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The Snow-Capped Mountain and the Uranium Mine

Zuni Heritage and the Landscape Scale in Cultural Resource Management

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2017

Chip Colwell
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, Denver, CO 80205 (chip.colwell@dmns.org)
T. J. Ferguson
Affiliation:
School of Anthropology, Emil W. Haury Building, University of Arizona, P.O. Box 210030, Tucson, AZ 85721 (tjf@email.arizona.edu)

Abstract

Known in English as Mount Taylor, Dewankwin Kyaba:chu Yalanne (“in the east snow-capped mountain”) in northwestern New Mexico is a sacred landscape to the Zuni people. From an archaeological perspective, the mountain is dotted with hundreds of discrete archaeological sites that record 12,000 years of history. From a Zuni perspective, Mount Taylor is a rich cultural landscape—a tangible record of ancestral migrations, a living being, a pilgrimage site, a referent in religious prayers, a spiritual source of rain, and a collecting place for spring water, animals, minerals, and plants. For Zunis, all of these facets of the mountain combine to create a “total landscape” that is both a source and an instrument of Zuni culture. This article presents a case study of a compliance project to document the potential impacts of a proposed uranium mine at the base of Mount Taylor on Zuni traditional cultural properties. The project demonstrates how archaeologists can benefit from a landscape perspective that builds from the traditional knowledge of descendant communities. The Zuni standpoint further helps shape a CRM practice that is anthropologically informed and consistent with a developing federal mandate to use landscape-scale analysis in heritage management and mitigation practices.

En inglés conocido como Mount Taylor, Dewankwin Kyaba:chu Yalanne (“en el este montaña tapa de nieve”), es un paisaje sagrado para la gente Zuni ubicado en el noroeste de Nuevo Mexico. Desde la perspectiva arqueológica, la montaña está cubierta por cientos de sitios arqueológicos discretos que documentan 12,000 años de historia. Desde la perspectiva Zuni, Mount Taylor es un paisaje cultural valioso-un registro tangible de migraciones ancestrales, un ser vivo, un sitio de peregrinaje, un referente en plegarias religiosas, una fuente espiritual de lluvia y un lugar para la colecta de agua de manantial, animales, minerales y plantas. Para los Zunis, todas estas facetas de la montaña se combinan para crear un “paisaje total” que es tanto una fuente como un instrumento de la cultura Zuni. Este artículo presenta un caso de estudio del proyecto en cumplimiento de la ley para documentar los posibles impactos de una mina de uranio propuesta en la base de Mount Taylor en la propiedad c ltural y tradici nal Zuni. El proyecto demu stra como los arqueólogos se pueden beneficiar con una perspectiva del paisaje que se construye desde el conocimiento tradicional de las comunidades descendientes. La postura Zuni además ayuda a formar una práctica de CRM que es informada antropológicamente y es consistente con un mandato federal en desarrollo para el empleo del análisis a nivel de paisaje dentro del manejo del patrimonio y las practicas de mitigación.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 2014

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