As I write, it’s hard to be upbeat here in Arizona this evening.
COVID-19 is surging, regularly breaking daily records of new cases. Earlier today, President Trump came to Yuma to celebrate the border wall, followed by an indoor rally in Phoenix.
Indigenous residents in this state are hard-hit by the virus and by the deepening wounds of border wall construction.
The International Border in Arizona cuts through the traditional lands of the Tohono O’odham. Our lead articles today share profound statements about the desecration and real harm the dynamiting and scraping away of sacred places and cultural heritage are causing.
Also earlier today, Tohono O’odham Tribal Chairman Ned Norris Jr. commented in a forum of the National Congress of American Indians: “The federal government’s intentional destruction of our sacred sites is one of the most egregious violations of the trustee responsibility it holds.” (His comments were tweeted in real time.)
These voices cannot be ignored any longer.
Lawsuits have been filed. The time for change is overdue.
We did have some good news today, though: As part of the NEH CARES program, the National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a grant to Archaeology Southwest that will re-employ four members of the Fort Yuma Quechan Tribe who undertook fieldwork with Aaron Wright over the past seven months recording villages and petroglyphs along the lower Gila River in southwestern Arizona. These team members were recently profiled in blog posts we shared here, so they’ll be familiar to you. The team will now tackle the analysis and data-coding phase of the project.
So there’s my upbeat: that these specialists will be working to advance a nuanced understanding of what petroglyphs convey about the richness and complexity of people’s lives (in what is, for now, Arizona) in the past.
With best wishes for your week ahead,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Commentary: Border Wall Desecrates Sacred Places, Violates Religious Freedom
When I grew up living near the U.S./Mexico border, the Tohono O’odham elders taught me that our sacred mountains and springs—as well as our most important spiritual ceremonies and pilgrimages—occur on both sides of the international boundary. We traveled to areas not knowing we were in another country, but knowing we were on the land of our ancestors and family. I learned that we have a basic human responsibility to protect the land and the people. No matter what the current political debates are about the border, we must unite and stand against the unjust destruction on the border. https://bit.ly/2VdR9yh – Verlon Jose in Indian Country Today
Many faiths are able to shift their place or time of worship, but Native Americans involved in seasonal ceremonial cycles at particular sacred sites have no such options. As the Tohono O’odham are taught, “We must harvest the saguaro cactus fruit, make the ceremonial wine and sing our songs and dance, or the rains won’t come to grow our crops to feed our people.” Understanding this, intertribal and interfaith organizations are calling upon the U.S. Senate and Homeland Security to hold new field hearings along the border. https://bit.ly/3drEf5S – Gary Nabhan, Octaviana V. Trujillo, and Verlon Jose at azcentral.com (Arizona Republic)
Commentary: Radioactive Waste Does Not Belong on Ancestral Lands
The desecration of indigenous cultural landscapes by uranium has left scars on the land and the health of all living things who continue to be exposed. Rather than accepting radioactive waste from around the globe, it’s time we come together to call for accountability and transparency from industries that pollute our communities. https://bit.ly/2VbJssk – Talia Boyd in the Salt Lake Tribune
NEH Award Funds Tribal Petroglyphs Team
Archaeology Southwest is pleased to announce that it has received a generous $114,219 grant award from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) CARES: Cultural Organizations program. The funding will enable Archaeology Southwest to implement a new initiative, “Indigenous Petroglyphs as Social Networks,” and to re-employ four members of the Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe as Data Specialists on the project. https://bit.ly/37WlRRn – Archaeology Southwest
New Findings from the Social Reactors Project
Today’s modern cities, from Denver to Dubai, could learn a thing or two from the ancient Pueblo communities that once stretched across the southwestern United States. For starters, the more people live together, the better the living standards. That finding comes from a study published today in the journal Science Advances and led by Scott Ortman, an archaeologist at the University of Colorado Boulder. https://bit.ly/3186lAy – Heritage Daily
More information from the University of Colorado Boulder: https://bit.ly/2V9kXfu
Learning about the Jornada Mogollon
Myles Miller has spent decades researching the Jornada Mogollon. The society – which built pithouse villages, and, later, adobe pueblos – stretched from the Guadalupe Mountains to present-day southern New Mexico and Chihuahua. It’s been little-studied, but Miller’s work is filling in the story. https://bit.ly/3hXOgLu – Marfa Public Radio (audio also available at the link)
Audit Shows University of California Campuses Failing to Comply with NAGPRA
UC Berkeley and other UC campuses have been slow to return Native American tribal artifacts kept in their collections and have failed to comply with federal law, a recent audit found. The audit, conducted by the state of California, revealed that several UC campuses were failing to meet benchmarks for repatriation outlined by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA. https://bit.ly/3hWELfC – Daily Californian
Call for Public Comments: Painted Hand Pueblo
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is seeking public comment on a proposal to improve public access to the Painted Hand archaeological site. Comments on the initial plan will be accepted until July 22. The Bureau of Land Management is preparing an environmental analysis for the proposed action. The Painted Hand Pueblo was a small village with 20 rooms built in the 1200s. It is an important as an ancestral home to modern Native American tribes, including the Hopi, Pueblo of Laguna, and Pueblo of Acoma. https://bit.ly/3dtAbC0 – The Journal
Continuing Coverage: Removal of Oñate Monuments
For the Acoma people, the history of Juan de Oñate comes with a lot of pain. “It was troublesome for me, and it’s troublesome for many, not only Acoma people, but other cultures,” said Brian Vallo, the governor of the pueblo. “There is this history that exists in New Mexico and in this country. Our present day cultures and communities are rooted in that it doesn’t go away.” https://bit.ly/2VaQ1LO – KOAT
Commentary in the Los Angeles Times: https://lat.ms/3etGA1D
Publication Announcement: Spirit Lands of the Eagle and Bear
Spirit Lands of the Eagle and Bear: Numic Archaeology and Ethnohistory in the Rocky Mountains and Borderlands, edited by Robert H. Brunswig. University Press of Colorado. https://bit.ly/37XFQz6
Audio: Aztec, Salmon, and the Puebloan Heartland of the Middle San Juan
Write On Four Corners, June 10: Paul Reed, “Aztec, Salmon, and the Puebloan Heartland of the Middle San Juan.” Paul Reed, preservation archaeologist at Salmon Ruins and Archaeology Southwest, discusses the compilation of this award-winning collection of essays. https://bit.ly/3etJB1W – KSJE
Video: Black History in Southern Arizona
Most people may not associate Southern Arizona with black history, but a group of people are working to change that. From the first non-native to ever come to the southwest, to the role Buffalo Soldiers played in settling the state, Arizona has been influenced and shaped by people of African descent for nearly 500 years. https://youtu.be/UAzW3UpFztQ – Arizona Public Media
Video: How Did People Make and Use Stone Tools? Part VI: Biface Thinning
In this segment, ancient technologies expert Allen Denoyer demonstrates the process of thinning down a biface. https://youtu.be/f-bnQFOhUA8 – Archaeology Southwest (opens at YouTube)
Blog: The 2020 Race Uprisings and Archaeology’s Response
Essay by Bill White at Succinct Research: https://bit.ly/2Y9K57q.
Blog: Welcome to (Un)Field School
This summer, we had to find a different way to bring the field school—at least some aspects of it—to you. So, over the next several weeks, we’ll be featuring written posts and short videos on some of the topics our in-person field school covers, straight from some of the experts who usually help us teach them. https://bit.ly/3dvXv26 – Karen Schollmeyer at the Preservation Archaeology blog
Blog/Video: What Do Geoarchaeologists Do?
This (Un)Field School presentation is by internationally recognized geoscientist Gary Huckleberry. We’ve been fortunate to have Gary come to the Preservation Archaeology Field School the past few seasons and introduce students and friends to the field of geoarchaeology. https://bit.ly/315omQa – Karen Schollmeyer and Gary Huckleberry at the Preservation Archaeology blog
Blog: Can Archaeology Explain the Bread-Baking Craze?
Which way will the upheavals associated with the novel coronavirus pandemic send modern societies? Are American cooks investing energy into baking as a way to create comfort and ritual, or shifting to accommodate new social and economic conditions? And will any of these new domestic activities persist when the pandemic subsides? https://bit.ly/318opdR – Robyn Cutright at Sapiens
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.
From the Four Corners Lecture Series and the Colorado Archaeological Society’s Hisatsinom Chapter: On Thursday, June 25 at 4:00 p.m. MDT, Dr. Michelle Turner (postdoctoral scholar at Crow Canyon) will present “The Archaeology of the Aztec North Great House.” Registration: https://bit.ly/3fOPNBQ.
From Mesa Verde Voices: In this episode, we hear more about the metaphors associated with feathers from Lyle Balenquah, Hopi archaeologist; we hear about a very unique artifact on display at Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum from Jonathan Till, Curator of Collections; and we hear from traditional Pueblo weaver Louie Garcia (Tiwa and Piro Pueblo), about the logistics and history of raising Scarlet Macaws and trading their feathers across a desert landscape. https://bit.ly/3eu3upE
From Tonto National Monument: Effective on June 24, 2020, Tonto National Monument will reopen following a brief closure due to danger from the Bush Fire. Restrictions remain in effect due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Tonto National Monument will now be open 7 days a week and will allow access along the entrance road and provide viewing areas from the Visitor Center parking lot. As part of the phased reopening, entry fees are waived. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visitors can view the Lower Cliff Dwelling, Roosevelt Lake, and learn about the Monument from numerous waysides from the parking area. The following facilities remain closed currently: Visitor Center, including restrooms; Lower Cliff Dwelling and Lower Cliff Dwelling Trail; Picnic Area, including restrooms.
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/