My message today is simple: Thank you.
Last week, I highlighted the GoFundMe campaign to support Hell’s Backbone Grill and Farm in Boulder, Utah. I described it as an essential element (ingredient?) of the ecosystem of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
The campaign succeeded! Rapidly!
Generosity poured forth from more than 2,800 donors. And over 250 of them left short notes of encouragement, as well as gratitude for their wonderful experiences at Hell’s Backbone. (Giving is still open—despite initial success, the debt remains large.)
The Hell’s Backbone story is a celebration of place and humanity, and it underscores the role of food in creating connections between people and place.
At Archaeology Southwest, we do our best to connect with you, our readers and donors. We share stories about places—why they are valued, and by whom. We call attention to threats to heritage places and provide calls to action.
Through our year-end fundraising campaign, we are seeing your gratitude for what we do and accomplish with you. I close with another hearty THANK YOU to our many generous donors who provide invaluable support, which not only makes our Preservation Archaeology mission a success, but also funds this newsletter.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. Congratulations to our friends at the Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance, whose formal management plan for the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area has been approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior!
U.S. Senate Passes the STOP Act
A federal law meant to help return stolen Native American artifacts to their rightful owners has cleared its final hurdle after unanimous approval in the U.S. Senate. The Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act, also known as the STOP Act, passed the Senate on Tuesday and was sent to President Joe Biden with the expectation it soon will be signed into law. “Having this finally on the books and headed to the president’s desk really feels quite good,” Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., said in an interview. “This is going to give both individual tribes and law enforcement tools with which they can help leverage the return of cultural items.” Claudia L. Silva in the Santa Fe New Mexican | Read more »
When you toss a pebble into the huge pond that is “the world,” you have no idea how far those waves will travel and where they will eventually land. The STOP Act is one of those ripples. The Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act, began in an office inside the administration building at the Pueblo of Acoma in 2015. A quick “FYI” email had been received from the tribe’s lawyers: they had been tipped off about an auction of Native American artifacts and cultural items in Paris. I remember this day clearly. Jonathan Sims in The Paper (Albuquerque) | Read more »
The Problem with Netflix’s “Ancient Apocalypse”
Like many forms of pseudoarchaeology, these claims act to reinforce white supremacist ideas, stripping Indigenous people of their rich heritage and instead giving credit to aliens or White people. … These are the reasons why archaeologists will continue to respond to Hancock. It isn’t that we “hate him,” as he claims, it is simply that we strongly believe he is wrong. His flawed thinking implies that Indigenous people do not deserve credit for their cultural heritage. Flint Dibble at SAPIENS (via The Conversation) | Read more »
Archaeologists devote their lives and careers to researching and sharing knowledge about the past with the public. Netflix’s new series “Ancient Apocalypse” undermines trust in their work and aligns with racist ideologies. The SAA’s letter to Netflix and ITN Productions highlights our grave concerns with “Ancient Apocalypse,” a show that disparages archaeology and archaeologists and aligns with racist ideologies. We have requested Netflix and ITN remove any labels that state or imply that this series is a factual documentary or docuseries, reclassify the series as “science fiction,” and balance the deleterious content in the show with scientifically accurate information about our human past. Society for American Archaeology | Read more »
Commentary: Celebrate Newark Earthworks
Great monuments and ceremonial sites do things to people in ways that we all need to understand. They provide experiences and shape our humanity. The biggest and most historically notable, such as the Newark Earthworks in central Ohio—are the birthplaces of historical periods and cultural legacies for large numbers of people. Certainly, descendant Tribal Nations treasure their cultural legacy as embodied in Newark—one of a kind in the world. In its scale and purpose, built mostly in the fourth century AD, the Indigenous earthworks and ceremonial grounds of the Hopewell-culture complex at Newark covered more than four square miles and featured five major walled geometric spaces, each enclosing 20 to 50 acres. Ten thousand people might gather inside them at any one time for spectacular events and festive ceremonies, their bodies moving in concert with the cosmos itself, walking sacred embanked paths laid out by the Milky Way, and watching the full moon rise and set in the sky during the midsummer and midwinter gatherings. Timothy R. Pauketat in the Newark Advocate | Read more »
The Newark Earthworks are one step closer to becoming part of Ohio’s first [UNESCO] World Heritage site. The site is one of seven Ohio sites in a serial nomination of Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks. In addition to Newark Earthworks, the sites are Fort Ancient Earthworks & Nature Preserve and five sites that make up Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Chillicothe. Ohio History Connection and World Heritage Ohio | Learn more »
Continuing Coverage: Tribal Co-Management of Public Lands
This week, hundreds of tribal leaders gathered in Washington for the White House Tribal Nations Summit. Lots of economic news came out of that event, including new federal money for tribal climate resilience and plans for the Energy Department to do more business with tribal nations. There were also new commitments from the Biden administration on something Native leaders have been pushing for, for a long time: tribal co-management of public lands, like national parks and forests. Savannah Maher for Marketplace (American Public Media) | Read more or listen now »
Felicia Fonseca and Fatima Hussein report on the summit in the Washington Post »
Continuing Coverage: UMN Begins Repatriation of Mimbres Collections
The University of Minnesota possesses collections of Native American ancestor remains and associated funerary objects that were supposed to be repatriated to their respective Tribes more than 30 years ago. The Board of Regents approved the University to begin the repatriation process at the February board meeting. The University began an initial inventory in June and the final inventory is due in December. The Mimbres-cultural collections the University possesses are from grave sites the anthropology department excavated in New Mexico nearly 100 years ago and are most likely affiliated with Pueblo Tribes, including the Hopi Nation. Lara Boudinot in the Minnesota Daily | Read more »
WNMU Launches Mimbres Press
On the edge of the Gila Wilderness lives the newly formed Mimbres Press out of Western New Mexico University in Silver City, where its members are striving to create an environment where authors can thrive. In a world where so few publishers control so much of the market, the goal of Mimbres Press is to be a destination for voices in southern New Mexico, according to WNMU President Joseph Shepard. “I see it as a long-term investment that will benefit this region for generations to come,” he said. “Our focal point is on the Southwest, is on the rich history of the Mimbres people, on the Spaniards who mined this area, on the rich history of descendants of our Mexican population who came from the southern regions of this continent. There wasn’t anything [like this] available until the Mimbres Press came to be.” Jonny Coker for KRWG Public Media | Read more »
Call for Papers: ARARA 2023 Conference (Tucson AZ)
ARARA invites proposals for presentations at the 2023 Conference. Presenters do not have to be ARARA members to present, but current ARARA members will be given preference. The review committee will be making difficult decisions for presentation selections to fill the limited program slots. Please polish your abstracts to perfection. All questions about the submission process should be directed to the Program Coordinator at email@example.com. Papers and reports must be created and presented in PowerPoint. Abstracts of 200 words or less should be submitted via this online form by January 15, 2023, for consideration. American Rock Art Research Association | Learn more »
About the conference »
Support for student presenters »
December Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
Dec. 12, Hunter M. Claypatch, Decorated Pottery of the Trincheras Tradition in Northern Sonora, 400–1450 CE; Dec. 19, Dan Louie Flores, Wild New World: The Epic Story of Animals & People in America. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
REMINDER: Dec. 9 In-Person (Tucson AZ) and Online Event: What the Rest of the Country (and the World) Can Learn from Southern Arizona
With Dr. Geoff Boyce. The Arizona / Sonora border region can be thought of as a microcosm where multiple global issues—including settler colonial dispossession, economic globalization, transnational migration, and the militarization of nation-state borders—come together and concentrate, shaping conditions of everyday life for communities on both sides of the line. At the same time, this region is also characterized by important living legacies of grassroots organizing, mutual aid and resistance to cultural and economic apartheid, the state-sanctioned violation of human rights, and a host of associated measures of violence and inequality. My Arizona Lecture Series (University of Arizona) | More information and Zoom registration »
REMINDER: Dec. 10 In-Person Event (Tonto National Monument, Roosevelt AZ): Luminary Walk
Hike the Lower Cliff Dwelling Trail with glimmering luminaries to light your way. The trail will close to uphill hiking at 8:00 p.m. Bring water, a flashlight or headlamp, warm clothing, and closed-toed shoes. This event is free and open to the public. Tonto National Monument | Learn more »
REMINDER: Dec. 14 Webinar: “It Shows My Way”: Roads, Religion, and Power in the Chaco World
With Rob Weiner. Weiner’s project bridges archaeology, cultural anthropology, cognitive science, and religious studies to investigate the role of monumental roads associated with Chaco Canyon in the U.S. Southwest. His research explores issues of monumentality, power, and religion, asking how roads—and specifically, the practices carried out along them—contributed to Chaco’s unequal, regionally-influential society. Scholar Colloquium (School for Advanced Research) | More information and registration »
Dec. 14 Webinar: Understanding Hopi Winter Traditions
With Micah Loma’omvaya. He will highlight winter Katsina ceremonies in this illustrated talk. Examples of katsina dolls from ASM’s collections will also be shown. Micah Loma’omvaya is Hopi, a member of the Bear Clan, from Songoopavi Village on Second Mesa. He holds a BA in anthropology from the University of Arizona and for more than 25 years has worked for and on behalf of the Hopi people, advocating for the responsible stewardship of their precious natural and cultural resources. Arizona State Museum | Zoom registration »
REMINDER: Dec. 15 Webinar: Tracking the First Americans across the White Sands
With Vance Holliday. The White Sands footprints discovery provides convincing evidence that humans were in the US Southwest during the last Ice Age between 23,000 and 21,000 years ago, which means they likely were here before the last Ice Age covered essentially all of Canada 25,000+ years ago. Third Thursday Food for Thought series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | More information and Zoom registration »
Dec. 19 Webinar: High Places in the Painted Desert
With Maxwell Forton. Petrified Forest National Park, located a few hours east of Flagstaff, is world renowned for its deposits of Triassic-era petrified wood. This landscape also contains a rich cultural history, with over 10,000 years of human habitation and use preserved in over 1,200 documented archaeological sites. The majority of these sites are attributed to Ancestral Pueblo communities who dwelt in the Petrified Forest region for centuries, farming the landscape and creating one of the highest concentrations of petroglyphs found in the American Southwest. Forton’s research examines two sites that suggest differing forms of social power performed in the Petrified Forest landscape. 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
San Diego Archaeological 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.