It has been another long day in the field. But I’m not complaining—for me, these days out on the desert landscape are days of renewal, experiences that reignite my passion for what I do.
Focusing my eyes on the ground so I don’t miss subtle, centuries-old physical remnants preserved on the land takes a bit of work. It involves practicing, refining, and expanding one’s “ways of seeing.” Those are among the tools that help reveal insights and perspectives into the past.
The joyous and rewarding aspect was spending today with Samuel Fayuant, an Indigenous friend and guide. Samuel works for the Cultural Preservation Office of the Tohono O’odham Nation. We spent the day chasing a pottery type—and not just any pottery type, but one that may provide some very interesting insights into the World of the Tohono O’odham a few centuries before the European intrusion into what is today’s American Southwest. We’re preparing for the Archaeology Café we’ll be presenting together on May 4, 2021. I’ll keep dropping clues about our quest from time to time. But if you really want to know what we’re up to, you’ll need to sign up for our café.
By the time May rolls around, Samuel and I will have invested at least a year in preparation. Being future-oriented, even if that’s day to day, has been essential to surviving this past year. And the friendship, connection, and intellectual engagement we have shared have, I hope, helped get us through.
I hope you feel that Archaeology Southwest’s programs also provide connection and engagement that help get you through. A recent survey of our members confirmed that they value our work and the resources we provide. We help people connect to place here in the Southwest. We give people a feeling of satisfaction and pride when we join together to help protect an important place. And we share information and stories about places—knowledge and understanding that resonate in the past, present, and future.
Last week, I shared my approach to giving at this year’s end. I’ve found it challenging to allocate my donations. I want to continue giving to organizations I have long supported. But this year there are pressing new needs I want to address. So, I came up with my personal solution to give more so as to address a wider array of needs. Not everyone can take that approach, I know.
As we near this year’s (welcome) end, please consider making a donation to Archaeology Southwest, if you haven’t already. Southwest Archaeology Today—this weekly news digest—is one of our many ways to help keep us all connected. Although it is free, it has costs to bring it to you. If you feel we have a positive impact on your life, and an impact in following and addressing issues you care about, I hope you’ll consider supporting our work today. Here’s that link: archaeologysouthwest.org/yearend2020/.
Thanks for considering it.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Continuing Coverage: Fighting for Oak Flat
While environmental groups and politicians tangle over the legality and timing of the Forest Service’s environmental impact statement, the San Carlos Apache man who leads a grass-roots opposition movement to the mine continues to live in the Tonto National Forest’s campground, where he’s camped for more than a year. Wendsler Nosie, Sr., a former chairman of the 10,000-member tribe, is a longtime Native American rights advocate and leader of Apache Stronghold, which, along with other tribes, environmentalists and religious leaders, has been fighting the land swap for years. https://bit.ly/3npIhRY – Arizona Republic (azcentral)
Commentary: The Saga of Oak Flat
The saga of Oak Flat shows how none of our public lands can ever be fully safe, when monied interests have such power in our politics. This is federal land, managed by the U.S. Forest Service. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and contains the “best set of Apache historic sites ever documented,” according to one tribal historian. It has even been specifically protected from mining for more than a half-century, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower, recognizing its natural and historical significance, issued an order withdrawing it from mineral extraction. https://lat.ms/3oLLVG4 – James Pogue in the Los Angeles Times
This is a rapidly developing situation. We will keep you informed. You can also follow us on Twitter for updates.
Navajo Nation Requests Restoration of Bears Ears National Monument
“After years of litigation, the Department of Justice looks forward to the Navajo Nation having the opportunity to work with the other tribal parties and the Biden-Harris Administration in a collaboration of sovereigns to permanently restore protections to the lands and sites in Bears Ears, which have great significance to our culture, history, and way of life,” says Navajo Nation Attorney General Doreen McPaul. https://bit.ly/3mnUnKn – KNAU (NPR)
Read the press release from the Office of the President and Vice President, Navajo Nation: https://bit.ly/37mCpDD
Oral History of Agnese Nelms Haury
In this special episode, listen to an oral history of a true “Tucson Original,” Agnese Nelms Haury. She was what some would call “an eccentric millionaire,” with a flair for finding out what made things tick. Throughout her life, she found ways to positively impact a great number of people, a legacy that continues to this day. Digital producer & oral historian Aengus Anderson of the University of Arizona Libraries talked to many people who knew and loved Agnese Haury to assemble an audio portrait. https://bit.ly/3nq9Z13 – AZPM (NPR)
Call to Applicants: Hibben Fellowships
With generous support from the Frank C. Hibben Charitable Trust, the University of New Mexico offers competitive multi-year graduate fellowships to students in the Department of Anthropology and in the Graduate Program in Museum Studies. A core priority, the Hibben Fellowships seek to increase diversity in the profession and practices of Anthropology and Museums. In Anthropology, incoming graduate students pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Archaeology or Doctoral degree in any area of Anthropology are eligible to be nominated for a Hibben Fellowship. The Hibben Trust prioritizes the support of: Native American students specializing in the archaeology of the U.S. Southwest and other areas of Anthropology, non-Native students specializing in the archaeology of the U.S. Southwest, students from underrepresented communities in Anthropology, and graduates of New Mexico colleges and universities. A one-year Senior Hibben Research Fellowship is also available to support the research of advanced doctoral students. Visit https://anthropology.unm.edu or contact email@example.com for more information. In Museum Studies, Hibben Fellowship awards prioritize support for Native American/Indigenous students pursuing an MA or MS degree, a dual Master’s degree, or Graduate Minor in Museum Studies. Students from diverse backgrounds committed to the cultural or natural heritage of New Mexico also are considered. Visit http://museum.unm.edu/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
January Archaeology Café: Archaeology Southwest’s Conservation Properties
Please join us at 6:00 p.m. MST on January 5, 2021, when John R. Welch, Director of Archaeology Southwest’s Landscape and Site Protection Program, will discuss “Protected Places: Archaeology Southwest’s Conservation Properties and Their Emerging Roles in Preservation Archaeology.” John will give a virtual tour of conservation properties protected by Archaeology Southwest and highlight their potential for cultural heritage stewardship and research. More information and Zoom registration at the link: https://bit.ly/3qb7RvW.
Commentary: The 50th Anniversary of the Blue Lake Act
According to John Echohawk, executive director of the Native Rights Fund, the Blue Lake Act marked the rejection of the federal government’s policy of forced assimilation for Native Americans, ushering in a new era of self-determination. By allowing people of the Taos Pueblo Tribe to govern their own land, Blue Lake’s return became one of the most important events in the history of the U.S. government’s relationship with American Indian people. https://bit.ly/2IWDRDo – Ernie Atencio at the blog of the National Parks Conservation Association
Podcast: Like Water in the Desert
With the help of agroecologist Gary Nabhan, farmers Ramona and Terry Button, and others in the region, we ask the big questions: Should we be farming in the desert? What would a water-saving system even look like? And does a tiny bean that smells like desert rain hold the secret to survival in a hotter, drier world? https://bit.ly/37mVIN5 – Gastropod
Publication Announcement: Journal of the Southwest
Journal of the Southwest Vol. 62, No. 3, Autumn 2020. https://jsw.arizona.edu/issues/ (https://bit.ly/3mlFZ59 – PDF of the table of contents for this issue)
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 email@example.com.
From Old Pueblo Archaeology Center: On Wednesdays, from January 6 to March 31, 6:30–8:30 p.m. MST, archaeologist Allen Dart will teach a 12-session online adult education class on the Hohokam archaeological culture of southern Arizona. Topics include artifacts and architecture, Hohokam origins, interactions with other cultures, subsistence, settlement, social, and organizational systems, and ideas on religion and trade. $95 prepayment due by January 2nd. 520-798-1201 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information: https://bit.ly/2WhP7xh.
From the Society for American Archaeology: FAQs about the April 2021 86th Annual Meeting Online: https://bit.ly/2WlVWO6
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/