Being vaccinated opens opportunities. That’s why I’m in Newtown, Pennsylvania, typing this. It’s why I flew on an airplane, which is the only realistic option to visit my daughter and grandchildren.
And, as I’ve noted previously, it’s my worries about the world my grandkids will live in after I am long gone that make my concern over the climate crisis personal and urgent.
On the flight east, I reread David Attenborough’s wonderful book, A Life on Our Planet. He noted that carbon-free air travel is one of the biggest challenges in the transportation sector. And that carbon offsets are the primary strategy the industry is taking in the near term.
As I did some initial research about carbon offsets, I was a bit overwhelmed. Not because there aren’t many different programs willing to take my credit card, but because making an effective choice takes careful research.
Today, I got as far as clearly establishing that just two annual round trips to Pennsylvania would represent by far the largest line item in my carbon footprint.
So, for the moment, I’m going to enjoy time with my grandkids. (Too bad hugs and giggles aren’t carbon offsets.) And on the flight back to Tucson this weekend, I’ll return to the question of the carbon offset. I’ll let you know where I end up next week.
I expect to contemplate this issue’s stories further on my return flight, as well. These are exciting times, and many consequential events and processes are on the near horizon.
Feel free to share your thoughts and advice about carbon offsets.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image: Leslie D. Aragon
GAO Releases Report on Improving Response to Crimes against Native American Cultural Resources
Individuals have long sought to excavate and steal Native American pottery, tools, and other objects for their own collections or to sell. We reviewed 7 federal agencies’ efforts to protect these cultural resources and roadblocks they’ve encountered. Officials cited impediments such as being unable to afford costly measures such as fences and physical surveillance. Also cited was a lack of information on the location and condition of archeological sites. We recommended the agencies work to obtain this information, which could help them better prioritize protection efforts. U.S. Government Accountability Office | Read More >>
Commentary: Protect Indigenous Cultural Sites
Recognized cultural sites and landscapes are not confined to the boundaries of reservations and national parks, such as in the greater Chaco region. The cultural history of Native ancestral people runs deep throughout the Americas—their settlements, religious pilgrimage trails, petroglyphs and other cultural resources that include minerals, flora and fauna deserve recognition and protection. However, once lands are handed over to industry, Native Americans are prohibited from accessing these areas and development often goes unmonitored, destroying important sites and the landscape. Kurt Riley, former Governor, Pueblo of Acoma, in the Albuquerque Journal | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage: ACHP Makes Recommendations on Oak Flat Land Exchange
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Vice Chairman Rick Gonzalez today sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack with the ACHP’s final comments and recommendations regarding the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Tonto National Forest’s (TNF) Section 106 review for the proposed Resolution Copper Project and Southeast Arizona Land Exchange. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties and provide the ACHP a reasonable opportunity to comment. In the letter to Secretary Vilsack, the ACHP recommends USDA work with the Biden Administration and Congress to take immediate steps to amend or repeal the legislation directing the land transfer or otherwise prevent it from happening as proposed. The ACHP emphasized that the proposed measures to resolve adverse effects to Chí’chil Biłdagoteel (Oak Flat) as well as the numerous other historic properties were not sufficient. The ACHP considered Oak Flat’s profound importance to multiple Indian tribes as a critical factor in its decision. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation | Read More >>
Secretary Haaland Heads to Utah
Deb Haaland will make her first foray into Utah as Interior secretary this week, traveling Thursday to San Juan County, where she will hear from tribes, elected leaders and other “stakeholders” about the fate of Bears Ears National Monument. The secretary will tour the monument in the early afternoon and then meet with local elected leaders later that day, according to an advisory issued by the Interior Department that was short on details sbout the visit. The advisory indicates she will also travel to Kane County, home to part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Brian Maffly in the Salt Lake Tribune | Read More >>
Take Action: Join the Monumental Day of Action
On April 9th, we ask you to help flood social media with a groundswell of support for #MonumentsForAll. Let’s send a clear message: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase deserve to be restored and protected! Monuments for All | Learn More >>
Chief Justice Roberts Signals Interest in Challenges to the Antiquities Act
In his statement, Roberts wondered whether presidents have abused the 1906 law by ignoring a provision requiring that monuments be “limited to the smallest area compatible with the care and management of the objects to be protected.” … The chief justice went on to suggest that a handful of other lawsuits—including a pair challenging President Trump’s cuts to two Utah-based national monuments—could present “better opportunities” to review use of the Antiquities Act. Jennifer Yachnin for E&E News | Read More >>
NAGPRA News: Mississippi Repatriates Remains of Indigenous Ancestors to Chickasaw Nation
Between 750 and 1,800 years ago, hundreds of Native Americans in what is now the northern Mississippi Delta region were buried alongside their kin and pet dogs in graves decorated with wolf teeth, beads, vases and turtle shells. Instead of remaining in the ground as their loved ones had intended, the deceased were eventually unearthed by archaeologists and placed in state storage, as Brian Broom reports for the Mississippi Clarion Ledger. … That injustice was finally rectified last month, when the department repatriated the remains of 403 Native American people, as well as 83 burial lots, to the Chickasaw Nation. … “We see the repatriation process as an act of love,” Amber Hood, director of historic preservation and repatriation for the Chickasaw Nation, tells the Associated Press’ (AP) Leah Willingham. “These are our grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles and cousins from long ago.” Nora McGreevy in Smithsonian Magazine | Read More >>
Commentary: “Why Are Black People’s Remains in Museums?”
Among the human remains in Harvard University’s museum collections are those of 15 people who were probably enslaved African American people. Earlier this year, the school announced a new committee that will conduct a comprehensive survey of Harvard’s collections, develop new policies, and propose ways to memorialize and repatriate the remains. “We must begin to confront the reality of a past in which academic curiosity and opportunity overwhelmed humanity,” wrote Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow. This dehumanizing history of collecting African American bodies as scientific specimens is not a problem just at Harvard. Delande Justinvil and Chip Colwell in SAPIENS | Read More >>
Podcast: Changes in Museum Policies and Practice
Last week, Paul Reed and radio host Scott Michlin discussed changes in museum policies and practices in the 30 years since the passage of NAGPRA. KSJE 90.9FM | Listen Now >>
Mesa Verde National Park Gains Dark Sky Designation
Mesa Verde National Park is known for preserving ancient cultural sites, and now it will protect the nighttime view of the stars above as well. This year, Mesa Verde was designated the 100th International Dark Sky Park, according to a park news release Monday. The certification recognizes the exceptional quality of the park’s night skies and provides added opportunities to enhance visitor experiences through astronomy based interpretive programming. …The Dark Sky designation also serves to highlight the spiritual and practical connections the Ancestral Puebloans had with night skies and stars. “We want to work with tribal communities to bring those stories out, said Kristy Sholly, chief of interpretation and visitor services for the park. Jim Mimiaga in The Journal | Read More >>
SAA 2021 Online Archaeology Week
Join SAA for a celebration of archaeology! Online Archaeology Week will run from April 5 to April 9, 2021, the week before the SAA 86th Annual Meeting Online. All members of the public are invited to explore archaeology and history through downloadable activities and talks from archaeologists and other related experts. Though we won’t meet in person in San Francisco as planned this year, learn more about the past in California and elsewhere. All activities are free and do not require an annual meeting registration. Society for American Archaeology | Learn More >>
Download the Discover Archaeology Activity Booklet [PDF 6.5 MB] for activities using archaeological knowledge, word searches, connect-the-dots, and 3D models of artifacts. Some activities can be done digitally, while others may need to be printed. If you complete any of the activities in this booklet, you can send it to the Society for American Archaeology for a small prize, an embroidered patch, pictured below. You can either email the document to firstname.lastname@example.org (saved or scanned) or physically mail it to our office. Society for American Archaeology | Download Now >>
Blog: Archaeology Southwest at the 2021 (Virtual) SAA Meeting
This time of year is generally filled with excitement as many of us at Archaeology Southwest prepare to present our current research at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). Like so many other things, the meeting was cancelled last year due to COVID-19, and this year’s event shifted to an online meeting that’s coming up next week. Despite the difficulty of in-person interactions this year, we’ve done work we’re really looking forward to sharing. Karen Schollmeyer at the Preservation Archaeology blog (Archaeology Southwest) | Read More >>
April 13 Webinar: Protecting Greater Chaco: Where We Stand in 2021
From Paul Reed: “After four very long years, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The last three months have seen several positive developments as the new Biden administration took office. We now have a new Secretary of the Interior—Deb Haaland—who has put a high priority on protecting the Greater Chaco Landscape. Furthermore, the BLM and BIA have halted the planning process that was rushed in 2020 and announced that it will extend into 2022. My own research from 2020 in the 10-mile protection zone has revealed site clusters and communities that have yet to be protected by Federal action. In this presentation, I will discuss new developments and the future of protection around Chaco Canyon.” Taos Archaeological Society | More Information and Zoom ID >>
April 15 Webinar: Basket Weaving in the Mesa Verde Tradition
Basket weaving is a long-lived and regionally distinctive Mesa Verde tradition that has been critical to the lifeways of Native peoples for millennia. Poor preservation and scholarly bias has caused baskets, sandals, mats, and other related artifacts to be overlooked by archaeologists. Join Dr. Ed Jolie for a discussion on the forms and functions in surviving basketry products to illustrate the construction legacy that remains strong today. Four Corners Lecture Series, Hisatsinom Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society, and Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
April 15 Webinar: Shipwrecks and the Transport of Luxury in the Roman Mediterranean
Prof. Carrie Atkins (University of Toronto at Mississauga) will navigate us through “Shipwrecks and the Transport of Luxury in the Roman Mediterranean,” tackling Rome’s notoriety for luxurious appetites and the Empire’s reputation as a seminal extractive global economy. By scrutinizing remains of ship cargoes, however, Prof. Atkins will put these perceptions in a more nuanced context, decentralizing Rome within these complicated networks of exchange. Tucson Chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
April 24 Outdoor Event: Hands-On Archaeology at Mission Garden
Join ancient technologies expert Allen Denoyer for our Hands-On Archaeology program at Mission Garden, Tucson’s birthplace. Explore our replica pithouse and learn about ancient technologies. On Saturday, April 24, Allen will demonstrate how to make ground stone pendants using traditional methods. Mission Garden and Archaeology Southwest | Learn More >>
Notice from The Nature Conservancy (New Mexico): Hiring Indigenous Partnerships Program Director
The New Mexico Indigenous Partnerships Program Director (IP Director) will initiate a program that includes the development of a comprehensive strategy for the New Mexico Chapter to design and implement conservation programs, policies, and projects that are culturally appropriate and meet mutual conservation goals of the New Mexico Field Office (NMFO) and tribal nations. Working primarily in New Mexico, the IP Director will build on existing partnerships and projects in a team setting with other Nature Conservancy (TNC) team members leading forest and fire management, water conservation and management, conservation lands, and climate change mitigation and adaption programs. The IP Director will serve as TNC’s primary liaison to tribes in New Mexico and serve as part of an extended team working in North America to implement the Conservancy’s Indigenous Landscapes and Communities (ILC) Strategy. This position is being offered as a part-time (28 hours per week), two-year term position. If a platform and enabling conditions allow, a full-time position may be considered at the end of the term. The Nature Conservancy | Learn More >>
Notice from the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum: 2021 Summer Camps
Looking for something for your kids to do this summer? Check out the Presidio’s themed summer camps. “Live History” teaches children about history through a series of activities and demonstrations such as: blacksmithing and adobe making. Would your child like to learn about the archaeology of Tucson? Well, they can! They will excavate a mock archaeological site and learn how to analyze the artifacts that they find. Is your child an actor at heart? If so, they could join our Bilingual Theater/Reenactment camp and learn history through role play. Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum | Learn More >>
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