Several times over the course of the pandemic, I’ve felt that the pace of in-person meetings has suddenly quickened—and slowed—and then accelerated again. And for sure, for me, the past few days have been a marathon!
Last Friday, I attended an in-person meeting of the Four Southern Tribes Cultural Resource Working Group. The Gila River Indian Community, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Ak-Chin Indian Community, and Tohono O’odham Nation set aside one Friday each month to hear updates and overviews of cultural resource projects that are happening or planned or being considered across southern Arizona. I shared the latest about Congressman Grijalva’s Great Bend of the Gila National Conservation Act (H.R. 8719), which had a subcommittee hearing on September 18.
My last in-person meeting with this group was in early 2020, so it was great to reconnect with the cultural committee members and the presenters—formally, in the meeting, and especially informally, in the generous lunch that followed. A special bonus was getting to see the expansion of the Huhugam Heritage Center where the meeting was held. It’s a beautiful addition to the building complex, and the displays of Akimel O’Odham and Pee-Posh pottery and baskets are stunning. I need to go back soon and take it in more fully.
On Saturday, conversations about heritage places continued. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to lead a tour of Archaeology Southwest’s—and others’—research and preservation work along the San Pedro River. Linda Pierce, John Welch, and I spent an enjoyable day with two conservation-focused friends in glorious fall weather. The cottonwood leaves fluttering above the river were still a deep green; autumn yellows hadn’t yet begun.
Visiting people and places are truly the most enjoyable parts of my job. Promoting protection of such important cultural landscapes as the Great Bend of the Gila and the San Pedro Valley—I can truly say it is, in fact, not a job, but a privilege.
Lots of holiday weekends coming up, Friends. I hope you all get to spend time in your favorite places and with people who enrich your lives.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Experts Reimagine Bedrock Conservation Laws
“Too many of our environmental laws assumed a static system,” said Barbara Cosens, a professor emerita at the University of Idaho College of Law. “We’re no longer faced with a static system. We have a system that’s changing, and changing faster than anyone thought it would.” The result, said Melinda Morgan, a University of New Mexico geography and environmental studies professor, is that federal conservation laws are “the equivalent of driving a Ford Pinto when we could and should be using a Tesla.” Kylie Mohr in High Country News | Read more »
New Interview with NPS Director Chuck Sams
[On Tribal co-management:] “It’s a very exciting time. When I look across the service, we currently have over 80 different agreements where we’re doing some type of co-management, co-stewardship, or partnership with tribes. This gets them back on the landscape where they have that reciprocating relationship between the flora and the fauna that they’ve managed as horticulturalists since time immemorial.” B. Toastie and Chuck Sams in High Country News | Read more »
Update on Federal Efforts to Protect Native American Cultural Items and Human Remains
The United States has a unique government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes. Consistent with this relationship, our agency’s 2022–2027 Strategic Plan includes an objective focused on the federal government’s fulfillment of its responsibilities to tribes, their members, and individual descendants. The plan highlights the need to assess federal efforts to protect Native American cultural, environmental, and natural resources. We believe that our oversight of federal programs that serve tribes and their members will help the Congress determine how best to meet the government’s longstanding commitments to Native peoples. WatchBlog (US Government Accountability Office) | Read more »
The post includes a link to a podcast interview with GAO’s Director, Anna Maria Ortiz.
Commentary: Why Are Some Academics Resistant to Repatriation?
The Government Accountability Office reports that universities and museums in the United States hold the remains of over 116,000 ancestral Native Americans. These staggering numbers reveal a story about how scientific racism positioned some groups of people not just as inferior, but as objects of research. Defenders of these collections claim that they should be able to continue to own them and pursue research on them as a matter of academic freedom. But this is a distortion of the concept. Rosemary A. Joyce in the Washington Post | Read more »
ICYMI: “The Bodies in the Cave”
“Clearly, you have nefarious looters who are pursuing excavations for money. But you also have ranchers who see themselves as the caretakers of the land, the inheritors of the land, and everything that goes with that,” Chip Colwell, the author of “Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America’s Culture,” told me. “In this country, we’ve done such a good job of removing Native Americans from their ancestral lands. When you don’t have living Native peoples as caretakers and stewards, it’s easy for non-Native people to step in and see themselves in those roles.” Rachel Monroe in the New Yorker | Read more »
Footprints made tens of thousands of years ago may look like they’ve been erased by time and weather, but like invisible ink, they can sometimes reappear under the right conditions. These kinds of ephemeral trackways have been found in White Sands National Park in New Mexico and near the Great Salt Lake in Utah. But it’s likely many more exist. They form when a footprint fills with coarse sand and becomes covered in clay or silt. The material inside the print dries at a different rate than the ground surrounding it. Melissa Sevigny for Earth Notes (KNAU/NPR) | Read more or listen now »
Call for Applicants: Julian D. Hayden Paper Competition
The Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society and Arizona Archaeological Council sponsor the annual Julian D. Hayden Paper Competition, named in honor of long-time southwestern scholar Julian Dodge Hayden. The winning entry will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and publication of the paper in Kiva, The Journal of Southwestern Anthropology and History. The competition is open to any bona fide undergraduate and graduate students at any recognized college or university. Co-authored papers will be accepted if all authors are students. Deadline for receipt of submissions is January 13, 2023. Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society and Arizona Archaeological Council | Learn more »
Funding Opportunity: Martin-Orrell Research Grant
Each year AAHS awards a single grant of $5,000 to a high-quality archaeological or historical research project that focuses on significant questions in the archaeology of the Southwestern United States or Northwest Mexico. This grant is made possible through the generosity of two AAHS benefactors: Carryl B. Martin and F. Lewis Orrell Jr. In the spirit of Carryl Martin and F. Lewis Orrell Jr., projects that allow opportunities for participation by avocationalists will receive special consideration. Electronic applications are accepted between November 1 and November 30, 2022. Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | Learn more »
Position Announcement: AutoCAD Mapping Specialist (Tucson AZ)
Desert Archaeology is seeking a full-time AutoCAD Mapping Specialist to join our team of mapping/GIS specialists in our Tucson, Arizona office. We are looking for candidates who bring motivation, self-reliance, the ability to work independently within a distributed team structure, creative problem solving within your area of expertise, and a desire to develop as a cartographer in a consulting archaeological company. The job entails the production of publishable maps for a cultural resources management company. Desert Archaeology Inc. | Learn more »
Position Announcement: NAGPRA Coordinator (Albuquerque NM)
The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology (MMA) at the University of New Mexico (UNM) seeks a NAGPRA Coordinator to oversee compliance, consultations, repatriations, and other activities associated with ensuring the Museum’s compliance the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. We seek a dynamic professional with significant experience in NAGPRA compliance to help steward MMA’s NAGPRA efforts. Maxwell Museum of Anthropology | Learn more »
November Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
Nov. 7, Wayne Ranney, Birth & Evolution of the Colorado River: Going with the Flow; Nov. 14, James Snead, An Erased Woman of Southwest Archaeology: Alice Palmer Henderson; Nov. 21, Keith Prufer, New Perspectives on Early Food Production in the Mesoamerican Neotropics; Nov. 28, Eric Blinman, Innovations in Radiocarbon Dating, Archaeomagnetism of Burned Rocks, a Collaborative Approach in Human Burial Studies, & Multicultural Education for All New Mexicans! Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
Nov. 9 In-Person Event (Coolidge AZ): Traditional Food, Including Bahidaj
Casa Grande Ruins will host Precious Vicente at 1:00 p.m. Precious Vicente is Akimel O’odham from the Gila River Indian Community. She is currently a Park Ranger at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in the Interpretive and Education division where she helps visitors to the Monument learn about this rich cultural site. Join Precious Vicente to learn about traditional food, specifically Bahidaj (Saguaro Cactus Fruit). Precious will discuss why Bahidaj is more than just a fruit and the importance of taking care of the land. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument | Learn more »
Nov. 9 In-Person (Durango CO) and Online Event: Ann Axtell Morris and Early 20th-Century Women Archaeologists
With Kelley Hays-Gilpin. Ann and her husband Earl Morris conducted archaeological fieldwork together in both the U.S. and Mexico. San Juan Basin Archaeological Society | More information and Zoom link »
Nov. 10 Webinar: Curating in Context
With Andrea R. Hanley. Hanley will be speaking on the history of the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, her experience as the Wheelwright Museum chief curator, and offer an overview of some key themes and ideas around recent or current Wheelwright exhibitions. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | More information and Zoom registration »
Nov. 17 Webinar: Navajo Pueblito Sites in Dinétah
With Ronald H. Towner. Pueblitos, as the name implies, are small masonry structures. In the ancestral Navajo homeland of Dinétah in northwestern New Mexico, more than 250 such structures and associated hogans have been documented. Once thought to be the result of a massive immigration of Pueblo people fleeing the Spaniards, research in the past 2+ decades demonstrates significant variation in these sites over time. This presentation describes this variation and suggests important implications for understanding Navajo cultural development and land use in the 18th century. Third Thursday Food for Thought Series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | More information and Zoom registration »
Nov. 21 Webinar: Arizona’s and New Mexico’s Hidden Scholars: Husband and Wife Archaeological Teams
With Nancy Parezo. “Tonight I will focus on recent work by Don and Kay Fowler and myself on early husband and wife archaeological teams who worked in Arizona and New Mexico and how their efforts have gone unrecognized but whose efforts helped pave the way for future generations to have successful careers. We focus on the activities of Frank and Theresa Russell, who surveyed Arizona between 1900 and 1903.” Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | More information and Zoom registration »
Video Channel Roundup
Find out which webinars and videos you missed and get caught up at the YouTube channels of our Partners and Friends. (And please do let us know if your channel isn’t in this list but should be!)
Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society
Arizona State Museum
Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
Grand Canyon Trust
Grand Staircase Escalante Partners
Mesa Prieta Petroglyphs Project
Museum of Indian Arts and Cultures
Museum of Northern Arizona
Old Pueblo Archaeology Center
School for Advanced Research
The Archaeological Conservancy
Verde Valley Archaeology Center
Our friends at Southwest Seminars offer pay-per-view videos of their past lectures here.
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.