There is a strong theme in today’s articles.
At the moment President Biden took his oath of office, he gained the potential to use the power of the Antiquities Act.
There was a good bit of hopeful anticipation on Inauguration Day that Biden would immediately restore both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.
Instead Biden called for a review—a review that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland submitted last week.
A powerful anticipation has grown upon numerous previous rounds. But the nature of the recommendations remains unknown.
So, this week’s articles may represent that final drumroll, the crescendo of energy and emotion that has built upon pent-up anticipation.
As one of a great many persons who have carefully followed the stories of these two national monuments, I anxiously await a presidential action.
Its arrival—whatever it specifies—will, I hope, initiate a hearty round of celebration.
But of course it will soon be followed by—Anticipation.
The anticipation that we will need to defend gains. The anticipation that we will need to maintain our optimism and renew our commitment to the long term.
We can never know about the days to come, but we (surely must) think about them anyway…
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. We really need your help if you want us to get the word out. Remember—it’s your word! And we really do want to share it. So, please submit news, events, video and podcast links, publication announcements, and other resources to this link for consideration. It makes it so much easier for us to bring you this news digest every week. Questions?
115 Years of the Antiquities Act
This week is the 115th anniversary of the Antiquities Act! This little-known law is responsible for some of our country’s most treasured public lands: National Monuments. The Act gives U.S. Presidents the unique ability to designate federal lands as National Monuments for their cultural, historic, scientific, and ecological importance. Since President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law in 1906, 17 Presidents from both parties have established hundreds of National Monuments across the country. While National Monuments can be designated by Presidents, their creation stems from years of advocacy by local communities. Conservation Lands Foundation | Read More >>
Pueblos and tribes, local Hispanic communities and traditional land users have historically advocated for conservation, and have always been (and always should be) at the planning table during national monument discussions. Thanks to the Antiquities Act, community-driven monument designations are a unique opportunity for locals to have a say in how their landscapes should be both permanently protected and carefully managed in the long term. Local input helps to elevate protection and community land use while also crafting a long-term stewardship plan with federal agencies (like the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service) that manage these places. Carefully addressing and planning for overuse and excessive visitation from nonlocals is also a critical part of the planning process. Carmichael Dominguez and Julian Gonzales (commentary) in the Santa Fe New Mexican | Read More >>
Call to Action: Tell President Biden to Restore and Expand National Monument Protections
These national monuments protect irreplaceable sacred sites and homelands, paleontological treasure troves and habitat for threatened and endangered species. They also provide economic boosts to local communities from tourism, places to enjoy the outdoors, and clean air and water. Without their national monument protections, these places are at risk. It’s time to move forward on President Biden’s promises to restore protections and provide Tribes with a greater role managing culturally-significant landscapes. National monuments honor the diverse experiences of our nation, and make sure important stories and connections to land and waters continue to exist for generations to come. Monuments for All | Act Now >>
Secretary Haaland Submits Monument Recommendations to President Biden
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland sent her recommendation to President Joe Biden on whether to reverse the downsizing of two national monuments in Utah. President Trump in 2017 cut the Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and the Grand Escalante Staircase National Monument by half. Details on Haaland’s recommendation were not released. Joaqlin Estus in Indian Country Today | Read More >>
We also recommend Elizabeth Williamson’s recent New York Times article on the significance of Secretary Haaland’s leadership of the Department of the Interior >>
Commentary: Mining in Greater Bears Ears Poses Risks to Indigenous Communities
When it comes to mineral extraction in Bears Ears, I think a lot of people do not realize how important it is to us as Indigenous people. As a uranium researcher, I know firsthand about the radioactive legacy of the Cold War that plagues my community. … There is a mutual respect between people and this environment; we cannot separate ourselves from this community. Uranium mining and oil and gas extraction interrupt that relationship within our community. And when it happens, there are consequences. Tommy Rock at azcentral dot com | Read More >>
Learn more about the nomination for drilling of 40,000 acres of land inside the original boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument from this piece by Kate Groetzinger for KUER 90.1 >>
Returning Land to Tribes
There is a burgeoning movement these days to repatriate some culturally and ecologically important lands back to their former owners, the Indigenous people and local communities who once lived there, and to otherwise accommodate their perspective and participation in the management of the land and its wildlife and plants. Throughout the United States, land has been or is being transferred to tribes or is being co-managed with their help. Jim Robbins in Yale Environment 360 | Read More >>
Commentary: Indigenous Land Management, Landscape Architecture, and Environmental Justice
Much of the awe-inspiring landscape that the first white settlers rhapsodized over when they arrived in places like California was in fact a highly managed landscape shaped by intentional direct human intervention. Yosemite, and the other places that would become national parks, far from being untouched were indisputably designed landscapes, managed by the tribes that lived, hunted, and cultivated the environment through a variety of practices. The blindness to these practices had profound implications, writes [Dina] Gilio-Whitaker, as the national parks lands transitioned “from an Indigenous cared-for cultural landscape to a cultural landscape based on the projection of an imagined, commodified, European American wilderness.” Jennifer Reut in Landscape Architecture Magazine | Read More >>
Natural Resources Class Centers Indigenous Perspectives
“These are a lot of the things that we remembered are really significant cultural happenings, like an exchange, a meeting of new people, coming to know new seeds that we now grow as a food source,” [Dominique David-Chavez] says. This is the concept behind David-Chavez’s new course, “Natural Resource Rights and Reconciliation.” She taught it for the first time this spring as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship. “We kind of do a lot of 101 about what does it mean to be Indigenous?” she says. “What is the real history of the land here and not just what you got in your K–12 history book?” Stephanie Daniel for KUNC (public radio) | Read More >>
Audio is also available at that link.
“Fire is earth medicine”: Interview with Rick O’Rourke (Yurok Tribe)
Though his job quite literally has him putting out fires, you wouldn’t call Rick O’Rourke a firefighter, at least not in the traditional sense. In fact, he’s more of a fire starter—and someone who finds great joy in it, too. He always offers a prayer before painting the ground with gasoline from his drip torch. And as he guides a wall of low flames slowly through the forest, he laughs with his colleagues, confident in the knowledge that he is destined to heal the earth with fire. O’Rourke is a member of the Yurok Tribe in Northern California and an expert in the Indigenous practice of prescribed burns: small, managed fires ignited to clear the underbrush that could spark larger, more destructive blazes. Rick O’Rourke and Brianna Baker at Grist | Read More >>
Interview with Author Morgan Sjogren
I had been out in the Bears Ears backcountry working on several stories and really immersing myself in place, and a friend asked if I would be interested in writing a guidebook for the monument. I just stared blankly at my inbox and was like, “I don’t think so.” But we talked about the issues Bears Ears was going to face with increased awareness, and the potential for the monument to be reduced, which it was. That pushed me towards providing a visitor-ready resource that can educate anyone on how to visit the area with respect and how to get involved with protecting it. Morgan Sjogren and Science Moab in the Moab Sun News | Read More >>
Another Visit with Respect Guidebook Released for Bears Ears and Cedar Mesa
Exploring Utah’s Bears Ears and Cedar Mesa: A Guide to Hiking, Backpacking, Scenic Drives, and Landmarks by Andrew Weber was released by FalconGuides on May 7. Developed in conjunction with advocacy group Friends of Cedar Mesa, the book guides visitors to a host of great destinations throughout the Bears Ears region of southeast Utah. The book also teaches Visit with Respect principles to encourage preservation of the fragile archaeological and cultural resources that define the landscape. FalconGuides | Learn More >>
Indy and the Myths, 40 Years Later
Forty years after Raiders of the Lost Ark premiered to the public on June 12, 1981, the outsized shadow of Indy still looms large over the field he ostensibly represented. Over three movies in the 1980s, plus a prequel television series and a fourth film that came out in 2008, Harrison Ford’s portrayal of Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr., became indelibly tied to American archaeology. … Even in the 21st century, several outdated myths about archaeological practice have endured thanks to the “Indiana Jones effect.” And contemporary archaeologists, many of whom harbor a love/hate relationship with the films, would like to set the record straight. Kristina Killgrove in Smithsonian Magazine | Read More >>
Announcement: 2021 Cordell and Powers Prize
The Cordell and Powers Prize is a competition that honors Linda S. Cordell and Robert P. Powers: teachers, mentors, advisors, and friends to countless Southwestern archaeologists. The top prize will be awarded for the two best extemporaneous talks presented at the 2021 Pecos Conference by archaeologists 35 years of age or younger. In recognition that some contestants who intended to submit a paper during the 2020 Pecos Conference (cancelled due to COVID-19), for 2021 the age of entry is temporarily 36 years of age or younger. Pecos Conference | Learn More >>
Video: X-ray Fluorescence Reveals Rock Painting Techniques
Because of dams built on the Rio Grande and an increase in flash floods in southwest Texas, the nonprofit Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center has embarked on a quest to document the rock paintings near the Lower Pecos Canyonlands before they’re gone forever. Among Shumla’s archaeologists is a chemist, Karen Steelman, who is incorporating new portable X-ray fluorescence techniques to help rediscover the painting techniques of the people who once lived there. Speaking of Chemistry | Watch Now >>
Spotlight on the Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project
The Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project seeks to locate and record these images both to encourage their protection and to educate the public about their importance. NEH funding in 2020 allowed the project to continue its work through the pandemic and even expand into new technologies that will bring the petroglyphs to a wider audience. NEH for All | Read More >>
Indiana University, Tribes Collaborate to Strengthen NAGPRA Compliance
While IU has long been committed to complying fully with NAGPRA, it has recently established a NAGPRA Review Board and prohibited all research on Native American ancestral remains without the board’s consent. The board, which includes tribal leaders and IU researchers, will help ensure compliance with NAGPRA and the involvement of the tribes, and will only permit research on ancestral remains to go forward if the relevant tribes agree. The new board will also help to facilitate collaborative research with Native American nations and scholars. Indiana University News | Read More >>
REMINDER: June 10 Webinar: Perishable Artifacts in the Bureau of Land Management’s Cerberus Collection
The Cerberus Collection is the BLM’s largest collection obtained through recovery during a law enforcement case and consists of 101,782 artifacts originating from the American Southwest. To effectively manage the artifacts recovered during the case, the BLM worked with tribes and consultants to better understand the nature and significance of objects in the collection to support making the objects more accessible to tribal communities, researchers, and the public. Consultants helped identify objects and determine their research and exhibit potential to better establish their significance for curation. As part of this project, perishables specialist Laurie Webster worked with BLM archaeologist Diana Barg to identify and interpret 4,518 perishable artifacts. Four Corners Lecture Series, the Bureau of Land Management, Monticello Field Office, and Bears Ears National Monument in partnership with Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
June 23 Webinar Series: Whose History Is It Anyway? Empowering Communities of Color to Identify and Preserve Their Own Stories
In recent years, the field of historic preservation has attempted to reconcile its “white” roots with the need to preserve the full American story. Preservationists have long bemoaned the lack of representation of communities of color in the National Register of Historic Places and have voiced concern over the alarming loss of properties that tell the story of indigenous communities and people of color across the American landscape. This webinar will discuss efforts to tell stories and save places associated with Arizona’s rich ethnic heritage. Panelists will discuss efforts underway to preserve stories and places in this state and beyond using unique strategies to overcome barriers that prevent us from telling the full story. Arizona Preservation Foundation | More Information and Link to Registration >>
July 13 Webinar: Indigenous Woman Coming Through
Pima County (AZ) Recorder Gabriella Cázares-Kelly (Tohono O’odham) presents “Indigenous Woman Coming Through: How I went from Educator and Community Organizer to Elected Official.” She will discuss the significance of her wins as a nontraditional candidate in 2020 primary and general elections, what inspired her to run, unexpected barriers faced, and what she and her staff are now working on. Old Pueblo Archaeology Center (Indigenous Interests Series) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
July 15 Webinar: Talking Turkey
National Park Service archeologist Sharlot Hart presents “Talking Turkey: Domestic Turkeys in the US Southwest’s Archeological Record (and a Little on Them Today).” She will recount the often-surprising history of turkey domestication and husbandry in the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest starting about 1 CE. Spoiler: It wasn’t all about food! Old Pueblo Archaeology Center (Third Thursday Food for Thought Series) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
In Memoriam: Ann-Eve Pedersen
Pedersen’s family has deep roots in Tucson, and her appreciation for Tucson’s past was demonstrated in her work for the Southwestern Foundation for Education and Historical Preservation, which she became the executive director of in 2017. Dylan Smith in the Tucson Sentinel | Read More >>
In Memoriam: William J. Robinson
Bill’s love of the desert and for archaeology brought him to the University of Arizona where he received a PhD in Anthropology. Over 30 years as a professor and, ultimately, Director of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Bill helped advance the use of dendrochronology to study archaeological sites throughout the Southwest and the United States. Legacy dot com | Read More >>
On April 5, 2014, I had the honor of driving Bunny Fontana, Jim Ayres, and Bill Robinson to visit the University of Arizona–Desert Archaeology Field School being held at Mission Guevavi on the Santa Cruz River, some 5 miles north of the international border with Mexico. In the interim, these local archaeological heroes have passed away. Bill Robinson held on until just a couple of weeks ago. Bill was a special friend of Archaeology Southwest, and a deeply appreciated personal friend. Losing our elders is not easy. Thanks Bunny, Jim, and Bill for being your extra-special selves. — Bill Doelle
Job Opportunity: Phoenix Field Crew
Desert Archaeology is seeking archaeological technicians for excavations at the site of La Ciudad, just east of downtown Phoenix The excavations provide a unique opportunity to investigate the core of one of the largest Hohokam sites in the Phoenix Basin. Applicants should have received or be pursuing a degree in Anthropology/Archaeology or a closely related field or have commensurate experience in the field. Previous experience in the excavation of Hohokam sites is preferred. Desert Archaeology, Inc. | Learn More >>
See you next week!