When Archaeology Southwest takes on a conservation easement, we commit to caring for it “in perpetuity.” That’s clearly a very long time. Regularly thinking about the distant future is part of why I keep coming back to my deep concern over the climate crisis.
I just finished The Climate Book by Greta Thunberg, which I recommended to all of you two weeks ago. Before moving on to my next book, I quickly revisited Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation. I needed a comparison.
These books cover much of the same ground. I still recommend them both. But I favor the tone and optimism of Regeneration. For example, here’s a quote from author Paul Hawken:
“Climate change may leave people feeling as if they have to make a choice between ‘saving the planet’ and their own happiness, well-being, and prosperity. Not at all… Planetary regeneration creates livelihoods—occupations that bring life to people and people to life, work that links us to one another’s wellbeing.”
Recently, I met Cara and Jessy, a Tucson couple who deeply embody that statement. They are two young entrepreneurs who believe that their values, their lifestyle, and their new business must all work together to change the world. They live in Tucson and have formed a small business that they hope to grow—Company Eco.
Their products are eco-friendly. Their website is a model of relevant information and transparency. They personally evaluate the quality of each product they offer and they assess the company that produces those products. Their business model will reward their staff for what they do to build the company, not hoard the benefits to the owners.
They offer things people need, not the “infinite stuff” that clutters people’s lives and homes. I would use them more, but my needs are shrinking—I am enjoying a brand-new organic hemp shower curtain, though! My old one with a plastic liner needed replacing.
Both Thunberg and Hawkins call for the rapid growth of a global social movement to address climate change. These two local entrepreneurs demonstrate one of the ways this social movement is growing. Take a closer look at Cara and Jessy’s young company, and share the link to Company Eco if you are moved to do so.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
P.S. Yesterday afternoon, President Biden helped address climate concerns and add protections to public lands in the West when he established Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in southern Nevada and Castner Range National Monument near El Paso, Texas. Thanks, POTUS and Secretary Haaland!
Banner image: Avi Kwa Ame approach, Stan Shebs (CC BY-SA 2.5)
Designated! Avi Kwa Ame and Castner Range National Monuments
President Biden on Tuesday designated two new national monuments, putting nearly 514,000 acres off-limits to development as part of his pledge to protect 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030. The president signed proclamations to protect Castner Range, a former military training and testing site in El Paso, and more than 500,000 acres around Avi Kwa Ame (ah-VEE-kwah-may), a sacred tribal site in southern Nevada, according to the White House. Maxine Joselow and Timothy Puko for the Washington Post | Read more »
The designation, which includes provisions for tribal co-stewardship, will protect more than 500,000 acres of desert landscape in southern Nevada that is currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management, including Avi Kwa Ame, a granite mountain that is the origin place for 10 Yuman-speaking tribes. … “Since the beginning of the Biden and Harris administration, the president has demonstrated the commitment to respect tribal nations and our nation-to-nation relationship,” said Fort Mojave Tribal Chairman Tim Williams at the designation ceremony in D.C. “Under his leadership we have a seat at the table.” Anna V. Smith for High Country News | Read more »
Commentary: Advocating for Archaeology’s New Purpose
As archaeologists committed to social and racial justice, we advocate for a fundamental shift in archaeology’s purpose. Inspired by the use of archaeological methods in locating Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc remains, we believe archaeologists can help communities regain places, ancestors, and belongings; reveal historical truths; and contribute to cultural revival and healing. We call these acts “archaeological reclamation.” This work does more than redress the discipline’s racist past. By exposing hard truths, archaeological reclamation can play a key role in broader social justice movements that demand a more just and equitable future. Lindsay M. Montgomery, Anna S. Agbe-Davies, Craig Cipolla, Stephen Mrozowski, Nate Acebo, Stacey Camp, Wade Campbell, Edward Gonzalez Tennant, Alexandra Jones, Carol McDavid, Alicia Odewale, Emily Van Alst, and William A. White in SAPIENS | Read more »
Archaeology Café Welcomes Dr. Kisha Supernant on April 4
Supernant will discuss “Archaeologies that Matter: Heart-centered Practice, Indigenous Knowledge, and Restorative Justice in Canada.” Archaeology Café (Archaeology Southwest) | Learn more and register (free) »
Association on American Indian Affairs Educates Buyers: “Those are probably stolen belongings”
Since last June, there have been more than 70 auctions—both international and domestic—selling potentially sensitive Native American cultural items. The Association on American Indian Affairs is educating buyers to avoid the corrupt and potentially poor investments into what is likely stolen Indigenous art and cultural belongings. … The association’s definition of “potentially sensitive cultural items” includes ancestral remains, burial objects, and sacred and cultural patrimony, according to Association on American Indian Affairs chief executive and attorney Shannon O’Loughlin (Choctaw). For the upcoming auction, some of those artifacts include: A Navajo dew claw rattle, A Cherokee polychrome carved wood mask, a Northwest Coast horn spoon, and A Great Lakes beaded bandolier bag. The collection is affiliated with at least 53 tribal nations or regions, according to information listed in the catalog. Jenna Kunze for Native News Online | Read more »
Continuing Coverage: Repatriation of Belongings from Wounded Knee
The pace of restitutions has been slow, frustrating tribes that are awaiting the return of their plundered patrimony. But now, amid signs that more institutions are beginning to repatriate Native holdings, citizens of tribes like the Oglala Sioux find themselves confronting complicated questions about how to handle returns in ways that honor the dead and the past, and facilitate healing for the living. There is broad consensus that human remains should be buried. Many call for burying or burning other objects as well—especially funerary items—in accordance with spiritual practices. Others would like to see items preserved and displayed for educational purposes in museums run by tribes, or restored to the descendants of those they were taken from. Julia Jacobs and Kayla Gahagan for the New York Times | Read more »
All about Obsidian, with a View from Yellowstone’s Obsidian Cliff
Obsidian is among the most prized tool stones in the world, and this particular deposit, nearly 100 feet thick, is exceptional because of its continual use by Indigenous people since the last ice age. Over the last 11,500 years or so, the stone has been fashioned into deadly knives, razor-sharp spear points, darts for atlatls, or spear-throwers, and arrowheads. The cliff is “nationally significant because we had Native American groups from all over the country visiting it and collecting the stone and trading for it,” Dr. MacDonald said. For modern day researchers, the obsidian columns of Yellowstone have helped to reveal the travels and migration of people thousands of years ago. X-ray fluorescence technology has been used to identify the unique geochemical fingerprint of each separate deposit of obsidian, pinpointing the provenance of artifacts found elsewhere. Jim Robbins in the New York Times | Read more »
Continuing Coverage and Commentary: Route Threatens Nine Mile Canyon
Oil and gas exploration and production have long provided a very unstable “boom and bust” economy for Duchesne County, and they are trying to push the current “boom” as far as they can, to the point of destroying long-term assets for short-term gain. The Nine Mile Canyon Coalition, a grassroots organization of mostly local people who love and care for the canyon and its resources, is working to oppose the proposed highway (they have been called “rock huggers” because of their commitment), as is the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. I urge those who care about art, about culture, about Native American heritage, and about protecting our environment, to work with these and other organizations to oppose this wrong-headed greed-driven proposal. Kevin Jones in the Salt Lake Tribune | Read more »
Continuing Coverage: Fallout at New Mexico’s Department of Cultural Affairs
[Dr. Eric] Blinman’s firing has become a clarion call for all of DCA’s exiles—experts in their fields who say they resigned out of frustration, retired early or were terminated if they expressed views that ran counter to the cabinet secretary or other leadership. Writ large, the event sheds light on the high cost of churn. … Art historians, botanists, archivists, educators and leading archeologists like Blinman are among DCA’s 435 employees. Of the more than 20 current and former DCA staff, donors and board members interviewed by Searchlight, all described a culture of retaliation and micromanagement under the leadership of Garcia y Griego. Alicia Inez Guzmán for Searchlight New Mexico | Read more »
Audio: Ancient Beetle Necklaces
A new paper describes the importance of two pieces of jewelry found in Bears Ears National Monument…. rare necklaces made from beetles. These unusual objects offer a glimpse into the daily lives of Indigenous peoples who lived in the region more than two thousand years ago. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke about the necklaces with Kaibab National Forest archaeologist Michael Terlep. KNAU (NPR) | Listen or read now »
Blog: The Westside Canals
Archaeological work on the west side of the Santa Cruz River, to the north and south of West Congress Street, resulted in the documentation of the long history of water management in this area. What has been found? Homer Thiel provides answers. Field Journal (Desert Archaeology Inc.) | Read more »
Publication Announcement: Project 562
Matika Wilbur, Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America. Elliott Bay, April 2023. Learn more »
April Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
4/3, John Ware, Chaco: A View from Downstream; 4/10, Doug Crispin, Challenges for Our National Parks; 4/17 Rusty Greaves, 40 Years in the Field; 4/24, Ashley Lemke, Archaeology’s Research Frontier: Submerged Sites in North American Great Lakes. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
REMINDER: March 23 Online Event: Colorado Ute History and Colonial Land & Water Appropriation
With Amorina Lee-Martinez. The history of how Colorado’s rivers were allocated, dammed, and diverted is inextricable from the history of US conquest in Colorado. Amorina researched the history of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Dolores Project, which built McPhee Dam and diverts water from the Dolores watershed to the San Juan watershed for agricultural and municipal use. Importantly, the Dolores Project honors Ute Mountain Ute reserved water rights. The history of Ute people, Colorado conquest, and Dolores River management in southwest Colorado offer insights into the current dynamics of who does and does not benefit from the systems of watershed management in the Colorado River basin. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
REMINDER: March 25 & 26 In-Person Events (Wupatki National Monument, Flagstaff AZ): Sacred Scarlets
Come out to the Wupatki Visitor Center for a unique experience and presentation by Kelley Taylor of Sacred Scarlets, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Scarlet Macaws and studying their role in southwest archeology. Learn about the extensive, fascinating, and mysterious use and trade of these tropical parrots, known as Scarlet Macaws throughout the southwest by Ancestral Puebloan people, including those living at Wupatki Pueblo. The presentation will feature Sedona and Bonita, two captive-bred Scarlet Macaws, as educational animal ambassadors. Wupatki National Monument | Find out how to get there »
March 30 Online Event: Return to Clay
With Ron Martinez Looking Elk. Join this international, award-winning artist and community activist as he makes his exquisite return to the process of Pueblo pottery creation. The first portion of this webinar will feature a memorable short film highlighting his pottery, from conception to birth, while he discusses the connection of his identity and journey as a Pueblo artist. Filled with beautiful footage of this miraculous process and compelling discussions around culture, we accompany Ron as he reflects on his past expeditions and gently returns to a familiar space. The second half of this webinar allows you to engage with Ron directly through an interactive question-and-answer session with the audience. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
April 6 Online Event: Crow Canyon Lithic Analysis
With Fumi Arakawa. This presentation demonstrates the development of Crow Canyon Archaeological Center’s lithic analysis process. Since the establishment of Crow Canyon in 1983, the majority of lithic assemblages originated from agricultural villages dating from the Basketmaker III to Pueblo III periods. Unlike lithic studies in hunting and gathering societies, lithic assemblages, particularly debitage, derived from sedentary societies of the American Southwest are often described as “crude and clumsy” by archaeologists in general. To overcome the adverse connotation, Crow Canyon researchers focused on raw material identification and sourcing studies as a platform for their lithic analysis. By developing substantial lithological and sourcing data, the Center’s researchers are able to tackle topics of a sociopolitical organization from A.D. 600 to 1280 using lithic data in conjunction with pottery, tree-ring, and faunal data. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
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