It was wonderful to spend Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania with my daughter and my grandkids. It’s also good to be back in Tucson.
My travels really brought home that there is a lot of change going on among professionals and colleagues across the nation. New job prospects are promising bright futures.
While in Pennsylvania, I had lunch with Josh Ewing, who stepped down as the Executive Director of Friends of Cedar Mesa in mid-July. He has been decompressing, traveling, and rock climbing, all while planning his future. I’m looking forward to his next chapter.
Yesterday was my long-term colleague Michael Brack’s last day at Desert Archaeology, Inc. (a cultural resources management company I founded that is now ably helmed by Sarah Herr). Mike developed and ran the cartography program at Desert Archaeology for two decades. His innovations, his ability to tame new mapping technologies, and his commitment to high-quality cartographic products meant you could trust him to do it right. Soon Mike will be embarking on a new chapter.
At Archaeology Southwest we plan several new hires in the near term and into the first half of 2022. In some cases, we’ll be looking for people who are very early in their careers. In others, we hope to find proven professionals who are ready for a new chapter.
I find the prospect of growth and change at Archaeology Southwest highly motivating. Are any of you in the process of changing jobs or careers? How is it going?
Stay tuned for more about our new team members, and please enjoy today’s edition.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Secretary Haaland, Tribal Leaders Celebrate Chaco Protections
On Monday, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland joined pueblo leaders at the park to reflect on her office’s announcement last week that it would seek to withdraw federal land holdings within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of its boundary, making the area off-limits to oil and gas leasing for 20 years. The action halts new leases in the area for the next two years while federal officials consider the proposed withdrawal. “This celebration is decades in the making,” Haaland said. “Some would even say millennia in the making.” Susan Montoya Bryan (AP) in the Washington Post | Read More >>
The stillness that enveloped Chaco Canyon was almost deafening, broken only by the sound of a raven’s wings batting the air while it circled overhead. Then a chorus of leaders from several Native American tribes began to speak, their voices echoing off the nearby sandstone cliffs. They spoke of a deep connection to the canyon – the heart of Chaco Culture National Historic Park – and the importance of ensuring that oil and gas development beyond the park’s boundaries does not sever that tie for future generations. … The perfect weather did not go unnoticed Monday, as tribal leaders talked about their collective prayers being answered. “It’s a nice day – a beautiful day that our father the sun blessed us with. The creator laid out the groundwork for today,” said Hopi Vice Chairman Clark Tenakhongva. Susan Montoya Bryan (AP) in The Journal | Read More >>
Commentary: Chaco Is One of Many Places Deserving Protection
I have feared for Chaco many times over the last few decades as proposals to drill for oil on the landscape were continuously granted. Temporary reprieves won by tribes and conservation groups averted some proposals. But despite those efforts, sacred lands and important archeological places still became drilling sites, bringing with them access roads and heavy-goods vehicles that cut through even more of the landscape. This is why this month’s announcement that the Biden administration is finally taking an important step toward protecting one of the world’s most culturally influential landscapes is so significant. Robert Redford at CNN | Read More >>
Charles Sams Confirmed as NPS Director
Charles F. “Chuck” Sams, III (Umatilla) was confirmed by the U.S. Senate late last night as the 19th Director of the National Park Service (NPS). He is the first Native American to lead the agency. He was nominated by President Joe Biden in August. Native News Online | Read More >>
Secretary Haaland Announces Task Force, Advisory Committee to Help Expunge Derogatory Place Names
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced Friday that the agency is establishing a task force to identify and remove derogatory terms used in the names of public land features such as valleys and lakes, beginning with the word “squaw.” Haaland signed an order that identifies the word—an ethnic slur to describe indigenous women—as derogatory and establishes a Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force to rename the 650 places on federal land that contain it. A separate order creates an Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names, made up of history experts, members of the general public and representatives from indigenous communities, that will review and recommend changes to other derogatory words used as names on federal land. Amanda Becker in the Denver Post | Read More >>
Ancient Crisis Led to Transformation
An ancient climate disaster and its extended impact across the globe was a major factor in the ancient Indigenous Pueblo societies’ eventual thriving civilization in North America, according to a new study in the Antiquity Journal. In 536 AD, a massive volcanic eruption in Iceland resulted in a climate catastrophe across large parts of Europe and Asia, with the ensuing volcanic winter dimming the sun, lowering temperatures and causing crops to fail. A second eruption in 541 AD extended the crisis, possibly for decades. … [R]esearchers from University of California Los Angeles and Colorado State University have been studying how Indigenous people in North America were impacted by the environment changes stemming from the volcanic eruptions. Christy Somos for CTV News | Read More >>
Read the Antiquity article by R. J. Sinensky, Gregson Schachner, Richard H. Wilshusen, and Brian N. Damiata (open access) >>
Indigenous Scientists on Water and Sustainability
[Otakuye] Conroy-Ben believes that her own perspective is bit more Western than traditional, but she stresses that learning from tribes how they’ve managed their natural resources is very important, especially in the light of climate change, water scarcity, and increased pollution. “I grew up with this idea you have to come back and help the community with technical expertise,” Conroy-Ben said. “And now I am really excited to see how these technical fields can be merged with Traditional Knowledge.” Jane Palmer in Eos | Read More >>
NAGPRA Review Committee Supports Muskogean-Speaking Tribes’ Connections to Moundville
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee found a “preponderance of the evidence for cultural affiliation” between the remains and artifacts taken from the settlement founded 1,000 years ago and the Muskogean-speaking tribes known to live near there when European settlers arrived. Tribal officials said afterward that the finding means the University of Alabama will be in violation of federal law if it does not return the funerary objects and sacred items to the tribes. Kim Chandler (AP) in the Washington Post | Read More >>
ASU Library Table Evokes Hohokam Canal Systems
A new table made by Indigenous people for an Indigenous space at Arizona State University evokes the ancient canal system built by the Hohokam tribe that first sustained people in the Valley. The 25-foot table, a collaboration between a local artist and the Indigenous Design Collaborative in the Design School at ASU, was unveiled Monday night during an event at the Labriola National American Indian Data Center at Hayden Library on the Tempe campus. Selina Martinez, a designer for the collaborative who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at ASU, designed the table based on sketches by Jeffrey Fulwilder, a member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Mary Beth Faller at ASU News | Read More >>
Video: Stabilizing the Past, Bringing Stability to the Future
The Bureau of Land Management Utah is partnering with Ancestral Lands Corps, Friends of Cedar Mesa, and Woods Canyon Archaeological Consultants to protect and manage River House in the Bears Ears National Monument. During record-setting high temperatures this summer, Ancestral Lands Corps staff worked on improving the structural integrity of River House, an ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling built along the San Juan River with multiple rooms and a kiva used for religious purposes. BLM Utah | Watch Now >>
Blog: The Blockbuster Exhibit That Shouldn’t Have Been
To draw large crowds, museums sometimes sensationalize exhibitions, especially when it comes to displaying human bodies. Such was the case in 1927 at the Field Museum in Chicago with the initial display of “Magdalenian Girl,” the most complete European Upper Paleolithic skeleton in any museum in North America. Thanks to the self-correcting nature of scientific research, we know now that sensationalism was misplaced. Stephen E. Nash at SAPIENS | Read More >>
Blog: On Archaeology
“My eyes were opened to a much broader range of sites and landscapes that were important to team members. … I also realized the great depth of connection to land and landscapes that is an intrinsic part of the daily experience of most Indigenous people, but which is largely absent from the lives of most of us in the non-Indigenous world.” Paul Reed at the Preservation Archaeology blog (Archaeology Southwest) | Read More >>
Blog: Five Ways Native American Communities Honor Turkeys
Indigenous peoples interacted with turkeys for millennia throughout continental North America, long prior to Western European contact, just as they continue to do today. As a zooarchaeologist who focuses on understanding ancient human-turkey relationships in the U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest (a vast area that includes well over two dozen Tribal Nations), I take pleasure in making sure that this history is known each and every Thanksgiving. Cyler Conrad at SAPIENS | Read More >>
REMINDER, Dec. 7: Archaeology Café Welcomes Bill Lipe and Mary Weahkee
Join us for their presentation of “Turkey Feather Blankets in Ancestral Pueblo History.” For over 1,600 years, a distinctive Southwestern domestic turkey furnished feathers for ritual uses and for making warm blankets. The birds also became a significant food source after about 1200 CE. Bill Lipe will discuss archaeological evidence of the development of feather blankets and how they contributed to Ancestral Pueblo lives, and Mary Weahkee, the best known present-day replicator of turkey feather blankets, will discuss some techniques used in making them. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
REMINDER: Dec. 2 Webinar: The Ethnoarchaeology of Mongolia’s Dukha Reindeer Herders
With Todd Surovell. Surovell’s excavations at Barger Gulch in Grand County, Colorado yielded numerous spatial patterns in chipped stone artifacts in interior and exterior spaces of a Folsom campsite. While spatial patterns were easy to identify, Todd found it challenging to link those patterns back to the human behaviors that produced them. His inability to confidently interpret the behavioral significance of archaeological patterns is what led to the desire to actually observe living nomadic peoples, ultimately with the intent of understanding how human behavior is organized spatially at small scales in nomadic contexts. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Dec. 16 Webinar: Apache Warriors Tell Their Side
With author-historian Lynda A. Sánchez. Sánchez reviews the legacy of Eve Ball (1890–1984), who interviewed dozens of Apaches and their descendants about the 19th century Apache Wars, and what it was like to work side by side with this amazing woman. Third Thursday Food for Thought (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
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.