For almost 40 years, I have lived in a house that overlooks a desert wash in Tucson. Tonight, as I was driving north from downtown Tucson toward home, the full moon was just topping the ridge of the mountains.
I was struck anew by the incredible beauty of this desert that keeps cycling—days, months, years, generations, millennia.
Upon arriving home, I settled (maybe collapsed, just between us) onto my east-facing porch and relaxed.
The moon illuminated saguaros that were mere pups 40 years ago. (And four decades is less than a quarter of their generational cycle.)
And then I heard the bird calls—most notably the gentle repetitions of the misnamed “screech” owl.
In this mellow and reflective state, my thoughts returned to the recent restoration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.
The reinstatement of protections for these places—the homelands of so many Indigenous citizens—is incredibly significant.
It is a renewal. A hopeful move toward healing.
After the 2016 Bears Ears Proclamation, Zuni elder Octavius Seowtewa shared that “Native history is written in stone on canyon walls. We celebrate, knowing that our history at Bears Ears will be protected for future generations forever.”
Renewal and recommitment to ensure that these restored protections are honored—forever—are the first steps on the path toward healing.
I welcome your thoughts,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image: R.E. Burrillo
Commentary: Time for Healing and Justice at Bears Ears
How can we engage with Indigenous communities on respectful and equal grounds? How can we develop a meaningful and authentic relationship to the landscape and the Indigenous peoples it belongs to? How can we utilize our resources, privilege, and power to lift up marginalized communities of color, especially Indigenous communities, to rectify historical traumas? This is the next great adventure, the next evolution in conservation and restorative justice on a social and cultural level, an action to match intention among those who love our lands and want to do right by them. Angelo Baca and Tommy Caldwell in Outside Magazine | Read More >>
Restored to Their Original Glory
The restoration of these monuments is a powerful metaphor for what America needs most now: to rebuild and to heal. President Biden’s proclamations mean we can begin rebuilding what so many have spent so long working to protect. We look forward to new management plans for both monuments, and we’ll share details about what’s next in the coming months. Now, there is much work to be done activating Bears Ears as the nation’s first national monument to honor Indigenous cultures and traditional knowledge and restoring the primacy of science and discovery at Grand Staircase-Escalante. Tim Peterson at the blog of the Grand Canyon Trust | Read More >>
Duckwater, Ely, and Goshute Tribes Seek National Monument Protection for Nevada’s Sacred Water Valley
In an arid mountain basin called Spring Valley in eastern Nevada, an isolated evergreen forest has long baffled ecologists. Scientists say its trees—with sprawling blue-green boughs, stretching as high as 40 feet—shouldn’t be here. … But to the original inhabitants of this valley—the Western Shoshone—the swamp cedars are no mystery. This site, called Bahsahwahbee, or Sacred Water Valley, is a living monument to the hundreds of ancestors slain during three 19th-century massacres, two led by the United States Army and one by vigilantes. Alexandra Marvar in National Geographic | Read More >>
Video Commentary: Protect Oak Flat
Oak Flat (known in Apache as Chi’chil Bildagoteel) is a sacred site in Arizona’s vibrant Tonto National Forest where Native Americans have gone to worship, pray, and conduct religious ceremonies since time immemorial. Recognizing its responsibility to Native peoples, the federal government has protected the sacred site for more than six decades. But in 2014, a rider was attached to a must-pass defense bill directing the government to transfer the land to Resolution Copper, a foreign-owned mining company, which plans to construct a mine that will obliterate the sacred site in a nearly 2-mile-wide, 1,100-foot-deep crater. Now Becket is fighting to stop the destruction of the site, which would irreparably harm the religious expression and practices of the region’s first inhabitants. Oral argument takes place at the Ninth Circuit on October 22. Becket Fund for Religious Liberty | Watch Now >>
Blog: 1820s Tucson: Life in a Mexican Frontier Town at the Time of Independence
This year, 2021, marks the 200th anniversary of Mexican Independence from Spain, which took place in September 1821. Tucson was on the northern Mexican frontier at the time, with three small communities in the Tucson Basin probably totaling fewer than 1,000 inhabitants. Homer Thiel at Field Journal (Desert Archaeology, Inc.) | Read More >>
Blog: On Archaeology
Somewhere along the way, I learned that these stories had roots in the physical environment—archaeologists had unearthed temples, shrines, and colossal statues in honor of gods. I never played much in the dirt, but that was because I didn’t know I could dig for stories. I enrolled in Latin with visions of myself—complete with pith helmet, of course—unearthing tablets inscribed with stories that hadn’t yet made their way into the books on my shelves. Abby Thomsen at the Preservation Archaeology blog (Archaeology Southwest) | Read More >>
REMINDER: Oct. 21 Webinar: Telling Their Story through Clay
Archaeologist Suzanne Eckert PhD will present “Telling Their Story through Clay: Potters and Identity during the Pueblo Glaze Ware Period (1275-1680 CE) in New Mexico.” She will discuss how Pueblo potters integrated glaze-painted pottery into identity and ritual, how Spanish colonialism effected the demise of Puebloan glaze paint, and why later potters haven’t been able to reproduce it. Third Thursday Food for Thought (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
REMINDER: Oct. 21 Webinar: Hopi History at the Homol’ovi Settlement Cluster
With Dr. Chuck Adams. The Homol’ovi Settlement Cluster is comprised of seven villages arrayed along a 20-mile stretch of the Little Colorado River. These villages were variously occupied between A.D. 1260–1400 and figure prominently in Hopi migration stories. Hopi villages today are only 60-miles north. During its peak occupation in the late 1300s, the Cluster was home to nearly 2,000 people and figured prominently in regional trade networks focused around farming cotton along the river. In particular, yellow-firing pottery produced at Hopi Mesa villages was exchanged for Homol’ovi cotton. Katsina religion also grew to prominence during this period. This talk will describe the 150-year history of the Cluster, its role in the history of the region, and its continuing relationship to the Hopi people. Hisatsinom Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society, Four Corners Lecture Series, and Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
REMINDER: Oct. 22 & 23: Book Sale to Benefit Arizona State Museum Library (Tucson AZ)
Shop an all-new selection of used anthropology books with an emphasis on U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico. General interest, history, biography, even a novel or two. Books start at $2, most under $5. Ninety percent of the proceeds from this book sale, sponsored by the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society, benefit the ASM library. Arizona State Museum | Learn More >>
Oct. 24 Workshop: Paper Flower and Crown Making
Learn about the history of ofrendas (All Souls Altars) and the role that paper crowns played in Tucson mortuary customs from historian, archaeologist, and Presidio Museum Board Member Homer Thiel. During this workshop, you will also make your own paper flowers for a Día de los Muertos ofrenda (altar) or for a paper crown, suitable for wearing at the All Souls Procession. Materials will be provided. Pre-registration is required. Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum | Learn More >>
Oct. 28 Webinar: The Curious Case of Colorado Cannibal Alferd Packer
Dr. Erin Baxter will explore the gruesome tale of Colorado cannibal Alferd Packer through an examination of historical and archaeological evidence. Learn more about Packer and the events surrounding this creepy, 147-year-old murder mystery. The Archaeological Conservancy | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Oct. 30 Class: How Did People Carve Bone Tools?
In this class we will explore some techniques people used to make tools out of bone. Participants will make a bone awl using only stone tools. After using a flake to cut out a bone awl blank, we will then grind the blank on a sandstone slab to shape it out. Instructor Allen Denoyer will provide stone drills to make holes and plenty of flakes for cutting the bone. $35. In-person; masks required. Hands-On Archaeology (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn More >>
Oct. 31 Walking Tour: Tales of the Dead (Tucson AZ)
Archaeologist Homer Thiel leads this walk through the Court Street Cemetery, where about 8,000 people were buried between 1875 and 1909. When it was closed, about half were reinterred but about half were left in place. The tour will lead you through the cemetery, show you where bodies have been found and reveal the history of this forgotten place. Pre-registration is required, $15 for Presidio Trust members, $20 for non-members. Tour guide will be on a microphone for better hearing and to promote social distancing. Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum | Learn More >>
The 10:00 a.m. tour is sold out, but there are some places remaining for the 1:00 p.m. tour.
Nov. 2 Webinar: Turkeys in the Mimbres Valley
Join us on November 2, 2021, when Sean Dolan (N3B Los Alamos) will discuss “Turkeys in the Mimbres Valley.” Using pottery iconography, ancient mtDNA analysis, and stable carbon and nitrogen bone isotope analysis, Sean will explore how people in the Mimbres Valley interacted with turkeys. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Job Opportunity, Archaeology Southwest (Tucson AZ)
Director, Tribal Collaboration Initiative: Archaeology Southwest seeks an individual with proven success in building meaningful and powerful collaborative relationships with Native American Tribes and Nations. The individual should have knowledge of Tribal governance and be able to develop action-oriented programs by, for, and with Indigenous peoples. Learn More >>
Job Opportunity, Center for Digital Antiquity (Tempe AZ)
Are you an Administrative extraordinaire? Do you consider yourself an office coordination connoisseur? If so, this opportunity is for you! We are seeking a forward-thinking, methodical, self-directed professional to fill a multi-faceted Administrative support role at The Center for Digital Antiquity (DA), a semi-independent branch of the ASU School of Human Evolution and Social Change. Learn More >>
Job Opportunity, Western New Mexico University Museum (Silver City NM)
The WNMU Museum Director plans, directs, administers, and manages all activities, functions, and operations of Western New Mexico University’s Museum. The Director provides academic and executive leadership and direction of the WNMU Museum in accordance with WNMU Museum mission statements, goals, objectives, policies, and procedures, recognized museum best practices and standards, and AAM, AAMG, RPA, and SAA Code of Ethics/Ethic Statements. Learn More >>
See you next week! Remember to send us notice of upcoming webinars and Zoom lectures, tours and workshops, and anything else you’d like to share with the friends.