Not that I’m obsessed with healing. (OK, maybe I am—a quick search shows I bring it up here a lot.)
Healing is part of why we are changing the name of our weekly outreach to you. From today onward we are Preservation Archaeology Today.
Preservation Archaeology is guided by ethics and values. The healing of societies and nations begins with ethics and values.
And the healing of societies and nations may well be integrally connected to the healing of the land.
Let me share a brief but meaningful experience I had over the holiday break. Two of my cousins—one who lives in Arizona and one who lives in North Carolina—joined me on a visit to Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.
We marveled as we strolled through Compound A, where the “Great House” still stands. We considered the intentional holes in the fourth-story room—probable sighting lines for astronomical phenomena tied to an ancient calendar system. We also discussed the significance of horizontal and vertical lines and cracks in the adobe walls: Horizontal lines reflect layers of wet adobe soil that builders layered one atop the other to achieve a four-story building, some vertical lines mark filled-in doorways, and most vertical lines are simply drying cracks.
Seeing past activity in ancient adobe—very satisfying. But how does it relate to today?
Adobe takes a great deal of water. Crops in the desert take a great deal of water. And a bit later in the day, we observed that healing the land in the desert takes a great deal of water.
After the Civil War, the Akimel O’Odham, formerly referred to as the Pima, lost control of the water that had made them prodigious farmers for centuries. Without water, the Akimel O’Odham—who had provided food for themselves (and more recently for westward-heading forty-niners and others)—were facing starvation.
That disruption is way too complex for this note (to learn more, see links in my P.S.). Instead, let’s look at the Akimel O’Odham response following the water settlement act (2004) that returned substantial water rights to the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC).
Toward the east end of the reservation, the GRIC is investing water in an interpretive park. They are bringing surface water to the Gila River floodplain, and they are bringing diverse native plants to this newly established riparian environment. (For a comprehensive look at the project, read Sharon Udasin’s May 2021 article in High Country News.)
When I brought my cousins to this place, they immediately perceived the uniqueness of this environment. But it was not unique in the past—it was the norm.
The GRIC is investing their precious water to heal the land. And healing the land is key to healing the people, as Tribal leaders and members state in Udasin’s article.
Although a portion of this healing place is just for Tribal members, most of it is open to the public.
After my cousins departed, I walked the trail on my own. The sun came out. It was a deeply emotional and spiritual (and healing) experience—flanked on my left and right by reeds that were a foot or two taller than me. Thriving native trees and plants all around.
The heritage in that landscape is very deep. Deep in time and deep in values.
My cousins viscerally grasped the specialness of this place. Because I have made my career studying the deep heritage of the O’Odham, my experience was visceral and intellectual.
And that is where I hope Preservation Archaeology will dwell and thrive.
Preservation Archaeology Today will be a place to contemplate the path to that vision, and hopefully to bring that vision to fruition.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. Dr. David H. DeJong, Director, Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project, Gila River Indian Community, has written several books about this history. Check out his statements here and these UA Press books to learn more.
2021 through an Anthropological Lens
Anthropologists continue to work hard to help understand and combat the pandemic, in particular its unequal impacts on often-marginalized groups, including Black, Asian, and Indigenous people. Humanity’s persistent habits of scapegoating, prejudice, and racism remain hot topics for study. Such biases and inequalities can be baked into entrenched economic and political structures like the criminal justice system or even the Olympics—this year’s Summer Games in Japan saw several blowups over gender issues. The anthropological work of celebrating humanity’s similarities and differences can hopefully promote equity, inclusion, and justice when it is needed most. Nicola Jones in SAPIENS | Read More >>
Seven Indigenous Conservation Victories of 2021
As 2021 comes to a close, we celebrate these significant advancements. We also recognize that there is much more work to be done toward honoring Tribal treaty rights; engaging in true and meaningful Tribal consultation; acknowledging the historic and ongoing injustices perpetrated against Indigenous peoples; and advancing Indigenous conservation priorities. In 2022, we hope to see the Biden administration support Indigenous-led conservation efforts by affording more permanent protections for sacred and culturally significant landscapes such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Great Bend of the Gila, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Avi Kwa Ame. We also look forward to seeing the administration engage in consent-based and meaningful consultation with Indigenous leaders around land and water protection and management. The Wilderness Society | Read More >>
Podcast: Land Acknowledgments
Host Jessica Yaquinto catches up with archaeologist Anna Cordova. Among other topics, they discuss land acknowledgments. What are they, how can they be improved, and how important are they? They close out by talking about various ways you can make a positive impact with Indigenous communities regardless of whether you do a land acknowledgment, including donating, board or volunteer service, buying from tribal enterprises, visiting and financially supporting tribal parks, museums, and community centers, and more. Heritage Voices | Listen Now >>
Mashpee Wampanoag to Reclaim Lands around Cape Cod
Four hundred years after the Mashpee Wampanoag in Plymouth, Mass., helped the Pilgrims from the Mayflower survive, they have been fighting to get their ancestral homeland back. Last week, they won a major victory in a ruling from the U.S. Department of the Interior that will give them substantial control of roughly 320 acres around Cape Cod. … The Wampanoag, whose name means “People of the First Light” in their native language, trace their ancestry back at least 10,000 years to the Cape Cod area, a land they called Patuxet. They once numbered somewhere between 30,000 and 100,000, and their land stretched from southeastern Massachusetts to parts of Rhode Island. Dana Hedgpeth in the Washington Post | Read More >>
Chicago’s Field Museum to Return Cultural Items to the Hopi Tribe
The items include bowls and other ceramics that were excavated in the late 1800s. Written records, oral accounts and tribal consultation established that the items are Hopi. Field notes indicate that the items may have been removed from burial sites, and later sold to an archaeologist working with the museum. Federal law now requires such objects to be returned whenever possible. The museum has notified the tribe and will transfer the items to the tribe unless descendants tied to the burial sites come forward. Ron Dungan for Fronteras (KJZZ/NPR) | Listen Now or Read More >>
Preservation Archaeology Research Examines Mimbres Migration
[Thatcher] Seltzer-Rogers’ research investigated a wide array of data—including DNA and pottery designs—suggested by previous archaeologists in support of, or against, this migration and framed it within the reasons people migrate and how they migrate. He also used his own dissertation research, which investigates patterns in the International Four Corners, where the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Chihuahua, and Sonora meet, between AD 1200 and 1450. … This research did not involve invasive excavation or the collection of genetic data, Seltzer-Rogers noted. “Rather I used existing data published by many authors. In this way, I did not have to disturb archaeological sites or collect DNA data from ancestral Indigenous human remains, something which is highly contentious in North American archaeology…” Mary Beth King for the UNM Newsroom | Read More >>
Thatcher Seltzer-Rogers is an alumnus (2013) of the Preservation Archaeology Field School.
Apply Now for the 2022 Preservation Archaeology Field School
Join us for the Preservation Archaeology Field School in southwestern New Mexico, May 24 through July 5, 2022. This unique six-week program provides students with an opportunity to learn excavation, survey, experimental archaeology, and laboratory methods in a beautiful, remote, and archaeologically exciting part of the U.S. Southwest. Undergraduates will receive a stipend to support their attendance through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program (NSF REU 1851763). Applications are due March 4, 2022. Archaeology Southwest and the University of Arizona | Learn More >>
Casa Grande Awarded Grant to Expand Virtual Programming
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument received an Open OutDoors for Kids grant from the National Park Foundation (NPF). This grant will enable development of a new education program titled “Mission: Resilience”. Through a combination of online, live virtual and in-person self-guided programming, “Mission: Resilience” will strengthen students’ mastery of six resiliency tenets while leveraging the power of place at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. Virtual field trip programs for Winter/Spring 2022 are offered on Tuesdays-Thursdays from January 11 through June 2, 2022. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument | Learn More >>
National Park Service: Five Free Entry Days in 2022
The National Park Service will have five entrance fee-free days in 2022. The free admission days are designed to encourage discovery and visitation of the country’s variety of national parks. With at least one in every state, national parks are accessible places to visit to refresh body, mind and spirit. The free entrance dates for 2022 are: Monday, January 17, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; Saturday, April 16, First Day of National Park Week; Thursday, August 4, Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act; Saturday, September 24, National Public Lands Day; and Friday, November 11, Veterans Day. National Park Service | Learn More >>
Jan. 7 Webinar: Culture History of the Tucson Basin
Pima County is blessed with a rich and varying record of human settlement over the last 11,000 years representing ancestral Native Americans, Spanish Colonial, Mexican-American and many others in our history. Ian Milliken, Pima County’s Cultural Resources Manager will present on the culture history of the Tucson Basin/Southern Arizona showcasing the County’s unique and deep heritage legacies. Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation | More Information and Free Preregistration >>
Jan. 8 Webinar: The Antiquity of Irrigation in the Southwest
Agriculture was introduced to Arizona more than 4,000 years before present, and irrigation systems were developed in our state at least 3,500 years ago – several hundred years before irrigation was established in ancient Mexico. Archaeologist Allen Dart provides an overview of ancient irrigation systems in the southern Southwest and discusses irrigation’s implications for understanding social complexity. Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation | More Information and Free Preregistration >>
Jan. 8 Webinar: Bell Rocks, Flower World Symbolism, Origin Stories, Human Transformation
With Janine Hernbrode. Data has been collected of motif details, drawings and photographs for more than 18,000 petroglyphs and pictographs at 62 imagery sites. Janine has identified threads of continuity between Native American belief systems and the rock art motifs by using the scientific method to study the patterns identified in the images, working with ethnographic accounts and linguistic analyses by others, and consulting with indigenous people. This work demonstrates that ethnographic and linguistic information can suggest links to sacred landscapes and some motifs found in rock art. Her recent work on bell rocks has illuminated links between the sound of bells at petroglyph and pictograph sites, the site’s sacred landscape, and ethnographic records for the O’odham. American Rock Art Research Association | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Jan. 10 Event: 7th Annual Research Slam and Silent Auction
At this online event, AAHS will have slideshows, music, research presentations, an excellent silent auction, and breakout pubs. Professionals, students, and independent researchers will summarize their research in dynamic 3-minute lightning presentations. This is a fundraiser for AAHS’s future Research and Travel Grants that have helped so many researchers in the past. Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Reminder: Jan. 11 Webinar: Indigenous Views on the Border Wall and Traditional Spiritual Freedom
With Tohono O’odham traditional religious practitioner Verlon José. Mr. José will discuss Tohono O’odham sacred mountains and springs, spiritual ceremonies, and pilgrimages on both sides of the international boundary that have been affected by the border wall construction. Indigenous Interests Series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Jan. 11 Webinar: Investigating and Caring for Your Handwoven Blankets and Rugs
With Ann Lane Hedlund and Nancy Odegaard. Dr. Hedlund will describe the physical traits of handwoven Mexican and Spanish American sarapes, blankets, and rugs as they relate to the weaving process and tools. She will discuss how collectors and researchers can use these traits to understand how weavers work and to distinguish between different cultural traditions and styles. Dr. Odegaard will describe how weaving technology impacts the display and care of handwoven textiles, how specific examples were used and cared for after they left the loom, and finally, she will offer tips for preserving them into the future. Arizona State Museum | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Jan. 12 Webinar: Sacred Ridge
With Anna J. Osterholtz. After a brief business meeting, Dr. Osterholtz will present a discussion on Sacred Ridge, a Pueblo I site now under Lake Nighthorse. This talk will be recorded. San Juan Basin Archaeological Society | More Information and Zoom Link >>
See you next week! Please send us notice of upcoming webinars and Zoom lectures, tours and workshops, and anything else you’d like to share with the friends.