Monday, August 27, 2007

Navajo Protests at Chaco Canyon, Navajo Traders, More Money for Mesa Verde

Southwestern Archaeology Making the News - A Service of the Center for Desert Archaeology

- Protest at Chaco Canyon: Terms such as "National Park Service" and "national monument" were foreign to the Navajos who lived in Chaco Canyon 100 years ago. A century ago this year — on March 11, 1907 — the government declared the ancient ruins a national monument, and by the 1950s, it had erected a fence to keep the Navajos out. The designation was the start of a century of tension, said Lee Norberto, who was born in the canyon and later moved 10 miles outside the fence. "That's our country, that's our land," he said. "Our ancestors and religion (are) there, and we wanted to live there for the rest of our time."

- Navajo Views of Chaco Canyon: The wind blows eerily through the gaping windows of the old Navajo Chaco Church, stirring the fallen shingles that litter the floor inside. Once a mainstay of the tiny Navajo community, the crumbling church stands as a reminder of what was lost when many of the younger residents moved into the cities. In its peak, the community — which lies within view of Chaco Culture National Historical Park — included a preschool, a trading post and a landing strip for small aircraft, said Chaco resident Leonard Dempsey.|

- New Exhibit in Window Rock Highlights Navajo Traders: When historians Klara Kelley and Harris Francis began their ethnographic field work on the Diné and Diné traders in the 1980s, they stumbled across what would initiate an unforeseen 20-year project. As they conducted interviews with elders on a regular basis for research projects related to preserving the land and religious protection, they began hearing reoccurring stories about different Diné traders. Even as historians, learning about the vast number of traders was astounding.

- Additional Funding for Mesa Verde: Mesa Verde National Park is in line to receive $1.9 million in funding for projects, National Park Service Director Mary Bomar announced this week. - Cortez Journal - Rocky Mountain News

- Archaeology and Preservation at Fort Lewis College: Another Community Services grant allowed the college to conduct a preservation plan and survey of the Old Fort site. Archaeology professor Mona Charles this summer supervised four students who surveyed and excavated a 247-acre section and uncovered what Charles described as a living historical document of the campus. The artifacts recovered create a timeline: prehistoric shards that predate the ancestral Puebloans (2,000 B.C. to 500 A.D.); military cartridges and buttons from its first incarnation as a U.S. Army outpost from 1881 to 1892; bottles, vials and personal items covering the educational period - first as an American Indian boarding school, then later as a public school and a college. - Durango Herald

- Visiting Keet Seel: Soft light bathes the walls of Keet Seel as dawn passes to morning, and ranger Max Benally says we must leave soon. He looks out into the canyon. I want more time, but Benally was kind enough to bring me here when the air was cool, the light gray, when songbirds and ravens began to stir. I move within the alcove, my camera resting on a rickety tripod of bent metal and duct tape. A woodpecker taps on a fallen beam and flies out of the ruin. There is no wind, not a cloud in the sky. It is the start of a beautiful day, with the same red glow that must have greeted the Pueblo Indians who once lived here. I shoot several more frames and we climb down a 70-foot ladder to the path below.

- The City of Tucson and The Arizona Board of Regents Agree to Fund New Museum Complex: The Arizona Board of Regents approved an Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Tucson and the UA to collaborate on the design, construction and operation of a combined Flandrau Science Center and Arizona State Museum in the Rio Nuevo district Downtown. The $130 million project will be entirely funded by the Rio Nuevo District Tax Increment Financing. The UA will operate the project. Designing of the facility is expected to begin in September, and the building is scheduled to open for Arizona's centennial in 2012. - Arizona Daily Wildcat