Collaborative communities. Think for a bit. Have you ever been part of one?
Recently, I’ve had multiple experiences that have brought home to me the power of collaborative communities.
Collaboratives aren’t based on the gathering of like-thinking followers. They consist of people who prioritize mutual respect. Because they respect one another, they are willing to listen carefully to two or more points of view.
Then they seek new ways of seeing and ways to find common ground—what is often referred to as “the radical middle.”
Fortunately, I have experienced it in our work on the San Pedro River—in Cascabel, a small community where a strong sense of place has developed over decades. They also embrace a Quaker philosophy that calls for prioritizing open discussion and community consensus.
I’ve experienced it in the Altar Valley southwest of Tucson. There, too, it required decades to get to a place where very diverse people can sit down and listen to one another—and even enjoy one another.
As I have noted previously, we are celebrating and learning from collaborative approaches to community-based archaeology in our current Archaeology Café season. It has been one of our very best series, in my humble opinion. And I have learned a great deal.
In this world where we routinely endure the insanity of incessant conflict, it is important to celebrate collaboration.
I’ll keep sharing other inspiring examples I come across.
Until next week,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image: Luca Galuzzi (CC BY-SA 2.5), via Wikimedia Commons
Voices of the Grand Canyon
Before the Grand Canyon was a national park, it was the ancestral homeland of Native peoples. Hear voices of the Grand Canyon speak. Experience the Grand Canyon alongside Jim Enote (Zuni), Nikki Cooley (Diné), Leigh Kuwanwisiwma (Hopi), Coleen Kaska, (Havasupai), and Loretta Jackson-Kelly (Hualapai) as they share what the Grand Canyon means to them and what they know in their hearts to be true. Directed by Deidra Peaches, this short documentary film was produced in collaboration with the Intertribal Centennial Conversations Group, which works to place Native voices at the forefront of education, stewardship, and economic opportunities in Grand Canyon National Park. Grand Canyon Trust | Watch now (12 minutes) »
Continuing Coverage: A Major Shift in Public Lands Management
“The history of federal public lands cannot be separated from the history of tribes,” said Monte Mills, a law professor and director of the Native American Law Center at the Washington University School of Law. He wrote a 2020 white paper on tribal co-management possibilities. “So one core starting point for redefining this relationship is the historic and continuing connections tribes have with these landscapes,” said Mills. “To have tribal folks weighing in on decisions on how lands should be managed benefits landscapes and benefits all of us.” Jennifer Bendery in HuffPost | Read more »
America’s Public Lands Explained
At the Department of the Interior, we work every day to protect our nation’s special places so current and future generations can experience our natural and cultural treasures for years to come. With more than 400 national parks, 560 national wildlife refuges and nearly 250 million acres of other public lands managed by Interior, there’s at least one public land near you. What’s the difference between a national park and national monument? What about national wildlife refuges, national historic sites or national conservation areas? US Department of Interior | Read more »
2023 Conservation in the West Poll and Report Out Now
Colorado College’s 13th annual State of the Rockies Project Conservation in the West Poll released today shows strong support for conservation policies among Westerners even as concerns around gas prices, cost of living, drought and water shortages remain high. The poll, which surveyed the views of voters in eight Mountain West states (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming), found support in the 70 to 90 percent range for conservation goals like protecting wildlife habitats and migration routes, ensuring healthier forests, preventing light pollution that blocks out the stars, and safeguarding drinking water. Colorado College | Learn more »
Tribal Climate Action Plan Speaks to Deep History and the Power of Collaboration
The CSKT [Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes] Climate Change Strategic Plan, and how it came together, provides a model of how community engagement, making it as easy as possible for people to participate, and respect for diverse perspectives and experiences can help any city grapple with the changes wrought by a warming world. Much of the work that led to the plan fell to Mike Durglo, a CSKT member who has spent three decades in conservation and leads the tribes’ climate action efforts. He decided early on to have tribal residents drive the decision-making process, but he also opened it up to anyone with a stake in the outcome. This was key, because arriving at consensus required thoughtful consideration of, and respect for, the perspectives of the tribes, surrounding communities, the U.S. Forest Service, and others. … Eight tribal elders were invited to share recollections of how the land has changed, and their insights helped shape mitigation projects. Carly Graf in Next City (originally published in Grist) | Read more »
Gila River Indian Community’s State-of-the-Art Irrigation System Brings the Past into the Future
What the Desert Land Act  and the settlers ignored was the question of whom the water belonged to and had long sustained. Western water law in Arizona held that those who first used water for beneficial ends owned permanent rights to it, a principle called “the doctrine of prior appropriation” or “first in time, first in right.” While the Pima [Akimel O’Odham] and Huhugam had irrigated the Gila for centuries—a claim known in water law as “time immemorial”—federal water law required that claims be registered with the General Land Office in Arizona. The Pima, assuming their “prior use” rights would be protected, never filed a claim. After centuries, how could anyone dispute their tribal birthright? Jim Robbins in Smithsonian Magazine | Read more »
Editors’ note: Relatedly, read Danielle Prokop’s article in SourceNM on how the Middle Rio Grande Pueblos are working to preserve and regain their rights to the Rio Grande here »
Continuing Coverage: Progress in Returning Human Remains and Belongings Recovered in FBI Seizure
Eight years ago, the FBI made the largest seizure of stolen artifacts and Native American human remains in its history from an amateur archaeologist in Indiana. Now, with the majority of ancestors and artifacts returned to their respective nations, tribal leaders and experts on the case say the bureau has created a model for timely yet thorough repatriation. Jenna Kunze for Native News Online | Read more »
Gila Cliff Dwellings Welcomes New Superintendent
National Park Service (NPS) Acting Regional Director Lisa Carrico announced the selection of Fermin Salas as superintendent of Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. Salas will begin his new assignment at the park on February 27. He has worked for the National Park Service for over 40 years, most recently as the division manager of interpretation and visitor services at Pipe Spring National Monument. “I am pleased to welcome Fermin into the superintendent role at Gila Cliff Dwellings,” said Carrico. “He has a varied and extensive background in community outreach, park operations and law enforcement and will be a great fit to lead the team at the park.” … “I am excited and honored to be joining the Gila Cliff Dwellings team,” said Salas. “I look forward to working at this culturally rich site and meeting and collaborating with the community, partners and Tribes.” National Park Service (press release) | Read more »
In Memoriam: Mollie Toll (1949–2023)
When Mollie Toll wasn’t trying to uncover the mysteries of New Mexico’s prehistoric past, she was helping students understand life concepts through science. As an ethnobotanist and archaeobotanist, she identified plant remains from archaeological sites in the Southwest, and as a teacher, she tried to inspire youth to understanding. Claudia L. Silva in the Santa Fe New Mexican | Read more »
In Memoriam: Ernestene ‘Dee Dee’ Green (1939–2023)
Dee Dee Green passed away in Helena, MT, on February 10, 2023. Dee Dee had an extensive career in archaeology that spanned Thailand, Central America, and here in the SW. More recently she was the president of the Friends of the Hubbard Museum of the American West, active within the Jornada Research Institute, and much more. Dee Dee received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Arizona in ~1964 and later her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. The title of her dissertation was “The archaeology of Navajuelal, Tikal, Guatemala and a test of interpretive method.” Cyler Conrad on the NM-ARCH-L listserv
Podcast: Tribal Collaboration at Archaeology Southwest
Host Jessica Yaquinto welcomes Ashleigh Thompson back to the show. You may remember Ashleigh from Heritage Voices Episode 21 (Food Sovereignty and Natives Outdoors). Today we continue her journey since finishing her Masters and focus on her work as the Director of Archaeology Southwest’s Tribal Collaboration Initiative. We especially dive into the Save History project focused on ending the theft and destruction of archaeological resources on Tribal and public land. This episode is packed with great advice for anyone wanting to do collaborative work with Tribes and other descendant communities. Heritage Voices | Listen now »
Publication Announcement: Studying the Persistence of Settlements
Crawford, K., Huster, A., Peeples, M., Gauthier, N., Smith, M., Lobo, J., . . . Lawrence, D. (2023). A systematic approach for studying the persistence of settlements in the past. Antiquity, 97(391), 213–230. Read now (open access) »
February and March Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
Feb. 27, Rob Weiner and Taft Blackhorse Jr., Roads and Power in the Chaco World; March 6, Shawna Becenti, Kevin Belin, Yilnazbah Rosie Wauneka, Devin Lansing, Nicole Smith, and Landon Succo, Yideeską́ą́góó Naat’áanii – Leaders Now and Into the Future; March 13, Dr. Kurt Kempter, Diablo Canyon Maar Volcano: A Volcano Before the Canyon; March 20, Dr. Tom Dillehay, The Peopling of South America; March 27, Nicolasa Chavez, Semana Santa Rituals & Ceremonies. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
REMINDER: Feb. 23 Online Event: Horses and Humans in the Early Historic North American West
With Emily Jones. In the centuries following Spanish colonization of the Americas, domestic horses revolutionized the world of the North American West, giving rise to the great horse cultures of the plains and deserts and forming the backbone of economically, politically, and militarily dominant Indigenous empires during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. However, how this process unfolded remains contested, with academics and Indigenous researchers often holding very different perspectives. In this webinar, Dr. Jones will discuss new results from the Horses and Human Societies in the North American West project, an initiative to integrate data from archaeological horse remains (radiocarbon dating, ancient DNA, stable isotopes, and ZooMS) with historical narratives and Indigenous knowledge to develop an interpretative framework for the dispersal of domestic horses across North America. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
REMINDER: March 2 Online Event: Local Partnership, Regional Impact: Survey and Site Documentation in Cortez Cultural Center’s Hawkins Preserve
With Kellam Throgmorton. With the assistance of Archaeology Research Program participants, Crow Canyon recently completed 22 acres of survey in the Hawkins Preserve south of Cortez. This talk provides a summary of prior investigations at Hawkins and preliminary results from Crow Canyon’s recent work. Based on the 22 acres surveyed to date (about one sixth of the total preserve), a surprising range of site types are present reflecting use of the locale by Pueblo, Ute, Navajo, and Euro-American peoples. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
March 4–5 In-Person Event (Tonto National Monument, Roosevelt AZ): Heritage Days
Celebrate Heritage Days with Tonto National Monument in recognition of Arizona Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month on March 4 and 5 from 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. The Lower Cliff Dwelling will be open for self-guided hikes from 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. with rangers available to answer questions. Visitors will also have the opportunity to hike to the entrance of the Upper Cliff Dwelling from 9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Please note no entrance will be allowed into the Upper Cliff Dwelling but rangers will be available to give programs about the site. Tonto National Monument | Learn more »
REMINDER: March 7 Online Event: Collaborative Archaeology and the ‘Becoming Hopi’ Project
With Stewart Koyiyumptewa and Wes Bernardini. For nearly two decades, Hopi tribal members and external scholars have collaborated on a monumental history of the Hopi Mesas. The presenters will discuss the importance of collaboration and how tribal perspectives have changed our understanding of Hopi history. Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more and register (free) »
March 7 In-Person Event (Coolidge AZ): Southwestern Rock Calendars and Ancient Time Pieces
With Allen Dart. Mr. Dart will discuss archaeological evidence of ancient southwestern astronomy and calendrical reckoning in the “Great House” at Arizona’s Casa Grande Ruins, in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, at the Picture Rocks petroglyphs site near Tucson, and other places, and will interpret how these discoveries may have related to ancient Native American rituals. Coolidge Public Library, 160 W. Central Ave., 2:00 p.m. More information: 520-723-6030 or email@example.com.
March 8 In-Person (Durango CO) and Online Event: Creating Color in the Chaco World
With Kelsey E. Hanson. Hanson will discuss “Creating Color in the Chaco World: Spatial Histories of Paint Production at Pueblo Bonito.” Her research considers how specialized knowledge is cultivated and circulated in communities and is encoded in material culture. San Juan Basin Archaeological Society | Learn more »
Aug. 6–12 In-Person Workshop (Cortez CO): Pueblo Belt Weaving Workshop
With Austin Coochyamptewa, Christopher Lewis, and Ben Bellorado. Southwest weaving is the culmination of many generations of tradition and innovation that continues to this day. Guided by textile experts, create your own Pueblo-style weaving on a box frame belt loom. Along the way, examine textiles as reflections of human identity and explore the unique cultural and archaeological contexts of weaving traditions, techniques, technologies, and styles. $3,300 tuition/registration fee. Crow Canyon 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. Thanks!