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Department of the Interior Receives Overwhelming Public Support for Bears Ears

Burning Down the (Pit) House

How to Protect Our National Monuments

Bears Ears and Monument Reviews

The Antiquities Act Is Challenged

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How to Protect Our National Monuments

Archaeology Southwest’s President and CEO on How to Protect Our National Monuments
On April 26, 2017, the President issued an executive order requiring the Department of the Interior to review national monument designations since 1996 that are greater than 100,000 acres.This order assails the fundamentally American concept—certainly present in 1891 Durango—of preserving culturally and naturally rich places for the benefit and enjoyment of all Americans. This order disparages the idea that all Americans’ stories on the landscape, and especially those of America’s indigenous peoples, should be recognized, protected, and celebrated in our public lands. A “monument” is not always a statue, a discrete building, a group of standing stones, a battlefield. A monument may also reflect the ways people have made a living on a landscape, as well as how they value their histories within and at the scale of a landscape. (Moreover, national monuments managed by the Bureau of Land Management are open to a variety of public experiences—as long as those are consistent with the cultural and historical values that gave life to the monument—and BLM monuments inherently maintain their wilderness character.) http://bit.ly/2qgOoxn – Archaeology Southwest

We Only Have until May 26th to Save Bears Ears
Follow this link to make your voice heard. http://monumentsforall.org/ – Monuments for All

The New Range War
Merill Beyeler bears the classic look of a Western rancher. He’s got the leathery face of someone who has spent a lot of time outdoors. He wears flannel shirts, jeans, and a bone-colored cowboy hat. Mr. Beyeler, whose family roots in Idaho’s Lemhi County extend back to the 1850s, is also a rock-ribbed Republican. True, in Idaho, one of the reddest states in the nation, most people are Republican. But in Lemhi County, a hauntingly beautiful expanse of bald, taupe mountains and verdant river valleys wedged up against the Montana border, virtually no one puts a Democratic bumper sticker on his or her pickup. So you’d think that people like Beyeler would be happy at the prospect of the new Trump administration, buttressed by one of the most conservative cabinets in decades, ushering in a dramatic change in the management of public lands in the West. You’d think that they would relish the prospect of federal agencies either opening up more expanses to ranchers and commercial interests or giving more control to states. You’d be wrong. http://bit.ly/2rfsvvH – Christian Science Monitor

Dark Money Think Tank Behind the Assault on Our Public Lands
To achieve its purposes, Sutherland and affiliates have set up a website calling on the federal government to rescind the new national monument. They have produced anti-monument video advertisements. They have organized a petition drive. They have testified before the Utah legislature. They have traveled to Capitol Hill. They have churned out op-ed after op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune and other Utah papers. They have, in short, helped create a narrative meant to make people despise national monuments and their labor has paid off. The Sutherland Institute says these efforts are about lifting up local citizens, whose voices have been smothered by outside influences. But what other interests does Sutherland serve? http://bit.ly/2rfqIXs – Pacific Standard

More Dark Money
The national monument review will be a legal, moral, and political minefield. President Trump’s embrace of the Utah delegation and its pet cause is especially interesting given that most of the delegation’s members were vocal in their opposition to him during the presidential primary. For a president known to keep a list of those who speak ill of him, it is a curious alliance. The Center for American Progress’ analysis suggests that a closer look at the oil, gas, and coal underneath Utah’s national monuments—and the fossil fuel industry’s influence on Trump and the Utah delegation—might help explain this newly formed partnership.  http://ampr.gs/2rfw0C9 – Center for American Progress

Editorial: Zinke’s Skewed Perceptions of New Monuments
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said a lot of the right things during his recent visit to Utah. But it wasn’t all that reassuring because he didn’t listen to all of the right people. It will not be long until we learn whether the slanted view Zinke got during his visit will lead to a similarly warped recommendation to the president. Or whether the Montanan will find a way to do the right thing and convince the White House to leave the monuments in peace. http://bit.ly/2rfMBG5 – Salt Lake Tribune

The Sad Account of a Racial Divide at Bears Ears
The debate over the best use of these vast canyonlands is not just about states’ rights or who should control public land. Nor is it only about environmental protection or the preservation of Native American culture. It is also about the people who have lived alongside each other in this remote corner of southeastern Utah for decades — and the tension and distrust that continues to divide them. “I don’t like to degrade it down to race, but I think a lot of this comes down to that,” said Ben Brewer, who is white and grew up in the town of Blanding. “It’s a heated issue here, for sure.” http://lat.ms/2rfBJbr – Los Angeles Times

SWCA Recounts the Exposure of Human Footprints in the Tucson Basin
One summer, nearly 3,000 years ago, monsoon rains caused Rillito Creek in Tucson, Ariz., to overflow its banks and swamp a family’s fields at the confluence of the creek and the Santa Cruz River. As the water receded, a layer of sand was deposited, burying the footprints left by nine adults, two children, and a dog. The flood ruined that year’s crop. We might never have known about this family or the flood. But in 1983, a similar flood removed a bridge over the Santa Cruz River at Sunset Road. And in 2015, in anticipation of the closing of another bridge downstream, Pima County decided to replace the Sunset Road bridge and realign the road across a known prehistoric archaeological site. SWCA was hired to conduct routine archaeological investigations. We learned that nothing about this investigation would be routine. http://bit.ly/2rfqzDv – SWCA Environmental Consultants

Desert Archaeology on the Importance of Monitoring Construction Activities
What do archaeologists do? The first answer that probably comes to mind is “Dig!” We do indeed spend a lot of time moving dirt with mattocks, shovels, trowels, and dental picks as we excavate sites to recover cultural data. Most people are not as familiar with archaeological construction monitoring, which involves us watching other people dig. This may not sound as exciting or glamorous as digging an entire prehistoric settlement or documenting life in historic Spanish fortresses, but monitoring is a vital service we provide when construction and utility crews disturb ground in archaeologically sensitive areas. In Tucson, that means most of downtown as well as the areas along the Santa Cruz River. http://bit.ly/2rfzGE9 – Desert Archaeology, Inc.

Lecture Opportunity – Sedona
The next monthly meeting of the Verde Valley Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society, will be held on Thursday, May 25th, in the Community Room at the Sedona public Library, 3250 White Bear Road, Sedona, at 7:00 pm. Our well-known speaker will be Peter Pilles, Forest Archaeologist for the Coconino National Forest who is also one of the chapter’s advisors. His topic for the evening will be: The Perkinsville Valley Project. In the 1960’s, a group of students at Arizona State University organized a multi-year program of archaeological survey and excavations in the Perkinsville Valley, an archaeologically unknown region briefly visited by Jesse Walter Fewkes in 1906. Starting with a wide-ranging reconnaissance  survey, 21 sites were recorded that indicated a long-term occupation throughout the entire cultural sequence of the Verde Valley, from the Early Archaic through the terminal 1300-1400 Tuzigoot phase. A number of sites were excavated, identifying multi-cultural occupations by people of the Hohokam, Prescott, and Southern Sinagua traditions.

 

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