Tag Archives: news

America’s Parks

Two scathing reviews of the National Park Service’s approach to its historical resources were published recently:

Imperiled Promise: The State of History in the National Park Service, The Organization of American Historians

The State of America’s National Parks, The National Parks Conservation Association

In local news:

Source: Antelope Valley Indian Museum

In case you didn’t know, 70 California state parks are slated for impending closure. One Huffington Post article posits that this closure plan somehow forgot to include the treatment, packing, transportation and storage, of the thousands of artifacts these parks curate, including the two artifacts depicted here.

Source: Antelope Valley Indian Museum

Update: In response to the park closures, reduction in funding to the NPS and the state of cultural resources within parks in general, a select number of universities are offering a new certificate program entitled Leadership for Public Lands and Cultural Heritage!

The Leadership for Public Lands and Cultural Heritage Program began in January, 2011 with a class of 14 students. These students will be graduating from the program in May, 2012. Next year’s program is currently on hold, but hopefully it will start up again in the future.

The program’s curriculum was created by the universities involved in conjunction with the  National Park Service, the Center for Park Management and the National Park Conservation Association.  At least one of the professors was previously (or is currently) employed by the National Park Service. The majority of the students are also currently National Park Service employees. The program is taught mostly online, with only 1 week required in residence, allowing students to work and pursue the degree/certificate at the same time.

Thanks to Matt Wolf from the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands Support for answering all my questions!

Another Update (4/26/2012):  George McKale and The Olompali People are trying to save Olompali State Historic Park, which is just north of San Francisco.  The park hosts 6 Coast Miwok archaeological sites, some of which date back 8000 years!  The park is also home to some great hiking and a recreated Coast Miwok village.

Source: The Olompali People

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The Solutrean Solution & North American Sloth

Another proponent of the Solutrean Solution.

Does anyone have any thoughts on Bruce Bradley and Dennis Stanford’s new book?  I’m not a fan of the Solutrean Solution, but if the evidence is there, I’m willing to listen. Do they have the evidence to back up this wild claim?

As well as hunting sloths in North America.

Now this is cool.

Source: Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Also- check out this take on the new evidence for sloth-hunting.

Here’s a hint as to the topic:

Source: horsetalk.co.nz

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Navajo Items for sale at Urban Outfitters?

There is a new trend in the fashion industry. Why do archaeologists care? Because this “trend” is infringing upon the cultural property of Native Americans, the Navajo Nation specifically.

Source: Edie Harry

In June, the Navajo Nation’s Department of Justice sent Urban Outfitters a cease and desist letter regarding the chain’s appropriation of the Navajo name.

On Columbus Day, Sasha Houston Brown of the Santee Sioux Nation wrote a letter to Urban Outfitters CEO Glen T. Senk regarding the appropriation by Urban Outfitters of Navajo cultural property.

The company’s initial response was dismissive, “Like many other fashion brands, we interpret trends and will continue to do so for years to come,” company spokesman Ed Looram said. “The Native American-inspired trend and specifically the term ‘Navajo’ have been cycling through fashion, fine art and design for the last few years.”

However, they have since ceased using the word “Navajo” on their products.

The legal request to cease and desist from the Navajo Nation did not seem to have an effect on Urban Outfitter’s use of the tribe’s name on their trinkets. It was only when an outraged Santee Sioux woman wrote a letter to the CEO on a public forum that the change was made.

Urban Outfitters was in violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, and also in violation of Navajo trademarks.

The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 is a “truth-in-advertising law”:

“All products must be marketed truthfully regarding the Indian heritage and tribal affiliation of the producers, so as not to mislead the consumer. It is illegal to market an art or craft item using the name of a tribe if a member, or certified Indian artisan, of that tribe did not actually create the art or craft item.

For example, products sold using a sign claiming “Indian Jewelry” would be a violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act if the jewelry was produced by someone other than a member, or certified Indian artisan, of an Indian tribe. Products advertised as “Hopi Jewelry” would be in violation of the Act if they were produced by someone who is not a member, or certified Indian artisan, of the Hopi tribe.”

“If a business violates the Act, it can face civil penalties or can be prosecuted and fined up to $1,000,000.”

–US Department  of Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board

Navajo Trademarks are easily found through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The Trademark Office has an online database that is easily searched, I typed in the word “Navajo” and came back with 150 results. One of which discusses ornaments for personal wear.  I am not a lawyer, I don’t know if this trademark is applicable to the Urban Outfitters/Navajo Nation controversy, I just wanted to illustrate how easy it is to find Navajo trademarks on the Trademarks Electronic Search System (TESS). Which is exactly what Urban Outfitters should have done before attempting to pass their items off as Navajo, items not even made in North America.

Urban Outfitters continues to sell Native-style items:

Source: Urban Outfitters

and is probably continuing to break the law by calling this item “Tribal”:

Source: Urban Outfitters

Real Navajo Dreamcatchers look better made, and are also more affordable:

Source: Foutz Trading Co.

There are lots of places to buy real Native American made items. There are also many places to learn about Native American culture, the Navajo Nation Museum in Arizona, and a number of museums in California (if you’re from here like me).

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New Books!

“The legendary El Dorado- the city of gold- remains a mere legend, but astonishing new discoveries are revealing…” blah blah blah. This sentence is the best hook I have ever seen. I hooked you didn’t I? The rest of the sentence is long and poorly structured. Okay, maybe not poorly structured, but it sure is loonnnnnnggggg. I hate long sentences. I get lost/bored in the middle.

Here’s the key part: “major civilization in ancient Amazonia.” Now that is cool! When I was in college, they were just starting to find things in Amazonia. Now there’s a book about it! Awesome.

If you can’t tell, I just got an email from Left Coast Press, Inc.  They’re having a book sale! And also they sent their Fall Catalog.

The interesting books from the catalog (so you don’t have to flip through it and take up your own busy time):

Bridging the Divide: Indigenous Communities and Archaeology in the 21st Century

That title speaks for itself. I want that book. It’s $34.95 $29.71 in paperback. It’s on SALE! Available in September.

Source: Left Coast Press

Sacred Geologies of Ancient Amazonia: Historical Ecology of Social Complexity

This is the book just told you about above. It’s $69 $48.30 hardcover! ALSO ON SALE! Available in September.

Source: Left Coast Press

Okay the REASON these books are on sale is because they’re on pre-order. Left Coast Press is having a 20% off sale on pre-orders right now. Read the FINE PRINT. Duh.

Anyways- two more books:

How Culture Makes Us Human: Primate Social Evolution and the Formation of Human Societies

Kind of a boring title for what sounds like an interesting subject. I’m always interested in evolution. $22.95 $19.51 in paperback. Available in October.

Source: Left Coast Press

Video Game Worlds: Working at Play in the Culture of EverQuest

There’s a curve ball for you. $34.95 $29.71 in paperback. Available in October.

Source: Left Coast Press

Who’s your favorite publisher?

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Lewis Binford

Lewis Binford has just died.  He was 81. It’s hard to imagine that there will be no fresh articles from Binford on the state of archaeology and archaeological methods.

Binford was an extremely controversial character in the debate of how best to do archaeology. I remember reading article after article by him in my Theory & Methods class, his voice would come out of the page at me like the voice of God. He wrote with such decisiveness! Say what you want about scientific/new/processual archaeology, Lewis Binford was a visionary. Archaeology will miss him.

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