On Saturday, my wife and I flew back to Tucson from Philadelphia. On Monday, I committed to 4,000 pounds of carbon offsets each month in order to counterbalance our trips back to visit the grandkids. It was easy through Terrapass.
It’s not a perfect or even an ultimate solution, but it does reduce the negatives associated with air travel and offsets some of our other carbon excesses over the course of a year.
In related news—
As an archaeologist, I can’t resist a time-series of information, and an article in The New Yorker by Elizabeth Kolbert offered an interesting one.
She wrote that cherry blossoms became a focus of Japanese identity by the 700s. As a result, poems, literature, and diverse sources have marked the calendar dates of this special phenomenon—the blooming—creating a remarkable climate record.
In 2021, in Kyoto, “…Peak bloom was the earliest it’s been in twelve hundred years, and ten days earlier than the thirty-year average.”
Other concerning events this past week were fires in the floodplains of two of my favorite rivers—the San Pedro east of Tucson and the Gila west of Gila Bend. Archaeology Southwest has multiple archaeological parcels that we preserve on the San Pedro, and we are advocating for a Great Bend of the Gila National Conservation Area on the Gila.
This drought of nearly two decades is turning the landscape to tinder—even in river floodplains.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image: R. E. Burrillo
Biden “Poised to Act” on Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante
“We still have cultural ties to this area. It is much like the Mormon temple up in Salt Lake City,” Clark Tenakhongva, vice chairman of the Hopi Tribe, told reporters Thursday in Blanding. “If you desecrate our shrines, our temples, down here, you are destroying our culture, our religion, our lifeline and our history of how we became part of this nation.” By all accounts, Biden is listening to tribal voices and is poised to act. Brian Maffly, Matt Canham, and Zak Podmore in the Salt Lake Tribune | Read More >>
Commentary: National Monuments Must Be Restored, and Quickly
My research highlights just a few examples of the diverse tapestry of Native American histories woven in the Bears Ears landscape over millennia, and the uniqueness and significance of the archaeological record that the drastic 2017 reduction of the monument ignored. I have seen firsthand the effects of historic and recent looting and vandalism at these sites, but the specter that threatens most urgently is over-visitation. Protections must be restored to better manage visitation, protect the resources and better serve the public. Benjamin Bellorado in The Journal | Read More >>
Wild swings in the size of these monuments at the start of each new administration are a poor way to oversee the land. But Utah’s leaders had their chance four years ago to advance a compromise bill setting permanent boundaries, and they failed to do so. Amid their applause when Mr. Trump hacked away at Bears Ears and Grand Staircase, some of them could be heard calling for legislation — which would have curtailed the president’s power to designate national monuments. In the meantime, Bears Ears has been looted. Washington Post Editorial Board | Read More >>
Hopi History in Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante
With the historic visit by Indigenous Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to southeast Utah this week, I think it’s worth re-posting a previous blog writing from 4 years ago describing, in part, some of the Hopi questions and answers we find in the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante landscapes. Lyle Balenquah at From the Earth Studio | Read More >>
Like many landscapes throughout the American Southwest, Hopi people maintain a cultural connection with the region now designated as part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM). From a Hopi perspective, we believe that it is our ancestors who, in part, once dwelled within the canyons, up on the mesas and plateaus, ultimately leaving tell-tale signs, metaphorical “footprints”, that verify their existence upon the land. Within the GSENM, these include numerous villages, shrines, pottery sherds, stone tools, textiles, and rock art left behind by Hopi ancestors, as well as their deceased, who remain as spiritual guardians of this holy ground. We recall these ancient histories within epic clan migrations that speak of our ancestors traveling across large geographic regions of the southwest. Lyle Balenquah at From the Earth Studio | Read More >>
Audio: Bluff Council Member on Secretary Haaland’s Visit
On This Green Earth: Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland visited Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments last week. This is the first time a Native American will be in charge of shaping federal policies on public lands and waters. Nell and Chris will be talking about this visit and the possibilities of expanding the reach of these two monuments with Bluff City Councilman Jim Sayers. Nell Larson and Chris Cherniak on This Green Earth (KPCW/NPR) | Listen Now >>
Climbing Bolts Found in Moab-Area Petroglyph Panel
Reay started climbing up the middle of the three routes. “I get halfway up, and all the sudden there’s a petroglyph four inches from a bolt,” he said. “I look up, and there’s a whole panel, and the route goes right through the middle of it.” That night, Reay and his friends pulled the bolts on the first route and downclimbed. By Sunday, they had pulled the other two routes which had been bolted through the panel as well. Owen Clarke in Climbing | Read More >>
We are following this developing story. We caution that, as horrifying and galvanizing as these situations are, they are also potential crime scenes. It’s best to report immediately and leave the scene intact for investigators.
Continuing Coverage: The Significance of Oak Flat
Terry Rambler, chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, testified to federal officials that parts of Oak Flat have rock paintings and petroglyphs that are said to be the “footprints and the very spirit of our ancestors.” He compared the significance of Oak Flat for Native Americans to the importance of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, or Angkor Wat in Cambodia, or the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Dana Hedgpeth in the Washington Post | Read More >>
Read an opinion piece by Terry Rambler in The Hill >>
Suit Filed to Protect the “Lands Between”
A conservation group in San Juan County is suing the Bureau of Land Management over tens of thousands of acres of public land it leased to oil and gas developers in 2018. The land lies between Bears Ears and Hovenweep national monuments. The lawsuit claims drilling there could cause irreparable damage to cultural sites. … Josh Ewing is the director of Friends of Cedar Mesa, the group that brought the lawsuit. … Ewing said the goal of the lawsuit is to stop drilling from taking place on the parcels leased in 2018. Kate Groetzniger at KUER (NPR) | Read More >>
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Opens New Cultural Repository April 17
Join the Cultural Resources Department and Community Relations for the Virtual Grand Opening of the SRPMIC Cultural Repository! NOTE: Due to Community restrictions, there will be no public attendance. A Ribbon Cutting Live Stream & Virtual Tour will be available on Vimeo. A Public Drive Around will take place starting at 11am. Participants must remain in their vehicles. SRPMIC Cultural Resources | Learn More >>
Watch the Ribbon Cutting at 10:00 a.m., 4/17 >>
Take the Virtual Walking Tour at noon, 4/17 >>
Using Social Science to Control Epidemics
New collaborative efforts, such as the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform, are allowing anthropologists and other scholars to help align public health efforts with the on-the-ground knowledge and lived experience of people facing epidemics. Elizabeth Svoboda in SAPIENS | Read More >>
Human Remains at Penn to Be Repatriated and Reburied
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has outlined its recommendations regarding the repatriation and reburial of human remains in the Samuel G. Morton Cranial Collection. For decades, the museum has held more than 1,000 skulls from various parts of the world, dating from ancient Egypt to the 19th century, amassed in the 1830s-1840s by a natural scientist and anatomy lecturer who used them to compare the brain size of racial groups. Morton’s studies were often held up by white supremacists to uphold theories around racial superiority and as a justification for slavery, according to the museum and opponents of the collection. Gabriella Angeleti in the Art Newspaper | Read More >>
The article has one 1839 lithograph illustration and no photographs.
Read the recommendations report (PDF) >>
Video: Just What Is cyberSW?
cyberSW Manager Joshua Watts shares insights and examples of the incredible potential of the newly released cyberSW platform. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | Watch Now >>
Blog: A Surprising Chapter in the Life of Marshall Sahlins (1930–2021)
Before his luminous career even started, the young graduate student from Columbia University and his new bride set off in a ramshackle car for an extended vacation in the US Southwest. Bumping along new roads plowed by oil and gas prospectors, the couple somehow found themselves, quite literally, on the wrong side of the San Juan River southeast of Farmington, New Mexico. Erin Baxter at the Preservation Archaeology blog (Archaeology Southwest) | Read More >>
REMINDER: 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 16 Outdoor Event (Kanab UT): Southern Paiute Astronomy
Autumn Gillard is a descendant of the Paiute Indian tribe of Utah, descending on her mother’s side from the Cedar Band of Paiutes located in Cedar City, UT. Autumn currently is a student at the Southern Utah University studying Anthropology. She has gained her passion for the stars from her deep cultural understanding and traditional views on how Native American people connect to all forms of science. Autumn will be presenting a lecture based around the cultural connections that the Southern Paiute people have with the stars. Masks are required—distancing by household. Be sure to bring your own lawn-chair. Grand Staircase Escalante Partners | Learn More >>
April 19 Webinar: Sharing an Ear of Corn
Presented by Lisa Young. Collaborations, especially with descendent communities, have become an important and vibrant component of archaeological projects. In this talk, I share my perspective on the importance of food in nourishing collaborations that began over 15 years ago at the Homolovi State Park. A conversation about the importance of sharing an ear of roasted corn kindled these long-term relationships and have led to my deeper understanding of the connections between corn, heritage, and ancestors for the Hopi community, as well as Anishinaabe communities in the Great Lakes region. Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
April 20 Webinar: The Gila: River of History
Six hundred miles long from its source in the mountains of southwestern New Mexico to its confluence with the Colorado River above Yuma, the Gila has been an important avenue for the movement of birds, animals, plants, and peoples across the desert for millennia. Many cultures have sprung up on its banks, and millions of people depend on the river today—whether they know it or not. Gregory McNamee, author of the prizewinning book Gila: The Life and Death of an American River, presents a biography of this vital resource, drawing on Native American stories, pioneer memoirs, the writings of modern naturalists such as Aldo Leopold and Edward Abbey, and many other sources. Think of it as 70 million years of history packed into an entertaining, informative hour. About 60 minutes plus Q&A. This presentation will not be recorded. Arizona State Museum | Zoom Registration >>
April 23 Webinar: Aztec, Salmon, and the Puebloan Heartland of the Middle San Juan
Join Paul F. Reed and Gary M. Brown, editors of Aztec, Salmon, and the Puebloan Heartland of the Middle San Juan (SAR Press, 2018), and special guest Theresa Pasqual for a virtual book talk and a deep dive into the history and ongoing importance of several Chaco Canyon outlier sites across the Southwest’s Middle San Juan region. School for Advanced Research (SAR) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
May 4 Webinar: Was Sells Red Pottery a Marker of Tohono O’odham Identity in Late Precontact Times?
Bill Doelle and Samuel Fayuant (Tohono O’odham Nation) will discuss “Was Sells Red Pottery a Marker of Tohono O’odham Identity in Late Precontact Times? Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives.” From Bill and Samuel: “Over the past eight months, we have been meeting to explore the significance of a distinctive redware pottery called Sells Red. The pottery was first named based on an excavation at Jackrabbit Ruin, a site that dated to the late 1200s through the early or mid-1400s. … We also talked with interested Tohono O’odham elders and others to hear their perspectives on this pottery. We’ll share our process of discovery, our current thinking, and some of our unresolved questions.” Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
May 13 Webinar: Wartime Resistance and an Arizona Prison Camp Archaeological Site
Dr. Cherstin Lyon will present “Wartime Resisters of Conscience at the Catalina Federal Honor Camp on Mt. Lemmon” for Old Pueblo Archaeology Center’s “Thursday Food for Thought” Zoom program. Now an archaeological site, this prison camp incarcerated Japanese American, Hopi, and Jehovah’s Witness “resisters of conscience” during World War II. Dr. Lyon will explain how their experiences shaped their understanding of their own wartime citizenship. Old Pueblo Archaeology Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Notice from Living Heritage Research Council: 2021 Indigenous Internships Open to Applicants
Are you an Indigenous student, graduate student, or a tribal community member interested in Cultural Anthropology, American Indian Studies, and working with tribes? Well, LHRC is looking for you! Our internship program offers paid positions for the Summer and Fall 2021, and we can provide an opportunity to work on research projects with our team and our tribal partners. Living Heritage Research Council | Learn More >>
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