Unearthed Native Burial Site in Eager, Arizona Causes Uproar in the Native Community
In April, 2011, construction began on a two-acre family fishing pond in Eager, Arizona. It was an Arizona Game and Fish project that, in its beginning stages, relied on an archaeologist to survey the land for potential historic properties and important cultural remnants.
Monica Alonzo Arden Kucate, head tribal councilman, describes the desecration he saw during his tour of Amity Puebo, an ancient adobe pueblo flanked by burial grounds. Today, fences prevent a closer look.
Unfortunately, the archaeologist wasn't officially certified, a group of high school students was given the green light to operate earth-moving machinery across nine acres of land, and what began as a community project became a chain of huge mistakes by government agencies involved and what Phoenix New Times staff writer Monica Alonzo calls a "swath of sprawling desecration" in this week's issue of Phoenix New Times.
- Time to Give Thanks: A Mini Guide to Traditional Native American Clothing and Accessories
- Bloggers Adrienne Keene and Dr. Jessica Metcalfe on Native Headdresses, Patterns, and "Aztec" Labels in Popular Fashion
- Urban Outfitters Pulls Navajo Name from Collection; Heard Museum Weighs In on Native-Inspired Fashion That Should Be Produced
Alonzo traveled to Eager to speak with members of a 10-member convoy of representatives from several tribes including the Zuni, the Hopi, the Navajo Nation, and the Acoma who were accompanied by 14 state and federal officials. She writes:
Monica Alonzo Bone fragments, jewelry (including a broken shell bracelet, top right), and pottery are remnants of an ancient adobe civilization devastated when Arizona Game and Fish started construction on a community fishing pond.
Bones -- including skulls, ribs, femurs, jaws, and fingers -- from at least 10 ancient adults and adolescents were ripped from their graves, broken and scattered by bulldozers and backhoes. The devastation occurred in late April 2011 when the Arizona Game and Fish Department started construction on a public fishing pond.
When Kucate and Pasqual see some of the remains in piles of dirt scooped out of the ground, disbelief clashes with a welling sense of sorrow.
"It was so sad looking at all the remains, lying there," remembers Kucate, head tribal councilman for the Pueblo of Zuni.
Read the full story, "Desecration: Unearthed Native Burial Site Causes Uproar," in this week's issue of Phoenix New Times.