Shocking Reversal on Chaco-Area Drilling Case
Environmentalists were shocked and dismayed this week after a federal court rejected their claims against oil and gas development near Chaco Canyon, N.M., just weeks after the judge partially sided with them. Judge James Browning issued an opinion Monday night dismissing a variety of arguments against the Bureau of Land Management’s approval of oil and gas wells near the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, home to thousand-year-old Ancestral Puebloan ruins. http://bit.ly/2I5jpNZ – E&E News
Judge Browning’s decision this week, however, totally reversed his earlier decision, ruling now that the extensive oil and gas drilling in the area violated neither the National Historic Preservation Act nor the National Environmental Policy Act. The only clue to his change of heart comes in a footnote, in which he suggests that as long as the BLM sees to it that there is a fence or some kind of barrier to protect cultural resources from physical destruction, drilling can proceed. http://bit.ly/2rbFqBc – Sierra
Op-Ed: Paul Reed Calls for Greater Protections for Greater Chaco
It is critical that our nation preserves for future generations a “core protection zone” around Chaco Canyon, which includes a wide buffer around Chaco National Park, the Great North Road and other cultural sites outside the boundaries of the protected areas. Only a select few places share the cultural and historical significance and recognition that Chaco Canyon does. I am calling on the BLM and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to conserve these sites in the Resource Management Plan currently being amended. Once a place like Chaco Canyon is developed, it is gone forever. http://bit.ly/2Hmilpp – Santa Fe New Mexican
Video: Bears Ears and the Future of Our National Monuments
The Cultural Heritage Management Graduate Program of Advanced Academic Programs, Johns Hopkins University, presented a panel of expert voices to discuss the December 2017 reduction of Bears Ears National Monument and consider what this means for the future of heritage preservation in the United States. Panel Participants included Willie Grayeyes, Chairman of Utah Diné Bikéyah; Octavius Seowtewa, Pueblo of Zuni; Josh Ewing, Executive Director, Friends of Cedar Mesa; Tommy Beaudreau, Latham & Watkins, LLP and former Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of the Interior; and Dr. William H. Doelle, President, and CEO, Archaeology Southwest. “Any opportunity I have to talk about Bears Ears, I will take it, because we are the voice of our ancestors,” Octavius Seowtewa, member of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, said at the panel. http://bit.ly/2I52F9L – Johns Hopkins University Advanced Academic Programs (opens at YouTube)
New Study Says Humans Caused Megafauna Extinctions
Being big was just as successful as being small, and had some advantages when it came to surviving big predators. “Taken as a whole, over 65 million years, being large did not increase mammals’ extinction risk. But it did when humans were involved,” Smith found. Looking back over the most recent 125,000 years of the fossil record, Smith found that when humans arrived someplace, the rate of extinction for big mammals rose. https://n.pr/2rdwbk4 – NPR
Group of Senators Asks Interior to Pause Management Planning at Bears Ears and Grand Staircase, Pending Lawsuits
U.S. Senator Tom Udall led a group of 16 senators in calling on U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke to halt the development of management plans for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments until legal challenges related to President Trump’s illegal attempt to shrink these monuments have been resolved. The senators also expressed their deep concern that the Bureau of Land Management does not intend to consider the millions of public comments in support of maintaining these national monuments—and has no plan to conduct meaningful tribal consultation—as DOI moves forward with the rushed planning process. “The president lacks the authority to revoke or reduce previously established national monuments—that authority is reserved to Congress,” the senators wrote. “We strongly disagree with the Department of the Interior’s decision to rush into the planning process for these landscapes based on proclamations which are being challenged in court and are likely to be overturned.” http://bit.ly/2I4VWwG – tomudall.senate.gov
Resource Extraction Encroaches on Hovenweep
The Utah Bureau of Land Management has sold oil and gas leases near Hovenweep National Monument, despite requests by monument officials to defer them to protect archaeological and natural resources. In March, 43 parcels totaling 51,400 acres in southeastern Utah were sold for oil and gas development for $1.5 million. The National Park Service requested that 13 of the parcels located within 15 miles of Hovenweep National Monument units be deferred, according to an Oct. 23 comment letter on the BLM lease sale plan. The request was denied. http://bit.ly/2reK3u8 – The Cortez Journal
Three Tribes Unite to Oppose Mine in Court
For more than a decade, Native American tribes in Arizona have voiced their opposition to a proposed copper mine in the southern part of the state. Now, three tribes are joining together to bring the fight to court. The Tohono O’odham Nation and the Pascua Yaqui and Hopi tribes have filed a lawsuit in federal court over the fate of about 3,600 acres of public land in the Santa Rita Mountains. A Canadian company has plans to establish a copper mine there, but the tribes say the area is sacred. http://bit.ly/2I5LrJi – Public News Service
Editorial: Strengthen NAGPRA by Strengthening Definition of Indigenous Remains
Scientists have a moral obligation to seek out those who might have a connection to the remains of the dead and let them decide their fate. They might not always like the decision—tribes may decide to prevent or restrict study of the remains—but they have more to gain than to lose from such cooperation. Giving Native peoples a voice in the study of their heritage is the only way to heal the wounds of the past—and build the trust needed to move forward together with scientists toward a fuller understanding of the human story. http://bit.ly/2I4lmdz – Scientific American
Pima Community College Raising Funds for Scholarship in Memory of Steve Ditschler
Southwest archaeology recently lost one of its finest field experts, Steve Ditschler. Steve, a graduate of the Pima College archaeology program, had been on most of the major excavation projects in Tucson over the past 20 years. Master excavator, expert backhoe operator, hard worker, and supportive coworker, Steve could be relied on to discover whatever features lay hidden below the surface. He was also a patient teacher and a friend to all in the field with never a cross word to say. In memory of Steve’s passion, stewardship, and field contributions in archaeology, a scholarship fund is being established to provide support for students to pursue the Field Archaeology Certificate through Pima County Community College: https://www.youcaring.com/pimacountycommunitycollege-1161463
USDA Forest Service Hosts Tribal Monitor Training
For decades, Native American tribal members have approached state and federal agencies to offer insight on their ancestral lands. Finally, land managers, surveyors, and others are tapping into this expertise—and employing tribal members to work alongside scientists. In January 2018, Henry and 30 others representing nine tribes took part in a first-of-its-kind intensive nine-day Tribal Monitor Training. Hosted by the USDA Forest Service and funded by Resolution Copper Mining LLC, the program was designed to train tribal members to work as specialized crews that identify and record traditional cultural places using a combination of traditional knowledge and modern archaeological techniques. http://bit.ly/2rdSPsp – USDA.gov
The Archaeological Conservancy is excited to announce the launch of the crowdfunding campaign for the POINT-6 Program (Protect Our Irreplaceable National Treasures). This is the sixth phase of an emergency acquisition project intended to purchase and preserve significant sites in danger of destruction. The funds will be used to quickly acquire highly endangered and significant archaeological sites around the nation. The Conservancy has protected 134 highly threatened sites throughout the nation through previous phases of the POINT Program. http://bit.ly/2I5cSCX – The Archaeological Conservancy
Research published in the journal PLOS ONE by a team of archaeologists and microbiologists from Nevada’s Desert Research Institute (DRI) and Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU) showcases the use of modern research methods to uncover clues about the genetic ancestry of Native Americans who inhabited the Desert Southwest during the last thousand years. This research marks only the second time that scientists have been able to sequence human DNA from plant-based artifacts. http://bit.ly/2rd0B5S – Desert Research Institute via Genomics Research
Recapture Canyon in the News Again
San Juan County is spending tens of thousands of dollars claiming a right of way through controversial Recapture Canyon. Without state support, officials in the southeastern Utah county recently filed a stand-alone lawsuit against the U.S. government, citing various historic records indicating the county maintained a “road” there since 1886. The canyon, famed for cliff dwellings and an illegally built ATV trail, has been a source of friction for years between county officials and federal land managers, who closed the canyon east of Blanding to motorized use in 2007 to protect its archaeological resources. http://bit.ly/2I1AhFs – Salt Lake Tribune
SFU Announces Open-Access, Student-Managed, Peer-Reviewed Archaeology Journal
Inlet: Contributions to Archaeology is a new open-access journal based at the Department of Archaeology at Simon Fraser University in BC, Canada. INLET will publish contributions to archaeology, bioanthropology, and heritage, including articles on CRM findings, thesis research results, and small project outcomes that may not fit under the purview of traditional publication venues. INLET is managed by an editorial board of SFU students under the supervision of faculty editors. http://bit.ly/2rev8jL – INLET
Register Now for the 2018 ARARA Conference
The American Rock Art Research Association (ARARA) invites all persons interested in rock art research to attend its 2018 Annual Conference, convening June 1 at the Double Tree Inn in Grand Junction, Colorado. Presentations on current rock art research will form the centerpiece of the meeting (June 2 and 3). ARARA will also offer two days of guided field trips (June 1 and 4), visiting a variety of intriguing rock art sites in the area, where attendees will discover the richness of the local rock art heritage. Other special cultural activities are planned throughout the conference, including social events and vendor offerings of rock art related items. The conference is open to all. Registration and information: https://arara.wildapricot.org/Conference-Info
Special Event: “Canoa Speaks O’odham” Celebration
At 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, O’odham tribal members Joe Joaquin, Adam Andrews, and Tony Burrell, and archaeologist Allen Dart discuss the Sobaípuri, Akimel, and Tohono O’odham who lived in the Canoa vicinity south of San Xavier Mission, followed by “Canoa Speaks O’odham,” one of four English and O’odham language videos produced by Friends of Canoa Heritage Foundation, Arizona Humanities, and Old Pueblo Archaeology Center to share rare insights into O’odham traditions. This 1½ hour celebration will be held at Hacienda de la Canoa, 5375 S. I-19 Frontage Rd., Green Valley, Arizona. $10 donation requested. https://www.visitcanoa.com/canoa-speaks
Lecture Opportunity — Winslow AZ
On May 9, the Homolovi Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society presents Blythe Morrison, Ft Lewis College Center of Southwest Studies NAGPRA archaeological collections specialist (Durango CO) for The Flocks of Houck: An Investigation of Ancient Turkeys in Northeastern Arizona, about the presence and significance of turkeys in ancestral Puebloan sites, AD 800–1200. We meet the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Winslow Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, 523 W. Second St.,Winslow. You can also join us and the speaker for dinner at 5 p.m. at the Historic La Posada Turquoise Room (on your own tab).
Lecture Opportunity — Cave Creek AZ
The Desert Foothills Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society presents on May 9, from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, at no charge, Lindsay Montgomery, What would we do without stories? This talk focuses on the narratives inscribed in the basalt rocks that traverse New Mexico’s landscape. These rock art images offer a new archive, which can be read alongside indigenous oral histories and historic documents produced by Westerners. A body of Ute rock art documented in the northern extent of the Rio Grande Gorge reveals the intimate connection that exists between rock art, ecology, and ritual among the Ute. 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).
Lecture Opportunities — Phoenix AZ
Saturday, May 5, at 1:00 p.m. archaeologist Allen Dart presents Set in Stone but Not in Meaning: Southwestern Indian Rock Art for the Phoenix Public Library at the Heard Museum’s Dorrance Education Center, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. Allen will illustrate how petroglyph and pictograph styles changed through time over different regions of the Southwest prehistorically and will discuss the difficulties of rock art interpretation. For this free presentation, supported by Arizona Humanities, no reservations are needed. For information contact Jean Barry at 480-968-5519 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Phoenix Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society invites you to join us in the Pueblo Grande Museum Community Room on Tuesday, May 8, at 7:00 p.m. to hear photographer and author Don Liponi discuss the book La Rumarosa: Rock Art Along the Border, a survey of Kumeyaay and related artwork in Southern California, Colorado River Corridor, Western Arizona and Baja California. Signed copies of the book will be available for $20 after the talk. The Pueblo Grande Museum is located at 4619 E. Washington Street, Phoenix. Join us at 7 for snacks & refreshments. Talk will begin about 7:30 p.m., followed by a short Q&A period. Call Pueblo Grande Museum at 602-495-0901 for more information.
Lecture Opportunity — Tucson AZ
The Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society (AAHS) is pleased to present Samantha G. Fladd on Monday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the University Medical Center’s Duval Auditorium (1501 N Campbell Ave, Tucson 85724), who will discuss, Accumulating Identities at the Homol’ovi Settlement Cluster. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, please visit the AAHS website: http://www.az-arch-and-hist.org/, or contact John D. Hall at email@example.com with questions about this or any other AAHS program.
Lecture Opportunities — Dragoon AZ
Join Dr. George “Wolf” Gumerman (Dean of the Honors College and Professor of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University) as he examines one of the most socially and economically important components of Peru’s Moche culture–the food system. Because food is incredibly social, it reflects sociopolitical organization. Food related data from Moche sites indicate the relative independence and self-sufficiency of Moche households and communities, suggesting a decentralized sociopolitical organization rather than a centralized authority with control over production, distribution, and consumption. Gumerman’s lecture Prehistoric Moche Politics and Food along Peru’s North Coast will be Saturday, May 5, 2018, 11:00 a.m. at the Amerind Museum in Dragoon AZ.
Many Southwest prehistoric farming villages once thrived, but then lost their permanent population. Archaeological data now reveals the region’s population nosedived about A.D. 1350, well before the arrival of the Spanish and Old World diseases. But why did that happen? The Director of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, Dr. Dave Phillips, will discuss how an established concept in medicine, Emerging Infectious Disease, may be the missing part of the puzzle. The lecture will take place at the Amerind Museum in Dragoon AZ on Saturday, May 12, 2018, 1:00 p.m. This program is supported in part by Arizona Humanities.
Visit amerind.org or call 520.586.3666 for more detail about these events. The lectures are free with regular museum admission.
Lecture Opportunity — Taos NM
The Taos Archaeological Society is pleased to present Paul Reed, UNM-Taos Professor of Anthropology and Preservation Archaeologist at Archaeology Southwest, who will lecture on The Stone Towers of Ireland on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 7pm at the Kit Carson Electric Board Room, 118 Cruz Alta Road, Taos, NM. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
We thank Cherie Freeman for her contribution to this edition.