Threatened Heritage: Bears Ears, Chaco, and Beyond

Trump’s recent decision to reduce Bears Ears—and continuing threats to the integrity of Chaco—represent a further assault on indigenous heritage and history in the United States. This symposium is intended to protest the scale of the potential for damage to these precious places.

Chaco Canyon (NM) represents 2,000 years of public and ceremonial building. Bears Ears National Monument (UT) includes countless recorded and unrecorded sacred sites and objects. All these are being sacrificed for oil, gas, and coal extraction that will trample these traditional grounds of tribes including the Pueblo, Hopi, Zuni, Navajo, Ute, and Ute Mountain Ute.

Presently protected areas will be hit hard once the government permits drilling in the Chaco region and strips safeguards from 1.1 million acres of Bears Ears, thus reducing its protected area by 85 percent.

Program (subject to change)

Session I

10:00  Blessing

10:15  David Freedberg (Pierre Matisse Professor of the History of Art; Director of the Italian Academy, Columbia University):  Welcoming remarks

10:30  Elsa Stamatopoulou (Columbia University: Director, Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program, Institute for the Study of Human Rights; Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race; Anthropology Dept.):  “Cultural heritage as a human right: today’s emergency”

10:50  Amalia Cordova (Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Institution):  “Creative modes of resistance in Abya Yala(Chile, Ecuador, Colombia)”

11:10  Honor Keeler (Cherokee Nation; Assistant Director, Utah Diné Bikéyah):  “Indigenous lands surround us: indigenous rights amid trafficking, theft, and trauma Act”      

11:30  Trevor Reed (Hopi/Kickapoo; Columbia University: Law and Ethnomusicology; Director, Hopi Music Repatriation Project):  Sonic Sovereignty: Sounding Hopi Presence in Öngtupqa (Grand Canyon)”

11:50  Sandy Grande (Connecticut College: Education Dept.; Director of the Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity):  “Lessons from Standing Rock and beyond: water epistemologies”

12:10 – 12:40  Discussion

12:40 – 2:00 Lunch break

Session II

2:00  Coffee gathering in the session room

2:10  Screening (23 min.) of “Shash Jaa’: Bears Ears” by Angelo Baca

2:40  Angelo Baca (Diné/Hopi; New York University: Anthropology Dept.):  “Protecting the Bears Ears: the Inter-Tribal Coalition and the Antiquities Act of 1906”

3:00  Elizabeth W. Hutchinson (Barnard College: Art History and Archaeology Dept.):  Indigenous aesthetics and the sacred landscape”

3:20  Kevin Madalena (Pueblo of Jemez, NM; Utah Diné Bikéyah Community Outreach Coordinator/Field Researcher – Geologist/Paleontologist):  “Paleoarchaeology and geology of the Ancient Puebloans from the Bears Ears National Monument”

3:40  Theresa Pasqual (Pueblo of Acoma; Independent Pueblo Consultant):  Resistance to resilience: protecting sacred places during turbulent times”

4:00 – 4:15  Coffee break

4:15  Carrie Heitman (University of Nebraska–Lincoln: Anthropology Dept.; Principal Investigator and Director of the Chaco Research Archive):  “The Chaco region: managing divergent cultural landscapes”

4:35  Robert Lucero (Executive Director, Ute Indian Tribe Political Action Committee):  “How the Ute Tribe Has Used Mass Organizing Tools to Protect Tribal Sovereignty”  

5:00 – 5:30  Discussion

See here for biographical notes on all speakers.

This event is a part of the Academy’s International Observatory for Cultural Heritage.

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