Recently, a friend from Phoenix commented that she was looking for a higher-elevation summer home. “I’m tired of breaking records for 115-degree temperatures like we did last summer.” [Fact check: In summer 2020, Phoenix had 145 days in triple digits, 53 days of 110 or more, and 14 days of 115 or more. Fact-based conclusion: It was a very hot summer in Phoenix.]
Seasonal migration can be one form of adaptation to climate change among the well-to-do in the 21st century.
But what was (is) it like to make decisions to migrate—to leave your homeland—in the distant past (today)? When your family and your fellow community members had (have) to admit that the community’s ability to feed and protect everyone could not (cannot) be relied upon?
I’m writing this as Karen Schollmeyer and Scott Ingram are presenting their Archaeology Café—sharing insights regarding this question from their archaeological research in the Southwest.
Past migrations—their causes and effects—have been important research topics at Archaeology Southwest for decades. The scale of climate-related migrations predicted for the 21st century will be vastly greater than our archaeological examples. Nevertheless, Karen and Scott find relevance in their archaeological data. If you missed their talk, it will be online about a week from today, and we’ll link to it here. I recommend it.
Meanwhile, this week’s news reflects our current moment of waiting and transition. Many of us are anxious to see protections provided to, or restored to, important places on our public lands.
Until next week. Thanks for being here, friends.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Continuing Coverage: Hope for Oak Flat
The U.S. Forest Service has withdrawn the final environmental impact statement for a huge copper mine near Superior, temporarily halting a land swap that would have given the mine’s owners title to a parcel deemed sacred by many Apaches and other Southwestern tribes. In a statement released Monday, Tonto National Forest said the federal government had received significant input from many parties after the release of the final environmental impact statement on Jan. 15. As a result, the U.S. Department of Agriculture directed the forest service to rescind the decision it made based on the review document. Tonto officials said a recent memorandum issued by President Joe Biden regarding tribal consultation and strengthening nation-to-nation relationships was a factor in the decision. Debra Utacia Krol in the Arizona Republic | Read More >>
Some conservation groups initially withheld opposition to the project because of the ecological value of the land Resolution was giving up, some of which lies along the San Pedro River, an important corridor for migratory birds. In 2015 Congress passed a bill, with bipartisan support, allowing the swap to proceed. But the company and its politician enablers failed to recognize the significance of Oak Flat to the San Carlos Apache and other tribes in the region—and underestimated the fierceness of their resistance. Jonathan P. Thompson at The Land Desk | Read More >>
Commentary: Restore National Monuments
Shortly after taking office, President Biden ordered the Interior Department to review the 2017 executive orders eviscerating Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, which he has slammed as “assaults on America’s national treasures.” Biden’s order directed the department to deliver its findings and recommendations within 60-days, essentially by the end of March. As a part of this review, the Biden administration is reaching out to Tribal nations, many of which consider these landscapes sacred and specifically asked for the creation of Bears Ears National Monument. Jesse Prentice-Dunn at Westwise (Center for Western Priorities) | Read More >>
If the Bears Ears is my favorite place on earth, it has an even deeper significance for the members of what became the Inter-Tribal Coalition—Navajo, Ute Mountain Ute, Hopi, Uintah and Ouray Ute and Zuni—who started the push for the Bears Ears back in 2010, championing the first successful national monument spearheaded by Native Americans. Mark Maryboy, the 65-year-old Navajo activist who got the ball rolling, told me: “Most tribes feel that North America is still theirs, that it’s been stolen from them by the government, by white people. We still worship in those lands. The Bears Ears is our church, our cathedral.” David Roberts in the New York Times | Read More >>
Commentary: Haaland’s Hearing
Utah Sen. Mike Lee expressed his dissatisfaction with the designation of Bears Ears as a national monument, asking whether Haaland thought it was “appropriate for stakeholders, people who have some sort of economic interest in the land or some sort of connection to the land … to be involved in the national monument designation process.” Lee was apparently unaware that the nominee’s Pueblo relatives are among the tribes that consider Bears Ears a sacred place, tracing their connections to the land to time immemorial. Haaland appeared unperturbed. Julian Brave NoiseCat in the Washington Post | Read More >>
Commentary: Confirm Haaland
Secretary-designee Deb Haaland proved today that she is eminently qualified to serve as Secretary of the Interior, and will bring a lived experience like no other to lead a federal agency instrumental in how America will confront the crises of a changing climate and rapid loss of our natural biodiversity. America is seeking competent, focused leadership that understands and respects why we protect our public lands: to safeguard the foundation of our nation’s diverse cultural and natural heritage, and as an insurance policy against the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and other human-caused disasters that threaten our lives and the planet’s health. Brian Sybert at The Latest (Conservation Lands Foundation) | Read More >>
Can the Bureau of Land Management Be Fixed?
Now the Biden administration faces the major challenge of rebuilding an agency that experts say is in dire straits. “They’re inheriting a horrible mess,” says Steve Ellis, a former deputy director of the bureau. “A mess like I’ve never seen in my lifetime.” Rico Moore in Audubon Magazine | Read More >>
How to Pitch a Story to SAPIENS
In the academic world, anthropologists typically write an article draft and then submit it to a journal for publication. If the manuscript meets the journal’s standards and goals, then it is accepted and proceeds toward publication. The process for publishing in magazines or newspapers is quite different. Instead of submitting a full draft, authors “pitch” a piece. Editors are busy and need to know quickly if you have a good story to tell and a good point to make—they often don’t have the luxury of time to read full pieces, and they appreciate having the opportunity to help guide your drafts toward their specific requirements. Chip Colwell at SAPIENS | Read More >>
Blog: Preserving Data Also Means Keeping It Alive and Useful
Since our launch of cyberSW in June 2020, I have worked with my main partner on this project—Andre Takagi—developing both the underlying database and the web-based science gateway (https://cybersw.org). I thought I’d give you all a quick update on the project with a few hints about where things are headed. I am on the calendar for the April 6, 2021, Archaeology Café, and I plan to do a deeper dive into the future of cyberSW in that presentation. Joshua Watts at the Preservation Archaeology blog (Archaeology Southwest) | Read More >>
April 6 Webinar: Just What Is cyberSW?
CyberSW Manager Joshua Watts will address “Just What Is cyberSW? The Potential of Massive Databases for Future Preservation Archaeology Research.” Josh will share insights and examples of the incredible potential of the newly released cyberSW platform. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
March 11 Webinar: Beyond Maize, Beans, and Squash
Dr. Michael Mathiowetz will present “Beyond Maize, Beans and Squash: Identifying the Source and Nature of Mesoamerican Influence on US Southwest/Northwest Mexican Dynamics after the Origin of Agriculture.” Scholars agree that key domesticated agricultural crops, such as maize from Mesoamerica, served to transform the economic and social lifeways of people in the Southwest, with some considering crops alone to be the most significant southern contribution. However, there remains an ongoing debate on characterizing how the political, religious, economic, and social dynamics of Mesoamerican complex societies impacted and intersected with Southwestern social changes, particularly after AD 900. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
March 25 Webinar: Decorated Walls and Tree-Ring Dates South of the Bears Ears
Benjamin Bellorado will present the results of the Cedar Mesa Building Murals Project, a five-year study (2013–2017) of decorated buildings at Ancestral Pueblo cliff-dwellings in southeastern Utah that were occupied in the Pueblo III period (A.D. 1150–1300). Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Job Opportunity: Museum Technician, Tucson
Archaeology Southwest is looking for a museum technician to work at the Western Archeological and Conservation Center (WACC), a division of the National Park Service (NPS), starting in the winter or early spring of 2021. The successful candidate will be involved in museum processing and cataloging of materials housed at WACC under the control of the NPS including archeological and historical objects. Training in museum procedures will be provided by NPS museum program staff. Learn More >>
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