COVID news seems to trend from hopeful to frightful on a continual cycle. The uncertainty is unsettling. Nevertheless, my confidence grows, buoyed by clear evidence that the new administration is taking the pandemic very seriously.
For quite some time now, most of the news from our Tribal contacts and partners has been grim. But in recent phone calls, I’ve heard some positive stories. Vaccines are getting distributed and injected. By Monday of this week, I was told, the White Mountain Apache Tribe had delivered at least a first shot to nearly 70 percent of their members.
Such foreshadowing of a brighter future was dashed by news last week that Claudette White, mother of Archaeology Southwest staff member and Quechan citizen Zion White, lost her life to COVID. Ms. White was a Quechan Tribal judge, and at the time of her passing was early on in a new term as a Tribal council member.
If you have read our latest issue of Archaeology Southwest Magazine, this news touches you closer than you might realize. Zion White is one of the four Quechan field team members who appear on the cover (wearing the green shirt), and he contributed much to the rich and personal articles about the team’s field experiences and the cultural significance of their work.
Learn more about Claudette White and her life here. This video is from her official appearance as part of the recent presidential inauguration, and this video is an excerpt from a PBS documentary about her work as a Tribal judge.
As I said to Zion last week, “I never met your mother, but she shines brightly through you.”
Friends, please consider a donation to aid a family undergoing a sad and challenging transition.
Thanks very much,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
(Banner photo: Luca Galuzzi)
Grand Canyon Protection Act Would Make Mining Ban Permanent
For the many voices who have spoken up for years, as Councilwoman Tilousi and other members of the Havasupai Tribe have, and for those who are just joining the effort to protect the sacred lands and waters of the Grand Canyon, there’s a renewed sense of hope this week as the bill’s champion, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-AZ, reintroduced it on Monday. Amber Reimondo at the Grand Canyon Trust | Read More >>
11th Annual Conservation in the West Poll Shows Strong Bipartisan Support for Public Lands
Furthermore, the poll showed a desire by strong majorities of Western voters for equitable access to public lands and to ensure local communities are heard. 73 percent of voters in the West support directing funding to ensure adequate access to parks and natural areas for lower-income people and communities of color that have disproportionately lacked them. 83 percent of voters in the West support ensuring that Native American tribes have greater input into decisions made about areas within national public lands that contain sites sacred to or culturally important to their tribe. Colorado College State of the Rockies Project (National Press Release) | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage: Interior Nominee Haaland and the Greater Chaco Landscape
Tribes from Alaska to New Mexico have frequently objected to what they say is the Interior Department’s past failure to consult with tribal officials on proposed oil and gas development and other industrial activities on federal land, including around Chaco. That frustration has touched off dozens of lawsuits—and legal experts say more are likely if things don’t change. The tribes and environmental groups are looking to Haaland and her efforts to protect the Chaco area in order to gain a greater voice in federal oil, gas, and mining decisions. Bobby Magill in Bloomberg Law | Read More >>
Commentary: Debra Haaland’s Promise
To Indian Country, Haaland is viewed as everybody’s “auntie.” Having her in leadership gives Native America a seat at the policymaking table. For New Mexico she has been a productive member of Congress, reelected in 2020 with over 58% of the vote. And while a few Western senators have called her views “radical,” I believe that Native issues are American issues. If Haaland is confirmed as interior secretary, many observers expect her to provide bold leadership for an agency that oversees what is arguably the heart of America: its land. Traci Morris in The Conversation | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage: Oak Flat Litigation
The [amicus] brief was filed by Notre Dame Law Professor Stephanie Barclay, a First Amendment scholar who directs the Law School’s Religious Liberty Initiative, along with the Religious Liberty Initiative’s student cohort. “Our brief highlights a history of callousness and coercion against Indigenous sacred sites like Oak Flat. Our religious freedom laws wouldn’t allow the government to demolish churches with impunity, and the same should be true of a site that has been sacred to the Apache people for generations,” Barclay said. The brief represents Ramon Riley, the White Mountain Apache Tribe Cultural Resource Director, the Morning Star Institute, and the MICA Group (Multicultural Initiative for Community Advancement). Law School of the University of Notre Dame | Read More >>
A federal judge has rejected a request from a group of Apaches to keep the U.S. Forest Service from transferring a parcel of land to a copper mining company. Apache Stronghold made the request as part of a lawsuit it filed against the Forest Service earlier this year. It’s the latest attempt to preserve the land in eastern Arizona that Apaches consider sacred because of the spiritual properties there at least temporarily while the court hears arguments on the merits of the case. U.S. District Judge Steven Logan said Friday that because the group is not a federally recognized tribe with a government-to-government relationship with the United States, it lacks standing in arguing that the land belongs to Apaches under an 1852 treaty with the U.S. Felicia Fonseca for the Associated Press | Read More >>
Share Your Concerns about Oak Flat with Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
On February 11, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) invited input from the public regarding the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the transfer of the historic Oak Flat campground and the promontory known as Apache Leap. SAA will submit its own letter, but we want our members and supporters to have the opportunity to weigh in, so that the ACHP’s comments will reflect the breadth and scope of as many concerned archaeologists as possible. ACHP is requesting comments by February 26, 2021. Please go to our Take Action page. From there, you can use our editable template letter to personalize the message and send your views to the Council. Society for American Archaeology | Take Action >>
Interior Follows through on Tribal Consultation Order
The U.S. Department of Interior announced it will begin initial conversations with tribal leaders beginning in March. The announcement follows an executive order to uphold tribal consultation signed by President Joe Biden one week after being sworn into office. The agency sent notices to every federally recognized tribe Thursday inviting them to participate in the upcoming sessions. Tribes were invited to provide written comments on the consultation series or can attend virtual meetings. Aliyah Chavez in Indian Country Today | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage and Commentary: Restore Utah National Monuments Permanently
But these lands have never been Utah’s to manage. Indigenous homelands first, then claimed by Spain and Mexico in turn, Utah’s public lands have been under the shared ownership of all Americans since 1847. [Representative] Stewart and his allies in the state simply do not believe in this fundamental fact. Instead, they consider Utah the rightful owner of U.S. public lands. These officials do not make fair partners in negotiating the future of the Colorado Plateau. Stephen Trimble in the Los Angeles Times | Read More >>
Restoring the monuments to their original size would simply take an executive order reversing the 2017 one by the Trump Administration. Making more permanent changes is a much more complicated process. A federal rulemaking process would instead be required in order to place more permanent protections on public lands. That’s according to Pew Charitable Trust Project Director Ken Rait. Rait told KPCW that the process to add protections—or remove them—really depends on the previous action and how permanent it is intended to be. Sean Higgins at KCPW (NPR) | Read More and Listen >>
Continuing Coverage and Commentary: Insults along the Southwest’s Border
We must reimagine the landscapes we share with Mexico. The border should not be a line that divides cultures and fragments their desert environment. It is a juncture where two nations connect, where history is shared, where cultures are alive and where a common future must unfold. Gary Nabhan and Austin Nuñez in the New York Times | Read More >>
In Memoriam: Claudette Christine White (1971–2021)
Claudette’s focus has always been to serve. She served not only her Quechan community, but all Indigenous people, by studying cultures and establishing and incorporating more culturally appropriate forms of justice in the communities she served. She dedicated her career and personal life to giving Indigenous groups a voice. Read more about Ms. White’s impressive and extraordinary life here >>
Commentary: Ancestral Puebloan Turkey-Feather Blankets
I love seeing turkeys in ponderosa woods, moving slowly uphill like priests absorbed in morning prayers. At twilight, they are dark shapes seeking acorns and insects, always leaving their distinctive three-toed tracks. Ancestral Puebloans had a special relationship with turkeys, too, because it was turkey feather blankets, with loft like our modern insulated jackets, that kept the Ancient Ones warm on winter nights. Andrew Gulliford in The Journal | Read More >>
REMINDER: March 5 Is Deadline to Apply for the Preservation Archaeology Field School
Join us for the Preservation Archaeology Field School in southwestern New Mexico, May 24 through July 5, 2021. This unique six-week program provides students with an opportunity to learn excavation, survey, experimental archaeology, and laboratory methods in a beautiful, remote, and archaeologically exciting part of the U.S. Southwest. Archaeology Southwest and the University of Arizona | Learn More >>
Feb. 18 Webinar: The Emergence of Navajo Polychrome Ceramics
Tim Wilcox will present on Navajo Gobernador Polychrome pottery, which marks a significant deviation from the well-established Navajo gray ware pottery technology of northwest New Mexico. Originally attributed to Pueblo refugee potters living with Navajo families following de Vargas’ Reconquista of 1692, it is now accepted that Gobernador Polychrome pottery is a distinctly Navajo creation that predates the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and CAS Hisatsinom Chapter | More information and Zoom registration here >>
Feb. 20 Webinar: Far from Isolated: Resilience and Adaptation among the Rarámuri in the 20th Century
José Miguel Chávez Leyva will present on the Rarámuri (Tarahumara), who have traditionally been viewed as a group that retreated into the mountains and canyons of Chihuahua, fighting outside influence with isolation. This ignores the ways that the Rarámuri have responded to the multiple intrusions to their territory over the course of the 20th century. This talk will explore some of the rich tapestry of Rarámuri history. Amerind Museum | More information and Zoom registration here >>
Feb. 25 and March 4 Webinar (two-part series): Return to House of Rain
In a series of homemade dispatches from the field, Craig Childs, author of House of Rain, takes his audience into the ancient landscapes of the Colorado Plateau. The Four Corners region is busy with cliff palaces and rubble-mounded towers, signs of settlement, migration, warfare, and community long before the colonial era. This mini-series will be ways of seeing and understanding this ancestral terrain, experiencing it in situ. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More information and Zoom registration here >>
March 2 Webinar: Should We Stay or Should We Go?
Karen Schollmeyer (Preservation Archaeologist and Field School Director) and Scott Ingram (Colorado College) will consider “Should We Stay or Should We Go? Farming and Climate Change, 1000–1450 CE.” Karen and Scott will discuss ways farmers respond to climate changes, especially droughts, highlighting findings from their case studies in southwest New Mexico and central Arizona. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | More information and Zoom registration here >>
March 6 Tour Opportunity: Vista del Rio Archaeological Site, Tucson
From 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., archaeologist Allen Dart will lead Old Pueblo Archaeology Center’s “Vista del Rio Archaeological Site” free educational tour at the Vista del Rio Cultural Resource Park, 7575 E. Desert Arbors St. (at Dos Hombres Road), Tucson. Vista del Rio was a village of the Hohokam archaeological culture inhabited between 1000 and 1150 CE. Masks and physical distancing required. Make reservations no later than 5:00 p.m. March 4: 520-798-1201 or info at oldpueblo dot org. Learn More >>
Video: People of the Southwest
Take a virtual tour of our “People of the Southwest” exhibition and hear stories of the people who live in the Southwest today and examine material culture of people who lived here in the past. Hosted by Kari Schleher, Curator of Archaeology. Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, University of New Mexico | Watch Now >>
Publication Announcement: Cliff Dwellers of the Sierra Madre
“Cliff Dwellers of the Sierra Madre,” by Stephen H. Lekson, Archaeology Magazine March/April 2021. Read Now >>
Tribute Bibliographies: Vorsila L. Bohrer and Patrick H. Beckett
Allison Colborne (Director, Laboratory of Anthropology Library) compiled virtual bibliographies for Bohrer and Beckett. Museum of Indian Arts and Culture | Bohrer bibliography >> Beckett bibliography >>
Job Opportunity: Archeology Technician, Coconino National Forest
The Coconino NF will soon be filling a permanent, full-time GS-0102-07 Archeology Technician position located at the Flagstaff Ranger District in Flagstaff, AZ. The deadline for responding to the outreach is COB March 11, 2021. Learn More >>
Job Opportunity: Field Director, Tierra Right of Way Services Ltd.
We are seeking a part-time or full-time archaeological Field Director to assist with numerous upcoming projects. The ideal candidate lives in the Albuquerque or Santa Fe area and will support one of our offices in these cities. However, our company provides topnotch technical support for work-from-home employees, and candidates from anywhere in New Mexico will be considered. Learn More >>
Grant Announcement: Inclusion in Archaeology and History
The Utah Division of State History is proud to announce the inaugural year of our Inclusion in Archaeology and History College Grant! This grant offers up to $2,000 for Utah students who come from historically underrepresented communities in the fields of archaeology, history, and public history to support their undergraduate and graduate studies. Utah Division of State History | Learn More >>
Notice from Grace Lilly, Desert View Interpretive District, Grand Canyon National Park
I am the Cultural Demonstration Program Coordinator at Grand Canyon National Park. Since the pandemic hit, we have had to suspend in-person Cultural Demonstrations at the park. I have been working hard to make a digital version of the program available to the public to help continue our mission to support Native Artisans and elevate their voices to public. I have been working on a two-part video series with short interpretive videos giving a brief history of traditional crafts of the 11 Associated Tribes of Grand Canyon. To showcase the artisans and show that these historical crafts are still practiced today, I have paired the interpretive video with interview videos, as well. In honor of Archaeology Month, we plan to kick the series off on March 2. We will release weekly videos on Grand Canyon NPS’s Facebook page and post them on Grand Canyon NPS’s YouTube channel.
We’re happy to help get the word out. Please submit news, publication announcements, and other resources to this link for consideration.