Bears Ears, Gold Butte Designated National Monuments
Rising from the center of the southeastern Utah landscape and visible from every direction are twin buttes so distinctive that in each of the native languages of the region their name is the same: Hoon’Naqvut, Shash Jáa, Kwiyagatu Nukavachi, Ansh AnLashokdiwe, or “Bears Ears.” For hundreds of generations, native peoples lived in the surrounding deep sandstone canyons,desert mesas, and meadow mountaintops, which constitute one of the densest and most significant cultural landscapes in the United States. Abundant rock art, ancient cliff dwellings,ceremonial sites, and countless other artifacts provide an extraordinary archaeological and cultural record that is important to us all, but most notably the land is profoundly sacred to many Native American tribes, including the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah Ouray, Hopi Nation, and Zuni Tribe. http://bit.ly/2imSgZA – President Barack Obama via the Salt Lake Tribune
President Declares Bears Ears National Monument in Southern Utah
President Barack Obama on Wednesday protected a sprawling landscape in southeastern Utah that many had either hoped or dreaded would join the outgoing president’s long list of national monuments. The 1.35 million acres of public lands surrounding San Juan County’s Cedar Mesa will be known as Bears Ears National Monument, named after the pair of buttes protruding from a ridge joining the mesa and the Abajo Mountains to the north. http://bit.ly/2imLDGY – Salt Lake Tribune
President of the Navajo Nation, Russell Begaye, Comments upon Bears Ears Designation
I am very proud to be both Navajo and American. As the President of the Navajo Nation, I’ve dedicated my life to ensuring that, as a Najavo, my story — and our stories — are part of our collective American history. Today, I want share one of those stories with you. There was a time when our nations, American and Navajo, were at war with each other — when the U.S. Cavalry forcibly rounded up Navajo men, women, and children, and marched them at gunpoint to a foreign land hundreds of miles away. During this time, some of my Navajo ancestors successfully hid at a sacred place of prayer, shelter, and fortitude: the Bears Ears area of Utah. This beautiful piece of land stretches for over a million acres of land across the southern edge of the state. Its ancient cliff dwellings, ceremonial sites, abundant rock art, countless cultural artifacts, winding creek beds, and expanses of desert land, contain the great history of my nation. http://bit.ly/2hDAXQh – The White House via Medium.Com
Archaeology Southwest’s William Doelle on the Historic Monument Designations
President Obama has, through the authority provided him by the Antiquities Act of 1906, proclaimed the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Archaeology Southwest has long urged greater federal protections in the region, and we joined the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and the Friends of Cedar Mesa in their efforts to have the monument declared. William Doelle, president and CEO of Archaeology Southwest, an Arizona-based nonprofit, shares the following statement: “We celebrate the president’s designation of Bears Ears National Monument under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906, which was established to protect places of national cultural significance. Bears Ears far exceeds that standard—the region’s well-preserved archaeological sites and cultural landscapes have limitless scientific value, of course, but they also tell essential stories about being human that are meaningful to all people. “With this proclamation, President Obama profoundly conveys our shared respect for the lives of those who came before, their descendants, and ourselves as Americans.”
President Cements Environmental Legacy in Nevada and Utah
President Barack Obama expanded his environmental legacy in the final days of his presidency with national monument designations on lands in Utah and Nevada that have become flashpoints over use of public land in the U.S. West. The Bears Ears National Monument in Utah will cover 1.35 million acres in the Four Corners region, the White House announced Wednesday. In a victory for Native American tribes and conservationists, the designation protects land that is considered sacred and is home to an estimated 100,000 archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings. It’s a blow for state Republican leaders and many rural residents who say it will add another layer of unnecessary federal control and close the area to new energy development, a common refrain in the battle over use of the American West’s vast open spaces. Utah’s attorney general vowed to sue. http://wapo.st/2imVgW2 – Washginton Post
Utah Residents Express Outrage and Praise for Bears Ears
Utahns’ reactions to the announcement of the new 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah were immediate and ardent. http://bit.ly/2imVf4l – Salt Lake Tribune
Editorial: Monument Critics Should Take a Deep Breath
Some of the most spectacular scenery in the world lies in southern Utah, a wonderland of rust-red rock shaped by channels of cool water, punctuated by craggy buttes and Native American ruins and artifacts. After Wednesday, more of this priceless landscape will be formally protected — if, that is, the country’s incoming Republican leaders do not allow anger at President Obama to impair their judgment. The White House announced Wednesday that Mr. Obama designated 1.35 million acres of breathtaking lands — known as Bears Ears, after two buttes that jut prominently into the air — a national monument. The designation caps a presidential term that saw conversion of several natural and culturally significant areas into protected zones, achievements that may turn out to be the most persistent element of Mr. Obama’s legacy. Utah leaders responded with fury, arguing that the president is behaving imperiously, and promised to push for a rollback. In fact, Mr. Obama took a moderate approach, and his critics should take a deep breath. http://wapo.st/2hDDUju – Washington Post
Saline Soils at Chaco Imply Importation of Maize
According to a new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, the ancient inhabitants of Chaco Canyon likely had to import corn to feed the multitudes residing there. The study, by University of Colorado Boulder researcher Larry Benson, shows that New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon had soils that were too salty for the effective growth of corn and beans. “The important thing about this study is that it demonstrates you can’t grow great quantities of corn in the Chaco valley floor,” Dr. Benson explained. http://bit.ly/2hDx5yN – Sci News & http://bit.ly/2hDAYDv – Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports (Paywalled)
More BLM Lands Protected
The federal Bureau of Land Management wants to halt new mining claims from sprouting up on more than 1 million acres of land in the California desert. On Wednesday the bureau will propose the temporary withdrawal of more than 1.3 million acres of the state’s National Conservation Lands from the “adverse impacts of mining.” The stoppage will take effect immediately until a thorough evaluation is completed in two years. The evaluation will decide if the ban will become permanent. The proposal would not prohibit ongoing or future mining on valid existing claims, only new claims, according to bureau spokeswoman Martha Maciel. http://bit.ly/2imIW8f – San Bernardino Sun
The Story of the National Park Service’s Artist in Residence Program
Tanya Ortega has been working with America’s national parks system since she was 17 and spent the summer in Yellowstone National Park. In addition to being fortunate enough to live and work in those unparalleled surroundings for the entire season, she also was exposed to the legendary paintings of the region that landscape artist Thomas Moran created in the early 1870s that were instrumental in the creation of the park. So the Santa Fe native understands as well as anybody the value of putting artists in a position where they can be inspired by and capture the wonders of those American treasures. Two years ago, she started her own nonprofit organization in her hometown that would create artist-in-residence programs at a variety of national parks, allowing painters, photographers, musicians, filmmakers, dancers and others to experience a prolonged stay and receive exposure to the parks. After a year of preparation, the National Parks Arts Foundation program was launched this year, and Ortega, the executive director, said 78 artists participated around the country, including five at National Park Service properties in this area — four at Chaco Culture National Historic Park and one at Aztec Ruins National Monument. http://bit.ly/2imLHX2 – Farmington Daily Times
Congratulations to Archaeologist and Runner Neil Weintraub, the Arizona Daily Sun Male Citizen of the Year
As the director and co-founder of the Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association, Neil Weintraub is synonymous with one of Flagstaff’s favorite outdoor pastimes. But it’s how he uses his passion to help others that makes Weintraub the Arizona Daily Sun’s Male Citizen of the Year. “He epitomizes the best that volunteerism brings, including fostering friendship and pride in local treasures, while creating healthy outlets for persons from all walks of life across Northern Arizona,” said a group letter submitted to the Daily Sun by more than 100 members of the local running community. http://bit.ly/2hDrus2 – Arizona Daily Sun.
“Looking northward from Aacqu and the tall rock monolith on which the mother pueblo sits, there is an opening, like a gateway, between two mesas. Looking northward, too, from Aacqu, one can see Kaweshtima — Snow Peaked — a dark blue misted mother mountain. Those Aacqumeh names do not appear anywhere except in the people’s hearts and souls and history and oral tradition, and in their love. But you will find the easy labels: Mt. Taylor, Elevation 11,950 ft., and Acoma: The Sky City.” Simon Ortiz, a poet from Acoma Pueblo and a major figure in the 20th-century Native American Renaissance, wove together those words about his home together in 1980 in the piece “Fight Back.” Acoma is a solid drive of 3 1/2 hours from Taos and sits just 66 miles to the west of Albuquerque on the old Route 66. Even though the heart of Acoma Pueblo — Old Acoma, the “Sky City” — is just a short way off the freeway, understanding the mythic and monumental stories of that community is not as easy as just taking an exit. http://bit.ly/2hDwa14 – The Taos News
Lecture Opportunity – Cave Creek
Desert Foothills Chapter – AAS presents on January 11th from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at no charge, Carrie Cannon. Where lies the cure to diabetes? “Ask the prickly pear, or the mesquite bean pod… maybe they will tell you.” This is the answer you may hear from elder instructors of the Hualapai Ethnobotany Youth Project. The ethnobotanical story of the Hualapai Tribe begins with the plant knowledge the people inherited from their great grandparents who lived entirely off the land. Hualapai grandchildren live in a modern world of cell phones, text messages, and Apple iPods. Information in this presentation shares knowledge about the project’s examination of the crucial role plant resource acquisition plays in Hualapai culture; knowledge that was fine-tuned and perfected over millennia. The meeting is held in the community building (Maitland Hall) at The Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church, 6502 East Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, AZ 85331 (near the Dairy Queen). http://bit.ly/2imIwP4 – Desert Foothills Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society
Lecture Opportunity – Taos
The Taos Archaeological Society is pleased to present Angie Krall, Forest Archaeologist, who will lecture on “What’s New on the Old? New Archaeological Discoveries in the San Luis Valley,” on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 7 pm at the Kit Carson Electric Board Room, 118 Cruz Alta Road, Taos. Contact Don Keefe @575-224-1023 or Phil Aldritt@575-770-3408 for questions or further information.
Lecture Opportunity – Tucson
Old Pueblo Archaeology Center’s January 19, 6-8:30 p.m. “Third Thursday Food for Thought” dinner (Village Inn Restaurant, 6251 N. Oracle Rd., Tucson) features historian Jim Turner’s Arizona Humanities-supported free presentation “Native Roads: A Pictorial Guide to the Hopi and Navajo Nations.” This virtual tour highlights the Four Corners region’s prehistoric sites, trading posts, history, folklore, legends, and geological wonders enshrined in Fran Kosik’s Native Roads: A Complete Motoring Guide to the Navajo and Hopi Nations, which Jim recently edited for republication. No entry fee. Guests may purchase their own dinners. Reservations required before 5 p.m. January 18: 520-798-1201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lecture Opportunity – Santa Fe
Southwest Seminars Presents Dr. Severin Fowles, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College/Columbia University and Author, The Making of Made People: The Prehistoric Evolution of Hierocracy Among the Northern Tiwa of New Mexico and An Archaeology of Doings: Secularism and the Study of Pueblo Religion, who will give a lecture Interpretations of Archaic Northern Rio Grande Rock Art on January 9 at 6pm at Hotel Santa Fe as part of the Ancient Sites Ancient Stories Lecture Series. Admission is by subscription or $12 at the door. No reservations are necessary. Refreshments are served. Seating is limited. Contact Connie Eichstaedt 505 466-2775; email: email@example.com; website: southwestseminars.org
Lecture Opportunity – Winslow
The Homol’ovi Chapter of AAS (Arizona Archaeological Society) is pleased to present Rob Weiner on Wednesday, 11 January, at 7 p.m. at the Winslow Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center (Historic Lorenzo Hubbell Trading Post), 523 W. Second St, Winslow, AZ, with a talk entitled, “New Perspectives on Chaco Canyon: The Importance of Mesoamerican Exotica and Gambling.” Rob was the Cordell Prize winner at the 2016 Pecos Conference and is a Research Fellow with the Solstice Project. His research focuses on the Chaco Phenomenon with particular emphasis on ritual, cosmology, and Native oral traditions. You can also join us for dinner at 5 p.m. at the Historic La Posada Turquoise Room (on your own tab).
Editor’s Note: We at Archaeology Southwest would like to take the opportunity to first, wish everyone a Happy New Year.
As 2017 begins, however, we recognize that this year will present new challenges in our practice of preservation archaeology; we will be counting upon your support and personal involvement to take action to help preserve important places of the past. Archaeology Southwest welcomes the submission or announcements of positive, civil events or actions that encourage public participation in the preservation process, and we are willing to engage in open dialog with those whose viewpoints differ from our own. If you would like to share information concerning future public meetings, educational events, or other types of public outreach, please send your announcements to firstname.lastname@example.org.