SfAA President’s Column

February 1, 2011

By Allan F. Burns
[afburns@uf.edu]
University of Florida

Allan Burns

Dear Colleagues: This is the last column I will write as President of the Society. I will hand over the Presidency to Merrill Eisenberg during the Friday business meeting in Seattle April 1st. The business meeting also includes the recognition of student awards and the presentation of the Sol Tax award with comments by this year’s winner of that award, Michael Angrosino. The Sol Tax award honors a member of the society who has given extraordinary efforts to SfAA. I hope to see you at the business meeting for this and other awards and discussion. When Merrill takes over as President, the Society will be well poised to be of better service to all members. Merrill brings enthusiasm, skills as a leader, and the kind of inspiration that I know will keep the Society moving forward in good directions. One thing I didn’t know until I became president is that there is an official (and very large) hand-hewn gavel that the President is given to safeguard for the time of their presidency. I don’t believe it symbolizes power as, first of all, this was the first I had even laid eyes on it, and so previous SfAA presidents have evidently wielded power without resorting to the gavel. One of the elders of the society, and I can’t recall who, said that they thought the gavel was created by Margaret Mead. In that case, perhaps the gavel symbolizes that saying, “walk softly and carry a big stick,” since many of us can recall Dr. Mead strolling through meetings with her staff. Could it be that the gavel was cut from the same tree? I prefer to think of the gavel as a gift that helped the Society stay together under difficult conditions, a legacy of an applied social scientist that ensured that this voluntary association could flourish in the intersection of applied anthropology and allied disciplines.

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Working Towards Greater Equity and Understanding: Examples of Collaborative Archaeology and Museum Initiatives with Indigenous Peoples in North America

February 1, 2011

By Sarah Carr-Locke
[sarah.carrlocke@gmail.com]
Department of Archaeology
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, British Columbia

By George Nicholas
[nicholas@sfu.ca]
Department of Archaeology
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, British Columbia

Readers of the Vancouver Sun were recently treated to a rare view of a Squamish Nation sxwayxway mask that is to be shown at the North Vancouver Museum (Griffin 2010). These masks were traditionally owned by high-ranking Squamish families and used in spiritual cleansing rites. This mask was gifted from Xats’alanexw Siyam (Chief August Jack Khatsahlano), a spirit dancer, to Maisie Hurley, a non-Native who was an activist for Native rights in the 1940s and 1950s, demonstrating a high degree of mutual friendship and respect. Hurley’s collection of 190 objects was eventually donated to the North Vancouver Museum. Due to their spiritual power, sxwayxway masks have not been shown in museums in the last thirty years and the fact that this is occurring now demonstrates a shift in the relationship between museums and First Nations. What made the display of this mask possible, notes journalist Kevin Griffin, is that the North Vancouver Museum “brought aboriginal people into the decision-making process.” Through this process it was determined that the mask was safe to display since it had not been danced or used in ceremony. This kind of informed and sustained relationship is at the center of efforts to make archaeology and museums more accessible to, representative of, and beneficial to Indigenous peoples.

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Reflections on January 8 and Beyond

February 1, 2011

By Diane Austin
[daustin@u.arizonza.edu]
Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, School of Anthropology
University of Arizona

On January 8, 2011, during what began as a typical Saturday morning, I was sitting in my living room working on my laptop when, just after 10am, the young woman who lives with me came in and announced that Representative Gabrielle Giffords had been shot. I spent much of the weekend doing what I do when faced with a complex problem—I gathered data. I realized that I needed to understand not only what happened but also how others were reacting to it. I went online for news and followed stories throughout the day, alternating with occasional views of television broadcasts. I paid particular attention to the comments appended to the various online articles and blogs and to messages coming through various academic listserves. I listened as about 20 friends who had gathered at my house for dinner—neighbors who had come to Tucson originally from Mexico and Guatemala as well as from other parts of the U.S., parents and their children ranging in age from 12 to 17—discussed what we had seen, heard and felt so far that day.

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SfAA Policy Committee: Update on Arizona’s Immigration Law

February 1, 2011

By Merrill Eisenberg
[Merrill@u.arizona.edu]
President-Elect, SfAA
University of Arizona

Last Spring Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law. A detailed history and analysis of the law was outlined by Joe Heyman in the August SfAA News. Briefly, Joe’s summary of the content of the law is that it “…creates an Arizona state crime of being undocumented that is parallel to, but different from the federal administrative violation of unauthorized status and the crime of entry without inspection. Specifically, for any non-citizen not authorized to be in the United States, it is an Arizona state crime to fail to carry a federal immigration document issued to the person or to fail to register under a specific federal statute. By making this an Arizona crime, it gives probable cause for Arizona state and local police to make immigration-status based warrantless arrests.”

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The US Peace Corps: Looking Back and Moving Ahead

February 1, 2011

By Paul L. Doughty
[pdoughty@bellsouth.net]
University of Florida

It is the 50th anniversary of the ambitious, daring and popular Peace Corps program formed upon President Kennedy’s inaugural call for citizen involvement in international life. Americans eagerly volunteered when his Executive Order in 1961 created the Peace Corps and Public Law 87-293. The Order stated the PC would “provide help to peoples of interested countries and areas in meeting their needs for skilled manpower,” and “to promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of the American people. To date about 200,000 volunteers have served in over 100 countries.

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