I have just three short paragraphs to share this week.
Monday afternoon brought rain—lots of it—to Tucson. There’s good reason to believe that the Akimel O’Odham and Tohono O’odham deserve our thanks for this wonderful gift of rain. To understand why, I recommend you watch the video released by the Huhugam Heritage Center that is called out below. The saguaro fruit harvest initiates the O’Odham year and is followed by the saguaro wine ceremony to ensure the summer rains.
Today, Archaeology Southwest is recommitting to stewardship in the Lower San Pedro River Valley. Although our interest in the valley has never waned, we now offer a full-time position focused on the San Pedro and extending to the Middle Gila River. Working with current valley residents, government agencies, other nonprofits, and Tribes, we will promote Preservation Archaeology and landscape-scale protection across this unique region. Here’s the link to that job opportunity.
And a closing paragraph on birds. Only two of our young Cooper’s Hawks are still hanging around the neighborhood, and they’re doing well. Next up for my bird focus is Screech Owls. I’m picking up a nest box on Saturday. Then I need to build a rather complicated post mount to properly elevate it, as we lack an appropriate tree. It’s a bit of a gamble, because there’s only a 40-percent success rate that a Screech Owl chooses a particular nest box. I’m going in optimistic!
What are you feeling good about this week?
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image courtesy of EcoFlight.
Editors’ note: The Washington Post link for the story on Oak Flat in last week’s edition seems to have expired after we scheduled the email. Here is a link to the same story at the Associated Press »
Continuing Coverage: Chaco Hearing News
A new 20-year moratorium on drilling and mining within 10 miles of the Chaco Canyon tramples on tribal sovereignty and denies Navajo badly needed royalty payments, Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren told lawmakers Thursday. … But Mario Atencio, vice president of the Navajo’s Torreon/Star Lake Chapter, said the 10-mile buffer around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park is needed to ensure that oil and gas infrastructure can no longer “pollute” his people and their lands. Liam Coates for Cronkite News | Read more »
Some Republican members of Congress on Thursday denounced the Biden administration’s recent move to withdraw hundreds of square miles of federal land in New Mexico from oil and gas development, offering their support instead to legislation that would unravel the ban. U.S. Rep. Eli Crane was among those to speak out during a congressional subcommittee hearing on the legislation that he and fellow Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar recently introduced to nullify what they consider overreach by the federal government. Susan Montoya Bryan for AP | Read more »
Commentary: New Mexico Communities Strongly Oppose Legislation to Nullify Chaco Protections
New Mexicans are expressing strong opposition to legislation recently introduced by Arizona Representative Elijah Crane aimed at reversing the withdrawal of new oil and gas leasing on federal public lands in New Mexico within a 10-mile protection zone around Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and affirm support for measures enacted in June to protect the landscape from unnecessary oil and gas development. After holding multiple public meetings and seeking comments from the public throughout 2022—during which time more than 110,000 comments from people across the state and country were submitted in support of protecting the Greater Chaco Landscape—the Department of Interior (DOI) approved a 20-year mineral withdrawal prohibiting new oil and gas leasing on roughly 336,400 acres of federal public lands surrounding Chaco Canyon, a World Heritage Site. New Mexico Wild and partners (press release) | Read more »
Commentary: Greater Chaco Coalition Calls for Stronger Protection Efforts in Response to Congressional Hearing
Addressing the controversy surrounding H.R. 4374, the Greater Chaco Coalition has issued a compelling open letter, signed by 111 organizations, urging Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to reinforce her commitment to the Honoring Chaco Initiative. The Coalition recognizes the immense promise of this initiative in preserving the sacred landscape and addressing the legacy impacts of sacrifice zones, all while prioritizing critical principles of health, justice, equity, and sustainability in the management of the region. In a powerful display of solidarity and shared vision, Cheyenne Antonio, a Navajo Nation Citizen and Greater Chaco Coordinator for Diné C.A.R.E., submitted written testimony on behalf of the Greater Chaco Coalition during the hearing. Greater Chaco Coalition (Frack Off Chaco) posted at NDN Collective (press release) | Read more »
Profile of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland
“I want people to think about the fact that, yes, Teddy Roosevelt is this amazing figure. He started the national park system,” Haaland said, but “a lot of national parks kicked Native Americans off the land.” Public lands “belong to every single American. They don’t belong to one industry,” she said. … “Yes, we are in a hurry because you can’t predict what will ever happen.” The department maintains “long-term plans up to Jan. 20, 2025. It’s to get as much done as we possibly can before that date.” Karen Heller in the Washington Post | Read more »
ASU’s SHESC Welcomes New Director
Coming from the prestigious Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Ryan Williams is accustomed to curating archaeological museum exhibits. Now, the archaeologist is ready to dig into his new role as professor and director of Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change. “We are excited to have Ryan join ASU as the director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change,” said Magda Hinojosa, dean of social sciences at The College. … With over two decades of museum curatorial experience and over a decade of experience as head of the museum’s anthropology faculty, Williams brings a unique perspective and varied experience to ASU, including working with descendant communities by including them in the decision-making process for collections highlighting their heritage. Megan Martin for ASU News | Read more »
cyberSW Welcomes Native American Fellow Caitlynn Mayhew
Caitlynn received her M.A. in Native American Studies (2020) and a B.S. in Biology (2018) from the University of New Mexico. Her primary focus is integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge into current wildlife conservation practices with additional interest in Indigenous language revitalization. Archaeology Southwest | Read more »
Video: Ha:Shañ Baithaj Harvest
This short video from the Huhugam Heritage Center, narrated by Language Specialist Robert Johnson, discusses the saguaro cactus fruit harvest and the coming of the summer monsoon. Gila River Indian Community (opens at Facebook) | Watch now »
Video: Inside Excavations at One of the Oldest Black Churches in the US
Two years ago, archaeologists began excavating the site of one of the first Black churches in the United States. TODAY’s Craig Melvin visited Williamsburg, Virginia, to see the progress that’s been made and how the community is telling the next chapter of history. TODAY (CBS) | Watch now »
Please be aware that very limited footage of human remains is shown. It is strongly implied that this was approved by descendants, who also decided not to exhume most of the individuals interred at the site.
Podcast: Drainage Reversals on the Colorado Plateau
With Andre Potachnik. Sedimentologists are geologists that study rocks on the earth’s surface today in order to interpret ancient depositional environments. By studying deposits of river gravels, Andre has been able to determine major changes in the drainages on the southern part of the Colorado Plateau. We talk with Andre about his work in Arizona on the Apache Reservation and how he has come up with the timing of significant drainage reversals for rivers in that area and how this impacts the interpretations of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. Science Moab | Listen now »
Publication Announcement: Becoming a Researcher
Becoming a Researcher: Making the Transition to Graduate School, Revised Edition, by Steve Wolverton and Jonathan Dombrosky. Society of Ethnobiology, 2023. Learn more »
Exhibition Announcement: Colors of the Past
The City of El Paso Museum of Archaeology invites the community to the opening of its new pop-up exhibit, “Colors of the Past—Traditional Native American Dyeing in the Southwest” on view beginning July 12. The exhibit features an overview of Native American fibers, dyeing techniques, and the changes resulting from the arrival of Spanish colonizers to the U.S. Southwest region such as substituting cotton for wool. The Spanish also provided access to new dyes, imported from the south, that enhanced colors and designs created by the Southwestern people. El Paso Herald-Post | Learn more »
Position Announcement: Lower San Pedro Community Steward (Tucson or Cascabel area, AZ)
The Lower San Pedro Community Steward will advance Archaeology Southwest’s well-established commitment to the preservation and sustainable, culturally-appropriate use of the Lower San Pedro and surrounding Middle Gila watershed’s heritage sites and landscapes, including their communal, ecological, educational, inspirational, and scientific values. Archaeology Southwest | Learn more »
Position Announcement: Terrestrial Wildlife Specialist (Kingman AZ)
This position will serve as the regional lead and manager for habitat improvement projects and access projects implementation. Builds new and maintains existing relationships with landowners, lessee, wildlife conservation organizations and land management agencies to influence planning and implementation decisions that enable the implementation of new and existing habitat and wildlife related projects. This position will also provide consultation and technical advice within the specialty area and are expected to make public presentations. AZ Game and Fish | Learn more »
July Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
7/24, Roxanne Swentzell (Santa Clara Pueblo), My Art, My Life; 7/31, John Haworth (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma), Reflections on Native Cultures and the Art. $20 at the door. Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
REMINDER: July 20 Online Event: O’odham Place Names: Meanings, Origins, and Histories
With Harry Winters. He will share some of his deep knowledge of ’O’odham landscape lore gained from his half-century of travels among ’O’odham on both sides of the modern US-Mexico border. Third Thursday Food for Thought series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | Learn more and register (free) »
REMINDER: July 20 Online Event: Sustained Research: 40 years of Crow Canyon’s Ancestral Pueblo Community Center Archaeology
With Donna Glowacki. When Stuart Struever co-founded Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in 1982, he recognized the need for an institution that could conduct and support long-term research in American Archaeology. Perhaps nothing illustrates the value of this vision more than Crow Canyon’s sustained research into the central Mesa Verde region community centers, which are the largest Ancestral Pueblo sites in the region, many with the longest occupation histories. The history of Crow Canyon’s research into community centers has involved many research associates, regional archaeologists, institutions, and tribal consultants. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center | Learn more and register (free) »
July 21 In-Person Event (Oro Valley AZ): Growing in the Desert: The History & Culture of the Tohono O’odham
With Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan (Tohono O’odham). Many Arizonans call the Sonoran Desert and its striking landscapes home. Long before our urban centers and city lights lit up the dark desert skies, the Tohono O’odham were cultivating and shaping the land with abundant agriculture—from squash and beans to corn and cotton. For generations they passed down their rich knowledge and culture grown from their connection to the desert. Pima County Public Library Oro Valley Branch, 1305 W. Naranja Dr., 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Call 520-594-5580 for more information.
Aug. 10–13 In-Person Event (Flagstaff AZ): Annual Pecos Archaeological Conference
Since 1927, when archaeologist Alfred Vincent Kidder first inspired and organized the original Pecos Conference, professional and avocational archaeologists have gathered under open skies somewhere in the southwestern United States or northwestern Mexico during August for the nearly yearly Pecos Conference. They set up a large tent for shade and spend three or more days together discussing recent research, problems of the field, and the challenges of the profession, and present and critique each other’s ideas before committing them to publication. In recent years, Native Americans, avocational archaeologists, the general public, and media organizations have come to play an increasingly important role, serving as participants and as audience, to celebrate archaeological research and to mark cultural continuity. Pecos Conference | Learn more and register (fees apply) »
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