The month of May has been unusually kind to us Sonoran Desert dwellers. Here in Tucson, we actually broke the 100-degree mark in late April. But we haven’t returned there throughout May. Even on the “warmer” days, the evenings cool off, meaning we wake up to wonderful early morning temperatures. I remember some very brutal months of May in the past, so I’m especially grateful for this year’s May.
And since my celebration of our magnificent palo verde bloom a few weeks ago, those yellow flowers have fallen to the ground and green seed pods are forming in their place.
The saguaros are still celebrating through their early summer ritual. Although I see quite a few beautiful white flowers, most saguaro arms already have well-developed arrays of fruits. They, too, are green. Ultimately, they will burst open and display their ripe, deep-red flesh.
Regular readers know how much I appreciate and recommend Emergence Magazine—and today, I want to share their publication of a photo essay by Bear Guerra. Whereas I focus on color in the desert, he reveals the saguaros’ magnificence in stunning black-and-white images.
I urge you to spend some time with all the saguaro articles featured by Emergence Magazine. At the end of Guerra’s essay is a piece by Boyce Upholt. It opens: “The O’odham peoples of the Sonoran Desert have long revered the saguaro cactus as a being with personhood.” We have linked to that article in the past, but it still resonates. It discusses the impacts of the border wall on the Sonoran Desert and explores the legal concept of the rights of nature.
Finally, Upholt’s article takes you to an article by Lorraine Eiler titled “Rights of Nature at the Border,” which focuses on Hia-Ced O’odham sacred place Quitobaquito.
I hope you enjoy these works as much as I have. We’re taking next week off, so our next edition will hit your inbox on June 14.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Position Announcement: Preservation Archaeologist (Northern New Mexico)
Archaeology Southwest is looking for a Preservation Archaeologist in support of our New Mexico program. They will report to the New Mexico Program Director (Paul F. Reed). The New Mexico program engages multiple partners, non-governmental entities, and Tribes, as well as Federal, State, and local elected and appointed officials. Duties will include work on a variety of National Park Service–CESU (Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Units) projects in New Mexico and across the region; participation in the decade-long Protecting Greater Chaco Landscape advocacy initiative; and assistance with other Tribal outreach, research, preservation, and advocacy endeavors. Archaeology Southwest | Learn more »
Maxwell Museum Volunteers Ensure Proper Care of Legacy Collections
For the past 20 years, Wednesday mornings have been a bustle of activity in a very unlikely spot: the basement of the Hibben Center for Archaeology. Thanks to a special group of volunteers who dutifully gather here every week, archaeological collections held by the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology are being preserved for future generations–and making a tremendous difference in ongoing research on the Southwest. … “The volunteers contribute immeasurably to the Museum’s efforts to document and rehouse thousands of boxes of uncatalogued legacy archaeological collections from nearly a century of UNM archaeological projects,” said Kari Schleher, curator of archaeology. “In so doing, they are rescuing major archaeological collections from decades of neglect, ensuring their accessibility into the future, and restoring their potential for research and teaching.” UNM Newsroom | Read more »
Shout out to our own Robinson Collection Project volunteer team! »
Commentary and Analysis: Utah’s Latest Attack on the Antiquities Act
Last August, the state filed a civil complaint aimed at diminishing the national monuments yet again—and, ultimately, doing much more: drastically undermining the Antiquities Act, making future landscape-level designations impossible. The case gained momentum this spring, as the defendants and plaintiffs tossed out a flurry of motions to dismiss, responses and briefs, revealing their legal cards. I found myself especially intrigued by the plaintiffs’ arguments and the logic—or lack thereof—behind them. Why does Utah want to erase protections from this land? And what would a Utah-acceptable national monument look like, anyway? Jonathan Thompson for High Country News | Read more »
Photo Essay: Behind the Scenes at Bryce Canyon National Park
Spring and summer months are particularly packed at the hundreds of sites managed by the National Park Service. To prepare for peak season at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah—essentially, an island of crimson rock spires perched at about 8,000 feet—rangers begin restoring trails and training staff before the snows even melt. Erin Schaff, Linda Qiu, Marisa Schwartz Taylor, and Sean Catangui in the New York Times | Learn more »
Video: HECHO’s HCLC Members Visit the Great Bend of the Gila
The Great of the Gila is a place of tremendous natural beauty. A place where people can still see imprints of a rich past. But many people are unaware of the threats this cultural and biodiverse landscape faces. HECHO Online | Watch now »
Blog: My Genízaro Roots
As it turns out, my family line, originating with the Spanish colonists, spent over 150 years in Abiquiu and surrounding areas in Rio Arriba County. I learned the term Genízaro, as well as how to pronounce it—heˈni zaɾo. Abiquiu is defined as a Genízaro village. Genízaros include individuals from many Native American Tribes enslaved by Spanish colonists or by other Tribes during raids and skirmishes. Istara Freedom for the Preservation Archaeology blog (Archaeology Southwest) | Read more »
Blog: Get to Know the Cedar Mesa Perishables Project
Building upon the foundation laid by the Wetherill-Grand Gulch Project, archaeologist and textiles specialist, Laurie Webster, established the Cedar Mesa Perishables Project in 2011. Her initial goal was to document the individual perishable artifacts in these collections, housed at six museums across the country. Over the years, the team quickly grew in numbers and diversity of experience. … Part of what makes the Cedar Mesa Perishables Project so special is the precedent the team has set for Indigenous engagement and leadership in both archaeology and historic preservation. Recognizing that Indigenous and Western-trained scholars bring different priorities and world views to their work, the project has infused Western archaeological interpretations with Indigenous Knowledge and ethical perspectives. Bears Ears Partnership | Read more »
Publication Announcement: Brave the Wild River
In a rural town along the San Juan River in southeastern Utah, an esteemed botanist and local innkeeper got to talking in the summer of 1937. Together, the pair hatched a plan—to run the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. A journey like theirs had never before been attempted. The University of Michigan botanist, Elzada Clover, intended to make the first-ever botanical survey of the river and its environs. The innkeeper, Norman Nevills, wanted to commercialize trips down the Colorado River (despite never having run the river himself). The next summer Clover and Nevills, along with two other boatmen, a photographer, and botanist Lois Jotter, Elzada’s close friend and a University of Michigan graduate student, set out. Q&A with author Melissa Sevigny in Atlas Obscura | Read more »
June Subscription Lectures
6/5, Aulton “Bob” Roland, Ballad of Placida Romero; 6/12, Rob Martinez, Hispanic Music of New Mexico; 6/19, Jason Shapiro, Fascinating and Tragic History of Arroyo Hondo Pueblo; 6/26, James David Kilby, The Secrets of Bonfire Cave in Mile Canyon, Texas. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
REMINDER: June 3 Online Event: Origins of Maya Civilization
With Takeshi Inomata. The talk will discuss recent findings from the site of Aguada Fénix, Mexico, which was discovered in 2018. Its central platform, which measures 1400 x 400 m horizontally and 10-15 m in height and was built around 1000 BC, is the largest and oldest monumental building in the Maya area. The results of investigations at this site are changing our understanding of how the Maya civilization and surrounding societies developed. Amerind | Learn more and register (free) »
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
Bears Ears Partnership
Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
Grand Canyon Trust
Grand Staircase Escalante Partners
Mesa Prieta Petroglyphs Project
Mission Garden (Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace)
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
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!