Friday, July 18, 2008

Athapaskan Migrations Traced with DNA Evidence, O'Odham Objections to Border Wall

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

- Genetic Analysis Traces Athapaskan Migrations: A large-scale genetic study of native North Americans offers new insights into the migration of a small group of Athapaskan natives from their subarctic home in northwest North America to the southwestern United States. The migration, which left no known archaeological trace, is believed to have occurred about 500 years ago. The study, led by researchers at the University of Illinois, is detailed this month in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. It relied on a genetic analysis of the Y chromosome and so offers a window on the unique ancestral history of the male Athapaskan migrants. Previous genetic studies of this group focused on mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down exclusively from mothers to their offspring.

- Tohono O'odham Confront Federal Government over Border Fence: Calling it an affront to religious freedom, representatives of an Arizona Indian tribe have asked the federal government to halt construction of a border fence across the tribe's Arizona reservation. Leaders of the Tohono O'odham nation say the fence, currently being built along the U.S.-Mexican border by the Department of Homeland Security, will prevent members of their nation from crossing into Mexico for traditional religious ceremonies.

- Professor Larry J Zimmerman Honored for Being Years Ahead of NAGPRA: An Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) professor’s early career decision to rebury Native American human remains – an act then considered academic suicide – recently earned the professor international recognition for significant contributions to world archaeology. The World Archaeological Congress awarded its inaugural Peter J. Ucko Memorial Award to Larry J. Zimmerman, anthropology and museum studies professor in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Zimmerman is also jointly appointed with the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art as the Public Scholar of Native American Representation. Four Native American archaeologists nominated Zimmerman in recognition of his role in indigenous archaeology and for “paving the way for a generation of Native Americans to believe we could join this profession without having to sacrifice our deeply help moral beliefs about our rights and responsibilities as Indigenous people,” says Smithsonian Institution Repatriation Officer Dr. Dorothy Lippert, one of the nominating group.

- Conference Announcement: 15TH Biennial Mogollon Archaeology Conference, October 2 Through October 4, 2008. Western New Mexico University Museum will host the 14th Mogollon Archaeology Conference October, 2 through October 4 in Silver City, New Mexico on the campus of Western New Mexico University.

- Vandals Ruin Ancient Places: Thousands of Nevada's most historic sites are under attack. They have been around for hundreds of years, but one day of off-roading or partying can turn our history into dust -- everything from ancient petroglyphs on rock walls to the smallest pot shards carried hundreds of miles from the Grand Canyon. The people who deface the ancient art and the ones driving over burial sites try to make a sport of their reckless pastime. But even if you don't know what you're destroying, you could be one of history's vandals.

- Hopi Chairman Speaks on the Importance of Mt. Taylor: Hopi Tribal Chairman Benajmin H. Nuvamsa, of the Hopi Bear Clan, said it was his responsibility to speak for the tribal government and the Hopi’sinmuy, or Hopi people, in expressing appreciation to the committee. He added that the Hopi Tribe has long recommended that Mount Taylor, or Tsiiplya, be considered important as a natural and cultural part of the human environment.

- Archaeologists in Mexico Locate American Soldier's Remains: Skeletal remains of four soldiers who are believed to have perished at the Battle of Monterey were found within a mass grave. DNA testing and repatriation are planned for the near future. - Associated Press via Earthlink

- Archaeology Fair to be Held August 16th in Showlow: On Saturday August 16th a unique event will be coming to the White Mountains: the first Northeastern Arizona Archaeology Fair. Patterned after the popular Arizona Archaeology Expo, held each March during Archaeology and Heritage Awareness Month, the fair will offer many educational attractions for archaeology and history buffs as well as hands-on educational activities for kids. This event is FREE and open to the public. It will be held in the park at Torreon Centre (behind the Coffee Connection) in Show Low from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. The Fair will feature professional archaeologist who will give talks, have exhibits on recent research, present demonstrations on early Native American life ways, explain archaeological methods and theory, and provide hands-on educational activities for children. Agencies represented are the United States Forest Service, National Park Service, Arizona State Historic Preservation Office, Arizona State Parks, Arizona Site Stewards and private consulting firms. The Fair will give visitors new insights into Arizona’s many prehistoric, historic and contemporary cultures and will help instill a sense of stewardship for our state’s nonrenewable heritage resources. We are still looking for folks who would like to be presenters, exhibitors and volunteers. If you have the day free and want to be part of this exciting event please contact Cheryl Ford, Program Coordinator at 928-205-3188. This event is being supported by AZ SHPO

- Expansion of Visitor's Center at Little Bighorn Delayed: In an effort to provide an all-weather setting for ranger talks and access for disabled visitors who want to view the battlefield's introductory film, the Park Service had proposed to expand the current visitor center at the foot of Last Stand Hill. Although no drawings of the proposed expansion were available, Park Service officials said it would enclose an outdoor patio and extend the north wall to the sidewalk, all on the footprint of the existing center. But opponents, including some of the premier historians of the American West and many former Park Service officials, argued that expanding the visitor center is contrary to a long-established management plan that calls for removal of the current visitor center from the heart of the battleground.

- San Pedro River Hike will Explore Boston Mill Ruin: Join Friends of the San Pedro River for a hike in the Boquillas section of the San Pedro National Conservation Area July 19. This hike begins at the historic Boquillas Ranch and heads south to the ruins of Boston Mill. Explore the stonework foundation of this 19th century ore-processing mill. The return hike will be along the river with plenty of opportunities for viewing wildlife. This hike is 8 miles long and is rated moderately difficult. It will depart from the Fairbank parking lot, junction State Route 82 and the San Pedro River, at 7:00am. Bring drinking water, snacks and sun protection. The fee is $5 per person and all funds go to support educational programs of the Friends. For more information, call 520.459.2555. - The Douglas Dispatch.

Thanks to Adrianne Rankin and Cherie Freeman for contributing to today's newsletter.