– Historic Preservation (Tempe): MESA, Ariz. A 2-and-a-half (m) million project will begin next month to clean up Tempe’s Hayden Flour Mill, a landmark that has reached a low point in its storied history. The building is scarred from a 2002 fire set by transients. Inside the mill, asbestos, fire debris and years of pigeon droppings cover the floors. Since buying the mill from developers in 2003, Tempe has been looking to renew the property without destroying its history.
– Historic Preservation (Tucson): A 90-year-old former bank building on Congress Street that was intended to be restored isn’t historic after all. Built in 1913, the Bank One annex has been remodeled extensively, so much so, that local officials say it can no longer be considered historic and can be torn down to make way for a condo project. “It’s outrageous,” Martin said. “We were promised that under no circumstances would the Bank One annex not be preserved.” At the time, Assistant City Manager Karen Thoreson also told the Arizona Daily Star that the city was working with the developers to include the annex in its condominium project because there was a spectacular historic structure under the facade put on the building in the 1950s.
– BIA to Default on Obligation to Navajo Tribe: More than three months after first warning the Navajo Nation of a potential budget shortfall, the Bureau of Indian Affairs last week said it does not have enough money to cover supplemental welfare assistance requests for members of the Nation. The news came about even as the BIA failed to make a separate $1.5 million payment to the Navajo Division of Social Services, forcing the delay of December public-assistance payments to eligible Navajo members, reported the Daily Times of Farmington, New Mexico.
– Innovative Crow Canyon Study links Native American Commerce in the SW to Ethiopia: “Alternative Visions of Culture and Land,” a cultural exchange program led by Crow Canyon Archaeological Center of Cortez, Colorado, in partnership with The Christensen Fund of Palo Alto, California, introduced actionable models of economic progress based on American Indian successes with cultural tourism. The tour, which concluded in November, visited the Navajo Nation and the New Mexico and Arizona pueblos of San Juan, Acoma, Zuni, and Hopi. Ethiopian nationals learned about the American Indian’s culturally based economic-development efforts that respect tradition, land, and place.
The Ethiopians hope to apply these models to their own efforts to build an economy that is rooted in their assets of rich and diverse ecologies, cultures and artistic traditions, and respects their ways of life. “About 90 percent of the Ethiopian population earns its living from the land, mainly as subsistence farmers,” said Clay Patton, Crow Canyon’s business director for cultural explorations, “Ethiopia could become a popular destination for many of the same reasons that draw tourists to the Southwest.” Currently most people in the US only associate Ethiopia with famine; they have no sense of it as the place where many crops grown in the US were first domesticated, and as a beautiful, fascinating and vibrant country with a diverse cuisine. “There has been much talk of continuing this program with the exchange going the other way…American Indians of the Southwest visiting Southwest Ethiopia as a logical follow-up,” continued Patton.
“The Ethiopian group was carefully organized so that the full range of people who can imagine and lead change can gain the perspective they need,” said Ken Wilson, executive director of The Christensen Fund.
“It is important to delineate the wide array of people included in the group. This diverse group was composed of government officials, private sector individuals and community leaders. They each expressed a multitude of questions and concerns throughout the trip that reflected their own community and personal sensibilities. On several occasions, they also expressed to me that it was hard to imagine of such a group otherwise coming together and traveling for two weeks. Of particular note are the two elder men who spoke solely Gamo, Aleka Shagre and Aleka Mezge,” said trip scholar Matthew J. Martinez of the Pueblo of San Juan. “They have never been outside of their communities-much less traveled outside of their country via plane or bus. It became clear from the visit that American Indian communities are too struggling to balance multiple ways of life and that the Ethiopians also felt that they are not alone in the quest for cultural continuance.
Continued Martinez, “The Ethiopian visit to the United States Southwest covered a mere snapshot of American Indian life and economic and cultural initiatives. Furthermore, the Ethiopian testimony at the final dinner banquet conveyed a wealth of information of what was learned during the visit. This ranged from learning about the vast differences in American Indian communities, the continuous struggle to maintain language and culture, to the importance of farming. There is no doubt that the Ethiopians returned to their homeland inspired to continue and initiate new endeavors in ways that incorporate alter-Native visions of culture and land.”