chamizo” is the name in Spanish for a shrub called the four-wing saltbush. A place where chamizos grow is called a "chamizal."
Not quite. However, there is a squirrel named “Chami” after Chamizal National Memorial. Chami is our mascot and helps people learn about this park. You can see Chami helping other junior rangers in this photo gallery.

Chamizal History

The history of Chamizal National Memorial includes conflict and resolution.

A situation where there are opposite sides that disagree, argue, or even fight
A problem is solved

War

Read about the US-Mexican War and make a list of the costs of the war to the people and nations involved.

  • Two years of time
  • 44,000 people wounded or killed
  • Mexico lost half of its land to the United States
  • Hard feelings between the two countries

Boundary

After the war, the United States and Mexico worked together to map the new boundary between the two countries.

That’s right! The Rio Grande. The deepest part of the main channel of the river was the boundary. What are some advantages and disadvantages of using a river as a boundary?

Conflict

Path of river shown in green against a plain background Four different river channels show large variation in river's course
The course of the Rio Grande four years after it became the boundary
Maps of the river at different times show big changes in its course.

The Rio Grande was mapped after it became the boundary between the United States and Mexico: in 1852 (green), 1889 (blue), 1899 (yellow), and 1907 (red). Move the slider back and forth to see how the river's course changed a lot over time in the area claimed by both the United States and Mexico.




Over time the river channel shifted. Do you think the boundary should move with the river? Who controls the land on either side when the river changes course? If you’re not sure, don’t worry; the United States and Mexico had to find answers to the same questions, and it took them a very long time! Take your time and browse the conflict timeline to find answers to the following questions.

Resolultion

Half of original image shows MexicanPresident Adolfo Lopez Mateos with label identifying him covering other side Half of original image shows US President John F. Kennedy with label identifying him covering other side
Move the slider to reveal the name of Mexico's president in 1962. ROBERT KNUDSEN. WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHS. JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM, BOSTON
Move the slider to reveal the name of the US president in 1962. ROBERT KNUDSEN. WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHS. JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM, BOSTON



After such a long time, solving this problem would be difficult. There were strong feelings on both sides. People had built houses and were living on the disputed land. It would take careful diplomacy to keep both governments working together to find a solution. Ambassador Thomas C. Mann represented the United States in discussions. He and a group of men from both countries negotiated by sending possible solutions back and forth for the other side to consider. Both the United States and Mexico had to compromise to find a solution they could both agree on.

A form of the words diplomacy, ambassador, negotiate, and compromise are used in the previous paragraph. Can you match each word to one of the following definitions?


Listen to what Ambassador Thomas C. Mann said about the conditions that the two countries agreed on in order to resolve their dispute over the Chamizal land.

Not everyone shared the same feelings about the conditions of the treaty at the time. Read about how some people were affected when the Chamizal treaty was implemented, or carried out, and listen to a couple of the perspectives.

Reflect for a minute on what you might think or feel if you were told you had to move from your home.

Presidents Johnson and Diaz Ordaz wave to crowd from open car. Confetti fills the air and hood of car.
Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Gustavo Díaz Ordaz celebrate the official exchange of land as stipulated by the Chamizal Convention. October 28, 1967.

LBJ PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY

Celebration

From the perspective of the US and Mexican governments, the Chamizal treaty was a huge success and cause to celebrate. Today, Chamizal National Memorial exists as a reminder of how nations can peacefully solve their problems when they commit to diplomacy and treat each other respectfully.

A Living Memorial

Today we continue to promote the respect and goodwill between the United States and Mexico that allowed a long disagreement to finally be resolved. As a sign of friendship, we fly the flags of both countries on the grounds of Chamizal National Memorial.

Can you identify which flag belongs to which country?
Illustration of crossed US and Mexican flags with text identifying Mexican flag Illustration of crossed US and Mexican flags with text identifying US flag
Slide left to see which country's flag is red, white, and blue with stars and stripes.
Slide right to see which country's flag is green, white, and red with an eagle and a snake.



As a national memorial, we keep our nation’s important histories alive to recall problems that our country should avoid and keep in mind how to peacefully resolve them. We are one of the many national parks that preserve the heritage of the United States. The arrowhead logo can be seen at all national parks and shows the resources that park rangers protect.

Can you match the letter for each clue to the number on the part of the arrowhead logo that it describes?

  1. Click on each letter to read the clue.
  2. Decide which numbered part of the arrowhead logo the clue is talking about.
  3. After matching all of the lettered clues to the numbered parts of the arrowhead, move the slider to the left to reveal the correct answers.
I wear snow on my head most of the year, and I provide a home for many plants and animals. Park visitors like to climb to the very top of me and enjoy the views that normally only birds can see. I represent the beautiful scenery found in national parks.
I am always on the move. People put their boats on me, swim in me, and sunbathe on my shores. Fish call me home. Lots of people like to have fun around me, so that gives me the important job of representing fun things people like to do in parks.
I am wide at the top and pointy at the bottom. Because I was so important to the people who lived here a long time ago, I represent the stories (history) and objects (archaeology) of the people, places, and events that are remembered in our national parks.
I am big, furry and have horns. I like to eat grass, and I represent all of the animals in our national parks.
I am very, very tall, and have green needles. I stand tall for all the plants in the national parks.
Text, "match the clues to the numbered parts of the arrowhead," with an arrowhead and parts labeled 1-5 1 (arrowhead) matches C, 2 (tree) matches E, 3 (mountain) matches A, 4 (water) matches B, 5 (bison) matches D
Match clues A through E to parts 1 through 5 on the arrowhead.
Move the slider to reveal the correct matches.



Badge illustration with text: Virtual Ranger, Chamizal National Memorial
Click or tap to open this badge image, which you can download or print.

Congratulations!

Now that you have completed all of the activities to become a Chamizal National Memorial Virtual Ranger, all you need to do is say your oath out loud and print your badge.

Virtual Ranger Oath

I promise to do my duty as a Virtual Ranger by telling others what I have learned today. I will share this activity so others can become Virtual Rangers as well. I will remember to find peaceful ways to end disagreements I might have with other people. I will practice diplomacy with others and treat them with respect.

A few ideas for displaying your badge:

  • Print your badge, use it as a template to cut a piece of cardboard matching the shape, and then glue the paper and a pin onto the cardboard!
  • Use tape to secure it into your passport or scrapbook!
  • Set it as your background on a phone or tablet!

Add Your Voice

We want to hear from you! What interesting thing did you learn? What activity did you enjoy the most or the least? Send us a message and tell us what you think.

Last updated: September 15, 2020