What happened in 2021?
Before Monday, that would have been a difficult question for me to answer. It was a long time ago, and time has felt pretty “fuzzy” ever since Covid intruded on our lives.
But, on Monday, Archaeology Southwest’s 2021 Annual Report landed on my desk. It is small (in its dimensions), beautiful, and full of many, many things that happened in 2021. And it even shares some things that spilled into 2022.
I have many days where the morning’s ambitions get carried forward to the next sunrise. But when the combined efforts of a dynamic staff get aggregated into a year, it feels good to savor the accomplishments.
For our donors, this document should arrive in the mail soon, and it’s posted on our website.
As we compiled this report on how we cared about and protected places, each of our staff members was asked to share their favorite place. You’ll find those intriguing little clues about them next to their signatures throughout this report.
The cover proclaims “Because places matter to people.”
That motivating phrase keeps us focused and energized for the final months of 2022, knowing that 2023 will be here soon.
Thanks to all of you who also subscribe to that powerful proclamation.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
NAGPRA in the News
The University of North Dakota, the latest U.S. college to acknowledge keeping Indigenous bones and artifacts, pledged to work with tribal leaders on returning them. Mitch Smith and Julie Bosman in the New York Times | Read More >>
A report by the Steering Committee on Human Remains in [Harvard] University Museum Collections was released by President Larry Bacow on Thursday in a message to the University community. It urges the creation of policies and mechanisms to guide decisions on the ethical handling of human remains in museum collections, which are not already governed by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Harvard has more than 30 years’ experience implementing NAGPRA, which returns certain cultural items, funerary belongings, and ancestral remains of Native Americans. The recommendations envision a new mechanism to direct a process of return, including reinterment or repatriation, of these collections guided by a Human Remains Returns Committee that includes Harvard faculty and staff who, collectively, have expertise in historical research, bioarchaeology, curatorial work, ethics, spiritual leadership, community consultation, repatriation, and funerary arrangements. Nikki Rojas for the Harvard Gazette | Read More >>
The preceding article includes an interview with members of the steering committee.
According to Tony Platt, a scholar at the UC Berkeley Center for the Study of Law and Society, NAGPRA requires institutions such as UC Berkeley to conduct an inventory of its Indigenous remains and artifacts and publish it in the Federal Register so Native tribes can request a repatriation. … The repatriation process requires resources, including specialists and lawyers, that nonfederally recognized tribes lack, Platt noted. As a result of these limitations, the Native American Heritage Commission issued a 16-page report on the university’s proposed revisions of its repatriation policies, calling for compliance with AB 275, full consultation with tribes and adequate staffing of the campus’s Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. Dhoha Bareche in the Daily Californian | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage: Bills Would Better Protect Indigenous Heritage Places
Tribal leaders urged lawmakers Wednesday to pass a package of bills that would protect cultural and sacred sites by creating a new tribal cultural areas designation and require Native input on any decisions on those lands. The sponsor of the bills, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Tucson, called them an attempt to “put tribes at the front end, not the back end” of the decisions on cultural and historic sites. … Many of the supporters were like Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, who said tribal governments are the most qualified group to help conserve the land because they have been “stewards of these lands since time immemorial.” Ryan Knappenberger for Cronkite News (Arizona PBS) | Read More >>
A bill to make tribal governments equal partners with the federal government in managing a pair of Arizona land preserves advanced in the U.S. House Wednesday. The measure would establish the Great Bend of the Gila and Palo Verde National Conservation Areas, and designate a panel of 13 tribal governments to jointly manage the lands with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Much of the 400,000 acres is considered sacred and ancestral lands by Native Americans. … Skylar Begay, a tribal outreach fellow at Archaeology Southwest, said giving tribal leaders equal status over historic lands is long overdue. “Allowing the indigenous peoples to access and use the land in traditional ways and be on equal levels with municipal, state, and federal governments will be a small step in righting the wrongs that indigenous peoples have endured,” Begay contended. Mark Richardson for Public News Service | Read and Listen Now >>
Continuing Coverage: Guidelines for Protecting Indigenous Heritage Places in National Parks
When he was a young man, Charles F. “Chuck” Sams III, the first tribal citizen appointed as National Park Service director, pitched the idea that tribes should be working directly with the federal government to steward public lands. Now, 27 years after that meeting with then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, Sams announced new guidelines to strengthen protections for Indigenous sacred and cultural sites by giving tribes a greater voice in protecting cultural assets and sacred sites on park service lands. Debra Utacia Krol in the Arizona Republic | Read More >>
On Sept. 24, National Public Lands Day, Parks Are Free
The holiday is one of five days in 2022 when NPS offers free admission to visitors — and comes just after the start of fall, perhaps the most underrated season for a trip. … While many visitors will use the free day for recreation, National Public Lands Day is the largest single day of volunteering for parks and public lands in the country. … Instead of competing with the crowds at America’s most famous parks, go see lesser-known options. Here are 10 sites to visit across the country, recommended by park rangers and experts. Natalie B. Compton in the Washington Post | Read More >>
Continuing Coverage: A Megadrought for the Ages
The researchers behind the study that identified the current megadrought did so by analyzing one of nature’s greatest record keepers: tree rings. While drought is a natural part of the southwest’s climate, looking at the relationship between tree rings and soil moisture found that the current period of aridity, which began in the year 2000, is unprecedented since AD 800. The 2022 study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, attributed 42% of the last two decades’ hot and dry conditions to global heating. Tim Kohler, an archaeologist and professor at Washington State University, says the current megadrought is different from prehistoric dry periods. “This one seems to be more severe than any of the previous droughts and just as long,” he says. Annette McGivney in the Guardian | Read More >>
Blog: What Lay Beneath Spruce Street
Documentary research before fieldwork began indicated the site likely was occupied by Chinese gardeners. Neighbors remembered the men working in the fields in the 1930s. The men had arrived with the construction crews of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Many men stayed behind and opened restaurants, stores, and laundries. About 30 of the men decided to grow produce, as local Mexican farmers were not growing the types of crops that newly-arrived European-Americans wanted, such as potatoes, cabbages, carrots, artichokes, cantaloupes, and strawberries. They also raised carp and pigs. Life in America was difficult for Chinese immigrants, especially after the 1892 Chinese Exclusion Act (the Geary Act), which sharply limited Chinese immigration and forced the immigrants in Tucson to carry identification papers at all times or risk being deported. Homer Thiel for Field Journal (Desert Archaeology, Inc.) | Read More >>
Blog: 2,000 Years of Human History at Mission Garden
For the last ten years, visitors to the Mission Garden, located at the base of Sentinel Peak (“A” Mountain) have watched as fruit trees grow from saplings into tall trees, seen an acequia (canal) built and stocked with an endangered species, viewed crops being harvested and food preparation methods demonstrated. Desert Archaeology conducted archaeological work prior to the Garden’s construction. … What did we find? Field Journal (Desert Archaeology, Inc.) | Read More >>
Fall Lecture Series: Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Perspectives on Sustainability and Resilience
Fundamental to the worldviews of many Indigenous peoples and local communities around the world is a profound respect for other beings and their homes. Deeply held beliefs about sustainable social and ecological practices are often inherent in these worldviews. Honoring these practices is fundamental to community resilience. Furthermore, creating space and support for Indigenous peoples and local communities to enact these age old-practices is a foundational part of the long and complex road to reconciliation. Public lectures are free and open to everyone including the general public. Please RSVP to the event as space is limited. Simon Fraser University | More Information and Free Registrations >>
September Subscription Lectures (In Person, Santa Fe)
Sept. 26, Erina Gruner, Chaco Canyon Priesthood Cult and Its Influences on Trade. For more information, call 505-466-2775 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Southwest Seminars
REMINDER: Sept. 22 Webinar: The Geology of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
With Laura Hartman. Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (CANM) is situated on the edge of the Colorado Plateau; a block of (mostly) stable continental crust surrounded by complex structural systems. The ~240,000 square mile area, characterized by wind and water, preserves the 1.9-billion-year-old geologic history of the wider four corners region. Although only the upper Jurassic and Cretaceous portion of this geologic history forms the canyon walls of CANM, the full Colorado Plateau story applies. This unassuming story provides insight into the formation of the region and geologic principles, and the geologic layers preserved therein furnishes materials for more modern uses. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Visitor Center and Museum, US Bureau of Land Management, and Four Corners Lecture Series | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Sept. 29 Webinar: Updates from the Mesa: The Far View Archaeological Project
With Donna Glowacki. How was the Far View community organized? How did it start and change over time? What was farming like and where was it done? Was one reservoir enough? How did community members relate to the other large communities and smaller settlements on the Mesa Verde Cuesta? How was the Far View community connected to Chaco? And, why and when did people move away? As an ancestral place, Far View was home to hundreds of Pueblo people, who lived in this mesa top community for 100s of years despite lacking a nearby spring. Their connections and dedication to this place and this community involved generations of cooperation, adaptation, engineering, and ingenuity, especially when faced with drought and other hardships. The Far View Archaeological Project seeks to better understand these community dynamics at Far View and how the Pueblo people, who called it home, lived in relationship with place, environment, and society. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Four Corners Lecture Series, and Mesa Verde National Park | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
REMINDER: Oct. 1 In-Person Class (Tucson AZ): How Did People Make and Use Stone Tools?
ONE SPOT LEFT! Experience the ancient art of flintknapping with Allen Denoyer. You will use ancient techniques and replica tools to create a stone projectile point. You will also learn more about how people made and used such points, and that points were just one component of a complete hunting technology. Please note that these classes are for individuals 18 years of age and older. Each class lasts approximately 3 hours. $40 fee. Hands-On Archaeology (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn More >>
Oct. 4 Webinar: Diné Archaeology on Chacra Mesa
With Davina Two Bears and Ruth Van Dyke. They will discuss a collaborative project in which they re-visited and re-documented historic Diné (Navajo) sites on Chacra Mesa in Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | More Information and Zoom Registration >>
Oct. 8 In-Person Workshop (Tucson AZ): Arrowhead-Making and Flintknapping
With Sam Greenleaf. Participants will learn how to make arrowheads, spear points, and other flaked stone artifacts from obsidian and other stone like ancient peoples did. The class is designed to foster understanding of how people made essential tools, not to make artwork for sale. Reservations and $35 payment (includes all materials and equipment) required by 5:00 p.m. October 6. Old Pueblo Archaeology Center | Learn More >>
Oct. 12 In-Person Lecture (Queen Creek AZ): Building Bridges in Clay: Salado Polychrome Pottery in Phoenix
With Mary F. Ownby. For decades, archaeologists working in the Phoenix area have identified Salado Polychrome (aka Roosevelt Red Ware) in late Classic Period ceramic assemblages. However, most believed these were non-local imports. The application of scientific provenance methods more recently has revealed this is not the case. Petrographic and chemical (NAA) data from 10 sites in the Lower Salt Valley and one site along Queen Creek have revealed patterns of local manufacture. The results indicate several sites were possible producers, including those utilizing Salt River sand, a few locations north of the Salt River, and at least one location to the west of the Superstition Mountains. Such vessels circulated throughout the Lower Salt Valley and even to outlying areas. Their exchange within the valley and beyond shows the importance of these pots in connecting not just immigrant populations but integrating local communities as well. This highlights the significance of material culture in negotiating social change and bridging cultural differences in multiethnic settings. Arizona Archaeological Society, San Tan Chapter | Learn More >>
Oct. 16 Tour: Central Arizona Tradition Archaeological Sites
With Scott Wood. Wood has led excavations at Goat Camp Ruin since 2008, and Arizona State University excavated at Shoofly Village in the 1980s. Both sites represent the ca. 300-500 CE Central Arizona Tradition that preceded development of the Hohokam and other Formative period cultures. Reservations and $40 donation prepayment due by 5:00 p.m. October 13. Old Pueblo Archaeology Center | Learn More >>
Position Announcement: Wind River Conservation Organizer
Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC) seeks a Wind River Conservation Organizer to play a key role in major campaigns to protect the lands, waters, and wildlife of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). The GYE is a remarkable natural landscape: home to a complete array of native wildlife, the headwaters of the west, an important place in the history of conservation, and of deep importance to Native Americans who have made this place home since time immemorial. The Wind River Conservation Organizer will work to build local capacity and to conserve the lands, waters, and wildlife on and around the Wind River Indian Reservation (WRIR) within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Greater Yellowstone Coalition | 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.