Archaeology Southwest has joined with a broad array of tribal, national and local partners in support of the Great Bend of the Gila National Monument proposal. Legislation introduced by Representative Raúl Grijalva (H.R. 5556) seeks to preserve an 84,000-acre area on existing public lands along the Gila River, from Robbins Butte in the Town of Buckeye in Maricopa County to Sears Point in Yuma County. Significantly, the legislation also calls for tribal involvement in managing and interpreting the cultural landscapes of the Great Bend.
In August 2014, BBC Research & Consulting released a report about the economic impacts of a Great Bend of the Gila National Monument designation. Download the study (free PDF).
In December 2015, Archaeology Southwest and the National Trust for Historic Preservation released an in-depth study that provides a a historical and tribal perspective on the significance of the cultural resources and natural landscape encompassed within the Great Bend of the Gila National Monument Proposal. Download the study (free PDF).
In the news:
- Study shows cultural significance of Great Bend of the Gila — Yuma Sun News, 12/3/2015
In August 2016, Archaeology Southwest released a second study that shares the histories and attitudes that associated tribal communities hold toward the cultural landscapes of the Great Bend. Tribal communities affirm their connections to these landscapes and their commitments to participating in management and interpretation, as called for in the national monument proposal. Download the study (free PDF).
In the news:
- GRIC among tribes who support the Gila National Monument — Gila River Indian News, 9/19/2016
- Congress Must Act: Make the ‘Great Bend of the Gila’ a National Monument — Indian Country Today, 9/16/2016
- Native American tribes, Grijalva lead move to conserve Gila River land — Cronkite News (Arizona PBS), 9/8/2016 (also reported on azcentral)
- U.S. Rep. Grijalva and tribal members unite for protection of Great Bend of the Gila — Yuma Sun, 9/2/2016
Why are we involved? The key word is heritage. This campaign encompasses the Great Bend of the Gila River, a cultural crossroads with a deep, rich, often overlooked past. Our role on the coalition is to raise awareness of the truly unique, nonrenewable resource that is the cultural landscape of the Great Bend.
For thousands of years, the Gila River in this area sustained the lives of travelers and residents alike. The river was essential to an extensive ancient trail network, Hohokam and Patayan settlements, European explorations, Euro-American stagecoach routes, homesteaders and ranchers, and early twentieth-century cross-country motorists.
Significantly, and because of its unique geology, the Great Bend region is rich with fragile traces of ancient life: petroglyphs, geoglyphs, foot trails, and other patterns etched in the desert pavement. All of these expressions in or on the rock landscape are greatly endangered.
- New effort afoot to preserve Great Gila River Bend and its rock carvings — Elizabeth Eaton, Arizona Daily Star, 12/3/16
- Plan would make Great Bend of the Gila national monument — Rachel Twoguns, Yuma Sun, 7/1/2016
- Guest opinion: Protect Great Bend of the Gila, make it a national monument — Richard Rojas, Tina Clark and Elizabeth Stewart, Arizona Daily Star, 6/5/16
- Op-Ed: Why the Great Bend of the Gila Matters — Barnaby V. Lewis and William H. Doelle, AZ Republic, 12/7/15