Monthly Archives: November 2017

Legislative Attacks on Historic Preservation and Archaeological Research

About a year ago, in the wake of the election, I wrote a piece for the MAPA Blog evaluating the ways in which the new administration would be able to roll back protections for historic and cultural resources.  I warned then that these efforts would not necessarily be titled “repeal of the law,” so we would have to be watchful for sneak attacks on our profession in the form of riders, hidden provisions, amendments and bills defunding the protections that currently exist. This month, in a whirlwind of activity carried out largely behind closed doors, Congress has launched a number of such attacks. While I’m no expert on tax law or legislative process, in the interest of keeping archaeologists updated on these developments, I’ve summarized some of the current legislative threats to historic preservation and archaeological research.  The two most pressing attacks are attempts to rewrite the Antiquities Act and the proposed tax reform bill currently on the Senate floor. Attacks on the Antiquities Act Many of us have closely watched Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s review of 27 national monuments and are waiting in dread to see exactly how the President will shrink Bears Ears National Monument and [Read More]

The World of Columbus Day is Flat

For Ty Tumminia: comrade, friend, anti-fascist, Black liberationist.  Last time we wrote, Andy Pragacz and I were exploring the spaces around Binghamton christened for Christopher Columbus, and how they came to take his name.  Today, we take that a bit further and ponder the Italian connection to Columbus, and why that narrative no longer serves the Italian community. Since the ethnic and race rebellions of the 1960s, Columbus’ place in the pantheon of American heroes has been jeopardized. By the 1990s, scholars annually sounded his final fall. Marking the 500 year anniversary one scholar confidently concluded that, like Custer before him, “it is now Christopher Columbus’s turn at the chopping block” (Lunenfeld 1992, 137). Twenty-five years later, Columbus is still in the American Olympus, but rather than seated next to Franklin, he’s dangling from the edge. Articles like “Should the United States Celebrate Columbus Day?” and “How Columbus Day Fell Victim to its Own Success”are commonplace around the 12th of October. Protesting Columbus Day is, in 2017, as much a part of the Columbus Day tradition as Italian flags. As the above Atlantic writer notes, the day is “marked by parades, pageantry, and buckets of fake blood.” So, Why does [Read More]