Tuesday November 2, 1999

TEXAS Texas popular culture, damned lies, and statistics. The U.S. Census Bureau may be messing with a Texas icon. Texas is still truck country, but a new report says the number of pickups registered in Texas actually declined from 1992 to 1997.

[ This is something Anthropologists should study ]

NEW MEXICO The monument is revered by the Pueblo Indians, but it lies adjacent to developable land controlled by the descendants of Hispanic land-grant settlers. A Hispanic woman superintendent, the only one in the National Park Service, has been embroiled in battles with her staff, and her critics suggest that she was hired only because of her "ethnicity" and political ties. "This poor monument is being beaten black and blue from all sides. If we don't get good management, at least, the future is bleak," says Isaac "Ike" Eastvold, president of Friends of the Albuquerque Petroglyphs, the nonprofit group formed in 1986, and who worked hard to help create a monument. Management is the key issue, agrees Dave Simon, who is based in Albuquerque as the Southwest regional director for the National Parks and Conservation Association (NPCA). He wonders if the Park Service can overcome what he calls "management failures, resource protection failures, lost opportunities." This case emphasizes that hantavirus can occur anywhere in New Mexico and everyone needs to take precautions. New Mexico has had 45 cases of hantavirus, 23 of them fatal. Centers for Disease Control hantavirus page

COLORADO When Indians had only dogs as the beast of burden, teepees were seldom larger than six feet in diameter, but when the horse arrived on the scene, 18-feet-diameter teepees were common. Archaeology is one of seven methods being used to locate the site of the Sand Creek Massacre. Others are historical research, aerial photography, geomorphology, interviews with local residents, Indian oral histories and traditional Indian tribal methods. The arrangement of death has always been a rough mirror of the arrangements in life, said historian Linda Wommack, who visited more than 400 of Colorado's 492 operating cemeteries for her recent book "From the Grave: A Roadside Guide to Colorado's Pioneer Cemeteries,'' (Caxton Press). The incredible photograph is a full 5 feet in length. And people who first see the long, skinny scene in the Museum of Western Colorado's temporary archives room at Dinosaur Valley are usually surprised to learn the photo was taken in May 1910. Just how many of the Civil War veterans ordered one of the photos from Dean isn't known. But at least the original and one copy remain in town, complete with the long line of serious-looking men who fought in the bloodiest conflict in American history. The Koshare Kiva has no interior supports, because it is built as the original Native American kivas were with a roof of layered logs. The 15 layers of logs form progressively smaller and smaller circles, finally meeting at the top of the tall room. The roof is made of 647 logs, none of them more than 26 feet long. The museum has about 3,000 objects in its collections. While the discovery museum is known as an attraction, it also has a serious reputation, having contributed seven new creatures to the encyclopedia of dinosaur knowledge.

UTAH Survival comes with a price tag. For the Shoshoni, a tribe that was evicted from its Mormon-owned reservation almost three decades ago, the cost of reuniting its 400 members is a hefty $7 million. The Shoshoni are seeking federal dollars to buy a 6,400-acre ranch in Washakie near their historic Bear River Massacre burial ground in northern Utah. Last week, representatives from the Sanpete County Heritage Council starting placing markers along the historic trail where several battles of the Utah's Black Hawk War took place. The trail markers call attention to the battle sites, and an accompanying booklet describes the events that took place. A complete map of all marked trail sites is included. The markers were made possible in part form a grant from the Manti LaSal National Forest and Utah Division of State History. The county has also helped put together a historic exhibit at the Fairview Museum, through assistance from the Utah Division of Museum Services. For information on any of the Black Hawk War projects, contact the Sanpete County Heritage Council, 435-462-2502. Merkley found artifacts of broken glass, pieces of tin or iron, worn out horseshoes and other items. Also, he could make out depression in the ground at times showing where a road once made its way. Soon before him across a considerable ledge of sandstone were the tracks where many heavily loaded wagons with their iron tired wheels had let their mark. Yes, ruts are nearly a foot deep cut into solid rock - a magnificent find. Near where the tracks are embedded in the sandstone, there is a natural bridge where huge flat rocks span a wash allowing the wagons to cross over. As to the historic wagon wheel tracks, so well preserved in the rock as they are, it would certainly be so worthwhile to protect them. They are indeed a heritage and legacy to our valley and its outstanding history. Plans are being formulated to restore the historic Josie Bassett Morris Cabin at Dinosaur National Monument. Anyone who might have photos of Josie in and around the cabin, or just of the site itself, is asked to contact Clint McKnight at the Dinosaur Nature Association (789-8807). Such photos would be of immense help in working on the exterior of the cabin, and could also help in future phases of the project such as interior restoration, refurnishing, landscaping, and reconstruction of outbuildings. The 1999 edition contains all 29 county histories and nine additional volumes of the Utah Historical Quarterly (a total of 37) plus complete sets of The History Blazer and Beehive History. Utah History Suite, published by Historical Views, may be purchased at the Utah State Historical Society Book and Gift Shop in the Rio Grande depot, 300 South 455 West in Salt Lake City. For more information call (801) 533-3525.

ARIZONA "The land of the Anasazi was not a pleasant place to be, after all," Turner says. "It was just as violent as any place else in the world. Mean and unhappy." Turner's conclusion, Ortiz predicts, will take "Southwestern archaeology in a new direction and it will take a long time for the dust to settle." Across the Southwest, voices have risen in angry protest against Turner's thesis. "He has not proven a thing," charges Kurt Dongoske, tribal archaeologist of the Hopi Tribe. "What he has demonstrated is that people were hacked apart, their bones dismembered. He presents no evidence of human ingestion. Cannibalism is a pretty terrible thing. Look at the rock art in the Southwest. Don't you think that someone would have depicted the consumption of human flesh in the petroglyphs and pictographs? They depict everything else - Spaniards arriving, clan migration routes, ceremonies. If human flesh had been consumed, it would have been depicted on the rock walls. Turner's work is part of a long legacy to denigrate Indians, to dehumanize them." Over in Santa Fe, Peter Bullock, an anthropologist at the Museum of New Mexico, dismisses Turner's work entirely. "We don't accept it over here. In fact, we consider it pretty much of a joke."

MEXICO MAYCOBA, Mexico - Here in the bosom of the Sierra Madre in northwestern Mexico, scientists working with the Pima Indians have found proof that diet and intense exercise offer protection from diabetes. The Pimas who live here come from the same genetic stock as the Pimas who live in central Arizona. Yet while the Gila River community south of Phoenix is being decimated by the "Pima Plague," diabetes has barely touched this Mexican village. Even on the eve of the new millennium, the Pimas here are following a lifestyle that disappeared from Gila River generations ago. Anthropologists believe the Mexican and Gila River Pimas were once the same tribe, but a group of the Mexican Pimas broke off and migrated north. Historians and anthropologists are unsure how long ago the split took place. Even today, the elders of both groups still speak roughly the same language.

CYBERIA Cultural Survival and Punctuated Equilibria (Big file 3210028 bytes ! Open if you have an mpg player installed and fast connection).