How do you know when you have the perfect job?
For me, it’s when you get home after an 11-hour day and you’re relaxed, energized, and ready to face the ever-mounting challenges to Archaeology Southwest’s Preservation Archaeology mission.
I left home just before 7:00 a.m. with Tonto National Monument as my destination. Archaeology Southwest is working with monument staff to evaluate their long-term site-monitoring data and to integrate the archaeology of Tonto into the larger region.
Just getting to the monument was a series of touches with special places and special memories. When I passed Catalina State Park, I swear my car tried to turn right to enter the park. It’s my closest go-to place to immerse myself in the natural and cultural landscape. But not today.
Onward into the San Pedro River valley, where Archaeology Southwest began work in earnest in 1990. Entering the valley, after you pass the town of Oracle, you’re presented with a panorama of magnificent mountains that beg you to explore.
The next small town—Mammoth—is actually a pretty great place. On today’s trip, I was outdoing Pavlov’s dogs, salivating—I am an adamant fan of Mi Pueblito tortilla factory, but I wasn’t sure it had survived the pandemic. It has, for now, thankfully. And a short time later I was back in my car, rolling a warm flour tortilla, taking that first bite.
The beauty of the rest of the drive overwhelmed me, even still. The just-starting-to-change yellow tinges of the cottonwoods in the northern San Pedro River valley. The abundance of agaves on the stretch of road between Winkelman and Globe. Then the view of the extensive blue water of Roosevelt Lake.
And yet, the view of the blue water held my attention only briefly. I was overwhelmed by the extensive burned landscape I had been driving through since just past Wheatfields. It was a reminder of the late spring–early summer fire in Tucson that affected Catalina State Park. It was a reminder of the fires in California and Colorado that broke records. It was a reminder that Tonto National Monument has experienced wildfires the past two years.
It was a reminder that escaping into personal memories is a healthy respite, but only if it is part of rebuilding one’s energy and focus.
That’s where I ended up after my busy day. Energized. Concerned about the effects of climate change and its role in wildfires that are affecting very important places of the past that are important to so many today. Read today’s articles thoroughly. We have lots of work to do.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition Ready to Work with New Administration
We very much look forward to working with the incoming Biden administration to restore the Bears Ears National Monument and to re-establish the Bears Ears Commission, thereby once-again recognizing the role of the five Coalition Tribes in the management of the Monument. https://bit.ly/36wi8tz – Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition
Continuing Coverage: What’s Next for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante?
Among the speculated items on President-elect Joe Biden’s to-do list that is expected to get quick action is an executive order rescinding President Trump’s dismantling of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah, action that possibly could spur even more legal battles over these unique landscapes. “His campaign has been clear that restoring the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments is a top priority and we’re very grateful for that,” said Steve Bloch, the legal director for Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. https://bit.ly/3f64ukW – National Parks Traveler
But a new executive order won’t permanently protect the monuments, since it could be overturned by the next president. That’s according to Shaun Chapoose, a member of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee and co-chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, which was formed by five tribes to advocate for Bears Ears National Monument. The coalition is currently suing the Trump administration over its 2017 decision. Chapoose said if Biden dismisses that lawsuit when he restores the monument, the next president could shrink Bears Ears again. …He said he’d like to see the lawsuit, which also applies to the revised Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, play out, since it would settle the question of whether a president can undo monuments created by another president under the Antiquities Act. https://bit.ly/35CSunG – KUER (NPR)
Beyond those strong indications of President-Elect Biden’s future agenda, many questions remain. How long until President Biden takes action? Might he wait to see the outcome of the current litigation, which will determine if future presidents can “unprotect” monuments their predecessors designated? Would President Biden consider expanding Bears Ears to the 1.9 million-acre boundary originally requested by the Tribes? Could there potentially be some sort of congressional solution that would prevent the back-and-forth uncertainty that Bears Ears has already suffered? https://bit.ly/35FqP5R – Friends of Cedar Mesa (FCM)
FCM’s longtime Executive Director, Josh Ewing, plans to step out of day-to-day operations of the organization in the spring of 2021: https://bit.ly/3f5Qs2I.
Chaco Heritage Tribal Association Established
The Pueblos of Acoma, Jemez, Laguna, and Zuni, and the Hopi Tribe together announce the establishment of the Chaco Heritage Tribal Association (CHTA), an unincorporated association formed for the express purpose of completing a tribally-led cultural resource study of the Greater Chaco Region. The CHTA will undertake the first phase of its study utilizing funding appropriated by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriation legislation. https://bit.ly/32WNj0m – Chaco Heritage Tribal Association
Continuing Coverage: Chaco-Protection Language Removed from Appropriations Bill
The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) applauds inclusion of additional funding proposed by the Senate Committee on Appropriations for a tribally-led cultural resource study of Chaco Canyon and its surrounding cultural landscape. However, APCG urges Congress to maintain protections for critical areas of this landscape in its FY2021 appropriation legislation funding the Department of the Interior (DOI). https://bit.ly/2IJdn7Z – All Pueblo Council of Governors
New Mexico Wilderness Alliance executive director Mark Allison said the omission “confirms that too many members of Congress value oil and gas companies over our Native communities and their shared cultural heritage. …It’s disheartening to see that a UNESCO World Heritage Site cherished by Tribes and Pueblos continues to be placed squarely in the crosshairs of the oil and gas industry,” Allison said in a statement. https://bit.ly/35uIBbX – NM Political Report
Commentary: Congress Should Pass the Save Oak Flat Act
In 2014, Congress passed the Southeastern Arizona Land Exchange, an industry-friendly sweetheart deal that authorized the transfer of 2,422 acres of land in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest to Rio Tinto’s Resolution Copper Mining to allow the company to start mining copper there. The parcel in question is among the worst possible places to establish a copper mine. The area includes the Chí’chil Biłdagoteel Historic District, known also as Oak Flat, which has served as a culturally significant and sacred site to many tribal nations in the region for the past 1,500 years. https://bit.ly/3nwTBvf – Raúl Grijalva in the Arizona Republic (azcentral.com)
Read the review of a new nonfiction book, Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West by Lauren Redniss, in the New York Times: https://nyti.ms/3pBFFlJ
Whistleblower Exposes Troubling Repatriation Case in California
The case illuminates the often-fraught relationship between archaeological study and Indigenous rights, and the BLM’s failure to hold violators accountable. [Stephanie] Bergman, who now works for the National Park Service, hopes that her experience will shed light on these issues. Unanswered questions abound, and the BLM has failed to confirm even basic facts. But Bergman provided HCN with a patchwork of internal documents that reveal a bureaucratic process that can leave tribes disenfranchised when they try to protect their ancestors’ still-buried remains, or recover them once they’re unearthed—especially if that tribe is not federally recognized. https://bit.ly/2IuDEXK – High Country News
What to Do about Repatriation Claims from Tribes Not Federally Recognized?
For the first few years, NAGPRA exclusively allowed federally recognized tribes to make repatriation claims but was later revised to allow others, like the Coahuiltecan, to submit claims when no federally recognized tribe claimed the remains. But ultimately, universities and museums have the final say on whether or not to engage in consultation with tribal nations. When remains are culturally unaffiliated—meaning that the curator of a collection can’t definitively determine which tribe the remains should be returned to—progress comes to a virtual standstill. https://bit.ly/2H9kpSP – Texas Observer
Job Opportunity: NAGPRA Liaison and Tribal Consultation Coordinator, History Colorado
History Colorado is a nationally recognized leader in NAGPRA consultation and repatriation efforts. We are seeking a dynamic professional with significant experience in NAGPRA compliance and community centered projects to help steward this program into the twenty-first century. The primary focus of the NAGPRA Liaison and Tribal Consultation Coordinator will be to conduct the actions necessary for the repatriation and disposition of human remains and cultural objects to Native American descendant communities as specified in 43 CFR Part 10. The focus of this job is to act as a liaison between History Colorado and representatives of Native American Communities, the National NAGPRA program, and other federal and state agencies. https://bit.ly/35Bq4uq – State of Colorado
Archaeology Café Welcomes Shannon Cowell and Kelly Jenks
Join us at 6:00 p.m. MT on December 1, when Preservation Archaeologist Shannon Cowell and Kelly Jenks (New Mexico State University) will discuss “Beloved Things: Micaceous Bean Pots and Connections to the Hispanic New Mexican Homeland,” a case study on Hispanic women and heirloom bean pots. More information and Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/3jG23pZ – Archaeology Southwest
November’s Archaeology Café with Christopher Caseldine, “The Flow of Water and Time: Irrigation Longevity and Social Change among the Lower Salt River Hohokam,” is now available as a video: https://bit.ly/3fkV853
Annual Julian D. Hayden Paper Competition Opens
The Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society and Arizona Archaeological Council sponsor the annual Julian D. Hayden Paper Competition, named in honor of long-time southwestern scholar Julian Dodge Hayden. The winning entry will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and publication of the paper in Kiva, The Journal of Southwestern Anthropology and History. The competition is open to any bona fide undergraduate and graduate students at any recognized college or university. Co-authored papers will be accepted if all authors are students. http://bit.ly/2oNynAK – Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society
Blog: Following in Their Footsteps
One aspect of ancient life in the Southwest that doesn’t get its fair share of attention is that people really got around. Movement was a regular part of life. Such is the case with the contemporary world, as well, in which people regularly zip hundreds of miles in a matter of hours on freeways. But in the past, before cars, wagons, and horses, people still traveled vast distances; the difference is that they did so by foot. https://bit.ly/36w8d7r – Aaron Wright at the Preservation Archaeology blog
Publication Announcement: The Greater Chaco Landscape
The Greater Chaco Landscape: Ancestors, Scholarship, and Advocacy, edited by Ruth M. Van Dyke and Carrie C. Heitman. University Press of Colorado, 2021. https://bit.ly/3lupK65
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.
From the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (via University of Arizona Press): On December 3 at 2:00 p.m. EST, Gary Nabhan will discuss his new book, The Nature of Desert Nature. The program is free, but registration is required and donations to the museum are encouraged. More information and Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/3pz2jv9
From the Black Trowel Collective: This mutual aid project is committed to the active support of archaeology students from working-class and historically excluded communities. The microgrants supply from $5 to $300—no questions asked—to archaeology graduate and undergraduate students who need it. Students just apply through the application form (takes about five minutes) and the Microgrants committee does their best to get the requested amount to the students as soon as possible. With an emerging donor base, this mutual aid project has been powerfully effective and has distributed ~ $17,000 to over 100 students in the last five months. You can find out more at https://blacktrowelcollective.wordpress.com/
From Casa Grande Ruins National Monument: Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is scheduled to be closed to the public three days each year, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Independence Day. This year the park will be closed on Thursday, November 26, 2020 for Thanksgiving Day, including all buildings and access to the park grounds.
From Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument: Based on guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, access to the park is as follows: Open: Cliff Dweller Trail, Vault Toilets at the Trailhead, Grudgings Trail, and Forest Service Campgrounds. All Gila Wilderness Trailheads remain open and visitors are encouraged to seek information from the Gila National Forest. Closed: Park Visitor Center and Western National Parks Association Bookstore.
From Pecos National Historical Park: Based on guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, access to the park is as follows: Open: All trails and restrooms. Closed: E.E. Fogelson Visitor Center.
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/