Category Archives: Native American Culture

Flagstaff’s Snowbowl wins latest court fight vs. Navajos

[Source: Michael Kiefer, Arizona Republic] — A federal appellate court on Friday sided with a Flagstaff ski resort, ruling that its plan for using reclaimed wastewater to make artificial snow does not violate the religious freedom of Native Americans. The ruling sets up a potential showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court, where Arizona tribal leaders, environmental groups and their attorneys pledge to appeal their case. Regardless, there will be no snowmaking at the Snowbowl this winter.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Howard A. Sheldon.]

Officials recommend historic designation for Tempe Butte

[Source: William Hermann, Arizona Republic] — The history of Tempe Butte is written in stone, and city officials want to keep it that way, which is why they’re seeking a “historic” designation for the site. Tempe Butte is the big desert hill adorned with an “A” that towers over Sun Devil Stadium. It’s from the top of that butte that Charles Trumbull Hayden, founder of Tempe, in 1869 looked out on the largely deserted Salt River Valley and decided it would be a good place to settle. The butte also is where the Hohokam Indians lived between about A.D. 500 and 1450. They considered the butte holy and left upon its rocks some 500 petroglyphs.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Mark Henle, Arizona Republic.]

Sedona’s Homolovi Ruins State Park celebrates Suvoyuki Day

[Source: Ellen Bilbrey, Gateway to Sedona] — “Suvoyuki” translated in the Hopi language means to accomplish work through at “joint effort.” “Suvoyuki Day” is an open house day at Homolovi Ruins State Park that celebrates the partners who have helped to protect and save Homolovi area archaeological and cultural sites from destruction. The event begins on Friday, July 11, at 7 p.m., with a talk about the Hopi culture.

On Saturday, July 12, the day begins at 6 a.m., with a traditional Hopi morning run (4 and 6.5 miles) with all participants invited. Following the run, the Hopi corn roasting pit will be opened and all will get a taste of freshly roasted sweet corn. Throughout the day, there will be Hopi artist demonstrations, traditional food demonstrations and lectures. Archaeologists will also be there to interpret the sites. Parking will be available on the northeast corner of Interstate 40 and State Route 87. Shuttle service will then be available from there to the park. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

City of Prescott to build water tower above Indian Hill

The city of Prescott plans to build a huge 1.3 gallon water tower with a 85 foot cluster cell tower above “Indian Hill”. The city has already bulldozed the Indian ruins of to one side. To find out how you can help stop the further desecration of this site, contact Debra Kaukol, founder of the “Save Indian Hill” coalition, at or 928-776-1956.

Oro Valley builder to preserve village center as project’s jewel

[Source: Lourdes Medrano, Daily Star] — The remnants of an ancient civilization will be showcased as an archaeological jewel in a modern development of luxury condos, houses, shops and restaurants in Oro Valley. The developer of Vistoso Town Center, a planned 87-acre community in Rancho Vistoso, wants to make the most of the site on which a Hohokam village once thrived. “I’m very interested in archaeology and the past of the Southwest, so I was very excited to acquire a piece of land that had such a significant archaeological value,” local developer Steve Solomon said. Area archaeologists say Honey Bee Village (pictured) beneath the land dates to about 500 A.D., when the Hohokam first settled along the Honey Bee Wash in the Cañada del Oro Valley.

“This site is quite significant because it will provide us with a fuller picture of Hohokam life than we’ve had before,” said Henry Wallace of Desert Archaeology Inc., the Tucson company doing the archaeological work on Honey Bee Village. Archaeologists say the site was home to the Hohokam until about 1200 A.D. First recorded in the late 1970s, the village sat largely undisturbed for years, as new housing sprouted on top of other archaeological sites. Even as some eyed the site for potential development, the fate of Honey Bee Village would be different. By the time Solomon bought the land in 2005, after two years of discussion with the previous owners, efforts already were under way to preserve it. In 2004, Pima County voters approved a $1 million bond issue to buy the site, but officials later deemed it unaffordable. Instead the county, Solomon and Oro Valley entered into a contract in 2006.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Jim Davis, Daily Star.]

Petroglyphs safe as spray paint removed from Tempe’s Hayden Butte

[Source: Emma Breysse, ASU Web Devil] — Tempe residents may be relieved that Native American petroglyphs threatened by an alleged UA prank are safe, but many are annoyed that at least $10,000 of their tax dollars were spent keeping them that way. This week the work to save the glyphs is considered virtually complete, allowing the city to arrive at an estimate of the final price tag. Workers have spent more than a year removing spray paint from “A” Mountain after a prank stemming from a football rivalry.

The evening before the November 2006 football game between ASU and UA, vandals believed to be UA students trespassed on the north side of “A” Mountain and spray-painted a red “A” — endangering ancient Hohokam petroglyphs. Investigation at the time revealed several empty beer bottles, but no suspects — meaning the city of Tempe bore the cost of removing the paint without damaging the glyphs. “We have no evidence of who did it,” said Tempe spokeswoman Nikki Ripley. “So the city can’t approach anyone [about paying for the project], and no one has approached us.”

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Andrea Bloom, State Press.]

Ancient land in northeast Arizona provides modern-day example of sustainable tourism

[Source: Travel Video Television News] — Several of the tenets of sustainable tourism – reuse, restore and preserve – are clearly exemplified in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, an ancient land in northeastern Arizona. The nearly 84,000 acres that comprise Canyon de Chelly are located on the Navajo Reservation and jointly operated by the Navajo Nation and the National Park Service. Here, an entire culture is being preserved, and visitors are encouraged to visit the land lightly. Examples include a century-old building still being used; vehicles built more than 50 years ago still provide motorized tours, but are now powered by clean-burning propane; and the majority of wares in a gift shop are produced locally by highly skilled artisans. “Our own brand of sustainable tourism is a devotion to preserving the environment by focusing on the integrity of our local culture as well as minimizing the adverse effects of tourism on the natural environment,” said Mary Jones, owner and operator of the Thunderbird Lodge, the only concessioner in the monument. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

National parks robbed of heritage

[Source: Judy Keen, USA Today] — Looting of fossils and archaeological artifacts from national parks — such as Native American pottery and Civil War relics — is increasing as demand for such items rises on the Internet and the world market, U.S. National Park Service officials say. Over the past decade, an average of 340 “significant” looting incidents have been reported annually at the 391 national parks, monuments, historic sites and battlefields — probably less than 25% of the actual number of thefts, says park service staff ranger Greg Lawler. “The trends are up,” he says. It’s “a chronic problem that we simply have not even been able to get a grasp on,” says Mark Gorman, chief ranger at South Dakota’s Badlands National Park.

Park service investigators search websites and the FBI helps track looted items, some of which are sold to collectors in Europe and Asia. Prices are rising for some items, including Native American pottery and garments, says Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, manager of the FBI art theft program. The most coveted items can cost “in the tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars,” she says. Thieves caught last year at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park sold a Confederate belt buckle for $3,300 and buttons for $200 each. The park service has 1,500 law enforcement rangers and 400 seasonal law enforcement rangers — one for about every 56,000 acres. “We really don’t have enough manpower,” Lawler says.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Andrew Councill, USA Today. Pictured: Park Ranger shows a buckle recovered from an “illegal” sale and a bayonette recovered at a Park Service storage facility in Va.]

Valley youth learn about archaeology and ancient cultures

Valley students learn about archaeology and ancient cultures at the Pueblo Grande Museum’s Hohokam Experience Summer Camp. Learn more at this know99 Television segment.

Tucson’s San Xavier del Bac Mission undergoes renovation

One of the most beloved icons of the Southwest, San Xavier del Bac Mission, is getting a much-deserved facelift. In this KPNX Channel 12 news segment, you’ll meet the preservation specialist who’s undertaken the painstakingly slow job.