Thank you for stepping up these past months to show your support for the Greater Chaco landscape. Our top story today reports that some 80,000 responses were submitted to the Bureau of Land Management.
That’s progress—and an important step in a long process. We’ll need you to “stay tuned” over the course of the next year, and we’ll be calling on you for future actions. The wheels of government move very slowly…
I started reading a new book today. It’s a creative exploration of Indigenous science.
A new book implies that I just finished one—and it’s one I want to recommend: White Lies: The Double Life of Walter F. White and America’s Darkest Secret by A. J. Baime. Walter White led the NAACP from the 1920s into the early 1950s. The book does an amazing job of putting into context the anti-lynching law passed by Congress in late March. And it broadened my perspective on the role of the Buffalo Soldiers.
If you recall, last week I shared with you the story of Camp Naco (and you can listen to Monday’s Fronteras/KJZZ story here). It was the home of African American “Buffalo Soldiers” from 1919 to 1923, as part of a “Human Fence along the Border” initiative right after World War I.
Segregated Black military units developed soon after the Civil War. And, despite these units’ exemplary performance in diverse military settings, the US military was not integrated until 1948, three years after the end of World War II. So, the story of the Buffalo Soldiers is in part a story of the trajectory of US African Americans’ service to their county and the recognition of their citizenship rights.
I hope you are finding reading material that helps you better understand—or escape from—these challenging times. Please let me know your recommendations.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image: Tom Vaughn
80,000 Strong for Greater Chaco
Today, conservation groups and advocates delivered more than 80,000 public comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in support of the agency’s proposed mineral withdrawal for the federal lands within 10 miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The withdrawal would prevent new federal oil and gas leasing for the next 20 years. With just 13 hours left before the public comment period closes, tens of thousands of people have commented and shown overwhelming support for these protections. New Mexico Wild | Read More >>
Chaco Protections on the Road to 30
Our friends at Archaeology Southwest just released a new film, “Protecting Chaco’s 10-Mile Zone,” that illustrates the urgent need to protect the Greater Chaco Landscape and its cultural resources from encroaching oil and gas development in northwest New Mexico. Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a World Heritage site that is thought to be the center of what was once a hub of Indigenous civilization and the ancestral home of both Pueblo and Navajo peoples. The area holds deep cultural and spiritual significance for many Tribal nations to this day. The mini-documentary is produced by Paul Reed with Archaeology Southwest, and filmed and edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist David Wallace. Center for Western Priorities | Read More and Watch Now >>
Preserving Indigenous Presence in Ancestral Landscapes
For many [visitors], this is their first time interacting with actual Indigenous people. The Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps crew seizes this opportunity, sharing stories, posing for photos, and providing much-needed firsthand cultural education on the Indigenous connections that still remain with places like River House. This image is significant: Indigenous people caring for and preserving their own cultural histories on their own ancestral lands. This is an important precedent that must be implemented in other areas of cultural and natural resource management on all “public” lands, not just within the Bears Ears. Lyle Balenquah in Advocate Magazine (Grand Canyon Trust) | Read More >>
Smithsonian Approves Policy on Ethical Returns
The Smithsonian Institution announced Tuesday that it has adopted a policy that will formally authorize its constituent museums to return items from their collections that were looted or were otherwise once acquired unethically. The institution’s leaders said the policy, which took effect Friday, represents a shift away from the stance long taken by it and other museums, who had held the view that the legal right to own an item was sufficient justification to keep it. “My goal was very simple: Smithsonian will be the place people point to, to say ‘This is how we should share our collections and think about ethical returns,’” Lonnie G. Bunch III, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, said in an interview. Matt Stevens in the New York Times | Read More >>
Tim Kohler Named to the National Academy of Sciences
Biochemistry Professor John Browse and anthropology Professor Tim Kohler were elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their achievements in original research. Browse and Kohler are among just 150 new members announced on May 3. First established by U.S. Congress and President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the National Academy of Sciences is a nonprofit society of scholars charged with providing independent, objective advice about science and technology to the nation. … Kohler studies the social dynamics of prehistoric cultures, specializing in the U.S. Southwest. His research explores the relationships among demography, violence, wealth inequality, social evolution, and climate variability. WSU Insider | Read More >>
Introducing SKOPE—Synthesizing Knowledge of Past Environments
Announcing SKOPE (Synthesizing Knowledge of Past Environments), a free web application that provides easy access to PaleoCAR’s tree-ring-based annual retrodictions at 800m spatial resolution (calibrated to PRISM) of precipitation and temperature, for the Southwest US for the last 2000 years. At a coarser spatial resolution (~50km), SKOPE offers annual reconstructions of the Palmer Modified Drought Index (PMDI; the successor to the Palmer Drought Severity Index or PDSI) for the contiguous 48 US states, also for the last 2000 years. SKOPE | Learn More >>
Climate Records from Old Timber
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Eastern Seaboard’s old-growth forests were cut down almost in their entirety. Today, trying to find a tree in this area that is more than two hundred years old is like looking for a button that you lost a few years back. But New York City—unlike the surrounding forests—is host to a great crowd of old wood. It’s just that it exists in the form of beams and joists within buildings. … By being creative and flexible in searching for samples, scientists at the Tree Ring Lab (and other such labs) have stitched together climate records for the region going back as far as four hundred years. Rivka Galchen in the New Yorker | Read More >>
Instagram Takeover: Conservation Photographer and Author Jonathan T. Bailey for Respect Great Bend
Greetings! Jonathan T. Bailey (@baileyimages) here. I’m pleased to take over the #RespectGreatBend Instagram account to showcase this special landscape. While I’ve photographed rock art for over twenty years, I have decided to share the region’s biodiversity. I write this with the acknowledgement that the Great Bend is a cultural landscape. Oftentimes, this term leads to misunderstandings. A cultural landscape is not necessarily limited to a landscape of use. Indeed, the Great Bend hosts game animals, plants used for food, medicine, and ceremony, and minerals fashioned into jewelry and pigments. But this region also demonstrates that relationships, human and wild, past and present, extend far beyond their utility. Respect Great Bend | Check It Out >>
Crow Canyon at the SAAs & SfAAs—Recap
At the SfAAs in Salt Lake, Mark Varien (Executive Vice President of the Research Institute at Crow Canyon) et al. presented The Pueblo Farming Project: Research, Education, and Native American Collaboration, and Liz Perry (CEO/President) and Susan Ryan (Chief Mission Officer) presented Archaeology as Applied Anthropology at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. At the SAAs, Kellam Throgmorton (Field Director) co-organized a symposium with former Crow Canyon field archaeologist Erin Baxter (currently the curator of anthropology at Denver Museum of Nature and Science) entitled, New Perspectives for Chaco Outlier Research and Advocacy with Ruth Van Dyke as Discussant. Fourteen papers were presented in this symposium, featuring emerging Southwest scholars (grad students and recent PhDs, including Sam Fladd), Indigenous perspectives (such as Theresa Pasqual and Octavius Seowtewa), and veteran archaeologists. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Read More >>
Publication Announcement: Fishes from Ancestral Pueblo Contexts
Jonathan Dombrosky, Thomas F. Turner, Alexandra Harris, Emily Lena Jones, “Body size from unconventional specimens: A 3D geometric morphometrics approach to fishes from Ancestral Pueblo Contexts,” Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 142, 2022, 105600. Read or Download Now (open access) >>
Publication Announcement: Pottery Southwest Vol. 37, Nos. 3–4
Papers in this edition examine ceramic production and collection zones for clays, tempers, and slip materials. Included are papers by Lucius (Southeast Utah), Franklin (Kuaua Pueblo), and Glowacki and Stech (Goodman Point). Albuquerque Archaeological Society | Download Now (opens as a PDF) >>
Video: Birds of the Sun
On May 3, 2022, Christopher W. Schwartz (Northern Arizona University), Patricia A. Gilman (University of Oklahoma), and Stephen Plog (Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia) discussed “Birds of the Sun: Macaws, Parrots, and People.” Macaws and parrots are colorful birds generally native to areas south of the border between the US and Mexico, but they are present in numerous archaeological sites in Arizona and New Mexico, as well as at the very large site of Paquimé just south of the border in Chihuahua. Archaeologists have paid too little attention to these birds except to highlight the existence and possible importance of interactions between the peoples of Mesoamerica and the US Southwest and Mexican Northwest. This presentation focuses on recent detailed analyses of these birds and what we know about them as a result. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | Watch Now >>
Call for Volunteers, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
We have had a great start to the volunteer season with several fun and impactful on-the-ground projects in March and April. We partnered with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance to put on a three-day event to remediate recreation impacts on Big Spencer Flat, have held several Trail Ambassador events that included over 300 interpretive interactions with visitors, and have remediated drawn-on and scratched-in graffiti in Spooky Gulch. Are you looking to get out with us on a trip this summer? We have some great opportunities that are now open for sign-ups! Grand Staircase Escalante Partners | Learn More >>
May Subscription Lectures (In-Person, Santa Fe)
May 9, Matthew Barbour, Native American Conquistadors: Mesoamerican Conquest of the New World. May 16, Harriet “Rae” Beaubien, Surprising Finds from a Classic Maya Site: Recovery and Rediscovery. May 23, Linda A. Brown, Dream Bundles: Cultural Preservation & Contemporary Maya Ritual Practitioners. May 30, Steven H. Lekson, Azteques, Cliff-Dwellers, Anasazi, Ancestral Pueblo…What’s in a Name? Southwest Seminars | Learn More >>
REMINDER: May 12 Webinar: Dog Life and Death in an Ancestral Pueblo Landscape
With Victoria Monagle. In this study, Victoria uses a framework incorporating Indigenous beliefs alongside paleopathological analysis of the 5MTUMR 2347 canids to make a link between the role of dogs in past and present Puebloan populations. Variation in the life histories of dogs despite similar burial contexts suggests dogs filled multiple roles during their lives. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and Four Corners Lecture Series | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
May 12 Webinar: Color and Directional Symbolism at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon
With Hannah Matson. Dedicatory offerings of small colorful objects are often found in pre-Hispanic architectural contexts in the American Southwest’s Ancestral Pueblo region. These deposits are particularly numerous in kivas at the site of Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, which served as the ceremonial hub of a regional social system between the 10th and 12th centuries CE. Based on the importance of directionality and color in traditional Pueblo worldviews, archaeologists have long speculated that the contents of these radial offerings may likewise reference significant Chacoan cosmographic elements. In this talk, Dr. Mattson will discuss the results of a recent study where she explored this idea by examining the distribution of colors and materials in kiva pilaster repositories in relation to directional quadrants, prominent landscape features, and raw material sources. The Archaeological Conservancy | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
May 14 Exhibition Opening: In the Places of the Spirits (Albuquerque)
Please join us on Saturday, May 14, 2022, for remarks from 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. [MDT], as we welcome photographers Randall Hyman and David Grant Noble. Mr. Hyman will introduce us to his work with the Sámi community of Northern Europe while Mr. Noble will showcase his landscape photography of the Southwest. Noble has over five decades of photographic experience including projects in Vietnam, New York City, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. He became interested in photographing the Southwest’s ancient cultural landscapes in 1972–1974. He is the author and illustrator of the archaeological guide, “Ancient Ruins and Rock Art of the Southwest,” which, in turn, led to “In the Places of the Spirits.” He has authored or edited a dozen books on the deep history of the American Southwest. Participants will have a chance to meet and talk with both featured photographers and purchase one or several of Noble’s books. Maxwell Museum of Anthropology | Learn More >>
May 28 Grand Opening: Kids’ Adventure Room (Camp Verde AZ)
We are very excited to reveal our newest addition to VVAC, the Kid’s Adventure Room! Admission will be free for parents and their children. Activities include an augmented reality archaeological sandbox, face painting, meeting live Scarlet Macaws, pottery painting, and more. Verde Valley Archaeological Center | Learn More >>
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.