What a difference a week makes. My optimism of last week has been…deflated. But not suffocated.
I expected 2021 to bring a heavy workload toward healing. Sadly, the load is heavier than I anticipated.
So, I plan to work harder. And I hope to work smarter.
There are many times when voices must be raised with candor and clarity to push back against racism and other intolerable injustices. This, obviously, is one of those times. It shouldn’t have come to this, but here we are. Let’s make it right, at last.
Much of our daily engagement involves embracing the complexity of the issues we face. As we commit to promoting justice and a multicultural world, we must explore and embrace complexity. That’s not easy, but it is necessary.
Today’s offerings include an article about the threats that behemoth mining interests pose globally and locally, in the town of Superior and its environs just east of Phoenix.
To help you put those issues in context, I recommend a book I just finished—Oak Flat, A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West, by Lauren Redniss. Oak Flat is an Apache sacred place. And Oak Flat overlies the largest copper ore deposit in North America. I’ve seen Oak Flat—its beauty, certainly, as well as the archaeological evidence of Apache presence on that land. Redniss shares Apache views. She also gives ample time to voices from the local community.
Here’s an excerpt from an illuminating review of the book in last autumn’s New York Times:
“The effect of including such varied points of view is that Redniss defies our desire for black-and-white dichotomies, for heroes and villains.… This ability to articulate the complexity of competing perspectives … establishes Redniss as a master storyteller of a new order; she offers readers facts and opinions without sermonizing or subtly editorializing against them.”
Life is not simple—and it never has been. Over millennia. Millennia. We need to engage deeply and thoughtfully with these realities.
So, don’t give up on 2021. No one said it would be easy.
I’m in. I know you are, too,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Utah’s Grand County Commission Asks Biden Administration to Restore Bears Ears
The Grand County Commission sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden last week requesting that he keep his campaign pledge and “take immediate action to restore the Bears Ears National Monument to its original size” once he’s in office. The move follows a similar letter approved by the San Juan County Commission last month and marks a growing show of support for the monument from local governments. https://bit.ly/3oKZwhC – Salt Lake Tribune
Commentary and Analysis: Rio Tinto’s Promises and Oak Flat
In the wake of Rio Tinto’s destruction of sacred rock shelters in the Juukan Gorge in Western Australia in May of 2020, Rio Tinto has made grand statements of how they would never again destroy a sacred site anywhere in the world. In light of the company’s plan to do exactly that at Oak Flat, what does Rio Tinto’s promises mean? We’ve written a white paper looking at the similarities between what Rio Tinto did at Juukan Gorge and what they would like to do at Oak Flat. https://bit.ly/38DJQHf – Arizona Mining Reform Coalition
Friends of Cedar Mesa Celebrate 10th Anniversary, 2020 Highlights
As this challenging and upside-down year comes to a close, we at FCM are pausing to reflect upon another year providing stewardship for the lands we love. Amid the hardships this year has brought, we also recognize we have much to be thankful for. This year was momentous at FCM, and we want to share some of the highlights. https://bit.ly/3nzIK3j
Online Course: From Clovis to Coronado
Dr. Barbara Mills (Regents Professor, University of Arizona) will teach “From Clovis to Coronado: An Introduction to Southwest Archaeology.” The six-week online course will meet virtually on Wednesdays, February 3 to March 10, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The course provides an archaeological overview of American Indian societies in the Southwest from the earliest occupation at least 12,000 years ago through the colonial period, including where, when, and how they lived. For more information, including tuition, syllabus, and textbook, visit: https://bit.ly/35yLiZB
Audio: Matthew Peeples on Technology and Archaeology
Technology is having big impacts in lots of areas of science, including archaeology and anthropology. In those fields, researchers point out that new discoveries are happening more and more quickly than in the past. The Show sat down to talk more about this with Matthew Peeples, an associate professor of anthropology and an archaeologist at Arizona State University. He’s also director of the school’s Center for Archaeology and Society. https://bit.ly/2XzH6UX – KJZZ (NPR)
Blog: From Opportunistic Reactivity to Proactive Stewardship
My January 5 Café shared more information about the site protection part of the Archaeology Southwest mission, and I invited all—and invite you now—to help advance that mission. In this post, I’ll go deeper into our site preservation efforts, with particular attention to the origins and evolving goals of this essential aspect of Preservation Archaeology. These are key elements of an evolving strategic plan for Archaeology Southwest’s Landscape and Site Preservation Program. https://bit.ly/39r1tJx – John R. Welch at the Preservation Archaeology blog (Archaeology Southwest)
View John’s presentation, additional Q & A, and related resources: https://bit.ly/2XzSqjP
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 Arizona Humanities: On January 19 at 2:30 p.m. MST, Carrie Cannon will present “Mescal Agave Use in Arizona: Food, Fiber, and Vessel.” The agave plant was used by Native peoples for numerous utilitarian items. Mescal served as a valuable food source still being harvested and prepared to this day by many Indigenous groups. For millennia people have pit roasted the heart of the plant, yielding a nutritious food staple rich in calcium and zinc. This talk includes the life history of mescal, and the multitude of Tribal uses of this intriguing plant and their long relationship with this plant from centuries ago to the modern era. More information and Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/3bt73Oa
On January 26 at 2:30 p.m. MST, Royce and Debbie Manuel will present “Sorting Through Southwest Arizona Tribal Symbols.” Symbols come in a variety of forms and can be found in art, speech, and in writing. Knowing and understanding the southwest symbolism from a tribal perspective is one more way Arizona celebrates its heritage. Today symbols among tribal nations describe life or convey a much deeper meaning in clothing, footwear, baskets designs and even etched animals designs along the freeway. More information and Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/3bzaxyw
On February 10 at 7:00 p.m. MST, Allen Dart will present “The Salado Phenomenon in the U.S. Southwest.” In the early 20th century, archaeologists in the southwestern U.S. viewed a constellation of distinctive cultural traits – multicolored pottery, houses arranged in walled compounds, and monumental architecture – as evidence of a cultural group they termed “Salado.” Subsequent discoveries cause us to question what the Salado traits really represent. More information and Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/2LNhaSV
From the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association: On January 14 at 7:00 p.m. MST, Erica Ellingson will present “Moon Watchers: Did ancient sky observers track the long and subtle cycle of the lunar standstill?” Space is limited to first-come, first-served. More information and Zoom meeting information: www.chimneyrockco.org/lecture
From Current Archaeology (UK): Even though most of the country is in lockdown there are still plenty of ways to get explore the past! “Heritage from Home” is a selection of global online resources for you to peruse from home, compiled by Amy Brunskill. https://bit.ly/2KfaEnS
From Old Pueblo Archaeology Center: On February 6, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Yaqui Indian historian Felipe Molina will lead “Tucson and Marana Yoeme (Yaqui Indian) Communities,” a car-caravan cultural sites tour starting at Santa Cruz River Park ramada, 1317 W Irvington Rd, Tucson. The tour will visit Tucson and Marana area places settled historically by the Yoeme, including the 39th Street Community (Barrio Libre), Pascua, Yoem Pueblo, and former settlements. $30 prepaid donation. More information: https://bit.ly/2XByqxe
On February 18 at 7:00 p.m. MST, Dr. Michael Brescia will present “Buen Provecho: A Multicultural History of Mexico and the Borderlands through Food and Taste” as part of our “Third Thursday Food for Thought” series. He will examine how the fusion of foods and diet of the Americas and beyond transformed Mexico in the wake of the Spanish conquest, and how different cuisines and dishes reflect the broad sweep of the Mexican and Borderlands historical experiences. More information and Zoom registration: https://bit.ly/3i5l85I
From Project Archaeology: To celebrate the New Year, Project Archaeology is trying something new, a book club! Here’s how it will work: The Project Archaeology staff have planned out many exciting new blog series for the New Year. With each series, we will be introducing a book to read for our new book club. This book will be something we think expands on and complements the information provided in the series while encouraging deeper thought and inquiry. https://bit.ly/3nEdpMX
From the University of Utah Press: On February 3 at 12:00 pm MST, join Kay Fowler and guests as they discuss the book Dutton’s Dirty Diggers: Bertha P. Dutton and the Senior Girl Scout Archaeological Camps in the American Southwest, 1947–1957. More information and registration: https://forms.gle/Pgd6VLCS8osxjFWL7
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/