It’s good to be back after our one-week break.
It’s also exciting to share a couple of media events linked to Archaeology Southwest’s long-term Preservation Archaeology projects.
Two decades and five days ago, Paul Reed was hired as our Chaco Scholar. Paul’s initial focus was bringing legendary archaeologist Cynthia Irwin-Williams’s important work at the Salmon community—a Chacoan outlier—to publication, and then bringing it forward with new research. Over the past decade, Paul has collaborated with Tribes and environmental advocates to increase protections for the Greater Chaco landscape. There is a clear threat surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and the fragmentation of an even wider landscape due to federal oil and gas leasing and development is a threat to extensive culturally sensitive areas across the Four Corners region.
On Tuesday, we hosted an event for the press that called for significant changes in how oil and gas leasing is conducted. We were honored to be joined by Governor Brian Vallo of Acoma Pueblo and former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt for this discussion.
The other media event we’re celebrating is the release of Kwatsáan Voices, Kwatsáan Views, episode 54 of the Heritage Voices podcast on the Archaeology Podcast Network. This episode highlights the Lower Gila River Ethnographic and Archaeological Project, elegantly conveyed by insiders as “El-Greep.” Project Director Aaron Wright and two Kwatsáan team members—Zion White and Charles Arrow—share the purpose and meaning of this ongoing project with host and anthropologist Jessica Yaquinto.
Public milestones for efforts that have been developing over decadal time frames are particularly satisfying. And yet they are just a short respite in work that resumes the day after—if not that very afternoon! (We’re the tortoise, not the hare.)
Keep up your good work, and we’ll do the same.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. I want to add a very special thanks to my intrepid Tuesday evening co-conspirator on Southwest Archaeology Today, Kate Sarther. Kate has a magical editorial touch. It was applied to positive effect on Paul Reed’s important report on how to improve BLM decision-making, and it always helps every word I write to convey meaning with clarity. Sadly, on Tuesday night Kate had to divide her editorial time to comfort the final hours of her wonderful, aged companion, Mosey the Dog. Thanks Kate. And Mosey, you were always a very good boy…
Banner image courtesy of EcoFlight.
Tribal Expertise Must Inform BLM Decision-Making
Acoma Pueblo Gov. Brian Vallo and [former Interior Sec. and AZ Gov. Bruce] Babbitt highlighted recommendations outlined in a new report that looks at the government’s leasing policies and how they have been implemented across the West over several decades. It seeks ways to better protect areas including Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument and Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. The recommendations are centered on how land managers can incorporate tribal expertise into decision-making to better understand what resources could be at risk before permitting and development begins. They also call for the Bureau of Land Management to take a lead role in determining which areas can be developed rather than industry nominated parcels for drilling. Susan Montoya Bryan in the Washington Post | Read More >>
Archaeology Southwest has released a new report on the impact of the federal government’s broken federal oil and gas system on the West’s irreplaceable cultural resources and sacred sites. The paper highlights how oil and gas development has become the dominant use of public lands in the West, to the detriment of protecting cultural sites and landscapes, including New Mexico’s Greater Chaco Landscape, Utah’s Bears Ears region, and the Mesa Verde region of southwestern Colorado. Archaeology Southwest | Read More >>
Read the report (opens as a PDF) >>
Listen to a discussion with Former Interior Secretary and AZ Governor Bruce Babbitt, Acoma Pueblo Governor Brian Vallo, and Chaco Scholar Paul F. Reed >>
Oil and Gas Development Threatens Hovenweep’s Dark Sky Designation and the “Lands In Between”
In the stretch of public and tribal lands between the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and Sleeping Ute Mountain in Colorado is a checkerboard of oil and gas rigs. This is the area land conservation and Indigenous people call the Lands In Between, and where the galaxies, including the Milky Way, illuminate the red canyon floors at night. The land is also home to Hovenweep National Monument, one of Utah’s darkest national parks recognized as a gold-tier International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association, and Canyon of the Ancients, another dark sky park. Alastair Lee Bitsóí in the Salt Lake Tribune | Read More >>
Commentary: Five Places in Bears Ears Needing Renewed Protections
If you’ve been to the Bears Ears region in southeastern Utah, you know how beautiful and unspoiled it appears, but it’s important for more than just scenic views. It’s a living cultural landscape where village sites, rock art, landforms, water sources, and plants and animals work together as the foundation for evolving and vibrant Indigenous cultures. … Here are five places that the former president deemed not unique and not significant. They were all cut from Bears Ears, and they deserve to have protections restored. Tim Peterson at the blog of the Grand Canyon Trust | Read More >>
Legal and Cultural Barriers to Protecting Sacred Indigenous Places
Federal laws meant to protect these spaces or Native American religious practices, often come up short. Some legal experts say the federal government seems to practice a double standard when it comes to upholding the religious rights of Native peoples. Tribes must deal with a revolving door of federal officials and opposition by stakeholders like recreation companies or extraction firms. They also face a lack of knowledge by the public about these places and why Indigenous peoples fight to keep them from harm, or at least further harm. Debra Utacia Krol in the Arizona Republic | Read More >>
This article is the first in a series that features the Blythe Intaglios, Oak Flat, South Mountain, the San Francisco Peaks, and Mount Graham.
Read P. Kim Bui’s interview with journalist Debra Utacia Krol regarding this series >>
Podcast: Kwatsáan Voices, Kwatsáan Views
On today’s podcast Jessica [Yaquinto] interviews Zion White, Charles Arrow, and Aaron Wright from Archaeology Southwest, a 501c3 based in Tucson, Arizona. Archaeology Southwest is working with several Tribes in southern Arizona to establish permanent protection for the Great Bend of the Gila, a rich cultural landscape nestled between Yuma and Phoenix. Today’s guests have been documenting the Great Bend of the Gila landscape together over the past several years. They talk about the significance of this landscape both culturally and archaeologically, how they’d like to see the place treated, and what it means to them to be working collaboratively on documenting this cultural landscape. Heritage Voices | Listen Now >>
Commentary: “Land Acknowledgements Are Not the Same as Land”
Land Back is not a fantasy of colonial reversal, the removal of anyone of colonial descent. Rather, it is the wish to have some portion, some fractional piece of our once vast territories, back in our own hands. We need a place where we can perform our ceremonies. We need a place where we can gather our foods, medicines and sacred plants without having to fear the arbitrary restrictions of a land management system that has mismanaged the land so badly that it now burns without end. We need a place where we can gather and renew ourselves, our culture and our community. Wallace Cleaves and Charles Sepulveda at Bloomberg CityLab | Read More >>
Charles F. Sams III Nominated as Director of the National Park Service
Sams is an enrolled member of the Cayuse and Walla Walla, of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in northeast Oregon. He would be the first enrolled tribal member at the helm of the nation’s park agency in its 105-year history, according to an Interior Department spokeswoman. Jacob Fischler in Colorado Newsline | Read More >>
Patrick Suddath Is New Superintendent at Bandelier National Monument
The National Park Service has named Albuquerque native Patrick Suddath the new superintendent of Bandelier National Monument. Suddath comes to New Mexico from Pennsylvania, where he served as deputy superintendent of Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. Santa Fe New Mexican | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage: Harvard Peabody Museum and NAGPRA Compliance
[Director Jane] Pickering said the Peabody has the equivalent of five or six full-time staff members working on NAGPRA—a figure “certainly in line with other institutions.” But in proportion to the size of its collections, said chair of the Peabody Faculty Executive Committee Matthew J. Liebmann—also a professor of archaeology and a NAGPRA Committee member—the museum employs a “remarkably small” staff. “It takes a lot of work in order to do this work right.” Juliet Isselbacher in Harvard Magazine | Read More >>
Forthcoming Film Celebrates Ann Axtell Morris’s Early Years in Archaeology
As the cameras set up for the first wide shots in the canyon, I make my way over to Ann and Earl’s 58-year-old grandson, Ben Gell, the production’s senior script adviser. “This was Ann’s special place, where she was happiest and did some of her most important work,” says Gell. “She came back to the canyon many times and wrote that it never looked the same twice. There were always variations in light, season, weather. My mother was actually conceived here on an archaeological dig, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, grew up to be an archaeologist herself.” Richard Grant in Smithsonian Magazine | Read More >>
Fundraiser to Help Artist and Naturalist Joe Pachak
Artist Joe Pachak suffered an incredible loss Monday, August 9, 2021, when fire ravaged his long-time home in Bluff, Utah. Joe is best known to many for his unparalleled artistry, including sculpting, painting, and drawing. And perhaps even more specifically, Joe is recognized for his larger-than-life animal effigies constructed from natural materials, with which he brings together those within the Four Corners community and beyond to burn in celebration each Winter Solstice. Ann Leppanen, organizer | Learn More >>
Sept. 11 Event: Nine Mile Canyon Fall Gathering and Stewardship Day (Utah)
The Nine Mile Canyon Fall Gathering and Stewardship Day is an event designed to attract visitors to Nine Mile Canyon and provide them with an opportunity to learn about its natural and cultural history from site stewards. We purposefully overlay elements of history, preservation and protection, art, canyon advocacy, and experiential learning activities. We strongly feel that by providing an experience for people in which they visit archeological sites and engage with archaeologists makes for rewarding experience. Nine Mile Canyon Coalition | Learn More >>
Blog: Mobility and Pottery Production
When we think of ancient pottery making, we often picture a person sitting quietly, enjoying their craft near their house in a small village. Happily potting away (as we say!). While that is certainly the case for a lot of ceramic manufacture, especially in the Tucson and Phoenix areas with large perennial rivers, what about in other places? How can we understand making pots where people had a more semi-sedentary or seasonally mobile lifestyle? Dr. Mary Ownby at Field Journal (Desert Archaeology, Inc.) | Read More >>
Fellowship Opportunity: SAPIENS
The Wenner-Gren Foundation invites applications for its Public Fellowship program. This year, the program will place one fellow in a two-year term (2022–2023) staff position at SAPIENS, the Foundation’s online magazine. The fellow will participate in the substantive work of the magazine and receive professional mentoring. The Fellow will receive a stipend of $50,000 per year and benefits through the University of Chicago Press. Wenner-Gren Foundation | Learn More >>
Fellowship Opportunity: Anthropology and Black Experiences
One nine-month residential fellowship open to PhD-holding anthropologists of all ranks. This fellowship aims to expand the anthropological conversation and build capacity in anthropology by amplifying perspectives previously under-represented in the discipline. The School for Advanced Research (SAR) is eager to support individuals whose research draws on Black studies, critical race studies, diasporic Africana studies, the vernacular insights of communities of color, and other sources of inspiration growing out of global Black experiences to advance new lines of scholarship in any of anthropology’s subfields. SAR hopes to attract applicants working in a diverse range of sites, including but not limited to Black communities. Wenner-Gren and School for Advanced Research | Learn More >>
Publication Announcement: Archaeological Narratives of the North American Great Plains
Archaeological Narratives of the North American Great Plains: From Ancient Pasts to Historic Resettlement, by Sarah J. Trabert and Kacy L. Hollenback. SAA Current Perspectives, Society for American Archaeology, 2021. >>
Publication Announcement: The Classic Mimbres Period in the Eastern Mimbres Area
“The Classic Mimbres Period in the Eastern Mimbres Area: Evidence from Ceramics, Architecture, and Settlement,” by Michelle Hegmon, Karen Gust Schollmeyer, and Margaret C. Nelson. KIVA 87(3). >>
See you next week! Remember to send us notice of upcoming webinars and Zoom lectures!