Do you need a pick-me-up? Today I offer two.
First, your weekly bird note. This began with my friend and colleague John Welch, who directs Archaeology Southwest’s Landscape and Site Preservation Program. (If you missed John’s Archaeology Café Online two weeks ago, you can catch it here.) John had the great fortune of sighting a pair of crested caracaras and their nestlings over Mother’s Day weekend. You can see his photos of these majestic falcons on our Facebook page here (click through to see all four). John wrote, “I did not know until that day that seeing these birds outside of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum was on my bucket list, but now feel more complete as a fellow desert denizen.”
Seeing those adults and juveniles ringed in saguaro blossoms—a generational renewal—filled me with optimism. This coming Monday is the day our field school students would have arrived in Tucson. Every year, we spend the first two days of the field school in and around Tucson. Our intensive introduction to the southern Southwest includes a trip to the Tohono O’odham Nation’s Himdag Ki Cultural Center in Topawa. I usually drive one carful of students, telling them to keep a sharp eye out for a remarkable bird. And sure enough, the past three years, as we headed south from Sells toward Topawa with the sacred Baboquivari Peak in view, we spotted a caracara flying overhead. John’s images remind me that this time next year, I’ll have a bunch of students in my car, and we’ll almost certainly share the gift of seeing a caracara on the wing.
Second, our friend Gary Owens shared a bread-baking video that might surpass all other homemade bread imagery happening on social media these days. Gary directs the Huhugam Ki Museum at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Twelve minutes of Gary preparing and then baking yeast rolls in his horno (earthen oven) under a dramatic desert sky is genuinely soothing. Mesmerizing, even.
Every Monday at 10:00 a.m., our staff meets online. We talk business, of course, but it’s also just good to see one another—and see how long everyone’s hair is getting. We talk about you, too, and wonder how you’re doing, and discuss ways to stay connected with you. In this week’s edition, we’ve linked to the first in a new series of Hands-On Archaeology videos by ancient technologies expert (and cheerful, patient teacher) Allen Denoyer. Let’s consider that a third, bonus pick-me-up, from us to you.
Until next week,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Continuing Coverage: Feds’ Refusal to Postpone Chaco Deadline Fuels Outrage
Local tribes were heavily involved in the public input process until the novel coronavirus hit. Now they say that it’s shortsighted and reckless for the agency to plow ahead with the comment period. On Friday, during the second of the BLM’s five virtual public meetings, Richard Smith Sr., the tribal historic preservation officer for the Pueblo of Laguna, told the agency that the pueblo’s leadership couldn’t attend any of the meetings because it remains laser-focused on addressing the urgent health and safety needs of its community during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March the tribe requested that the BLM extend the deadline for the public comment period — and the situation has only grown more dire since then, Smith said. “It is simply unconscionable to continue with the current schedule … and on behalf of the Pueblo of Laguna I urge you to immediately halt the current schedule and work with tribes and other stakeholders on developing a feasible timeline,” said Smith Sr. https://bit.ly/2zd9Av6 – Grist
It was supposed to be a virtual public meeting focused on a review of a proposed plan that will govern oil and gas drilling and other development across a vast corner of northwestern New Mexico that is home to a national park and spots important to Native American tribes. Instead, Thursday’s meeting hosted by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs quickly shifted to a steady stream of criticism from tribal members and environmentalists who took issue with the virtual platform. https://bit.ly/3e69CUt – Albuquerque Journal
Rather than hold public meetings about its drilling plans, BLM instead has shifted to hosting virtual online public meetings. And what region in America has one of the lowest internet bandwidths and fewest homes with internet access, yes, the Navajo Nation. In its determination to jam through its decision by year end, BLM runs roughshod over any sense of authentic public outreach or engagement. https://bit.ly/2z3Pkfx – Mark Pearson in the Durango Herald
How to Comment
Despite our best efforts, and those of many, many groups, the Agencies have not moved the deadline. With the current schedule, comments must be received by the Agencies on or before THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2020. I would like to direct everyone to a “Writing Comments” webinar we put together with our partners at New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. The webinar provides background so folks can understand the basics of what the RMPA and EIS documents are supposed to address. For comments, we would ask everyone to emphasize the following points, as well other concerns. https://bit.ly/2WJOU70 – Paul Reed at the Preservation Archaeology blog
Webinar on writing comments: https://bit.ly/3dLjzXg
Border Wall Impedes Traditional Hopi Trail
The Hopi Tribe says the Trump administration’s plan to build 74 miles of barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border would disrupt a ceremonial migration route. According to Hopi Vice Chairman Clark Tenakhongva it would cut off the Palatkwapi Trail, which the tribe uses to maintain cultural and ceremonial connections to Indigenous groups in Mexico and Central America. https://bit.ly/3e2Neeq – KNAU (NPR)
Essay: Looking to the Past to Understand Pandemics’ Effects on the Environment
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have noted that the Earth seems to be recovering from degradation and pollution. …For some, this pattern begs a rather uncomfortable question: Are pandemics good for the environment? For an answer, we can look to the past. As a human ecologist and an archaeologist who studies the environmental consequences of disease outbreaks in human history, I spend my days attempting to reconstruct past human population levels, collect data on environmental shifts, and unravel the social and ecological consequences of potentially apocalyptic epidemics and pandemics. https://www.sapiens.org/archaeology/covid-19-environment/ – Elic Weitzel in Sapiens
Essay: Repatriating Vigango to the Mijikenda of Kenya
Most people in modern society enjoy the right to decide what happens to their bodies, as well as those of their loved ones, when they die. As Chip Colwell, my former DMNS colleague and editor-in-chief of SAPIENS, noted so eloquently in his book Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits, this has not been the case for Indigenous populations under colonial rule, with tragic effects. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) of 1990 helped to rectify this situation in the United States by providing a legal framework under which federally recognized tribes may formally request the return of their ancestors’ remains, sacred objects, and other materials. NAGPRA has no bearing on international repatriations, however. https://www.sapiens.org/column/curiosities/vigango-repatriation/ – Stephen E. Nash in Sapiens
New Video Series: Hands-On Archaeology
Ancient Technologies expert Allen Denoyer brings Hands-On Archaeology directly to you. Although our Hands-On Archaeology classes are on hold, you can experience Allen’s knowledge and instruction through video. In this segment, Allen introduces the basics of flintknapping. New videos will come out on Thursdays. https://youtu.be/4e_ribJLw30
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.
The University of Colorado Museum of Natural History is bringing the Earl Morris Archives online: “The museum is home to many of the personal papers of Earl H. Morris, an archaeologist who worked in the Southwest and in Mesoamerica between the 1910s and 1950s. Through funding made possible by the National Historic Preservation and Records Commission, we are working to organize and digitize the Morris collection.” Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/earlmorrisarchival/. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/earlmorrisarchival/
From Southwest Seminars: We will easily return to weekly Monday lectures when it is safe. Until then, we have a new project to share: the SWS Video Library, southwestseminars.tv. The collection is drawn from our 20+ years of weekly archived lectures with noted scholars and relevant content in the fields of archaeology, Native culture, Southwestern history, and natural sciences. (There is an annual subscription fee, or you can rent presentations by the week.)
Podcast from Science Moab: “Speaking Across Knowledges: A conversation about Indigenous ways of Knowing and Western Science.” There is a lot of Western science happening here on the Colorado Plateau but there is also long-held Indigenous knowledge that is centered on knowing this place. Here, we speak with Jim Enote about these two different knowledge systems. Jim is a Zuni writer, farmer and CEO of the Colorado Plateau Foundation. Jim is also a trained scientist and we talk with him about the different ways that Western scientists and Indigenous communities both understand the world and maintain knowledge. Jim explains how we can begin to speak across those understandings to make the world better for both people and the natural environment. https://bit.ly/3g4NDiu
From the Arizona State Museum: On Friday, June 5, at 9:30 a.m. MST/PT, Dr. Irene Bald Romano will present a webinar, “The Lives of Two Ancient Pandemics and Their Modern Resonance.” In this illustrated talk, Dr. Romano will discuss two pandemics of the ancient world that are well-documented, both from literary sources and archaeological discoveries: the plague of Athens that struck during the second year of the Peloponnesian War (430 B.C.) and was a contributor to the downfall of the Athenian Empire; and the Antonine plague (A.D. 165–180), during the rule of the Antonine Emperors, which heralded the fall of the Roman Empire. Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/2Tlaqgg
From Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument: Beginning Thursday, May 21, 2020, access to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument will be available under the following guidelines: 1) Due to anticipated higher visitation, rangers may limit access to the dwellings and/or provide guided walks to ensure social distancing can be maintained; 2) On weekends park rangers will give guided walks to the dwellings for no more than 10 visitors at a time. Guided walks will be offered four times daily or more as staffing allows. Visitors will not be permitted access to the dwellings without a ranger if guided walks are going on. For further information, times, or to make a reservation, call the park administrative offices, Monday through Friday 9 am – 4:30 pm, at 575-536-9461, or reach us by emai, email@example.com.
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/