Monthly Archives: January 2017

Rupture and Rebirth: California’s Earthquakes

Earthquakes aren’t just a hazard in California, they’re events that Shannon Lee Dawdy (2016) describes as ruptures in everyday life, creating schisms in time, space and community, and with a revelatory power to uncover things hidden in the earth and in the habitus of living. Rupturing events can take many forms, but I will here be focusing on those caused by disasters which are of large scale or wide impact. National disasters typically fit both of those descriptors, and the Stafford Act, the legislation which created and authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides that the President may provide federal assistance in response to any natural catastrophe, fire, flood, or explosion. “Natural catastrophes” here include “any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, winddriven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, or drought”; it is important to note that fire, flood and explosion may be of any cause, including human action – as we will see in a future post. National disasters, when viewed through Dawdy’s lens as a rupture, create a situation in which the values, priorities and vulnerabilities of a community are stripped to the bone. Earthquakes are a present danger, a premonition of an apocalyptic future, [Read More]

Public Archaeology and Disaster

Trish Markert and guest blogger Kevin Gibbons have done an excellent job exploring the physical and political implications of climate change and Michele Turner has given us a look at the American legal system and archaeology. With thanks to them for their insights, I’d like to spend a little time delving into one of the issues at the heart of archaeology and climate change: disasters. I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise when I say that archaeologists have long been interested in disasters (Pompeii, anyone?). What many do find unexpected is that archaeology is also practiced during disasters. Any time that a community is threatened by earthquake, fire or hurricanes, their collective past – their heritage – is also threatened. Disaster management is about more than simply providing clean drinking water and a place to shelter from a storm. Some of the most important work is done when survivors return to the home passed down to them by their grandparents, or when the church where their children were baptized reopens its doors. Communities are created through a sense of shared belonging – whether this is through growing up in the same neighborhood, following the same football club, or developing [Read More]

The Western Klamath Restoration Partnership

I’ll be kicking off 2017 on the MAPA blog with a post about meaningful tribal collaboration, traditional ecological knowledge and preventing natural disasters on federal lands. I am Paula Hertfelder, MA/PhD student at Binghamton University and Pathways Intern with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) at the Six Rivers National Forest in northern California. I started work this past summer on the Western Klamath Restoration Partnership (WKRP) – an interdisciplinary collaborative formed between the Karuk Tribe, the U.S. Forest Service, the Mid-Klamath Watershed Council (MKWC) and other stakeholders. This collaborative partnership addresses concerns over the increasingly devastating wildfires in the West in part by using traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and land management. It has also led to a successful collaboration between USFS and Karuk Tribal archaeologists, which has improved heritage resource management efforts. The WKRP is a case study of successfully integrating TEK and Western science, collaborative work, and how TEK can be incorporated into the expectations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when assembling an Environmental Assessment (EA). When conducting an EA, NEPA requires consultation with a range of stakeholders on varying concerns. There are many examples of TEK incorporation into the NEPA process, especially in different National Park [Read More]