Paul Reed here! I’m stepping in for Bill this week to share some Greater Chaco news.
Despite some recent media reports, the situation across the Greater Chaco Landscape is looking up. In addition to the confirmation of Deb Haaland as Interior Secretary, two recent developments are driving my optimism.
First, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)—the federal agencies responsible for the resource management plan amendment (RMPA) and draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the approximately 4-million-acre decision area around Chaco Canyon and extending north towards Farmington—have agreed to push the planning process into 2022.
Parallel with the RMPA and DEIS work, the schedule for developing a Programmatic Agreement to guide the cultural resource management (Section 106) process for the next 10 to 15 years has also been extended. I’ll provide more details on these issues in the near future.
Second, last week, the Department of the Interior (DOI) conducted a daylong forum on oil-gas leasing in the American West and in offshore locations (primarily in the Gulf of Mexico). This forum was announced last month as part of a moratorium on new oil-gas leasing in the US. I was fortunate to be in the audience for the video forum, which included representatives of Tribal Nations, environmental groups, labor groups, and oil-gas industry groups.
These groups were invited by the DOI to discuss oil-gas leasing in onshore and offshore settings. More importantly, they were all encouraged to offer advice to the Biden administration and Secretary Haaland to guide oil-gas activity over the next four years. I was encouraged to hear Tribal representatives and environmental advocates push for greatly reduced leasing in the near future. At this point, the best estimates suggest that industry holds sufficient oil-gas leases across the US and offshore to support 5 to 10 years of oil production.
I hope you are feeling optimistic now, too! Bill will be back next week.
Paul F. Reed
Preservation Archaeologist & Chaco Scholar
As Women’s History Month Ends, Celebrate Women Archaeologists—and Consider the Future
If you want to know about adventuresses, aviatrices, scuba pioneers, and gin drinkers, well, we have a site full of them. What we don’t have (yet) is a site that reflects the full diversity of female experience. Brenna Hassett, Suzanne Pilaar Birch, Rebecca Wragg Sykes, and Tori Herridge (TrowelBlazers) at SAPIENS | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Local Perspective
[Morgan] Sjogren said regardless of what happens with the border disputes, the nation’s eyes are on Utah and agencies should prepare for an influx of tourism to the monuments. “A management plan for the area needs to accommodate the increased awareness and traffic and to educate the public on how to visit areas like this with respect. And that doesn’t change whether it’s a monument or whether portions are left out; that’s going to be an ongoing public lands conservation issue,” she said. K. Sophie Will in the St. George Spectrum and Daily News | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage: Harvard’s Peabody Museum Changes Repatriation Policies, Research Protocols
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology administrators apologized for the “pain” the museum caused by its refusal to voluntarily return certain funerary objects to Native American tribes and pledged to reverse the policy in response to a letter from the Association on American Indian Affairs last month criticizing the museum. Oliver L. Riskin-Kutz in the Harvard Crimson | Read More >>
Commentary: Indigenous Histories and the Law
This is a story of courts and agencies interpreting regulations in a way that frustrates a law’s purpose and perpetuates the United States’ custom of undermining the rights of Indigenous Peoples. This story begins more than 8,000 years ago with the death of a man who came to rest near present-day Kennewick, Washington. Fast-forward to 1996 when two college students discovered his remains along the banks of the Columbia River. The discovery ignited a 20-year dispute. Joseph Sexton in the Regulatory Review | Read More >>
Ancient Vessels: Interview with Barbara Mills
We generally talk about serving, storage, and cooking for most containers. There may be several subcategories, like water jars that may have handles, and then we call them a canteen. Cooking pots are almost always unslipped, but in the Southwest, they textured the outsides. Even the early Navajo and Apache pots had corn-cob impressions from scraping them. Kimi Eisele and Barbara Mills in BorderLore | Read More >>
Sacred and Everyday Vessels: Photographs by Bobby Narcho
Pottery, toka sticks, baskets—we consider these things vessels. Artists put their hearts and souls into making them. When you make these things, you have to be clear spirited, you can’t be having bad thoughts. When we make something with a lot of pain then that thing holds all that pain too. That’s a very O’odham mindset. Bobby Narcho in BorderLore | Read More >>
Respect Indigenous Petroglyphs
The past, current and future significance of petroglyphs means that some native communities are working to preserve what still exists. European colonizers removed Native Americans from their land and then developed and mined some of those same areas, ruining or erasing petroglyphs in the process. The destruction continues today, with reports of people spray-painting or carving into petroglyphs—and even using them as backdrops for target practice. Leslie Nemo in Discover Magazine | Read More >>
Tiger Chert, Drone Mapping, and Infrared Technology
“There are many, many different sources of stone for making stone tools in prehistory, but tiger chert is really distinctive in its appearance,” said University of Wyoming anthropology professor Todd Surovell. “It’s most commonly found in artifact form in southwest Wyoming, but it’s also been shown archeologically to have traveled huge distances. …For example, there are several artifacts made of tiger chert that have been found as far south as Arizona and southwest Colorado, down in the Pueblo world,” he said. Ashley Piccone for Wyoming Public Media | Read More or Listen Now >>
The Pandemic’s Effect on Small Museums
The latest survey of more than 850 museum directors from the American Alliance for Museums found about a third said they were at risk of closing permanently. Laura Lott leads the alliance. LAURA LOTT: Museums exist to protect our cultural heritage and the things that we as a society have decided are important. Unlike a restaurant or a shop, which we would also hate to lose but would, when economic times return, you know, probably come back in some form, once a museum closes, it’s closed forever, generally. Nina Kravinsky for NPR | Read More or Listen Now >>
Kudos to Jonathan Till
A hearty congratulations to our curator Jonathan Till. He was recently named the Utah State Parks Employee of the Year! Anyone who has had the pleasure to work with Jonathan knows what an invaluable asset he is to the Edge of the Cedars and to the SW archaeology community as a whole. We are thrilled to see him get this much-earned recognition! Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum | Learn More >>
In Memoriam: David McNeece
Allison Colborne (Director, Laboratory of Anthropology Library) has compiled a tribute bibliography for McNeece. Museum of Indian Arts and Culture | Read More >>
Video: Interview with Lyle Balenquah
Lyle discusses how his jewelry work reflects his cultural background using traditional and abstract designs. He draws inspiration from his experience working as a professional archaeologist in the American Southwest for over 20 years. Through this work, he is able to see first-hand how his ancestors used natural materials to express themselves through their artwork. Lyle works with various stones, seashells and other natural materials to handcraft wearable artwork such as pendants and earrings. Grand Canyon NPS | Watch Now >>
Podcast: Bill Doelle Introduces savehistory.org
Archaeology Southwest President and CEO Bill Doelle spoke with Bill Buckmaster about our partnership with U.S. Indian Affairs to eliminate archaeological resource crime on Tribal and federal public lands. Their discussion begins at the 30:40 mark. Buckmaster Show (KVOI AM 1030) | Listen Now >>
April 1 Webinar: Prehistoric Irrigation in Central Utah
Presented by Steve Simms. Irrigation at Pleasant Creek between AD 1460–1636, supposedly after the termination of farming north of the Colorado River, serves as a mundane symbol of cultural continuity between the ancient and modern tribes. Less emphasis on bounded archaeological taxonomies, turning names into things, enables a more behaviorally realistic view where non-Puebloan peoples interacted with Ancestral Puebloan/Fremont peoples. A milieu of farmers in pueblos, villages, and hamlets among a diversity of lifeways and identities, the “fierce and indomitable” non-Puebloan peoples may have a long history in the Southwest. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
REMINDER: 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 >>
April 6 Webinar: Stories from the Archive, Stories from the (Irrigated) Field
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase provide important constitutional guarantees that often have proven difficult to fulfill. Historians called upon to serve as expert witnesses are forced to deal with the differences between history and law as disciplines, not to mention the stress that accompanies the adversarial system of justice in the United States. ASM historian Michael Brescia will explain the difficult historical and legal issues involved in certain disputes over natural resources throughout the American West, while interspersing stories from his archival and field research that highlight the intimate connections between individuals, their communities, and the enduring impact of Spanish colonialism and U.S. expansionism on North America. First in a three-part series. Arizona State Museum | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
April 7 Webinar: SAA Online Archaeology Week Live Speakers and Q&A
James Delgado (SEARCH Inc.), Leah Grant (San Mateo Veterans Curation Program), and Joe D. Horse Capture (Autry Museum of the American West) will give brief presentations about their work. They’ll be joined by Gregg Castro (Association of Ramaytush Ohlone) and Anna Goldfield (University of Tulsa) for a Q&A session to follow. Come with questions and a curiosity about archaeology and history! Society for American Archaeology | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Job Opportunity: Practitioner Faculty, Heritage Resource Management
The Department of Archaeology at Simon Fraser University seeks an entrepreneurial cultural resource management (CRM) professional to lead and expand an established online master’s degree program in Heritage Resource Management (HRM). This is a half-time position with continuation beyond the initial, 10-month term contingent on enrolment of a 2021 student cohort of sufficient size to assure HRM Program sustainability. Simon Fraser University | Learn More >>
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