Dear Friends of Southwest Archaeology Today,
How are you—how was your week?
Probably not unlike yours, mine was not what I had expected it to be a few months ago. This past Wednesday through Sunday, I would have been in Austin, Texas, attending the Society for American Archaeology’s (SAA) 85th annual professional meeting. I’ve been going to these meetings since 1975, though I confess to missing the Disney World meeting a couple of years back.
While somewhat overwhelming—thousands of people, hundreds of presentations, tens of in-person connections to make—there are many aspects of the meetings I cherish. It’s so rewarding to see some of our previous year’s Preservation Archaeology Field School alumni present posters of their research projects. I’m grateful to our staff members who guide the students through the process of attending their first major professional conference. Field school director Karen Schollmeyer is currently working with this year’s (planned) presenters to share their projects online. More on that in future editions.
Two other meaningful things that would have happened at the meeting transitioned online. My friend and coworker Paul Reed received an SAA Presidential Recognition Award for his many years of work helping to protect the greater Chaco landscape from unchecked oil and gas development. And a dissertation award was posthumously bestowed on Saul Hedquist, a University of Arizona student I had the all-too-brief pleasure of knowing.
We passed the century mark on Tucson’s thermometers today. I’ve lived here for four decades now, so the annual “ice break” hasn’t fazed me for quite some time. Instead, I think about what a privilege it is to live in the Sonoran Desert. And I think about how galling it is that construction work continues—daily—on the border wall that separates Tohono O’odham, whose homelands I have come to love, from their deep connections to kin, culture, and traditional territory. My profound gratitude underlies my ongoing commitment to change. I know I’m not the only person ready to keep channeling resilience and energy into rebuilding a better and more just society.
Onward, friends. Take good care.
William H. (Bill) Doelle
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Federal Report Recommends Uranium Mining near Grand Canyon, Bears Ears
A long-anticipated Trump administration report aimed to “revive and strengthen the uranium mining industry” was released Thursday, and if its recommendations are implemented, it could provide direct government support for uranium production in San Juan County where the country’s last conventional uranium mill and several idled mines are located. Uranium companies applauded the plan within hours of its release while numerous conservation groups and Native American tribal leaders announced opposition. https://bit.ly/2SgFxJr – Salt Lake Tribune
Uranium-mining companies with mining claims near the Grand Canyon and Bears Ears may soon be receiving a boost from the U.S. government. According to a federal strategy released today, the Trump administration plans to examine land protections to allow more access for uranium mining on federal lands, use taxpayer funds to support “at least two U.S. uranium mines,” and streamline regulations like the National Environmental Policy Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act, which requires consultation with Native American governments prior to activities like mining. https://bit.ly/2xfJarx – Grand Canyon Trust
Research Shows Dangers of Uranium Mining near Grand Canyon
A new Grand Canyon Trust research report released today details serious problems at a uranium mine south of Grand Canyon National Park. The report, “Canyon Mine: Why No Uranium Mine is ‘Safe’ for the Grand Canyon Region,” chronicles the mine’s history, including escalating flooding and spraying of water contaminated with high levels of uranium and arsenic on soil in a watershed that feeds seeps and springs within the Grand Canyon. Canyon Mine is a poster child of what can go wrong at a uranium mine in the Grand Canyon region, the report concludes. The report comes as Arizona regulators weigh a key permit application that will determine how the mine is regulated. The Havasupai Tribe has long opposed Canyon Mine, located near the sacred site of Red Butte on the tribe’s ancestral homelands, voicing concerns that the mine could contaminate the aquifer that supplies the tribe’s water source and economic driver, Havasu Creek. https://bit.ly/3f2Le7e – Grand Canyon Trust
Five Positions Available on the Bears Ears National Monument Advisory Committee
The Bureau of Land Management announced it is looking for public nominations to fill five positions on the Bears Ears National Monument Advisory Committee, according to a news release. BLM will consider nominations over the course of 30 days. https://bit.ly/35ehEXX – ABC4.com (Salt Lake)
Focus on the Field Crew: Zion White
Aaron: How does Quechan oral history and stories, how do they compare with the archaeology of the lower Gila River where we’ve been working? Are they compatible, and if so, how? Zion: I think Quechan history and the area that we’re in right now are compatible because we do see designs, particularly in petroglyphs, that we still use in our regalia today. So that’s a testament that we were there in that area, and these areas were used to go back and forth to spiritual places. These places that we’re in are ultimately, we believe, going to be in the afterlife. If we don’t protect them, then we won’t have a way to get back to them. https://bit.ly/2yLNGhN – Aaron Wright interview with Zion White at the Preservation Archaeology blog
Publication Announcement: Plainware and Polychrome
Borck, L., Athenstädt, J. C., Cheromiah, L. A., Aragon, L. D., Brandes, U., and Hofman, C. L., 2020. Plainware and Polychrome: Quantifying Perceptual Differences in Ceramic Classification Between Diverse Groups to Further a Strong Objectivity. Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology, 3(1), pp.135–150. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jcaa.37.
Editors’ note: Authors Lewis Borck and Leslie Aragon are past Preservation Fellows at Archaeology Southwest. The full article is open access and available at the link above.
Online Resources, Events, and Opportunities to Help
Editors’ note: Please keep sharing these with us, and we will keep helping to get the word out. Our inbox is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emergency Relief Fund for New Mexico Tribes: An emergency relief fund has been created to help New Mexico’s tribal communities hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonprofit groups and state government leaders teamed up to launch the Native American Relief Fund, which will provide emergency grants to organizations serving the state’s hardest-hit tribal communities, including the Navajo Nation and the Zuni, Zia and San Felipe pueblos. https://bit.ly/35dipk9 – Santa Fe New Mexican. Direct link to the fund: https://nmcf.org/programs/native/.
Artist and Musician Ed Kabotie gave a Facebook Live concert Saturday, April 25, to benefit the Hopi Foundation Emergency Assistance Fund. Learn more about the fund here https://www.givemn.org/story/Hopi-Emergency-Fund. You can watch the concert on Kabotie’s Facebook page here: https://bit.ly/2xe2bdU.
Archaeology Southwest will host our second Archaeology Café Online at 6:00 p.m. MST on May 5. In “A Tale of Two Cities: Casa Malpais, Kinishba, and the Elusive Promise of Archaeological Tourism,” John R. Welch will take us on virtual tours of two of upland Arizona’s classic pueblos and earliest national historic landmarks. Registration is free, but required. More information: https://bit.ly/3cWa86H.
From our friends at Tonto National Monument: Do you have students learning from home? Discover the first written record of the cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument and the story of the first “field trip” to these structures by a local class in the year 1880 with this lesson plan: https://www.nps.gov/teachers/classrooms/first_field_trip.htm. PDF: https://www.nps.gov/…/upl…/The-FIRST-Field-Trip-Complete.pdf
For Kids: Books about the Past. Preservation Archaeologist Karen Schollmeyer makes recommendations from her family’s library of books about culture, archaeology, and history. https://bit.ly/3aMT01H – Archaeology Southwest
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center has added a new video from their webinar series to their YouTube channel. Check out Stefani Crabtree’s presentation “Toward a Science of ArchaeoEcology: Placing Humans into Food Webs.” https://youtu.be/zLjUPRddQr4.
The Verde Valley Archaeology Center’s (VVAC) Archaeology Field Institute has launched its Distance Learning program. The Institute’s offerings include “The Archaeology of the Verde Valley” and “The Rock Art of the Verde Valley.” The courses are free to all through June 30. Information and registration is available at https://course.vvarchcenter.org. Additional courses are under development. https://verdevalleyarchaeology.org
The Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project invites you to join them on Facebook for a live Q&A with MPPP founder and author of Life on the Rocks, Katherine Wells. Friday, May 1, at 1:00 p.m. MDT. “Please feel free to dialogue with each other and post your questions in advance. We will also embed this video on the MPPP website AND YouTube channel for viewing. The interactive component will occur on Facebook.” https://www.facebook.com/events/605292690025629/
The Amerind Museum is hosting a free lecture via Zoom: “An Overview of Mimbres Archaeology: Beautiful Pottery, Ordinary Architecture, and Scarlet Macaws in Southwestern New Mexico” with Patricia Gilman on Saturday, May 9, from 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. MST. To register visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_bceb5zYsTkeTsOv0GKDWxg.
We’re happy to help get the word out. Please submit news, publication announcements, and other resources to this link for consideration: https://www.archaeologysouthwest.org/submit-to-sat/