Statements by Archaeology Southwest President and CEO William Doelle, Tribal Representatives
Tucson, Ariz. (July 25, 2018) – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) today reintroduced legislation in the House of Representatives seeking national monument designation for a remarkable cultural landscape known as the Great Bend of the Gila, an 80-mile stretch of the lower Gila River spanning southern Arizona’s Maricopa and Yuma counties. Archaeology Southwest, an Arizona-based nonprofit whose headquarters are located in Representative Grijalva’s district, has been working in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, 11 tribes, and local communities to promote this national monument proposal.
Bill Doelle, president and CEO of Archaeology Southwest, made the following statement today:
“We join our tribal partners and the National Trust in extending our thanks to Representative Grijalva for his continued commitment to the Great Bend of the Gila, his attention to the American Indian tribes whose ancestors created its cultural landscapes, and his vision in sponsoring this legislation.
“The Great Bend is rich with ancient and historical rock art, ancient trails, and villages that date back more than a millennium. Archaeologically, we see mixing of the Hohokam and Patayan cultural traditions. There are also important historic resources, such as the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail and the Butterfield Stage route. These lands preserve real human stories and indigenous memories spanning thousands of years.
“This is a globally significant landscape—invaluable and fragile. National monument status brings recognition and protection, and it encourages respectful visitation. Even if this Congress does not prove ready to take this positive step, Representative Grijalva’s reintroduction of this legislation reflects the mutual long-term commitment to protect this landscape on the part of the tribes whose heritage is embedded in this landscape, the congressman, and other supporters.”
The following are statements by several of the tribal partners supporting the legislation.
Barnaby Lewis, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Gila River Indian Community:
“The Gila River Indian Community highly supports legislation for creation of the Great Bend of the Gila National Monument. The legislation will enhance and expand protections of ancestral lands of the Four Southern O’odham Tribes of Arizona as well as other tribes that have cultural connections to these lands.”
Gloria McGee, Fort Yuma Quechan Tribe Cultural Committee:
“The Fort Yuma Quechan Tribe supports Rep. Grijalva’s effort to establish a Great Bend of the Gila National Monument for the significance and importance of the region to the Quechan people. The Great Bend represents our lives, past and present. It stands as a living library, but is in danger of destruction unless priority is given to preservation of the area for future generations.”
Albert Nelson, Curator, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Cultural Center and Museum:
“The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation supports the bill introduced by Rep. Grijalva to establish the Great Bend of the Gila National Monument. The proposed Monument is in the traditional territory of the Yavapai, and we strive to preserve and maintain our traditional sites.”
About Archaeology Southwest
Archaeology Southwest is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Tucson, Arizona, that explores and protects the places of our past across the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest. For three decades, Archaeology Southwest has fostered meaningful connections to the past and respectfully safeguarded its irreplaceable resources. Learn more at www.archaeologysouthwest.org
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