I have been reflecting further on the excursion Archaeology Southwest’s staff took two weeks ago—our day on the San Pedro River with 12 staff members in a single van. Previously, I’ve highlighted cottonwood trees and agaves as signature plant species of the San Pedro. This week, I acknowledge the superlative stands of Saguaros that grace the lands above the San Pedro floodplain. These beings are truly spectacular, and they spoke to our staff.
The fruiting of the Saguaro marks the beginning of the O’odham year. People harvest Saguaro fruit during that hot time of late May through June. And the good people at Emergence Magazine once again share with us valuable Indigenous perspectives.
There are two articles—a long consideration of the Tohono O’odham sacred spring at Quitobaquito, within Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and an opinion piece by Hia-Ced O’odham elder Lorraine Eiler.
Ms. Eiler notes that the legislative council of the Tohono O’odham Nation “passed a resolution affirming the personhood of Saguaro.”
This was done with careful forethought by an Indigenous coalition and an Indigenous governing body. It is viewed as a potential future tool in efforts to protect the Tohono O’odham cultural landscape and their Himdag—way of life.
I’ve been fortunate and grateful to learn—over the past 40 years I’ve been honored to live here and the friendships I’ve been privileged to have—that many Indigenous peoples of the Southwest attribute agency and personhood to plants, animals, and elements of the physical landscape. I hope this will translate to a recognition of legal rights for the Saguaro.
For now, this assertion of being-ness by people with the deepest heritage on the desert landscape should, at minimum, move us to more respectful behavior. The disrespectful blading of Saguaros—and much more—during the construction of the border wall becomes ever more egregious as I contemplate “the personhood of Saguaro.”
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. from Kate: Friends, as we went to press with this week’s newsletter, we learned the very sad news that pioneering avian archaeologist and zooarchaeologist Charmion McKusick passed away on March 26. Our thoughts go out to her friends and family. Bill and I will share more information as it becomes available.
Banner image: Giant Saguaro in Catalina State Park.
Chiricahua National Monument May Become a National Park
Chiricahua National Monument is closer to becoming a national park, a more prestigious designation that could bring more tourism and jobs to Southeastern Arizona, after the U.S. Senate voted in favor of the move without any dissent. Along with the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest and Saguaro parks, the Chiricahua mountains and their rhyolite rock spires would become Arizona’s fourth national park. Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly has taken the lead in getting the bill passed, and noted in November, after getting it out of committee, that “it is a captivating natural and geological wonder— a real gem in our state.” Bennito L. Kelty in the Tucson Sentinel | Read More >>
The (Ugly) True Story of the Manitou Cliff Dwellings
The scheme was simple: Dig up and dismantle the pueblo into piles of sandstone masonry, use oxen to haul it to the railroad in nearby Dolores, Colorado, and load it onto 40 or so narrow-gauge cars that would travel over 300 miles across the Rockies to Manitou Springs, a small resort town at the base of Pikes Peak. There, it would be reassembled into an entirely different style of Ancestral Puebloan architecture—cliff dwellings, rather than the freestanding pueblo that towered above the Montezuma Valley. The reimagined structure would make a terrific tourist attraction; people would pay about $1 a person to see it, a handsome sum in 1907. Miles W. Griffis in High Country News | Read More >>
Profile of Ann Axtell Morris
Born in 1900, Morris became fascinated with the past at an early age. She found her way to archaeology in the 1920s. It was a golden age for the field, which had become more scientific and professionalised in the late 19th century. The discipline was unwelcoming to women, however: Despite gains in women’s education, the majority of the profession was male, and women faced discrimination in employment, publication, and fieldwork. That didn’t dissuade her. Erin Blakemore in the National Geographic | Read More >>
For Unmarked Graves, Ground-Penetrating Radar Is One Part of a Complex Process
Using technology to find unmarked graves can have profound emotional consequences for affected communities. “You can’t just show up with a bunch of gear and push it around and not think that you’re going to have an impact on peoples’ lives,” says [Andrew] Martindale. He says GPR research at residential schools used to be run by universities before some communities began hiring professional firms to do the work. … The Canadian Archaeological Association working group on investigating unmarked graves has outlined a 10-step process for conducting this research. While the order of the steps is up to each community, the first step mentioned recommends community-based work that encourages Indigenous people to lead the effort in finding missing children and includes training people to use site survey technologies. Diane Peters in Undark | Read More >>
Publication Announcement: The Nutritional Content of Five Southwestern US Indigenous Maize Landraces
Oas, S., & Adams, K. (2021). The Nutritional Content of Five Southwestern US Indigenous Maize (Zea Mays L.) Landraces of Varying Endosperm Type. American Antiquity, 1–19. Read Now (open access) >>
April Subscription Lectures (In-Person, Santa Fe)
April 11, Dr. Sarah Schlanger, Reflections on Landscape, Culture, Solitude, and Scenic Beauty. April 18, Matthew Barbour, Giusewa Pueblo Archaeology: Recent Discoveries at Jemez Historic Site. At the Hotel Santa Fe. Southwest Seminars | Learn More >>
REMINDER: April 7 Webinar: The House of the Cylinder Jars: Room 28 in Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon
With Patricia Crown. In 1896, excavations in Room 28 in Pueblo Bonito made several extraordinary finds: 173 whole ceramic vessels, including 112 Chacoan cylinder jars, as well as hundreds of ornaments and copper objects. After discovering residues of cacao in cylinder jars in 2009, Dr. Crown supervised the reexcavation of Room 28 in 2013 to examine the stratigraphy, collect datable materials, and determine when and why the room burned. In this talk, Patricia will describe the results of this re-excavation, which helps us understand how the jars were used in the cacao-drinking ritual and why the room was set on fire. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
REMINDER: April 8 Webinar: The Southwest North American Region—A Political Ecology of Cultures and Hegemonies
You are cordially invited to attend the inaugural Bazy Tankersley Southwest Laureate Lecture, to be given by Dr. Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez, Regents Professor and Founding Director Emeritus of the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. The Southwest North American Region is an intricate weave of peoples, places, and cultures. Trade and the struggle for control of the region’s economy, lands and waters have profoundly marked its historical geography from the Prehispanic period to the present. Vélez-Ibáñez will offer an in-depth analysis of these processes, drawing on the insights of his nearly 50-year career in cultural anthropology and as a native of the México-US Borderlands. Southwest Center (University of Arizona) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
April 9 Panel Discussion (In-Person, Flagstaff AZ): The Re-emergence of Glen Canyon
With Dawn Kish (Photographer/Filmmaker), Morgan Sjogren (Explorer/Author), Thomas Minckley (Ecologist/Author), and R.E. Burillo (Archaeologist/Author). Glen Canyon is beginning to re-emerge as Lake Powell continues to break low water records. This panel will focus on the past, present, and future of Glen Canyon as viewed through the eyes of a filmmaker, an explorer, an archaeologist, and an ecologist. 2:45–3:45, Drinking Horn Meadery. Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival | More Information >>
April 10 Virtual Field Trip: Goat Camp
Goat Camp Ruin, located within the Town of Payson, Arizona, is a relatively small but well preserved prehistoric village containing 25+ surface rooms of both full height stone masonry and jacal walls on stone foundations, a central plaza, a number of stone retaining walls and check dams, a large, partial enclosing retaining wall, an earlier (buried) pithouse component, and several roasting pits that are probably Apache. This virtual field trip will include a walk through the site with Scott Wood, recently pre-recorded as well as a question and answer period and comments by Scott on the day of the presentation. Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
April 13 Webinar: Our Teeth Tell Tales
With Alexis O’Donnell. Archaeologists use multiple techniques to reconstruct the lives of past peoples, certain aspects of human biology can be beneficial when used in conjunction with archaeological evidence and oral tradition. In this talk, Dr. Lexi O’Donnell will discuss where the Gallina people may have moved to upon leaving their homes in the late AD 1200s and individual relationships between people who lived in the La Plata Valley. She uses dental morphology, data on the shape and form of teeth, a non-destructive method to estimate biological distance. The San Juan Basin Archaeological Society | More Information and Zoom Link >>
April 14 Webinar: Multivocality in Archaeology
With Fumi Arakawa. This presentation highlights the progress of the Mimbres Pottery Workshop, which is functioning as part of the Info-Forum Museum Project (Documenting and Sharing Information on Ethnological Materials: Working with Native American Tribes; Dr. Atsunori Ito as the Principal Investigator). The Mimbres Pottery Workshop is a collaborative research project between descendant communities and researchers (cultural anthropologists and archaeologists), which focuses on the interpretation and analysis of Mimbres pottery designs recovered from southern New Mexico from A.D. 1000 to 1150. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
April 19 Poetry Workshop (In-Person), Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
In celebration of National Poetry Month, Casa Grande Ruins will host a poetry workshop with poet Jodie Hollander. The workshop will focus on the significance of place in poetry. No experience necessary. A journal and writing utensil will be provided to participants. Reservations are limited and available on a first-come/first-served basis. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument | More Information >>
April 22 Earth Day Cleanup, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
In honor of Earth Day 2022 we will gather together with our partners from Canyons of the Ancients National Monument on Friday, April 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for a service project to clean up litter in the monument. Southwest Colorado Canyons Alliance | More Information and Volunteer Registration >>
April 23 Webinar: T-A:ga (Our Story): An Introduction to the Culture and History of the Tohono O’odham
Bernard Siquieros will speak about the O’odham—their land, language, history, food, and way of life—all encompassed by the O’odham word himdag. You will learn about the traditional territorial extent of the O’odham, and the many ways that O’odham himdag and O’odham traditional lands in the Sonoran Desert are forever intertwined. Amerind Museum | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Job Opportunity, The Wilderness Society, Tucson AZ
The Wilderness Society is hiring an Urban to Wild Community Engagement Intern, located in Tucson, AZ. The position will support the growing Tucson Urban to Wild program by identifying partnership opportunities and conducting outreach to local community organizations that are led by and serve Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. The position will also recommend a community engagement strategy to explore barriers that communities face to accessing nature in the Tucson area and will support youth programming in partnership with Ironwood Tree Experience, a local youth-serving organization. The position will be located in Tucson and will be co-managed by TWS and Ironwood Tree Experience staff. The position will run for 10 weeks and will start after the Memorial Day holiday. Full-time availability preferred but part-time will be considered. Salary: $16.10/hr. The Wilderness Society | Learn More >>
Job Opportunity, Wind Cave National Park, SD
American Conservation Experience (ACE), a nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) is seeking a Direct Hire Authority (DHA) Cultural Resources Assistant interested in dedicating 11 weeks to support Wind Cave National Park in strengthening the relationships between the parks and Native communities as well as help communicate the cultural significance of the land and its resources to the public. American Conservation Experience | Learn More >>
Job Opportunities, USDA National Forest Service
The Forest Service is hiring for recreation and archaeologist positions across the nation. Jobs are available in a variety of exciting and rewarding locations. If your passion is working in the great outdoors or preserving and protecting some of America’s most exciting cultural resources, the Forest Service invites you to apply! Recreation specialists and technicians perform most of their duties outdoors, which could include trail repair, campground maintenance, visitor information, wilderness protection and even patrolling on skis. Archaeologists work to learn about, interpret and protect the historical and cultural treasures of our country and are often involved in field investigations, site evaluation, and coordination with American Indian Tribes. To connect with a recruiter, email SM.FS.r8recruiting at usda dot gov or text USFSR8 to 22828. Apply on USAJobs April 6–19, 2022.
USFS GIS StoryMap about these opportunities >>
Job Opportunities, Flagstaff Area National Monuments, AZ
Flagstaff Area National Monuments has openings for GS-7 seasonal archeological technicians! We currently have the ability to hire qualified people directly, so this is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door with the NPS! In this position, you will help preserve Wupatki Pueblo, cliff dwellings at Walnut Canyon NM, and other pre-contact structures at both monuments through hands-on preservation work. You’ll also have a chance to monitor archeological sites in the backcountry of Wupatki NM and Walnut Canyon NM. Some archeological experience is required to qualify. Pay is approximately $21/hr. Government housing is available! Contact Amy Horn, Cultural Resources Program Manager (amy_horn at nps dot gov), or Kelsey Vaughan-Wiltsee, Cultural Resources Project Manager (Kelsey_vaughan-wiltsee at nps dot gov) for additional information or to submit a resume.
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