I’ll be brief today.
Our first link will take you to a wonderful essay by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It’s a powerful consideration of relationships among “sun, soil, water, plant, and farmer.” Kimmerer states that, “They have entered into a covenant of reciprocity: if the maize will take care of the people, the people will care for the maize.” She then takes you on a journey. I urge you to take some quiet time to read and absorb her words.
My thanks to Emergence Magazine for making Kimmerer’s work available in their free digital publication.
Another article in today’s edition is by one of my favorite public lands legal experts, John Leshy. He takes Utah’s governor, Spencer Cox, to task in response to one of Cox’s recent statements. The governor let the world know that Utah is likely to sue President Biden if he uses the Antiquities Act to restore Bears Ears National Monument.
We’re all anxiously awaiting presidential action following completion of the national monument review Biden ordered the day of his inauguration. The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition reaffirmed their goal of seeing Bears Ears expanded to 1.9 million acres, their original request to President Obama. And my colleague and friend Lyle Balenquah describes an Indigenous future for Bears Ears in an essay published by the Grand Canyon Trust.
Your walking Frito (this will make sense after you read Kimmerer’s essay),
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Essay: Maize, the Mother of All Things
Science and technology go hand in hand, each spurring the other forward. Western science is a powerful way of generating knowledge, but it is not the only one. Long before colonists came to our shores, there were scientists here of every kind, including botanists, agronomists, and geneticists, practicing indigenous science and developing regenerative technologies. The nature of these two ways of understanding the world is written in vivid green ink in our respective cornfields. Robin Wall Kimmerer in Emergence Magazine | Read More >>
Audio narration is also available at that link.
Take Action to Ensure Increased Funding for the Bureau of Land Management
Congress has an opportunity to increase funding for the Bureau of Land Management to properly manage National Conservation Lands—the public places America loves and needs that represent our nation’s natural, cultural, and outdoor heritage. The budget process will be long and the first step is to send an email to your U.S. House of Representative asking them to sign the House letter supporting funding increases for the National Conservation Lands before Friday, April 23! Conservation Lands Foundation | Take Action Now >>
Continuing Coverage: Climbing Bolts in Moab-Area Petroglyph Panel
Along with the apology both online and in an article from Climbing, [Richard] Gilbert has acknowledged the work required to not only repair the physical damage but also the ties with Native communities after the damage. “I’m not the victim here,” he said. “I made a mistake, and I’ll pay for my mistake, but I think it’s also important to let the Native individuals have a voice and be heard now.” Kevin Johnson in Outside | Read More >>
We understand the impulse to have removed the bolts, and we’re glad the person who placed those bolts is sincerely repentent and cooperative. But once again, we remind everyone that these are crime scenes. Please do not disturb forensic evidence. Report and exhort. Read more in the posts below.
Before you bolt and before you climb, ask yourself: Do I understand the context of this place within the local and Tribal communities? Do I have the knowledge required to determine whether this route traverses an archaeological site? …[D]amage to fragile archaeological landscapes seems to be at an all-time high. How can we archaeologists provide better outreach and education tailored to the needs of our many audiences? We need to work to promote Leave No Trace and Visit with Respect ethics in this new generation of public lands enthusiasts. Shannon Cowell at the Preservation Archaeology blog (Archaeology Southwest) | Read More >>
Blog: Archaeological Resource Crime Is a Wicked Problem
Non-Indigenous communities seldom have similarly profound connections to territories. Non-Indigenous people tend to see land and all it contains as property, or just money, rather than as a source of identity, community, and cultural connections. Because places of the past have more and different values for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people, the stealing and vandalizing we call ARC [archaeological resource crime] has more traumatic effects. Thefts of ancestral belongings and assaults on sacred sites harm individual and family senses of place, community, and security. John R. Welch at SaveHistory dot org | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage: Utah Governor Takes Cue from Chief Justice Roberts
…But Cox emphasized he stands ready to go to court to reverse any unilateral action Biden might take regarding monument boundaries. He cited a recent statement from the U.S. Supreme Court suggesting past presidents have gone overboard in their use of the Antiquities Act, the 1906 law that empowers the chief executive to designate monuments on public land. “I’m not posturing as a way to say to the administration, ‘Hey, if you don’t do this, we’re going to sue you,’” the governor said. “But if I’m being practical and realistic … that’s what’s likely to happen.” Brian Maffly in the Salt Lake Tribune | Read More >>
Commentary: Utah Governor Is Wrong about Likelihood of Supreme Court Reversal
Critics of the Antiquities Act have grossly exaggerated Roberts’s comments. His memo recognized that the act, in Roberts’s words, “vests” the president with “significant discretion” and “broad authority” that carries with it great “flexibility.” He then noted that the act’s language authorizing the president to protect “the smallest area” of public lands that is “compatible” with the “proper care and management of” the features to be protected has “ceased to pose any meaningful restraint.” Roberts did not say this was an error that warrants correction by the judiciary; instead, he mildly suggested that it “may warrant consideration” by the court at some future time. His memo—not joined by any other justice—is a far cry from suggesting the court is poised to strike down whatever President Biden might do. John D. Leshy in the Salt Lake Tribune | Read More >>
Commentary: Restoration Must Come First
After meeting with the Secretary and speaking with the Utah delegation, we stand firm in our request that President Biden immediately restore and expand the Bears Ears National Monument to the boundaries of 1.9 million acres originally proposed by our Tribes to the Obama administration in 2015. Years of grassroots work and inter-tribal collaboration went into our original proposal to President Obama, and we have amassed a trove of data and cultural information to substantiate the need to protect this entire, interconnected cultural landscape. While we are very eager to continue pursuing legislative protections for Bears Ears, restoration should not wait on legislation and, thus far, the Utah delegation has yet to suggest any substantive points or counter-proposal in response to our proposal that we have been committed to for the last 6 years. As we have learned from past experience legislative negotiations can collapse, and even in the best-case scenario can take years to advance in Congress. Bears Ears needs protection now. Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition | Read More >>
Essay: The Indigenous Future of Bears Ears
Tribes must have a lead role in the development of land-management policy, especially when the land base encompasses large parts of our ancestral history and self-identity. Furthermore, any monument advisory committees must include tribal representatives that are chosen by the tribes themselves, not by outside interests. The inclusion of Indigenous stewardship values within these decisions is long overdue. Lyle Balenquah in Advocate Magazine (Grand Canyon Trust) | Read More >>
Petroglyphs in the News
Carolyn Boyd, Shumla Endowed Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Texas State University, has received a $145,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for her project, “Origins and Tenacity of Myth, Ritual, and Cosmology in Archaic Period Rock Art of Southwest Texas and Northern Mexico.” … Accepted under a new NEH category—archaeology and ethnographic field research—this project is related to the documentation and interpretation of 4,000-year-old Pecos River style (PRS) rock art in Southwest Texas and Coahuila, Mexico. San Marcos Corridor News | Read More >>
You really either have to be a resident, a relative of a resident, or a close friend of a resident of Virden, New Mexico to even know about the petroglyphs, and even then, to know how to get to them is another story. … [Aaron] Wright said petroglyphs themselves were not commonly made or randomly created and scattered around an area, instead, he compared them to monuments, or even shared communal memories tied to specific landscapes that drew people to them for centuries for religious ceremonies and other spiritual activities. Sam Ribakoff in the Eastern Arizona Courier | Read More >>
Podcast: New Methods for Dating Rock Art with Kirk Astroth
In this week’s episode, Dr. Alan Garfinkel interviews Kirk Astroth about new and innovative methods he used to date rock art for his master’s thesis. Kirk used a combination of established methods and new technology to date panels containing prehistoric, historic, as well as modern rock art. He came to several interesting conclusions, as well as identified ways to continue developing this new direction in rock art dating. The Rock Art Podcast | Listen Now >>
New Publication: The Greater Chaco Landscape
The Greater Chaco Landscape: Ancestors, Scholarship, and Advocacy, edited by Ruth M. Van Dyke and Carrie C. Heitman. University Press of Colorado, 2021. Learn More >>
New Exhibition: “Rights and Resilience” at Pueblo Grande Museum
“Rights and Resilience: Celebrating Native American Women” is an exhibition devoted solely to Native American women who fight for their people, their place and their heritage. They are leaders in government, protectors of environmental and human rights, keepers of tradition, innovators and changemakers, entrepreneurs, scientists, advocates and educators. Despite warfare, cultural assimilation and persecution, these resilient women inspire fresh perspectives and thoughtful conversations, and embody continuity. City of Phoenix Newsroom | Learn More >>
Video: Introduction to April 30 Webinar, The Border and Its Bodies
The Border and Its Bodies will examine the decades-long humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-México border by focusing on that most basic of all social units: the human body. Tom Sheridan tells us about the content and participants in the upcoming seminar. Southwest Center and Amerind Museum | Watch Now >>
Please be aware that human remains are briefly shown at 2:24.
April 22 Webinar: A Jaunt through Time: A Cultural Context of Southeast Utah
Lydia DeHaven will present a brief tour of the cultural history in San Juan County, Utah as well as an update on projects occurring on and supported by the Bureau of Land Management Monticello Field Office (BLM MFO) and Bears Ears National Monument (BENM). The cultural context will focus on settlement patterns, subsistence practices, and cultural identity. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Bureau of Land Management, Monticello Field Office, and Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
REMINDER: 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 >>
April 24 Webinar: What Was Chaco, Really?
Steve Lekson’s presentation will consider how Southwestern archaeology painted itself into a corner on Chaco and how the evidence strongly indicates that Chaco was something not found in Southwestern ethnography. Amerind Museum | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Kudos to Kelsey Hanson
All of us at Archaeology Southwest are pleased to congratulate 2019 Preservation Archaeology Field School staff member Kelsey Hanson, who is among 100 doctoral students in the U.S. and Canada selected to receive a Scholar Award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood in 2021. Recipients are women chosen for their high level of academic achievement and potential for positively impacting society. Funding will support Hanson’s dissertation work, tentatively titled “Communities of ‘Chromatic Prayer’: Tracing the Emergence of Social Inequality in the Chaco and Post-Chaco Worlds (A.D. 850–1300).”
In Memoriam: Paul “Pablo” Williams
Pablo would work as an archaeologist for the BLM in Taos until his retirement in 2012. Paul’s passion and hard work contributed to the preservation of many historical sites around the Southwest, including Mesa Prieta, the Galisteo Basin, Wild Rivers, and many more. Pablo was a proud member of the Taos Archaeological Society and a long-time supporter of the Archeological Conservancy. Taos News | Read More >>
National Park Service Releases Mobile App
Just in time for National Park Week, the new National Park Service (NPS) mobile app is now available for visitors to national parks across the country. Created by park rangers with visitors in mind, the NPS App gives the public up-to-date information about all 423 national parks in one easy-to-use app. Visitors can download the NPS App in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store to plan a trip, find interactive maps, download maps and tours ahead of time and find things to do and places to visit during National Park Week and beyond. National Park Service | Learn More >>
Notice from the Midwest Art Conservation Center: Fellowship in Native American Collections Care
The Midwest Art Conservation Center is calling for applications to the Fellowship in Native American Collections Care. This is a 12-week position (60 workdays) with a stipend of $11,000. MACC is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and, while at least 25% of the time will be on-site, a partially remote schedule can be discussed. The Fellowship must be completed by December 31, 2021, but start and end dates are flexible. The Fellow will work with MACC’s Director of Preventive Conservation and conservators on a variety of collections care activities including art handling, general collections assessment, conservation documentation, collection database use, and technical research and writing. The Fellow will gain first-hand experience of evaluation techniques and approaches through participation in off-site surveys. MACC | Learn More >>
Notice from Matthew Guebard: Please Help Protect Montezuma Castle and Tonto National Monuments from Helicopters
Over the last year, the Montezuma Castle and Tonto National Monuments have experienced frequent low-altitude overflights from tour helicopters. The rotor vibrations from these helicopters have the potential to damage ancient architecture and the noise can negatively impact visitor experience. The National Park Service has been working to document these overflights and educate pilots on the potential resource impacts caused by helicopters. Even with our recent efforts, the problem persists. For example, H5 Helicopters has been asked multiple times by the National Park Service to cease low altitude flights within the boundaries of Montezuma Castle and Tonto. Despite these requests, H5 continues to engage in low altitude flying within National Park units. We know that the Montezuma Castle and Tonto cliff dwellings are important to you and we are asking for your help in protecting them. A letter, email or social media post asking that H5 (and all aircraft) fly more responsibly and respectfully within National Parks would be greatly appreciated. Our hope is that your involvement and support will help pilots to understand how important this issue is.
We’re happy to help get the word out. Please submit news, events, publication announcements, and other resources to this link for consideration.