This week began with Juneteenth—its third celebration as a federal holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery. Would that the proclamation in Texas on June 19, 1865, had also marked the end of racism.
Our friends at Emergence Magazine present a powerful essay titled “Ancestral Structures on the Trailing Edge.” It delves into the origins of racism in the early colonial history of the Chesapeake region of Virginia and Maryland. The author, Lauret E. Savoy, is an African-American woman, a geologist, and a writer.
Through a geological lens she traces the history of the rocky landscape as a “composite of violence and catastrophe that extended over a billion years.” And she continues: “Human forms of collision, rupture, and erosion occurred here as well.”
Savoy highlights the convergence of Indigenous, African, and European peoples in the early 1600s and the emergence of tobacco as the center of the early Chesapeake economy. In that context, a “language of race” developed—a process that Savoy illustrates well with quotations from Maryland and Virginia legal documents.
As archaeologists, geologists, historians—armchair or professional—it should resonate when Savoy says that “the past we all emerge from is broken and pitted by gaps not entirely unlike the fragmented annals of Earth history.”
I hope that this rapid trek through a lengthy essay will entice many to enjoy and learn from Savoy’s words, which are especially appropriate this week.
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
New Interactive Map of Proposed Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument
A coalition of Native American tribes with homelands in and near the Grand Canyon is calling on President Biden to permanently protect about 1 million acres of federal public lands outside Grand Canyon National Park by designating Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. Zoom in to explore the proposed monument boundaries. Grand Canyon Trust | Check it out »
Ancient Burial Ground Ravaged; Search for Perpetrators Underway
A search is underway in Northern Mississippi for the people who desecrated and looted multiple graves. The recent draining of Arkabutla Lake in DeSoto County for dam repairs unearthed an ancient Native American burial site. Historians say it’s hundreds of years old. According to Robert Long, curator of the DeSoto County Museum and chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission, the Chickasaw Nation once lived in the area. … “Multiple people told us there were swarms of a hundred four-wheelers or more as early as 3 a.m. with search lights, taking whatever they could find, whatever they can carry,” [Long] said. CNN Newssource/WKRC | Read more »
Continuing Coverage and Commentary: BLM’s Proposed Public Lands Rule
In a hearing Thursday morning, the House Natural Resources Committee heard testimony about the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed Public Lands Rule that would allow land managers to treat conservation as one of the multiple uses of BLM land. The four-hour long hearing was filled with bombastic predictions of doom from some members of the committee and witnesses, including South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who unleashed a torrent of conspiracy theories while making it clear she didn’t understand the proposal itself or even which lands in her state it would apply to. In response, BLM Deputy Director for Policy Nada Wolff Culver calmly took question after question and provided clear answers straight from the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the text of the proposed rule. Here are a few of the highlights and lowlights from the hearing. Aaron Weiss at the Center for Western Priorities | Read more »
The comment period has been extended to July 5, 2023. Share your thoughts with the BLM »
Mitigating Effects of Climate Change on NPS’s Adobe Structures
In a study at the Desert Research Learning Center in 2018, researchers built adobe walls and subjected them to simulated rainshowers of different intensities. That study found that that increasing rainfall intensity will cause increased rates of erosion in unprotected adobe block construction. A single 30-minute simulated storm of 100-year intensity (10.6 cmh−1) caused a mean 5.64% loss of wall material, and affected a mean area of 8,790 cm2 of wall surface. In this follow-up study, we wanted to learn which—if any—unamended earthen treatments might help preserve adobe under rainfall intensification. To address this goal, we (1) randomly applied patch, cap, and encapsulation/shelter coats to individual adobe test walls, (2) applied a 30-minute simulated rainshower of local 100-year intensity to each wall, and (3) used terrestrial laser scanning to quantify the wall deterioration. National Park Service | Read more »
Western Apache Foodways
On a warm day in April, Twila Cassadore piloted her pickup truck toward the mountains on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona to scout for wild edible plants. A wet winter and spring rains had transformed the desert into a sea of color: green creosote bushes topped with small yellow flowers, white mariposa lilies, purple lupines and poppies in full bloom. … As a forager and celebrated food educator, Cassadore, 56, has spent the past 30 years documenting and teaching her fellow Western Apache people about the importance of wild foods in a region that’s considered one of the most biodiverse in the US—yet where diet and substance abuse are leading causes of death. Working closely with the tribe’s wellness center, the local high school and recovery groups, she often takes people out into the land to forage, cook and heal. Samuel Gilbert in the Guardian | Read more »
Indigenous Artists Urge Congress to Strengthen the Indian Arts and Crafts Act
Native American artists say they continue to struggle with the theft of their work, and tribal leaders are urging Congress to strengthen the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. IACA was passed in 1990 to prohibit any advertisement and all sales of counterfeit Indian arts and crafts. Choctaw Nation artist D.G. Smalling says the act must adapt to the new ways of buying and selling art through online sales. … The proposed legislation would increase and expand protections on Indian arts and crafts, as well as enforce stricter punishments for those who are selling or making counterfeit goods which could lead to being arrested for the crimes. Blake Mullen for Gaylord News (via Cronkite News) | Read more »
Call for Papers: The 2023 Cordell and Powers Prize
The Cordell and Powers Prize is a competition that honors Linda S. Cordell and Robert P. Powers: teachers, mentors, advisors, and friends to countless Southwestern archaeologists. The top prize will be awarded for the two best talks presented at the 2023 Pecos Conference by archaeologists 35 years of age or younger. Both top winners will be awarded $700 along with the Cordell and the Powers prize objects, respectively. Additional awards will include second place ($550), third place ($400), two honorable mentions ($175), and four participation prizes ($75). Previous winners of the Cordell or the Powers Prize are ineligible to re-enter the competition. Only single-authored papers will be considered for the competition. Presentations are limited to 10 minutes. Because the Pecos Conference is held outdoors, audiovisuals and electronic media are not permitted. Pecos Conference | Learn more »
Publication Announcement: Scarlet Macaw Breeding at Old Town
Cyler Conrad and others, Scarlet macaw (Ara macao) breeding at the Mimbres archaeological site of Old Town (early AD 1100s) in Southwestern New Mexico, PNAS Nexus, Volume 2, Issue 6, June 2023, pgad138. Read now (open access) »
Podcast: Brave the Wild River
In 1938, two botanists, Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter, made an ambitious voyage down the Colorado River driven by the desire to chronicle the plant life of the American Southwest. In her new book Brave the Wild River, science journalist Melissa Sevigny traces their expedition through the Grand Canyon, which led them through seething rapids and the occasional mishap. Journalists of the day gawked at their gender and the pair were forced to pick up chores labeled as “women’s work.” Still, they managed to collect hundreds of plants that hadn’t yet been catalogued by researchers. Their observations about desert ecosystems were notable even decades later, as scientists looked to them to learn about how dams had changed the Colorado. Science for the People | Listen now »
June 24 In Person Event (Dolores CO): Four Corners Indigenous Art Market
Native Artists from throughout the four corner region will demonstrate their craftsmanship and sell their works throughout the day. (9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.). Music, cultural presentations, and traditional dances. Come out to visit, learn and interact with the artists. Following the market, Tha ‘Yoties will perform at the Dolores River Brewery from 6:00 p.m.–10 p.m. Ed Kabotie and Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center & Museum | Learn more »
June Subscription Lecture (Santa Fe NM)
6/26, James David Kilby, The Secrets of Bonfire Cave in Mile Canyon, Texas. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
REMINDER: June 22 Online Event: What Is Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Why Does It Matter?
With James Rattling Leaf, Sr. What approach should we have when initiating conversations with Indigenous peoples? How can we engage and collaborate with Indigenous peoples in our conservation work? What are effective ways to integrate Indigenous knowledge in our efforts to advance management, adaptation and mitigation of the impacts of climate change? These are some of the hard questions organizations have been asking themselves as they started engaging and collaborating with Indigenous peoples. This webinar will focus on understanding what is Traditional Ecological Knowledge (or TEK), how TEK is gathered, why TEK is important, and how to meaningfully use TEK in programs. It will also discuss some of the best practices to connect and collaborate with Tribal Nations, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and communities to consider how TEK helps assess and address the impacts of climate change. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
REMINDER: June 22 Exhibit Opening (Phoenix AZ): Sending Their Ancestors Home
Join S’edav Va’aki for this unique event that explores the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, 33 years later and still striving for healing. The exhibit will be on display from June 22, 2023 to May 31, 2024. S’edav Va’aki (formerly Pueblo Grande Museum) | Learn more »
June 29 Online Event: Farming the Hopi Way
With Stewart Koyiyumptewa and Reuven Sinensky. The presenters explore how hard-working Ancestral Hopi farmers leveraged ecological knowledge accrued over centuries, carefully curated drought-tolerant seeds, and simple tools, to flourish even when climate conditions made farming exceedingly difficult. Moving beyond discussions of subsistence and agricultural productivity, they explore the role of farming, cooking, cuisine, and community to the success of early farmers. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
July 1 Online Event: The Art of Shaun Beyale
Shaun Beyale (Diné) will discuss his art and his journey as a comic book artist, illustrator, painter, screen printer, and digital artist. From growing up in Shiprock, New Mexico, on the Navajo Nation to his early interest in comics, superheroes, and his passion for drawing that sparked a lifelong journey to create. Shaun was drawn toward the genre of comic books and superheroes because it reminds him of the old traditional stories of good versus evil. Using his cultural stories as inspiration to create something new and more modern, creating his own Indigenous Superheroes. Amerind | Learn more and register (free) »
Save the Dates: Southwest Kiln Conference
The 2023 Southwest Kiln Conference will be held September 29–October 1, 2023, at the Edge of the Cedars State Park in Blanding, Utah. This event has been held nearly every year since 2003 at various sites in the American Southwest. Our group invites previous participants as well as new artists and others with an interest in prehistoric pottery to bring pieces to this event and fire them using a range of firing methods and fuels which include trench, pit and surface kilns. Learn more and register »
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!