The good news began this Monday—Deb Haaland was confirmed as the new Secretary of the Interior.
That news further boosted my good feelings that had carried over from last week’s virtual Washington, DC fly-in. David Feinman of the Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF) organized an ambitious and productive set of meetings with Congressional and agency staff members. John Welch and I had eight meetings, focused mostly on Arizona legislators.
We met with staff from Senator Kelly’s and Senator Sinema’s offices and with aides to Representatives Grijalva and Gallego. We discussed our efforts to promote the proposed Great Bend of the Gila National Conservation Area, and those discussions will continue as our campaign gets fully underway.
In the fly-back’s first meeting, as I listened to David Feinman outline CLF’s national priorities, I realized I’d made a significant error in my letter to you last week. Most folks likely overlooked it, but exploring it is actually instructive.
I correctly stated that acreage protected as National Conservation Lands has nearly doubled since the program’s inception in 2000—but then I incorrectly stated that funding was stuck at 2006 funding levels. Actually, funding has dropped significantly below 2006 levels, which was the peak funding year. CLF is advocating that funding return to 2006 levels—$65.131 million.
A return to peak-year funding would be a step forward, as it’s almost $20 million higher than in
recent years. It needs a bit more context, though: Inflation over the past 15 years means that the allocation would need to be over $86 million just to stay equal to 2006.
The great relief I and maybe some of you experienced while spending time on public lands during the COVID-19 pandemic only underscores how important it is that we invest in, celebrate, and protect these precious places.
The group of nine Friends Grassroots Network members from eight western states delivered that message loud and clear in all 16 meetings.
Thanks, David, and thanks to the CLF staff for the opportunity.
How are you doing, Friends?
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
(Banner image: R. E. Burrillo)
Haaland Confirmed as Secretary of the Interior
A fierce Indigenous woman is now the caretaker of the nation’s public lands and waters for the first time in U.S. history. Deb Haaland was confirmed as the nation’s 54th Secretary of the Interior in a 51–40 vote Monday, making her the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. Aliyah Chavez in Indian Country Today | Read More >>
Once she [Haaland] is confirmed, it will be easier and more relatable to engage with her because we need not spend so much time re-educating her about who we are as Indigenous people, what our beliefs are, and why, for our survival as a people, we need sacred landscapes like Bears Ears protected. She will intuitively understand the importance of this place to our people, as opposed to many years of tribal consultation that has often felt superficial and relegated to a procedural check-off. Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk in the Salt Lake Tribune | Read More >>
Read Archaeology Southwest’s statement >>
Continuing Coverage: Save Oak Flat Act Introduced in Congress
Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today introduced the Save Oak Flat Act to permanently protect the Oak Flat area of Tonto National Forest from destructive mining proposals. Oak Flat, or Chi’chil Bildagoteel, is of significant cultural importance and considered sacred by many tribal communities in Arizona, including the San Carlos Apache Tribe, which has resisted a years-long effort by Resolution Copper—owned by international mining conglomerates BHP and Rio Tinto—to mine the region. The San Carlos Apache and many other tribes strongly support Grijalva’s bill. … “Too many times our Native American brothers and sisters have seen the profits of huge corporations put ahead of their sovereign rights,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), author of the Senate companion bill. House Natural Resources Committee (press release) | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage and Commentary: Tribes’ Vision for Bears Ears
Bears Ears is at once the ancestral territory of Indigenous peoples and land managed by federal agencies in trust for all of the American people, not just locals who live in the gateway communities. The tribes are the ultimate authorities on antiquities here—it is their history and culture represented by the cliff dwellings and petroglyphs of Bears Ears. After performing their promised review, the Biden administration should look to the leadership of the Diné, Hopi Senom, A:shiwi, and Nuchu peoples, and designate a new Bears Ears National Monument that protects the full measure of lands and features in this spectacular landscape. Erik Molvar at Counterpunch | Read More >>
Agency Pulls Energy Leases in Bears Ears
A Utah agency that came under fire last year for leasing land in the original boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument has refunded fees to the two oil and gas companies involved in the deal. Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration Director David Ure approved a refund last month of the leasing bonuses, first-year rental costs and filing fees charged for the nearly 2,000 acres of trust land leased to Kirkwood Oil and Gas and 640 acres leased to John Wolcott. Zak Podmore in the Salt Lake Tribune | Read More >>
Ancestral Lands Interns Contribute to Development and Interpretation at National Parks
The Ancestral Lands program blossomed in 2008 out of the Pueblo of Acoma in New Mexico and has expanded its programming to support many other Tribes, Pueblos, and Native communities throughout the nation. Guided by Native leadership and characterized by its breadth of conservation service opportunities for Indigenous youth and young adults that incorporate Native culture and tradition, the Ancestral Lands model provided a valuable framework for developing the internship program at Werowocomoco. Rose Clements (Conservation Legacy) in the National Parks Traveler | Read More >>
Association on American Indian Affairs to Harvard: University Is Violating NAGPRA
The Association on American Indian Affairs sent a letter to University President Lawrence S. Bacow in February alleging Harvard is in violation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and “has caused continuing physical, emotional and spiritual trauma to Native Nations and their citizens.” The letter accused Harvard and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of several legal and ethical missteps in its handling of Native American human remains and cultural objects, including failing to consult with Native American tribal nations when completing inventories of those collections, as NAGPRA mandates. Oliver L. Ruskin-Kutz in the Harvard Crimson | Read More >>
Moccasin Fragment Shows Connection between Canadian Subarctic and American Southwest
A piece of leather from an 800-year-old moccasin found in a Utah cave has helped researchers retrace the ancient steps of a remarkable migration that saw some Dene (Athapaskan) people leave their homes in the continent’s Subarctic and eventually create new homes scattered across the southern United States as Dineh (Navajo) and Ndee (Apache) ancestors, according to an international research project featuring the work of University of Alberta researchers. Michael Brown in Folio (University of Alberta) | Read More >>
Tribute to Arizona State Museum Curator Arthur Vokes on the Occasion of His Retirement
As most in the archaeological community are aware, Arthur retired from his position as the first Curator and Manager of the Archaeological Repository Collections at the Arizona State Museum (ASM) in September 2020. Arthur’s career at ASM has been multi-faceted and he has made a significant impact on our institution. In writing this essay, I was faced with the challenge of characterizing an impressive career. Kathryn MacFarland (Arizona State Museum) | Read More >>
Publication Announcement: The Iconography of Connectivity Between the Hohokam World and Its Southern Neighbors
The Iconography of Connectivity Between the Hohokam World and Its Southern Neighbors, by Aaron M. Wright. Journal of Archaeological Research (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10814-021-09159-z. Read Now >>
Video: 30 Years of NAGPRA
Krystiana Krupa, program officer for NAGPRA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign office, gave a talk about the implications of 30 years of the Act for teaching and research. University of Illinois Dept. of Anthropology | Watch Now >>
Blog: A [Digital] Tonto Basin Journey
The route from A to B sometimes includes a C or even a Z. You may use the same route between your home and work, but there are times that you need to modify the route to get gas or pick up dinner. Barring a change in employment or residence, A and B stay the same, but the path becomes increasingly more intricate over time as C, D… ZZ are visited. In archaeological-speak, the path becomes a palimpsest of action. In this post, we discuss how digital data can be used to identify possible ancient paths and routes. Chris Caseldine and Grant Snitker at the Preservation Archaeology blog (Archaeology Southwest) | Read More >>
TONIGHT March 17 Webinar: Anthropological Perspectives on Diversity and Inclusion
This panel discussion will feature archaeologists and cultural and physical anthropologists who represent efforts to promote equity, diversity and inclusion within a field that is struggling with its past around just these issues. Panelists include Mexican-American biological anthropologist Susan Antón, editor and author Chip Colwell, Black feminist, archaeologist, storyteller, and artist Ayana Omilade Flewellen, and Penobscot Nation member and anthropologist Darren Ranco. 7:00 PM Eastern. University of Maine and the Hudson Museum | Register Now >>
REMINDER: March 18 Webinar: Mimbres in Context
Archaeologist Steve Lekson presents “Mimbres in Context: Hohokam, Chaco, Casas Grandes” on March 18, 7:00 p.m. MST. Southwestern New Mexico’s ancient Mimbres people were interesting not only for their famous pottery but also as “players” in the ancient Southwest’s larger cultural context of Hohokam up to about 1000 CE; Chaco from 1000–1150; and the run-up to Paquimé/Casas Grandes from 1150–1250. Old Pueblo Archaeology Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
March 18 Webinar: Chaco Landscapes: Sensory and Political Engagement with Place
Archaeologist Ruth Van Dyke shares insights into social, political, and sensorial relationships across the greater Chaco landscape, past and present. She explores how archaeologists can work together with Native peoples to influence the public understanding of contemporary economic/extractive projects, including those in northwest New Mexico. Hisatsinom Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society and Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
March 24 Webinar: Places of Power: A Conversation on History, Artistic Expression, and Sacred Places
Join us for a panel discussion as we survey the landscapes featured in Corson Hirschfeld’s photography, particularly focusing on Indigenous connections and the crucial need to protect and preserve threatened places on public lands. Panelists include Lyle Balenquah (professional Hopi archaeologist and jeweler), Ramson Lomatewama (Hopi educator and glass artist), Samuel Duwe (archaeologist at the University of Oklahoma), and Kelley Hays-Gilpin (archaeologist at Northern Arizona University and the Museum of Northern Arizona). We invite you to contribute to a broad and lively conversation that explores the intersection between art and archaeology in understanding the meaning of sacred places in the American Southwest. OKPAN | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
March 25–26 Webinar: Santa Cruz River Research Days
This FREE event is a venue for learning about research and conservation efforts while exploring the Santa Cruz River’s natural and cultural resources. Through presentations, panels, and open discussion, we aim to inspire new research questions, strengthen your professional network, catalyze new collaborative projects, and foster awareness of research and conservation efforts. For the first time ever, we will be providing real-time English–Spanish translation! This year, our focus will be Capital Improvement Projects in the Santa Cruz River. We invite you to join other local scientists, river landowners, resource managers, and other decision makers to explore the new scientific, engineering, and cultural projects in this river corridor. Sonoran Institute | Learn More >>
April 2 Webinar: Fishing for Foodways
Jonathan Dombrosky (UNM PhD candidate, Archaeology) will present “Fishing for Foodways: The Nature/Culture Dichotomy in Ancestral Pueblo Food Studies” as part of the 2021 Spring Anthropology Colloquia Speaker Series. Jon’s dissertation work—funded by an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Award—focuses on better contextualizing Ancestral Pueblo fishing strategies in the Middle Rio Grande region of New Mexico around the Pueblo IV period. University of New Mexico Dept. of Anthropology | Learn 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 >>
Have You Missed Some Recent Archaeology Webinars? Worry Not!
Catch up at Amerind Foundation’s YouTube channel >>
Catch up at Archaeology Southwest’s YouTube channel >>
Catch up at Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society’s YouTube channel >>
Catch up at Arizona State Museum’s YouTube channel >>
Catch up at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center’s YouTube channel >>
Catch up at Grand Canyon NPS’s YouTube channel >>
Catch up at Museum of Northern Arizona’s YouTube channel >>
Notice: Native American Scholarships Application Deadline Extended to March 22
The Native American Scholarships endowment fund was established in 1988 to foster a sense of shared purpose and positive interaction between archaeologists and Native Americans. Since 1998, the SAA has used endowment income to award the Arthur C. Parker Scholarship. In 2009, the Society added two new awards to support undergraduate and graduate education in archaeology and, in 2021, a new award for Native American women. These scholarships are funded through individual donations, a silent auction held at the SAA Annual Meeting, and external grants. Society for American Archaeology | Learn More >>
Notice: Apply Now for the 2021 NMSU Field School
The 2021 NMSU Archaeology Field School will take place at two different project locations in New Mexico: 1) the Twin Pines Village site (dating A.D. 550–650 and A.D. 1000–1130), located on the Gila National Forest, and 2) sites associated with the the Cañon de Carnue Land Grant (dating A.D. 1760–present), located east of Albuquerque. Students will receive 6 weeks (5/23–7/3) of training in archaeological field methods, including limited survey, manual and digital mapping, excavation, feature documentation, artifact processing, and artifact analysis. We will stay at base camps for 3 weeks at each project location (in the Gila National Forest from 5/23 to 6/13; in the Cañon from 6/13 to 7/3). Due date: April 9, 2021. New Mexico State University | Learn More >>
Notice: Time to Nominate Candidates for the Byron Cummings Award, Victor R. Stoner Award, and Alexander J. Lindsay, Jr. Unsung Heroes Award
The Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society welcomes nominations for three annual awards. Nomination letters, and Curriculum Vitae (if appropriate) should be emailed to Ron Towner (rht at email dot Arizona dot edu) no later than May 1, 2021. Awardees will be selected by the Awards Committee and approved by the AAHS Board of Directors. Awards will be presented at the Pecos Conference in August. The Byron Cummings Award is given annually for outstanding research and contributions to knowledge in anthropology, history, or a related field of study or research pertaining to the southwestern United States or northwest Mexico. The Victor R. Stoner Award is given annually for outstanding contributions in leadership or participation in the Society; fostering historic preservation; or bringing anthropology, history, or a related discipline to the public. The Alexander J. Lindsay Unsung Hero Award recognizes the importance of individuals whose work has often gone unacknowledged, but is critical to the success of others’ archaeological, anthropological, or historical research.
We’re happy to help get the word out. Please submit news, events, publication announcements, and other resources to this link for consideration.