Category Archives: public involvement

Tumblr for week of 2008mar15


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

Anthropology in a climate of change, war, and internecine environments 1

[In process]

Part 1**
Part 2*** [separate post]

* Background

I think there is a need for anthropological perspective in any issue of human existence.

It is a sad irony that the discipline (science) which is most comprehensive and fundamental (science is a human activity and the basic science of human activity is anthropology) has often seemed through its profession association to be narrowly focussed and consequently irrelevant.

Last month, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) accompanied the chairwoman of the Disaster Recovery subcommittee, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to another hearing, in Anchorage, about the few places in Alaska designated for US Army Corps of Engineers environmental management [sic].

The anthropologists are about to have their annual conference in Washington DC and will be exercised about the U.S. Army recruiting anthropologists (Human Terrain Systems). On the other hand, Barack Obama is hip to Margaret Mead “Obama demonstrated that he understood the reasons why America for decades (think of the Bay of Pigs invasion) has made gravely serious national security decisions based on laughably inaccurate intelligence.”

Meanwhile, none of our western Alaska or Mississippi deltas is taken seriously. “Rush Limbaugh adds Alaskan to polarizing efforts.”

The best the state of Alaska has done so far is issue an official pass to a non-existent mass disease shelter in the region’s pandemic preparedness exercise this year (flu shot clinic).

I think if Governor Palin actually had a scientific advisor to her environmental sub-cabinet especially from rural Alaska or if Landrieu and Stevens could earmark enough funding out of the millions for the Corps mission in Alaska to pay for scientific support for the Unorganized Borough [over half of Alaska’s area, 970,500 km² (374,712 square miles), an area larger than France and Germany combined], this actually would be more effective than the endless photo-op and news stories about polar bears without ice.

How do we bring attention to the need for comprehensive analysis, assessment, and action on environmental change? No one would think of building a levee without an engineer, why are we doing relocation and reconstruction of communities — in Alaska and Louisiana / Mississippi — without a human scientist / human ecologist (anthropologist)?

[This analogy would work better if I didn’t already know that someone in DC thought of managing emergencies with a horse show announcer.] At the very least we need to aggregate the existing knowledge that we know full well must be included, whether for a northern or a southern delta.

It may not be a direct plus for NOLA– my records precede Katrina and I read Voices of New Orleans. If all the people and power and money there can’t get trailers that the Feds are allowed to inspect — but I think the imaginative scale in Alaska would be easier to actually test many of these concepts and approaches.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Continue reading

Native Crafts Health Effects Project

As part of the HazArt project | Environment, Safety, and Health (ES&H) of Traditional Indian Artisans and Craftspeople Project (HazArt) | we tested the ambient air quality during a firing of black-on-black (reduced) pottery. This field project was a collaboration of Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council, Inc., Sandia National Laboratory, and Tewa Women United.

The project was recorded August 1993 by Catalina Reyes of KUNM for National Native News. Her story was broadcast that September.

Principals on the broadcast are

  • Kathy Sanchez (potter) and Evelyn Garcia (assisting the firing), Tewa Women United
  • Pat Herring, CIH, Sandia National Laboratory and
  • myself (M. Pamela Bumsted, Ph.D.), head of the ENIPC environmental office.
  • Mary Attu, doll maker and skin sewer, was also interviewed
  • Field location was the pot firing shed (stable) of the late Maria and Julian Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo, great-grandparents to Ms Sanchez and Garcia. Read earlier post,
    | Maria Martinez’s open-source earthenware |

    This digitized audio file does not represent the quality of the original audiotape. The audio is copyright. I’m sorry the quality is not good. I’ll get it improved eventually. There are photos of the project, in deep storage. These too will one day be available.

    The following picture shows the traditional firing. Please read the story and view the pictures at

    Maria Julian Martinez firing pots
    click to play

  • | Native Crafts health effects audio file in mp3 format. 5 minutes, 19 seconds |

  • Social Bookmarks:

    There is an interesting history of the founding of National Native News by Gary Fife, currently with the Anchorage Municipal Light and Power. [I rather miss the old format (and Nellie Moore, Sharon McConnell, and Patty Talahongva).]

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    Bring health info to communities

    The library at the University of Utah has a valuable service in a web log (blog) format. The format is especially good at providing links to information resources quickly with a minimum of Internet fuss (suitable for rural and remote dial-up) and available through feeds.

    An easily accessible format won’t be too useful were it not for the knowledgeable person selecting the resources to provide, Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, Community Outreach Liaison.

    She has a series of entries linking to resources for health literacy, which is a critical topic.

    This blog focuses on health information issues related to the community, especially underserved communities.

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