Thursday, December 6, 2007

Changes to NAGPRA debated, I-10 Bypass Proposal Meets Strong Opposition

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

- Society for American Archaeology Protests Proposed Changes to NAGPRA: The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) has condemned a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Interior that would put in jeopardy the highly productive compromise that was reached when the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was passed in 1990. On October 16, 2007, the Department of the Interior published draft regulations that would destroy the use of cultural affiliation as the principle for repatriation decisions, which is at the core of NAGPRA and supported by seventeen years of hard work and effort by tribes, archaeologists, and museum personnel, and replace it with an undefined notion of "cultural relationship." “The Department’s proposed regulations have no basis in law or science and reflect an attempt to impermissibly legislate in a manner not prescribed by Congress.

- Public Comment and Discussion of Proposed Changes to NAGPRA will be Managed by Online Teleconference: The teleconference will be on Tuesday, January 8, 2008 from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, unless business is finished earlier. The teleconference provides the Review Committee with an opportunity to comment on the proposed rule regarding the disposition of culturally unidentifiable human remains [43 CFR 10.11]. - Ms Word Document

- Interstate 10 Bypass Proposal Meets Strong Opposition: A proposed bypass of Tucson and Phoenix from Interstate 10 was roundly criticized at a public meeting sponsored by the Arizona Department of Transportation on Thursday. ADOT engineers are looking into the need and feasibility of such a bypass, citing anticipated population and heavy truck traffic growth that might make it desirable in 20 to 30 years. The idea is in the preliminary study stages, said Dale Buskirk, ADOT project manager for the study. He spoke to about 140 people at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 300 E. River Road.

- Tucson Citizen Proposes Alternatives to Interstate Bypass: Talk about the wisdom of crowds. At a public meeting last week to help determine if a bypass of Tucson and Phoenix from Interstate 10 should be built, 40 people spoke. All but one opposed the proposal. So do we, for reasons ecological and economic. Plus, the time is right to once again consider an alternative to building more paths for more internal combustion engines: intercity rail service between Tucson and Phoenix. Several of the proposed bypasses would snake through unsullied environs in the San Pedro River Valley and Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness northeast of Tucson.

- Scottsdale Plans Museum of the West: Scottsdale civic leaders are envisioning a $50 million Museum of the West opening on Arizona's centennial - Feb. 14, 2012. A contemporary 48,000-square-foot, solar-powered museum would be built in Scottsdale's downtown gallery district on Main Street Plaza, just blocks from Scottsdale's iconic cowboy sign. - Arizona Republic

- Landscape Art of Stanton Engleheart to be Featured at the Anasazi Heritage Center: An opening celebration will take place at the museum on Sunday, December 9 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. A new book, entitled Stanton Englehart: A Life on Canvas,will be available for the first time at this event. Published by Durango author Jules Masterjohn, the book examines the artist’s career and includes a half-hour DVD featuring interviews with Englehart in the locations that most inspire him. Profits from the book will benefit the Stanton Englehart Scholarship Fund for art students at Fort Lewis College.

- Lecture Opportunity (Tucson): Saturday, December 8th, "Agave Beverages in Hospitality, Feasting, and Ritual Traditions of Ancient Mesoamerica and the Borderlands", a lecture by Arizona State Museum archaeologist Suzanne Fish. 12 noon and 2 p.m. at the Western National Park Association, 12880 N. Vistoso Village Drive in Oro Valley. Free and open to the public.

- Arizona State Museum Continues Popular Culture Craft Saturday Program: Saturday, December 8th, Tohono O’odham Traditions of Fun and Games, 1-4 p.m.
Free fun for the whole family. Get riled up for high energy, high impact Toka (similar to hockey)! Try your luck in a game of Gins (geents). Doll making, and exploratory writing round out the day’s hands-on activities.

- Employment Opportunity: The Kansas State Historical Society is seeking a Principal Investigator to lead excavations, analyze material, and produce a report on results of investigations at the Pawnee Indian Village (14RP1) to be conducted in Summer, 2008. Laboratory analysis of previously-excavated material would begin January 1, 2008.
Please visit the Kansas Department of Administration website for instructions for submitting a proposal: Scroll down to the date 12/20/2007 in the left column and look for bid number 10931.

- Employment Opportunity: Archaeologist for Rural Utilities Program. Vacancy Announcement No.: 08-RUS-14JL-DEU Archeologist, GS-0193-12/13. Rural Utilities Service
Assistant Administrator - Water and Environmental Programs Engineering & Environmental Staff. Opens: December 5, 2007 - Closes: January 8, 2008. Applications will be accepted from all United States citizens. To view the full text version of the vacancy announcement, please use the link below.

- Employment Opportunity: Utah SHPO office, Vernal Utah. Matthew Seddon writes: This is a really fantastic opportunity. The person will essentially be an on the ground SHPO in the Vernal BLM field office, an office with a huge and interesting array of archaeological and historical sites and a diverse set of projects. The position includes money beyond the salary to assist with housing in Vernal. The person would not necessarily have to reside in Vernal, but instead could simply commute 3-4 days a week. There would be huge flexibility in how the person could approach the job. We anticipate that basic case review might involve no more than 1-2 days per week (depending on the week of course) with substantial time to work proactively on better ways to find, evaluate, manage, and preserve sites in the Vernal area. Working along with the BLM, the person could have a tremendous positive impact on the management, preservation, and public interpretation of the fantastic archaeological record in the Vernal area. This is also a great opportunity for someone to learn about cultural resource management from both the federal agency side and the SHPO side. We expect that a person could walk out of this job highly qualified for any job in CRM, and particularly for the vast and growing set of agency jobs that will be opening up in a few years as long-time agency archaeologists would retire.

Thanks to Gerald Kelso, Teresa Paglione, and Matthew Seddon for contributions to today's newsletter.