MORMON CHURCH TO BUILD GRAVE MARKER AT MOUNTAIN MEADOWS 01/01/99 A pile of rubble and rocks is all that marks the resting place of 34 members of a wagon train, ambushed and massacred 141 years ago by militant Mormons and a band of Paiute Indians. The victims of the slaughter had camped at Mountain Meadows, a pastoral area in Utah's extreme southwestern corner and a common campsite on The Spanish Trail. The Baker-Fancher party _ numbering 120 men, women and children, mostly from Arkansas _ was en route to California when it was besieged and, after being promised safe passage to nearby Cedar City, ruthlessly slaughtered. ``There was nothing like it in the history of the West and it's the second largest loss of life in America's move west,'' said David Bigler, a historian and author from Roseville, Calif., who has written on the topic. But the site of the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre, 250 miles southeast of Salt Lake, had been largely ignored until this decade. In 1990, descendants of both sides erected a monument overlooking the field. Now, the Mormon church has volunteered to rebuild the marker on the mass grave, first erected in 1859. The offer by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is viewed as a departure from the faith's history of reluctance in acknowledging the role of Mormon settlers in the Mountain Meadows massacre. ``They finally have a man in the (church) president's seat that knows the story and understands the pain and anguish that a lot of the families are still going through,'' said Ron Loving of Tucson, Ariz., whose great-great uncle led the wagon train. Thirteen other Loving ancestors also perished in the attack. Loving is referring to Mormon church President Gordon B. Hinckley. In 1990, when he was the church's No. 2 man, Hinckley dedicated the monument at Mountain Meadows. Last October, Hinckley again visited the site and was saddened by the condition of the mass-grave marker. He called Loving and offered the church's services and funds to rebuild the memorial. ``I did not like what I saw,'' Hinckley said during a meeting on Oct. 30. ``I was embarrassed at the condition.... I was ashamed.'' Memorializing the site has been a decade-long task for the Mountain Meadows Association, a group of descendants of victims that Loving now heads. Harsh winters caused the monument to fall apart shortly after it was erected in 1990. Last month, the state, which assumed the task of maintaining the monument, finished extensive repairs. Now Hinckley has committed the church to building a park-like memorial to mark the resting place for 34 victims buried in the mass grave. ``This is sacred ground,'' Hinckley told the association's leaders. ``We owe them respect.'' The cost of the repairs depends on which of three designs is chosen by the massacre's descendants and those who vote on the Mountain Meadows Association's Website. All three plans call for a fenced, park-like area with either a smooth granite wall inscribed with the surnames of the victims, or a stone wall like the original built in 1932. In the center of the walled area the cairn _ the conical stone pile that is a traditional Scottish memorial _ may be rebuilt. Work will also have to be done to solidify a gully that runs past the mass grave to keep the ground from collapsing and the remains washing away. The association has set Jan. 18 as the deadline for voting on the new monument's design with work scheduled to begin in the spring, weather permitting, and be completed sometime during the summer. ``It will cost whatever it costs and we will do it so it's nice,'' said Glen Leonard, director of the Museum of Church History and Art. Loving said Hinckley told him it may cost as much as $200,000. ``We wouldn't have been able to do what they're going to do for us. There's no way,'' said Loving. ``This also gives us an opportunity to go out there and find the other bodies.'' An Army group buried the bodies of the massacre in mass graves in 1859, but the piles of stones used as markers have disappeared, leaving only the cairn for the largest of the mass graves behind. The Utah Trails and Landmarks Association built a stone wall around the memorial in 1932. More than 80 bodies are buried elsewhere in the meadow. Historians believe the massacre stemmed from anti-government sentiments and Mormons' fears of invasion and persecution by the U.S. Army. The wagon train, for unknown reasons, became the focus of that hostility. Blame for the attack was laid on John D. Lee, a zealous Mormon portrayed by the church as a rogue major in the Mormon militia. He and others were excommunicated from the church and Lee was tried and executed at Mountain Meadows nearly 20 years after the slaughter. For the next 140 years, the church kept its distance from Mountain Meadows, said Bigler. ``They've tried actually since it happened to cover it up and hide the truth.'' But in their October meeting, Hinckley made what Loving called the most direct apology for the incident. ``No one knows fully what happened at Mountain Meadows,'' Hinckley said, according to the meeting's minutes. ``But we express our regrets over what happened there and we all need to put this behind us.'' Loving was shaken by the comments. ``President Hinckley's words, I never thought I'd hear, and neither did anybody else who was in that meeting,'' said Loving. ``We have come a long way in the last three months from the last 141 years, and the majority of it is due to President Hinckley's insight and feeling of what we feel about those people who are buried up there.'' Bigler said he hopes the church will someday open its archives to historians so he and others can learn about the entirety of the church's role. ``It needs to be remembered to remind people of what happens when people become too extreme,'' he said. All of those involved hope the grave marker fosters healing among the descendants. Loving says that, while some descendants still bear ill feelings toward Mormons, he sees them as the same as any other religion. ``If you go back far enough, they've all got skeletons in their closets or buried in meadows around the world.'' The public can vote on a preferred design for the gravesite memorial at the Mountain Meadows Association's website at:

REMAINS FOUND IN MONUMENT DETERMINED TO BE THOSE OF HISTORIC INDIAN 01/01/99 Skeletal remains discovered last month by a trapper in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument have been identified as those of an Indian woman buried in a granary about 100 years ago. Monument and law enforcement authorities were initially concerned the remains could have been more recent and shipped them to the state medical examiner. ``According to that office, the remains were of a woman in her 20s and were historic _ something in the vicinity of 100 years old,'' said Kate Cannon, associate monument manager. She said the skeleton was wrapped in clothing and the surrounding artifacts indicated it was an Indian. Monument officials are awaiting word from southern Utah Indian leaders on how best to handle the remains, Cannon said. Officials for the Paiute Tribe, headquartered in Cedar City, were unavailable for comment Thursday. She declined to disclose the exact location or the surrounding artifacts where the remains were found. Cannon said park managers fear others may venture into the area and disturb, destroy or steal other Indian artifacts. The remains were found about two weeks ago by an outfitter checking his traps in the area around the town of Escalante, Garfield County officials said.

PROFESSOR DISCOVERS TELLING CLUES IN TEETH OF ANCIENT HUMANS 12/30/98 Here's another reason to floss: Dental anthropologists could poke at your teeth centuries from now, cataloging cavities. You never know. University of Oregon professor John Lukacs, after all, is making some intriguing discoveries by studying the teeth of humans who lived 3,000 or more years ago. Calling tooth surfaces ``dental fingerprints,'' the dental anthropologist said teeth can answer questions about a person's genetic relationships. Dents and other flaws lend clues about a person's health and even social status. ``You can really tell who's related to whom by looking at the bumps and grooves,'' he said. Lukacs, 51, is a leader in dental anthropology, a subfield of biological anthropology. He said he specializes in teeth because they're often the best-preserved and most abundant of ancient remains. "They last so long when they're on the ground, why do they decay so quickly when they're in our mouth?'' he joked. Next month, Lukacs will travel to India to study ancient teeth, testing a study he conducted two years ago that found that farming communities in western India actually improved their health when they became nomads. His trip will continue studies of the Jorwe (pronounced jor-vay) people from the Inamgaon farming village on a plateau northeast of Bombay. The people lived from 1400 B.C. to 700 B.C. Lukacs first studied ancient bones from the village more than 10 years ago. He noticed rectangular dents in the enamel but didn't yet know that the defect was an indicator of ``nutritional stress.'' After reviewing other studies about nutritional stress, Lukacs returned to the village in 1996 to study 141 canine teeth in 66 Jorwe infants and children. He discovered that the children of the farming village had about twice as many of the tooth defects as the Jorwe nomadic children. Cavities often form in the grooves of such defects, he said. With that finding, he was able to challenge accepted beliefs about the Jorwe. Archaeologists, who documented how a drought forced the Jorwe to give up fields for hunting and gathering, mostly believed the change was for the worse. Nomads are often viewed as the ``bad guys,'' Lukacs said, adding, ``You can't tax them because they're never in the same place.'' But Lukacs' research showed that while the Jorwe nomads had flimsier huts and fewer possessions, such as pottery, they had healthier bones and teeth _ which Lukacs attributes to a better diet. Wear patterns on the teeth and other archaeological evidence, such as animal bones, suggests that the nomads consumed a greater variety of foods, including more meat and vegetables, than their farming ancestors. Lukacs and co-author Subhash Walimbe of Deccan College in Pune, India, published the findings this year in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Lukacs is returning to test the theory on the teeth of adult Jorwe. ``We would expect to find the same thing,'' he said. ``But you never know.'' UO graduate student Gwen Robbins, 26, said she chose to major in anthropology after taking two classes from Lukacs. The idea that bones and teeth could reveal something about the way people lived thousands of years ago got her hooked. Now she's planning her own research on teeth, intending to slice them into thin sections and to study them under a microscope to determine their age. Lukacs, she said, ``really kind of lit a fire underneath me.'' Martin did about 100 interviews with area residents to record their recollections of place name origins. Martin could not ascertain whether the canyon north of Los Alamos is named after the Spanish word for gourds - which grow wild in the canyon bottom - or if it is a corruption of the Tewa word Kwage, or mesa.$STORY Clyde Benally, a Navajo ranger at Mesa Verde National Park, has the opportunity to influence 30,000 to 60,000 people each year. Here, visitors have an encounter with Native Americans -- past and present -- that they can't get in a textbook. Mesa Verde has 40 some rangers. Benally is one of the park's four Native American rangers. WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - After years of hosting traveling exhibits, the internationally renown Navajo Code Talkers will have a home in the tribal capital to showcase their involvement in World War II. The Navajo Nation Code Talkers Association now has an office and exhibit space at the Navajo Museum, Library and Visitors Center in Window Rock. Rock climbers and the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California have been wrangling over uses of Cave Rock, an ancient volcanic formation on Tahoe's east shore. The Washoes see the area as a powerful spiritual place, while rock climbers like the difficult climbing routes it offers. The Forest Service initially halted rock climbing at the site because of its cultural significance to the Washoes, but lifted the ban after rock climbers protested. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating removal of bone fragments from a 9,200-year-old skeleton called Kennewick Man. In March, the government concluded that someone took portions of the skeleton's femurs, which scientists consider the most valuable bones for study because they help reveal such things as height, age and other characteristics.,1249,30004533,00.html? "Mormons tended to see cabins as an expression of settlement, habitation and home-building, while miners tended to see cabins as tools, to be used as long as useful and abandoned on the landscape, in the same way they abandoned their equipment and the mines themselves," Attebery said.,1249,30003971,00.html? The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles will open a new 85,000-square-foot Pavilion on Jan. 23 as part of its $45 million expansion and development project. The new Pavilion positions the institution as the pre-eminent authority on the history and culture of Japanese Americans. "Birds of Sonora" is no coffee-table book. The gold rush was on. Just days later, California (along with all of Texas and New Mexico) became part of the United States, ceded by a vanquished Mexico at the end of a bloody war. Within a year, the non-Indian population of California increased tenfold to 150,000. The sleepy Mexican port of San Francisco turned into an American boom town.