I often mention birds in these notes. I find birds compelling.
They are remarkably diverse. Often stunningly beautiful. Many species are visible in the daytime. And they are connected to the land.
I’ve lived in my current home for 40 years. Only in the past two years have Black-throated Sparrows been consistent residents. They are truly handsome little birds, and I am blessed with a closely bonded pair. They are so inseparable that I was stressed for several hours this past weekend when only one of them seemed to be around. I was worried that our neighborhood Cooper’s Hawk (remember my nemesis?) had feasted on the missing partner. Fortunately, they returned together a bit later in the afternoon.
Birds are also often sensitive indicators of the effects of climate change. The Audubon Society has a remarkable tool for displaying the predicted impacts of warming at different future temperature averages. Here’s where I found Audubon’s information on the Black-throated Sparrow (click on the “climate vulnerability” tab to use the tool that shows how birds’ ranges could change).
And although I’m highly motivated to respond to the climate crisis through conservation, behavioral changes, and investing in currently available technologies such as wind and solar, I was alarmed by an article in yesterday’s Washington Post. As a response to global warming, a pair of young entrepreneurs in California formed a business to inject sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere.
Peruse the article if you’re interested. I was somewhat relieved when the article cited the “Oxford Principles,” an initial set of guiding principles for the governance of geoengineering. The California entrepreneurs clearly fail to meet any of the five principles…but that doesn’t necessarily mean their business will fail.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image: Steve Berardi, via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Infrastructure Push Brings Archaeologists to the Fore
It has never exactly been boom times for the archaeology profession, but this past year comes close—thanks to Congress. … Archaeologists are on the leading edge of a wave of jobs that will result from $1.2 trillion in direct government spending from the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Two subsequent initiatives—$370 billion in incentives and grants for lower-emissions energy projects provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, and $53 billion in subsidies for semiconductor manufacturing funded by the CHIPS Act—are expected to leverage tens of billions more in private capital. Lydia DePillis in the New York Times | Read more »
African American Burial Grounds Preservation Act Becomes Law
[On December 23, 2022] U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that his bipartisan African American Burial Grounds Preservation Act, was included in the FY2023 Omnibus Spending Package. This legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. “As a nation, we have failed to preserve historic Black burial grounds around the country. That’s why we’ve worked with the community, and with civil rights, veterans, and historic preservation groups to introduce bipartisan legislation to preserve these hallowed grounds,” said Brown. “Cemeteries like Union Baptist are important historical sites, and they’re tools for education and understanding the American story. Now we will be able to preserve these sites before they are lost to the ravages of time or development.” Office of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (press release) | Read more »
Editors’ note: President Biden signed the omnibus package into law on December 23, 2022.
Butterfield Overland Will Be Recognized as National Historic Trail
With what is atypical quick action for Congress, a bill designating the Butterfield Overland Trail as a National Historic Trail was approved Thursday (Dec. 22) by the U.S. House of Representatives just one day after approval in the U.S. Senate. The bill awaits President Joe Biden’s signature. … The route, operated from 1858–1861 by the Butterfield Overland Mail Company and also known as the Butterfield Stage, was used to transport U.S. mail and passengers between St. Louis, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee; and San Francisco, California, serving as the route of the longest stagecoach operation in history. It became known as the “ox-bow route” due to its curved path comprised of approximately 3,553 miles of trail routes in eight states: Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Talk Business & Politics | Read more »
Editors’ note: Along with the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, the Butterfield Trail runs through the Great Bend of the Gila region of southern Arizona. Archaeology Southwest is part of a coalition seeking stronger permanent protections for the culturally and ecologically rich public lands of the Great Bend.
New Law Creates Formal System for National Heritage Areas
[On December 22, 2022] members of Congress crossed the aisle to prioritize and pass the National Heritage Area Act, creating a formal system for America’s national heritage areas and designating seven new ones to help communities protect priceless, diverse American history across the country. NPCA, leaders in Congress, and park advocates have worked tirelessly for years to protect and enhance national heritage areas, calling for much-needed uniformity to the way our national heritage areas are managed and assessed. … “Across the country, communities are working to protect patches of America’s diverse history from being altered or lost forever. In the nick of time, Congress came together in a bipartisan fashion to give these communities the leg up they deserve. Establishing a new system for National Heritage Areas, including the brand-new Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area, will help breathe new life into the historic preservation movement in America,” said Alan Spears, Senior Director for Cultural Resources for National Parks Conservation. National Parks Conservation Association (press release) | Read more »
Continuing Coverage: Amicus Briefs Filed on Behalf of Oak Flat
A diverse coalition of religious groups, native tribes and legal experts filed half a dozen friend-of-the-court briefs yesterday in Apache Stronghold v. United States, asking a federal appeals court to protect Oak Flat, the spiritual lifeblood and sacred site of the Apache people in Arizona. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently agreed to take a closer look at the case in March 2023. If the court doesn’t intervene, the government will give this historically protected land to a mining company that will swallow the site in a massive crater, ending Apache religious practices forever. “The diverse voices calling for protection of Oak Flat remind us that the government’s threat to destroy Oak Flat is a threat to destroy religious freedom for people of all faiths,” said Dr. Wendsler Nosie, Sr. of Apache Stronghold. “We hope these voices will help the court understand that Oak Flat deserves no less protection than the many historical churches and other religious landmarks the government protects from coast to coast.” Apache Stronghold (press release) | Read more »
Tribes Oppose Lithium Mine on Sacred Lands
The fate of the largest planned lithium mine in the United States is now in the hands of a federal judge who hopes to issue a ruling in a long-running legal battle in the next two months. The proposed mine on Thacker Pass, a remote slice of federal land near Nevada’s border with Oregon, is seen as key toward boosting domestic electric vehicle production. But a group of West Coast Native American tribes considers the land sacred and are suing to stop it. … Peehee Mu’huh is the Paiute word for the Thacker Pass area. Tribes including the Burns Paiute of Oregon, the Winnemucca Indian Colony and the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony consider the land sacred. Elders say it was the site of an ancient massacre. Kirk Siegler for NPR | Read more »
Video: AHS Vault Dive
Join AHS Statewide Collections Manager Nathan Samoriski on an adventure through the Arizona Heritage Center’s Collections Vault. What makes an object valuable to history and how is it saved? In this short video, Nathan explores interesting items in the AHS collection, explaining the science and reasoning behind the care and organization of different artifacts. Experience the process of how the Arizona Historical Society receives, stewards, and celebrates the material history of Arizona, from first donation all the way to public exhibition. Arizona Historical Society | Watch now »
Job Opportunity: Volunteer Coordinator (Escalante and Kanab UT)
In partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Park Service, Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) will remediate, mitigate, and prevent visitor-caused impacts in and around GSENM through our Stewardship and Sustainable Visitation program. This program uses three strategies: hands-on stewardship volunteer projects to remediate visitor-impacted sites, on-the-ground visitor education to encourage sustainable visitation practices, and educational outreach through social media and other online platforms. With these partners and strategies, we can help sustain the health of the GSENM landscape and its natural and cultural resources, the wellbeing of resident communities, and the economic benefits to Garfield County. The Volunteer Coordinator reports to the Stewardship Programs Manager and will be the primary field leader for stewardship-based volunteer projects and for the Trail Ambassador Program for Grand Staircase Escalante Partners and will assist with other projects as needed. Grand Staircase Escalante Partners | Learn more »
Fellowship Opportunity: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (ORPI) is seeking one postdoctoral fellow to contribute to research, interpretation, outreach, and educational and digital programming initiatives focused on the complex history of human movement across the national park. Situated on the southern border with Mexico, ORPI has a long history with human migration across the desert. The National Park Service (NPS) has yet to research and synthesize how the history of human movement within the park intersects with contemporary life in the region. This synthesis is necessary for interpreting this story to the public. A scholarly examination of what is happening today, which includes the context of the history of human migrations across these lands, is needed. This fellowship will seek to bring together the many data sources and narrative threads of this complex history and situate it within the historical framework of immigration and movement in the American West. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and American Conservation Experience | Learn more »
January Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
Jan. 16, Woody Aguilar, Anthropology in the Pueblo Southwest: How a Native Can Influence the Field; Jan. 23, Sherry Nelson, What Makes Us Human? Insights from the Fossil Record; Jan. 20, Mike S. Vigil, Evolution of Mexican Cartels. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
TODAY, Jan. 11 In-Person Event (Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coolidge AZ): Projects of the Indigenous Arizona Conservation Corps
1:00 p.m. MST. With Massai Leon. Leon started in the conservation world in 2019 by working with American Conservation Experience and has since been involved with Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC) and was one of the first interns with the Indian Youth Service Corps here at Casa Grande Ruins. He currently works for Arizona Conservation Corps as a program coordinator and recruitment technician. Being a Chiricahua Apache, he is involved in his community by working with and coordinating the Indigenous crews with Arizona Conservation Corps and continuing his family’s culture and traditions. Massai will speak about the indigenous AZCC crews, the projects they are doing, and how they are always looking for people to join the program. He will also talk about AZCC’s relationship with the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument and the projects they have worked on here. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument | Learn more »
REMINDER: TODAY, Jan. 11 In-Person (Durango CO) and Online Event: Unique Artifacts of the Gallina Culture
With Gretchen Gürtler. The Gallina Culture of North Central New Mexico was a major focus of the Ghost Ranch Anthropology Museum’s founder, Dr. Florence Hawley Ellis. Over the past 50 years, Ghost Ranch students and staff have discovered many artifacts that are unique to the Gallina Culture. For this presentation, Gretchen will discuss not only unique artifacts held in trust at the Florence Hawley Ellis Museum of Anthropology, but also details of the sites where this culture existed. Gretchen is the director of the Florence Hawley Ellis Museum of Anthropology and the Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology at Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center in Abiquiu, New Mexico. San Juan Basin Archaeological Society | Learn more »
REMINDER: TODAY, Jan. 11 In-Person (Silver City NM) and Online Event: Hidden World of the Mimbres
With Danielle Romero. Romero will share glimpses into the daily life of the Mimbres by examining their pottery in a hybrid live/online program moderated by Stephen Fox. In person: 4:00 p.m. MST, Western New Mexico University (WNMU) Museum (Fleming Hall), 1000 W. College Ave., Silver City. WNMU Museum | Learn more and register now (free) »
REMINDER: Jan. 12 Webinar: Documenting Landscapes of Protest
With Dr. Roneva Keel. Dr. Keel recently completed a study for the National Park Service (NPS) documenting the past and present of protest on the National Mall and other nearby parks. Her study explores how First Amendment activities in the National Capital Region have transformed the way citizens engage with the federal government. It also examines the role the National Park Service, as a steward of these lands, has played in shaping democracy in the 20th and 21st centuries. Living Landscape Observer | Learn more and register now (free) »
REMINDER: Jan. 12 In-Person Event (Albuquerque NM): The History and Use of Chocolate in Chaco Canyon and Beyond
With Patricia Crown. The latest study shows domestication of cacao around 5000 years ago in South America, with spreading use from there into Mesoamerica and eventually the U.S. Southwest/Mexican Northwest. Methods of preparation and consumption varied, but cacao drinks and the associated paraphernalia provide important evidence for long-distance movement of food. Advance registration (free) required. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science | Learn more »
Jan. 18 In-Person Event (Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coolidge AZ): “Wildfires, monsoons, and hurricanes, oh my!”
With Christopher Combel. Climate change represents a significant challenge to resource managers. Wildfires, monsoons, and hurricanes (oh my!) all threaten and impact cultural resources in different ways. Join CAGR archeologist Christopher Combel as he discusses the ways he has seen climate change impact sites that he has managed and some of the strategies that land managers are trying to mitigate the impacts of climate change on cultural resources in the National Park Service. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument | Learn more »
Jan. 19 Webinar: Was Fremont a Southwestern Culture or a Great Basin Copycat?
With Dr. Katie Richards. Archaeologists have debated how to interpret the Fremont region to the north of the US Southwest because Fremont peoples showed connections to but isolation from their Puebloan neighbors. Dr. Richards argues Fremont is best understood as a northern periphery of the Southwest. Third Thursday Food for Thought series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | Learn more and register (free) »
Feb. 8 In-Person Event (Cave Creek AZ): Along the California Trail
With Jay Craváth. An ancient set of Indigenous paths and the natural flow of the Gila River created a major artery for travel through pioneer Arizona. The Gila provided a ready route for the earliest traders. 7:30 p.m., Good Shepherd of the Hills Fellowship Hall, 6502 E. Cave Creek Rd. Desert Foothills Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society and Arizona Humanities | Email contact »
Feb. 17 Webinar: 100 Years-Plus of Prescott Culture Archaeology
With Andrew Christenson. He reviews archaeological research on post-1100 sites in the Prescott area of west-central Arizona and discusses collections from Fitzmaurice Pueblo, where discoveries on room floors tell much about life there before its residents purposely closed the village upon leaving. Third Thursday Food for Thought series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | Learn more and register (free) »
February In-Person (AZ) and Online Presentations on Southwestern Rock Imagery
Archaeologist Allen Dart presents “Set in Stone but Not in Meaning: Southwestern Indian Rock Art” at 1:00 p.m. February 8 (free, Fountain Hills Community Center, 13001 N La Montana Dr, Fountain Hills AZ; email Mary Burritt at email@example.com); at 12:00 p.m. February 9 (free, The Palace, 116 N Railroad Ave, Willcox AZ; email Gary Clement at firstname.lastname@example.org); and again at 10:00 a.m. MST February 11 ($5, online, Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation; email Sandy Reith, Sandy.Reith@pima.gov). His talk illustrates southwestern petroglyphs and pictographs and discusses their interpretations. Arizona Humanities | Learn more »
Please send us notice of upcoming webinars and Zoom lectures, tours and workshops, and anything else you’d like to share with the Friends.