Jul 162005

The Globe and Mail: B.C.’s Gwaii Haanas named top park

[I]n a survey of 55 national parks in the United States and Canada published in the July-August issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine[:]
No. 5. Chaco Culture National Historical Park, NEW MEXICO (Score: 72 out of 100)

The long, unpaved access road pleased panelists by keeping this archaeologically rich site untrampled. “Its remote location means Chaco Canyon remains a relatively genuine experience. It is still possible to envision the Anasazi life and find quiet moments of solitude.” Caveat: “Nearby town is incredibly littered.”


The survey ranked six Canadian parks in the top 16. The magazine credits Canada’s conservationist approach and relatively low visitation to its parks for the strong showing. …

Three hundred experts in sustainable tourism and park management evaluated the parks for the survey.

Destination Scorecard: National Parks @ National Geographic Traveler

No destination rated 90 or above (“unspoiled and likely to remain so”)….

#14 Mesa Verde National Park
COLORADO (Score: 63)

Panelists disagree on Mesa Verde’s condition, from “well-managed” and “marvelous interpretive walks” to “serious wildfire problems and damage; archaeological heritage in danger; reduced aesthetic appeal.” The gateway, Cortez, “has a true Western feel.”


Why Canada?

Of these 55 parks, only ten are Canadian, but eight of them score above average. Sixty percent make it into the top quarter of the scoring range, versus a paltry 22 percent for the U.S. What’s going on?

Obviously it helps to be northern. Parks with short seasons suffer less tourist trampling. All four surveyed Alaska parks did well, too. But there’s more to it. By law, Parks Canada must first protect the environment, whereas Congress demands the U.S. National Park Service protect nature while also promoting outdoor recreation, dual mandates that can conflict when too many park-lovers show up.

Last, says one U.S. panelist, “Canadians in general take their government’s role in preserving parks more seriously.” In short, they’ll spend some money. “U.S. parks are now forced to be more self-sufficient,” agrees a U.S. recreation ecologist, “whereas Canada has maintained better funding.” Apparently, you get what you pay for.


 Posted by at 3:30 pm
Jul 152005

Arizona Daily Sun-
Much more than doodling
Sun Staff Reporter

Northern Arizona University professor Kelley Hays-Gilpin looks at rock art in her book “Ambiguous Images: Gender and Rock Art,” which recently received the Society of American Archaeology book award. The book challenges the reader to set aside preconceived notions when interpreting images. …

Hays-Gilpin has spent a career trying to convince other archaeology scholars of rock art’s importance and to challenge popular interpretation. Hays-Gilpin began her career in anthropology as a ceramics analyst. Conveniently, some of the images used in pottery also are used in rock art.

“Symbols and meaning can transcend media,” she said. …

Many rock art images are tied to religious ceremonies. A one-meter image of a young woman giving birth at a place in northern Arizona could depict Changing Woman giving birth to the twin heroes of the Navajo creation story or it could be a fertility shrine, Hays-Gilpin said.

One of the important aspects of interpreting rock images is speaking with descendants of the people who might have made the images, she said.

She’s studying images at Chaco Canyon of people who are missing appendages. While such an image might appear to depict a violent scene, there are other interpretations, including the artist not finishing or the figures emerging from the rock. Given the extent of figures without appendages, it is less likely the artist did not finish, she said.

The area could be a separation between this world and the spirit world.

“That rock could be a surface veil out of this world and the spirit world … we can resolve this by talking to descendants,” she said.


 Posted by at 9:06 am
Jul 132005

A peek into the pueblo way of life | csmonitor.com

Today, there are 19 pueblo communities located in New Mexico whose inhabitants speak dialects of three distinct language families.

Each pueblo operates under its own government and therefore sets its own guidelines and rules. …

Of the 19 statewide pueblos, the northern villages are the most accustomed to visitors, and are easily accessible from the major cities.

Tesuque, Pojoaque, Nambe, San Ildefonso, San Juan, and Santa Clara are all within 30 miles of Santa Fe. Taos and Picuris are two hours from Santa Fe and three hours from Albuquerque.

Early risers departing from Santa Fe can make a day trip to the two most famous pueblos, San Ildefonso and Taos, and still have time to explore nearby Bandelier National Monument to learn more about the ancient ancestors of the pueblo people.

New Mexico’s pueblos

The 19 pueblos of New Mexico are the oldest tribal communities in the United States, having descended from the ancestral Pueblo cultures that once inhabited Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, and Bandelier.

1. Acoma Pueblo, known as Sky City, was built on top of a sandstone mesa 357 feet high. Location: 60 miles west of Albuquerque on I-40 at exit 102 and 12 miles south on Indian Route 23, exit 108. Phone: (505) 552-6604.

2. Cochiti Pueblo is known for storyteller figurines and ceremonial drums. Location: 22 miles south of Santa Fe on I-25 and another 14 miles north on N.M. 16 (between Albuquerque and Santa Fe). Phone: (505) 465-2244.

3. Isleta Pueblo was established in the 1300s. Location: in the Rio Grande Valley, 13 miles south of Albuquerque and five minutes from I-25 via exit 215. Phone: (505) 869-3111.

4. Jemez Pueblo is located among red sandstone mesas. Location: 27 miles northwest of Bernalillo on N.M. 4. Phone: (505) 834-7235.

5. Laguna Pueblo has been occupied since at least 1300. Location: 45 miles west of Albuquerque off I-40 and 31 miles east of Grants. Phone: (505) 552-6654.

6. Nambe Pueblo, at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, served as a cultural and religious center for the Pueblo people. Location: 18 miles north of Santa Fe off US 84/285 and N.M. 503. Phone: (505) 455-2036.

7. Picuris Pueblo features a museum of local beadwork, weaving, and pottery. Location: 24 miles southeast of Taos via N.M. 68, 518, and 75. Phone: (505) 587-2519.

8. Pojoaque Pueblo includes a cultural center and museum that displays Pueblo art and exhibits, hosts traditional Indian dances on weekends, and preserves the traditional arts of the Tewa-speaking pueblos. Location: 15 miles north of Santa Fe on US 84/285. Phone: (505) 455-5044.

9. San Felipe Pueblo, founded in 1706, is known for beautiful dancing. Location: 10 miles north of Bernalillo off I-25. Phone: (505) 867-3381.

10. San Ildefonso Pueblo. See story above.

11. San Juan Pueblo is home to the Oke-Oweenge Crafts Cooperative, which exhibits the art of the eight northern pueblos. Location: 25 miles north of Santa Fe on US 84/285 and five miles north of Española off N.M. 68. Phone: (505) 852-4400.

12. Sandia Pueblo got its name for the color of the steep mountains east of the pueblo, which Spanish explorers likened to watermelons, sandía in Spanish. Location: 12 miles north of Albuquerque off I-25. Phone: (505) 867-3317.

13. Santa Ana Pueblo is an agricultural community located on about 73,000 acres east and west of the Rio Grande. Location: less than two miles west of I-25, exit 242, 15 minutes north of Albuquerque near the intersection of US 550 and N.M. 528. Phone: (505) 867-3301.

14. Santa Clara Pueblo was established about 1550 when drought caused the residents of the nearby Puyé Cliff Dwellings to move here. Location: 1.5 miles south of Española off N.M. 30. Phone: (505) 753-7326.

15. Santo Domingo Pueblo is near the ancient Cerrillos turquoise mines, and its people have a history of making fine jewelry. Location: 25 miles south of Santa Fe, off I-25 at the Santo Domingo exit. Phone: (505) 465-2214.

16. Taos Pueblo. See story above.

17. Tesuque Pueblo may have stood on this site since AD 1200. Location: 10 miles north of Santa Fe on US 84/285. Phone: (505) 983-2667.

18. Zia Pueblo is situated atop a small mesa that offers a spectacular view of the surrounding areas. Location: 17 miles northwest of Bernalillo and eight miles northwest of Santa Ana Pueblo on US 550. Phone: (505) 867-3308.

19. Zuni Pueblo was thought by Spanish explorers to be one of the legendary Seven Golden Cities of Cíbola. Location: 35 miles south of Gallup on N.M. 53. Phone: (505) 782-7238.

Source: New Mexico Tourism Department

map showing 19 pueblos of New Mexico

New Mexico Tourism Department
3 Tribes & 19 Pueblos
Pueblos – Navajo Nation – Jicarilla and Mescalero Apache Nations


 Posted by at 8:14 pm
Jul 132005

Arizona Event: 56th Annual Navajo Festival

July 30-31, 2005 • Museum of Northern Arizona • 3101 N. Fort Valley Road

Where: Flagstaff, AZ — Artists, musicians, dancers, and food preparers will gather at the Museum of Northern Arizona’s 56th Annual Navajo Festival of Arts and Culture on Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31 to share in the weekend’s grand offering of Diné traditions. The central philosophy in Diné life is hozho, meaning everything the Navajo thinks of as good-harmony, beauty, blessedness, and balance.

For more information, go to www.musnaz.org or call 928/774-5213.


 Posted by at 8:09 pm
Jul 132005

ABQjournal: Signs of Otters Spark Debate By Felicia Fonseca, The Associated Press

River otters haven’t been seen in northern New Mexico since 1953.

That’s why University of New Mexico researcher Paul Polechla’s discovery of otter feces last fall on the banks of the San Juan River near the Colorado border was news to be celebrated. …

State officials, meanwhile, hope the possibility of spotting an otter at Navajo Lake State Park, where the droppings were found, will boost human visitors to one of New Mexico’s most popular campgrounds. …

The researchers said more analysis is needed to determine which otter subspecies left behind the scat. When that is determined, scientists will make a decision about how to continue.

One of the possibilities includes the Southwestern river otter, which Polechla says should be on the endangered species list. Nonnative or mixed breed otters also could be present, he said.

River otters are sleek animals usually brown in color with short legs, webbed feet and glossy, dense fur, Polechla said.

“Their fur is so highly regarded— in terms of durability, softness, insulation capacity— that it is regarded as the diamond of the fur world,” he said.

The otters, which travel along waterways, produce a litter once a year yielding between one and six kits.

Playfulness is their outstanding characteristic, said Melissa Savage, an ecologist with the New Mexico River Otter Working Group.

“They are very gregarious and social,” she said. …

Bill Dunn, a supervising biologist for the Game and Fish Department, … said public surveys have shown New Mexicans favor reintroduction in the upper Rio Grande, the Rio Chama and the Gila River.


 Posted by at 11:11 am
Jul 122005

Legacy of Acoma Pueblo by: Brenda Norrell / Indian Country Today

This city of Acoma sits atop a 350-foot rock mesa with sheer sides, situated in the middle of a fertile valley 6,300 feet above sea level. ”It was referred to as ‘Haak’u,’ which means ‘prepared,’ because we believe it was there already prepared for us.

”It was there waiting, Ak’u is and always was.” …

Acoma is part of the Keresan people which include the present day tribes of Santa Ana, Zia, Cochiti, Santo Domingo, Laguna and San Felipe Pueblos.

”My people’s origins are from the north. How far north is buried in the collective subconscious, but where the conscious memory begins is at Kashkatruti, Chaco Canyon and from various places, most of them impermanent; momentary, for the people still had not found the place for with they were searching.”

Stone remnants of these settlements, remaining from migrations from the north, can be found at Mount Taylor and near the lava flow known as El Malpais in present-day New Mexico.

Sharing this land of high desert and mountains were the Keres, Towa, Tiwa, Tewa, Zuni, Hopi, Apache and Navajo. In the region, to the east were the Comanche and to the north were Utes. While there were conflicts in the struggle to survive, the people respected one another’s ceremonies and even borrowed certain aspects from one another’s ceremonies.

While trading with the Mayan people to the south in present-day Mexico, Acoma acquired precious stones, sacred parrots and sea shells. Today, Acoma have the Parrot Clan. Trading with the people of the West Coast of California brought abalone shell.

”The people speak of the Warrior Twins who guided the people from Siapapu, our place of emergence in the north. Ak’u (Acoma Pueblo) was the destination.”


 Posted by at 10:49 am
Jun 242005

Mountain Gazette : Vigil — Michael Wolcott

To the Navajo, [the San Francisco Peaks -- actually the collapsed remains of a single giant volcano --] is Dook’o’ sliid, one of four cardinal points in the universe. To the Hopi it is Navatikyaovi. Throughout the year, the Hopi dances lure water from the sky above the mountain and marry it to the soil. This keeps the world in balance.


 Posted by at 11:56 am
Jun 062005

The Daily Inter Lake
Northwest Montana wolves well-behaved
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2005 – 09:15:33 am PDT
By JIM MANNThe Daily Inter Lake

And for several years now, the packs of Western Montana have shown a strong preference for fleet white-tailed deer over plodding cattle or bison.

Compared to the far more numerous and often-reported livestock depredations carried out by wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Area and Idaho, Western Montana wolves have been keeping a low profile.

“It’s kind of surprising to people that most wolves are around livestock every day of their lives and they kind of choose not to attack them,” said Ed Bangs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s gray wolf recovery coordinator. “Given the unlimited opportunities for wolves to chase livestock, it’s kind of surprising, even to us who work with them, that there’s as few conflicts as there are.”

That observation holds true particularly in Western Montana, where only six cows and one sheep were confirmed as being killed by wolves in 2004. The Cook Pack of Idaho, by contrast, killed 85 sheep last year, an offense so severe that all nine wolves in the pack were destroyed by federal trappers in a helicopter hunt. And just two weeks ago, 11 sheep were confirmed as being killed by wolves in the Paradise Valley north of Yellowstone National Park. …

Sheep, Bangs said, are extremely easy prey not only for wolves, but also for coyotes, mountain lions, even eagles.

Despite the abundant populations of white-tailed deer in Northwest Montana, the region’s wolf populations have remained relatively low for years,

“This year, our estimate of wolves was 835 wolves (throughout Idaho, Wyoming and Montana) and only 59 of those are in Western Montana,” Bangs said. “The vast majority of wolves are in Yellowstone and western Idaho, where there are huge blocks of contiguous public land.”


 Posted by at 11:36 am
Jun 062005

What We Would Lose in AlaskaBy Jonathan Waterman

In the northeastern corner of Alaska is a strange, polygonal-patterned plain that the local Gwich’in people call Vadzaii Googii Vi Dehk’it Gwanlii, or the Sacred Place Where Life Begins. At this cold ocean edge a caribou herd calves, polar bears den and millions of migratory birds roost. Snowy mountains come booming up out of the sea, surrounded by sandy spits and lagoons. The unscarred landscape turns and locks in your eyes. It looks limitless. It also happens to be one of the last places where we can cup our hands to drink pure water, gaze across a skyline uninterrupted by commerce and meet primeval nature. Congress, which calls this protected coastal plain the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, is close to opening 1.5 million of its acres to oil leasing. Pro-oil politicians, who travel north on weekend delegations to shake the hands of a few natives and glance at the tundra, often denigrate this alien-looking landscape to serve their agendas.

I’ve been going to the refuge for 20 years, and I know that the cold and bugs can blind you to the real value of the place, particularly if you’re accompanying a congressional delegation keen to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Since Congress is now operating on a fast track that overlooks and seeks to subdue one of our greatest national treasures, the public needs to know what’s really at stake.
Continue reading »


 Posted by at 11:03 am
Jun 062005

ABQjournal: Summer Season Starts Out Strong at State Parks

State parks around New Mexico are celebrating a successful launch of their summer season with a 34 percent increase in Memorial Day week crowds.

“The holiday weekend was terrific in New Mexico State Parks,” said Dave Simon, state parks director. “It was safe and it was fun-filled.”

Visits at all 32 state parks increased from 222,000 for the week leading to Memorial Day in 2004 to 296,000 this year, Simon said.

“With lake levels continuing to rise through June and dozens of programs and special activities scheduled, the 2005 summer excitement in state parks is just getting started,” Simon said.

Elephant Butte Lake State Park saw a 14-foot increase in water levels from a year ago. It experienced an 80 percent increase in visitors from 72,800 in 2004 to 131,000 this year.

Nearby Caballo Lake State Park experienced a 100 percent increase in visitors during the week leading to Memorial Day this year with 18,015. It had only 9,021 visitors during the same period last year.

Sugarite Canyon in northeastern New Mexico also saw a huge increase from 2,477 last year to 5,005 this year.

All totals released by the parks officials are based on visitor numbers from Monday, May 23, through Sunday, May 29.

Despite the large crowds, no major accidents or injuries were reported at state parks over the holiday weekend, officials said.

Navajo Lake State Park had more than 19,000 visitors for the week.

About 6,000 visitors made their way to Eagle Nest Lake State Park for its first Memorial Day weekend as a state park. A free fishing clinic and survival strategy demonstration were credited for drawing some of the visitors, state parks officials said.

More than 5,200 visitors went to Santa Rosa Lake State Park in eastern New Mexico during the week. That’s a 26 percent increase.

Drop Elephant Butte and Caballo and you have an average of over 650 visitors per day per park. If I went to any park and encountered 600 people, I’d leave. New Mexico needs more parks. mjh


 Posted by at 10:35 am
Jun 022005

ABQjournal: Gila Wolf Eludes Pursuers By Tania Soussan, Journal Staff Writer

Efforts to remove a pair of cattle-killing wolves and their pups from the Gila National Forest are continuing.

The Francisco Pack alpha pair of endangered Mexican gray wolves is under a “lethal take” order for killing four cattle on Gila grazing allotments. They also could be removed from the wild through trapping.

The male wolf has avoided sharpshooters and traps for weeks.

Biologists are focusing now on capturing or killing the uncollared male but he remains elusive, said program manager John Morgart of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The agency had intended to kill that male wolf in the trap if he was caught but has reversed its decision.

The male was born in the wild but never can be released again because he has killed so many cows, and he does not have the valuable genetics to make him a candidate for captive breeding, Morgart said.

New Mexico Game Commission Chairman Guy Riordan said he told the Fish and Wildlife Service that the state Game and Fish Department prefers to see the wolf captured rather than killed.

“There’s value in all the animals,” he said.

Morgart said the male could be useful in helping to rear his pups if all the animals are taken into captivity.

Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity said he hopes the male escapes both trapping and shooting, but he praised the decision not to kill him in a trap.

“We’re pleased that New Mexico Game and Fish has won this small concession,” he said.

The female wolf is in a den with four or five young pups, and biologists are using her to lure the male. They also are putting out meat for her to eat.

“We haven’t had any luck drawing him into an area where he can be trapped or where he can be seen to be shot,” Morgart said. “The goal is to remove him from the area in the most efficient way possible.”

Once the male is caught or shot, biologists will try to trap the female and then grab her pups. But she also is under a kill order and that option might need to be used before the pups leave the den five or six weeks from now, Morgart said.

The female also could be hard to trap because she has been caught several times before and is trap savvy, he said. If she is killed, an older pair of wolves already in captivity “would be great surrogate parents,” Morgart said.

A male yearling from the pack was captured two weeks ago and is in captivity. The three adults can never return to the wild but the pups could.

Pay the ranchers enough that they look forward to wolves killing their cows. mjh

ABQjournal: Around New Mexico

Meetings To Examine Gray Wolf Program

The Adaptive Management Work Group for the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program will hold a series of public meetings this month to discuss a review of the program and proposed changes.

The meetings will be June 15 in Reserve, June 16 in Silver City, June 17 in Truth or Consequences and June 18 in Albuquerque.

The meetings will include a 30-minute presentation on the program five-year review, proposed standard operating procedures and a proposed one-year moratorium on some new wolf releases followed by a 21/2-hour “open forum” session for the public to speak.

Written comments will be accepted through July 31. Details about the meetings and documents about the review and proposals are available at http://azgfd.gov/wolf and http://mexicanwolf.fws.gov or by calling 346-2525.


 Posted by at 1:53 pm
Jun 012005

Premiere of “Remembered Earth – New Mexico’s High Desert” at The Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center

“A breathtaking and poetic journey across one of the most beautiful and
forbidding landscapes in North America.”
The Washington Post
“A remarkable work of great integrity.”
American Society of Cinematographers
“A fabulous film, intelligent and beautiful.”
Smithsonian Institution

The staff of El Malpais National Monument and the Northwest New Mexico
Visitor Center are pleased to announce the premiere of the center’s new
movie, Remembered Earth: New Mexico’s High Desert, on June 9, 2005. The 27
minute film will be screened at 6 and 7 pm, with a maximum of 60 seats per
screening in the center’s theater. This event is free and open to the
public; seats will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

Remembered Earth is a captivating journey through a storied landscape of
the American West, featuring spectacular landscape photography and a
thoughtful interpretation of land ethics by Pulitzer Prize-winning author
N. Scott Momaday. Noted Indian actor Irene Bedard (Smoke Signals,
Pocahontas) narrates the film. The haunting original orchestral score by
Academy Award-winner Todd Boekelheide was recorded at Skywalker Sound.

Remembered Earth explores the relationships between people and the land,
“exemplified by the ingenious use of clips of Hollywood Westerns that
helped mythologize not just the Southwest but America itself.” (Washington
Post) It has been an official selection of environmental film festivals in
Washington, DC, Italy and Greece, and won first place and merit awards for
script and photography at the International Wildlife Film Festival. An HD
version of Remembered Earth will be featured in a national prime time
broadcast on PBS later this year.

Filmmaker John Grabowska will be present at the premiere to discuss the
movie. For more information about this event, contact the Northwest New
Mexico Visitor Center at (505) 876-2783.
Continue reading »


 Posted by at 9:57 pm
May 312005

Discovering the Aldridge petroglyphs By Will Kie

BLM ranger Karen Davis. Davis is a native of Acoma Pueblo, and she cannot wait to show you the many ancient treasures of Cibola County.

Davis will be leading three planned hikes in the El Malpais National Monument area beginning June 4. The first hike will explore the Aldridge petroglyphs. “I talk about the petroglyphs and the journeys or routes the Anasazi people may have taken a long time ago,” said Davis. Davis said she will also talk about the cultural importance of the area and how the ancient ways of life are still carried on today in the traditions of the Acoma people.

Davis said one question she frequently answers concerns the whereabouts of the Anasazi. “People from Chaco did not die, they are still here,” Davis said.

Davis will also talk about the meanings of the petroglyphs. “What I did was go to the elders and ask them what the symbols might mean,” said Davis. Davis said that the petroglyphs visitors will see on the Aldridge hike tell part of the creation story of the Anasazi. To hear the creation story told by Davis while standing in the same spot as the ancient ones and imagining what life was like around 950-1300 A.D. during the Chacoan period, sign up for Davis’ hike. …

Interested hikers can contact Davis at the ranger station at (505) 280-2918. Other hikes to the petroglyph panel are scheduled for July 9 and August 6. To get to the ranger station on state road 117, take I-40 east from Grants or Gallup to exit 89, and drive south for nine miles to the station. Davis said hikers need to arrive at 9 a.m. The hike will start at approximately 9:15 a.m.

El Malpais National Monument (National Park Service)


 Posted by at 5:01 pm
May 312005

ABQjournal: Leaders Save Wilds at the City’s Edge By Bob Howard, Wilderness Advocate

[The Sandia Mountains] loom as timeless sentinels on our horizon, as Albuquerque’s “Acropolis”— so familiar in its beckoning wildness and blissful solitude.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of an important step in preserving the Sandia Mountains. It is a story worth remembering.

Gazing up at Sandia Crest, I think of the leadership that has preserved some of New Mexico’s grandest wilderness areas. In a less frantic and driven world, one might think such gems of public land wilderness could preserve themselves. But as early as the 1920s, farsighted leaders understood that in the face of ever-growing development pressures, wilderness areas would persist for our grandchildren’s children to savor only if we deliberately protect them while we can. …

Who benefits from half a century of bipartisan efforts to preserve areas such as the Sandias? To my Teddy Roosevelt-style Republican conservationist way of thinking, we all do.

We earn the blessing of future generations for our restraint in leaving some of New Mexico’s still-wild landscape for them to know and enjoy. We all benefit, too, from the fact that our wild Sandia “Acropolis” stands above us, visible throughout Albuquerque and the surrounding valley. It enriches our busy lives with the scenic grandeur of its lofty, well protected wildness. Even if we never set foot within its boundaries, the Sandia Mountain Wilderness is a pillar of what makes Albuquerque unique.

What metropolis would not envy us this wilderness setting! …

Viewing the wilderness crest of the Sandias reminds us that it is the land of enchantment we must preserve for all who will follow us.


 Posted by at 11:09 am