Category Archives: New Mexico

Little farolito on the tundra

farolito 2007

[this year no gales, no rain, no longer 25 below zero F]

Anthropology in a climate of change, war, and internecine environments 2

[In process]
Part 1**

Part 2*** From a follow-up to the newslist discussion about anthropology and climate change–

Q. “So…what can we do to solve this problem? Can we think like engineers?”

Please, don’t. Not even anthropological engineers. For example, see this — Continue reading

50 reasons not to change

small 50 reasons
It’s amazing just how many languages (and dichos) would fit this. I first ran across this in New Mexico in 1991 very apropos at that time RE: women in the highway and environment departments. The specific source is in deep storage (still) but I’m hoping the creator will recognize it and let me know.

In Alaska I’ve heard, “you’re too thoughtful” and “you can’t expect them to understand…”

View the comments for other suggestions or to add your own. Also, the comments contain trackbacks to interesting sites.

Please note that this image has a copyright, for non-commercial distribution with attribution.
Creative Commons License

Click the title below to enlarge. It should print well on 8.5 by 11 paper for handouts.

If you’d like to display a thumbnail, copy the thumbnail below to your site and code it like this

<a href="; title="50 reasons not to change source"><img src="; click to see original</a>

small 50 reasons
<p><a href="; from MP Bumsted, Biocultural Science & Management</p>

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Toilets and Trash sanitation in the frontier

I’ve put the set of photos up on Flickr. These can be used to illustrate problems and solutions to solid waste management and sanitation. I have not finished the annotations, but Flickr members may go ahead and comment. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out a good way for non-Flickr members to add to the discussion there. I think what I can possibly do is to post here about sub-groups of photos and diagrams, with thumbnails, so readers may discuss here.

revised 2008-10-13 I set up a group for others to contribute to at Toilets and Trash in the Last Frontier (Alaska) – (I can’t afford to renew the Flickr Pro account yet, but I think the group should be accessible to other Flickr members to add to and for the non-Flickrs to view).

Neither trash nor toilets are insurmountable problems, despite what many believe. However, sanitation takes thought in order for the solutions to age-old problems to be sustainable for eons to come. In particular, whether for the arid and semi-arid regions of Alaska or New Mexico, the low-relief coastal areas of the south Pacific or of the south Bering, we must devise systems which are self-sufficient and appropriate to our communities and ecology. In addition, it is likely to involve some hard choices in how we live, especially as our population grows and our environment changes.

U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, An Alaskan Challenge: Native Village Sanitation, OTA-ENV–591 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, May 1994).
NTIS order #PB94-181013
GPO stock #052-003-01372-0
available in pdf format here

or here

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science superstition religion 1992

December 2, 1992
Larry Calloway, Albuquerque Journal (

Dear Mr. Calloway:

As you pointed out in your column yesterday, there are federal (as well as state and tribal) environmental laws against pothunting **. These secular sanctions need to be publicized better.

It is incorrect, however, to state as you did, that the supernatural sanctions which seem to apply to those who behave without respect toward those who came before, ancestral Pueblo people, are “superstitions.” It is further incorrect to suggest, though many do, that the spiritual or supernatural realm is anti-Science.

Religion and Science are two ways of knowing the world. Science is appropriate for knowing natural phenomenon while religion is appropriate for knowing supernatural phenomenon. The world, the environment —within which people act and of which people are an essential part since the time of knowing —cannot itself be holistically learned of without the complementary epistemologies of Science and Sprituality.

Science cannot be good Science (done well) without relying in part on the knowledge of experts, especially Science of complex, non-linear dynamic systems (i.e., people and their cultural, physical, biological environment) nor by ignoring an entire realm of acting phenomena. The way to that realm is Spritiual.

Thus, Science done well cannot know the world by itself, in the absence of the Spritiual. Science and Spiritual can’t be antagonists or opposites. They are complements. And knowledge is never ignorance (superstition).


from Calloway’s column

MORE WEIRDNESS: The lead story in the current issue of High Country News begins with a similar letter. After picking up some pottery pieces at Chaco Canyon, a young man wrote, he pulled his shoulder while wind surfing, had his Southwest books drenched by a malfunctioning washing machine and started having fights at work.

Another, last June, returned Chaco pot shards with this confession: “The guilt has been a great punishment and it feels good to return the artifacts. Incidentally, I would have returned the items to the park the day we left, but we had two flat tires about 20 miles south of the park.”

Without an exact location where they were taken, the fragments are of little archaeological value. But the letters have been posted, too, at Chaco Culture National Historical Park as warnings.

The implicit message from our government here is superstitious.

Steal a shard and the Gods will get you. The government message goes against Science (unless guilt psychology is a science).

Still, government is always supporting Science. It’s a major activity of government to support Science and its industrial, agricultural, medical and military applications.

Superstition is largely ignored. It is a victim of discrimination. It is homeless. Superstition needs a program. Superstition needs a federal grant.

** pothunting

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