I was pleased to see a major new initiative by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation called the Monuments Project. Mellon has allocated $250 million over the next five years to this effort.
From what I gather, the focus is likely to favor urban settings. According to the New York Times article I read, the project “defines ‘monument’ broadly to include not just memorials, statues and markers but also ‘storytelling spaces,’ as the foundation puts it, like museums and art installations.”
In the public lands of the nation, especially in the West, broad coalitions of Indigenous people and supportive nonprofits make the case that cultural landscapes, with deep histories embedded on and within them, are very important monuments. Sometimes they are labeled national monuments or national parks.
Such landscapes may not be exactly what urban dwellers think of as “monuments,” but they most certainly reflect this statement by Mellon Foundation president Elizabeth Alexander in the article: “The beauty of the deep study of history is when you realize there’s not just one story, and there’s not just two stories. You realize the power of this country is our multiplicity.”
As a subscriber to this newsletter, you know well that threatened places—such as the Greater Chaco Landscape—have invaluable stories to tell. I hope Mellon’s Monuments Project will focus on these places, too. The healing that this nation needs will not be easy to accomplish, but Mellon’s commitment to social justice and its allocation of its largest-ever funding level for the Monuments Project is cause for optimism.
My best wishes for the week ahead,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Identifying Sites and Resources in Greater Chaco
Tribal governments are working with archaeologists to identify thousands of culturally-sensitive sites and resources in the Greater Chaco region, in hopes of preventing oil and gas development in the area from encroaching further onto the sacred landscape. The studies are part of a multi-pronged strategy to protect the area amid increased oil and gas leasing on federal lands in New Mexico. https://bit.ly/33ged3B – NM Political Report
Interior Secretary Refuses to Delay Greater Chaco Planning Process
Opponents say the conditions with the COVID-19 pandemic that led Bernhardt to extending the comment period once before have not changed and that the plan should be placed on hold until there can be in-person meetings once again. But during his visit to Farmington on Oct. 5, Bernhardt said the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs will go forward with the Farmington Field Office Mancos-Gallup Resource Management Plan Amendment. Bernhardt said the resource management plan amendment has been in the works since 2014. “We need to move forward and get this plan done,” he said. https://bit.ly/3jBnrxa – Farmington Daily Times
Continuing Coverage: Judge Rules Pendley’s Official Actions Must Be Set Aside
A federal court ruling that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management had an invalid director for more than a year has cast doubt over several of the agency’s efforts to drive oil and gas development on federal lands. William Perry Pendley, the BLM’s deputy director for programs and policy, served unlawfully as the agency’s director for more than 400 days because he was not confirmed by the Senate as required by law, according to the ruling last week by U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Montana. Morris said “any ‘function or duty’ of the BLM Director that has been performed by Pendley would have no force and effect and must be set aside.” https://bit.ly/34yjOSm – Indiana Environmental Reporter
Aaron Weiss, deputy director at the Center for Western Priorities, said not only did Pendley’s tenure exceed the statutory limit, but he named himself to the interim job, which also wasn’t legal. “The judge spent a lot of time in his ruling going over just how absurd the series of succession orders were: signed by [Interior] Secretary [David] Bernhardt and signed by William Perry Pendley himself, in his acting capacity, making that acting capacity permanent,” Weiss said. https://bit.ly/33E0CDH – Utah Public Radio (NPR)
Commentary: Coalition Calls on Bernhardt to Retract Pendley’s Management Plans, Regulations
The National Wildlife Federation, the National Audubon Society, and 58 other conservation organizations have called on Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to retract all management plans, decisions, rulemakings, and regulations that were influenced by William Perry Pendley, after a judge ruled Pendley served unlawfully for 14 months as the Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In a letter, a coalition of organizations said Pendley had been involved in numerous resource management plans across the West, environmental studies in the Arctic, regulations for oil and gas leasing, rulemaking for timber and recreation, and hundreds of personnel decisions. https://bit.ly/2I3pOeq – National Audubon Society
Continuing Coverage: Road Closure at Quitobaquito Springs
National Park Service officials at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument announced a road closure that will block access to Quitobaquito Springs. The closure comes a day after about 30 people from almost a dozen tribes across the West gathered at the ancient water source for a cross-border ceremony held by O’odham leaders. https://bit.ly/2SuUIya – Arizona Public Media
Frederick York Passes
Dr. Fred York, an anthropologist who helped reform federal relationships with Native American communities across the American West, passed away at his Seattle home on January 31, 2020. In a career spanning some five decades, York was an energetic presence, applying anthropological methods in support of Native American cultural interests in national parks and beyond. https://legcy.co/36F6wpK – New York Times via legacy.com
Prescott Museum Changes Its Name
Barbara Karkula said it is a great honor to serve as the first Native American board president for the Museum of Indigenous People in Prescott. Karkula said it is an exciting time, especially with the museum’s name change this spring. The museum was formerly known as the Smoki Museum and previously held events that were offensive to some Arizona tribes. Karkula said she wants to ensure the museum doesn’t offend tribes and acknowledged that each tribe has its own culture. https://bit.ly/2I5ii2D – Navajo-Hopi Observer
Commentary: Proposed Legislation Aims at Rethinking Place Names
On Sept. 25, Rep. Deb Haaland introduced legislation that would set the stage for reviewing and potentially changing offensive names of parks, national forests, wilderness areas, monuments, mountains, rivers and other places. …The Reconciliation in Place Names Act would create an advisory committee empowered to make suggestions to Congress about renaming federal land units like national forests, and to the body within the Department of the Interior that’s in charge of decisions about naming geographical features. The committee would include tribal representatives and authorities on civil rights. https://bit.ly/30WwbXF – Blog of the Wilderness Society
University of Tennessee Adopts New NAGPRA Policy
In 1990, Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which recognized that all human remains “must at all times be treated with dignity and respect.” Thirty years later, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has approved a policy restricting the creation, reproduction, and publication of images of Native American cultural items and human remains. UT’s policy is a result of discussions during consultation with tribal nations. https://bit.ly/2Sz6Eio – University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Job Opportunity: Cultural Site Stewardship Coordinator
Recruitment # 24682; Hiring Official: Elizabeth Hora; Location: 300 S Rio Grande St Salt Lake City, Utah; Salary: $20.82-$31.25. Open date: October 1, 2020; Close date: October 19, 2020. To be considered for this position, please apply online at governmentjobs.com/careers/utah and search for the job posting by either job title or agency. If any applicants have questions they can contact email@example.com.
REPOSTING: Job Opportunity: Tribal Outreach Fellow
The Wyss Fellow will participate in two years of intensive training within Archaeology Southwest’s Landscape and Site Preservation Program. The Fellow will assist with planning and implementing a campaign to establish the Great Bend of the Gila National Conservation Area. The Fellow will also work with Archaeology Southwest’s staff and with Tribal and non-Tribal colleagues to implement the Tribal lands archaeological resource protection initiative. Deadline: October 18. https://bit.ly/35O8ns8 – Archaeology Southwest
Publication Announcement: Resource risk and stability in the zooarchaeological record
Dombrosky, J., Besser, A.C., Elliott Smith, E.A. et al. Resource risk and stability in the zooarchaeological record: the case of Pueblo fishing in the Middle Rio Grande, New Mexico. Archaeol Anthropol Sci 12, 248 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-020-01193-0 (full article available online)
Publication Announcement: Two New Reports in the Maxwell Museum Technical Series
No. 34, Part 1, Tijeras Pueblos 1970s Room Excavations, Part 1: Room Block 1, by Lucy C. Schuyler, 2020. https://bit.ly/3dc8uzh
No. 35, Pottery Mound: The 1958 Field Season, by Jean H. Ballagh, with contributions by Ellen Daigh Herbertson, 2020. https://bit.ly/3dcOQ6o
Online Resources, Events, and Opportunities to Help
Please keep sharing these with us, and we will keep helping to get the word out. Our inbox is firstname.lastname@example.org.
TONIGHT, from the Boulder Chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America: On October 7, at 7:00 p.m., Dr. Steven Lekson will present “T-Doors, Tri-Walls, and Sub-Floors: Southwestern Examples of Clunky Evidence in the Age of Big Data.” More information and Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/3noQ8Ql
From the Four Corners Lecture Series: On October 4, at 4:00 p.m. MDT, Dr. Ricky Lightfoot will present “Crow Canyon Archaeological Center: Making History in the Mesa Verde Region.” More information and Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/2SyULco. View past presentations on Crow Canyon Archaeological Center’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/CrowCanyonConnects/videos
From Grand Staircase Escalante Partners and the Grand Canyon Trust: The video of our second teach-in series featuring panelists Lyle Balenquah, Janene Yazzie, and Jim Enote is now available at https://youtu.be/Q98SiVFoMB8. This is the second in a five-part series focusing on Native Perspectives on Public Lands and Tribal Preservation co-hosted by Grand Canyon Trust and Grand Staircase Escalante Partners. The remaining panels will be held 6:00–7:00 p.m. MDT Oct. 8, 15, and 22. You can sign up to attend the Zoom webinars live at bit.ly/NativePerspectiveSeries.
From the National Park Service and Google Arts and Culture: Visit Bandelier National Monument virtually. https://bit.ly/3ljeGrX
From the Oklahoma Public Archaeology Network: Please join us on October 14 at 6:00 p.m. CDT for “Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: A Conversation with Chip Colwell and Gordon Yellowman.” Colwell, editor-in-chief of SAPIENS, and Yellowman, Cheyenne Chief of the Southern Cheyenne Nation, will provide insider perspectives on the complex process of repatriation between museums and Indigenous communities. Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/34x2Ofb
From the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum: On October 17, at 2:00 p.m. MST, Homer Thiel will present “Mayhem and Murder: Crime in Territorial Tucson.” This lecture will be held live on the Territorial Patio at the Presidio Museum (social distancing and masks). $5 at the door. Or, you may register to watch the lecture on Zoom. More information and Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/30F9DdK
From the San Juan Basin Archaeological Society: On October 13, at 7:00 p.m. MDT, Patricia Crown will present “Drinking Rituals and Politics in Chaco Canyon.” Along with Jeffrey Hurst, Crown identified the first pre-Hispanic cacao north of the Mexican border in ceramics from Chaco Canyon using organic residue analysis. This talk will not be recorded, so participants will need to log in on October 13. For details and log-in information, see sjbas.org.
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/