This section holds articles about current events. Please see the Events section for conferences and workshops.

Do you have a news item you would like to share? Drop us a note.


    In March 2006, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has called for a revitalization of mining nation-wide. The Philippines is one of the 17 countries in the world with the richest biodiversity. As of now, approved mining claims already cover almost half a million of hectares of land. Open-pit and strip mining for nickel results in the flattening of mountain tops, in the plundering of forest and in the production of vast amounts of tailings that contaminate freshwater sources and the sea. Recently, from a premiere tourist destination, Palawan - the    richest biodiversity hot spot in the country - has become one of the most attractive mining investments destinations. The island is part of the "Man and Biosphere Reserve" program of UNESCO and hosts 49 animals and 56 botanical species found in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. As of now, there are more than 300 mining applications also covering forested watersheds and protected areas customarily managed by indigenous communities belonging to three main ethnic groups: Pälawan, Tagbanua and Batak. The other communities affected are fisher folks and farmers. A mission of the Centre for Biological Diversity (CBCD) of the University of Kent (UK) with the support of the Christensen Fund (TCF) and of the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) visited Palawan between July and September 2008. Audiovisual documentation on the impact of mining, including interviews and discussions with indigenous people, farmers, NGOs representatives and politicians was acquired.

    Initial plans were discussed with relevant stakeholders on how to bring the case of Palawan to international attention. As a result of these discussions, a request has been made to Peoples and Plants International (PPI) -- a US based non-profit organization - to provide additional expertise and institutional backing to this project, while establishing linkages with Google Earth Outreach <>.

    We are now inviting volunteers experienced in working with Google Earth and interfacing it with Google Docs to help us developing an awareness raising layer. Geo-coded data compiled on the ground in the form of multimedia, images and reports and other data like the boundaries of mining applications, protected areas, and other should be visualized on Google Earth.

     The resulting mashup would serve to raise awareness among a wider international audience, on the impact of mining on the forest environment and 'traditional' communities of Palawan island. This is to facilitate connections and networking between global advocacy    initiatives and locally grounded efforts. It is expected that this project will ultimately lead to more effective strategies for opposing irresponsible mining, while amplifying the impact of Palawan grass-root and indigenous people's voices both nationally and internationally.


Land deal returns slice of Klamath tribal homeland

by Michael Milstein, The Oregonian
Thursday December 18, 2008, 12:01 AM

A landmark agreement to be announced Thursday will return to the Klamath Tribes about 90,000 acres of their one-time southern Oregon reservation that the federal government sliced up and sold off more than 50 years ago.

The government's strategy at the time was to integrate the tribes into mainstream society. But the opposite happened: The once-prosperous tribes descended into poverty, with many members giving up school and dying alcohol-related deaths.

The land deal scheduled for unveiling Thursday restores only a small slice of the tribes' former 2.5-million-acre reservation. But it's one of the largest pieces of land to be returned to Northwest tribes that once controlled it. And it gives tribal members renewed control over some of their historic resources -- and their destiny.

Careful management of the forested land, known as the Mazama Tract, also promises to improve the quality and quantity of water flowing off the land and into the Klamath Basin, where water is often in short supply and has been the source of pitched, sometimes emotional, struggles.

"There're a lot of contributions this property can bring to the tribes and the Klamath Basin," said Jeff Mitchell, a tribal councilman who helped develop the agreement.

The Trust for Public Land brokered the land agreement between the tribes and Cascade Timberlands,a timber company controlled by Fidelity National Financial. The nextstep will be for the tribes to purchase the land at an undisclosedprice that must be confirmed by an appraisal.

The tribes will get $21 million in federal funds toward the purchase through a previously negotiated deal to resolve water and other disputes across the Klamath region. Congress must allocate the funds, but Chuck Sams of the Trust for Public Land said he's confident lawmakers and the new administration will do so.

The Trust for Public Land will raise any additional money needed for the purchase, he said.

Returning the land to the tribes assures its conservation and willalso "right a historic wrong," said Nelson Mathews, Northwest programdirector for the trust.
"Termination policy"

The Klamath Tribes -- composed of the Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin -- once occupied a 23 million-acre homeland, but the U.S. government eventually limited the tribes to a reservation about one-tenth the size. Even then, the tribes were largely self-sufficient, bringing in revenue from reservation timber, ranching and farming.

They were so successful, the tribes were considered among the wealthiest in the nation, providing jobs, medical care, land and loans to members.

Then Congress in 1953 adopted a policy of "termination," designed to fold tribal members into society. The government no longer officially recognized the tribes and liquidated their reservation, selling off lucrative parcels and turning the rest into national forest.

In the years that followed, much of the tribal community disintegrated into poverty and despair. More than half of Klamath members died before they were 40, according to information provided by the Trust for Public Land.

The government originally sold the Mazama Tract to Crown Zellerbach, a paper company, which then sold it to the timber company Crown Pacific. Crown Pacific went bankrupt, and Cascade Timberlands acquired the controlling share.

An ideal solution

Cascade Timberlands had planned to auction off the land but instead began talking with the Klamath Tribes and the land trust, said Greg Lane, chief operating officer at Fidelity National Timber Resources, which controls Cascade Timberlands.

Selling the land to the tribes struck the company as an ideal solution, he said.

"They've been working hard for a very long time to try to regain some of their ancestral land, and we tried to come up with a transaction that would allow that to happen," Lane said. "I'm very, very impressed with how they've approached this."

Ever since the government sold the land, it has carried a restriction that the forest must be managed sustainably. Much of the forest is now overcrowded lodgepole pine at high risk of severe wildfires, Mitchell said.

The tribes will focus on restoring it to a healthy, productive forest, he said. They also hope to develop a "green energy park" centered around a biomass energy facility that can generate power by burning wood waste or other material such as garbage.

The power would support businesses that make use of sustainably harvested timber. "The vision is that we bring in a load of logs and every bit of it is used someplace," he said.

The benefits of tribal management of the Mazama Tract will extend beyond the tribe itself, Mitchell predicted.

"It will start healing those wounds (from termination) and start bringing this community and the tribes back together again," he said.

-- Michael Milstein;


Community forest agreement approved

Concerns still linger about visual impact of logging

Jennifer Miller

December 18, 2008


Whistler – Whistler Council voted thisweek to sign a partnership with the Lil’wat and Squamish nations tocreate an arms-length corporation that will jointly run thelong-anticipated Cheakamus Community Forest.

Though returning Councillors Eckhard Zeidler and Ralph Forsyth repeated prior concerns about the feasibility of reaching the annual allowable cut of 20,000 cubic meters of wood from the community forest area, the vote at Monday’s (Dec. 15) first regular meeting of the new Council was unanimous to sign the partnership agreement.

Heather Beresford, the municipality’s manager of environmental stewardship, explained that Council’s resolution in August that Whistler be exempt from the allowable-cut requirements imposed by the Ministry of Forests and Range would be a “show stopper” for the community forest. Provincial legislation requires an annual allowable cut of wood to be assigned to every forest tenure awarded, she said.

This week’s vote included a withdrawal of Council’s August resolution.

While Zeidler acknowledged the annual-cut exemption “isn’t going to fly,” he pointed out that since the community forest tenure area was initially developed, “tremendous changes” have taken place in the amount of land available for logging. New conservancies and other exclusions have reduced available land by about 30 per cent, but the proposed annual cut amount has remained the same, he said.

Zeidler and Forsyth both questioned whether parcels visible from Highway 99 or elsewhere in the valley would have to be logged to achieve the annual cut.


Though she admitted it’s “challenging” to find places to harvest,Beresford said the harvesting plan will be based on small parcels andwon’t include “large clear cuts.” Local forester Peter Ackhurst, whowill be one of Whistler’s directors on the community forest board, saidthe areas with the least visual impact will be chosen.


Native American Scholarships Fund (note: for Americans)


The Native American Scholarships Fund is an endowment established to foster a sense of shared purpose and positive interaction between archaeologists and Native Americans.

Since 1998, the SAA has used the endowment income to award the annual Arthur C. Parker Scholarship in support of archaeological training for Native Americans who are students or employees of tribal, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian cultural preservation programs. National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships for Archaeological Training for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians are also awarded through the Native American Scholarships Committee.

The application process for the Arthur C. Parker Scholarship and NSF Scholarships is easy and straightforward, with an annual due date of December 15. Spread the word about these sizeable and prestigious awards!

Support comes to the NASF in several ways: through individual donations, a silent auction held annually at the SAA meetings, book royalties, and grant programs. For questions about the applications process or to make a donation, please contact the Committee Chair.

Be sure to check out the drop down menu above


For 2009, the SAA will offer the Arthur C. Parker Scholarship and three National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships for Archaeological Training for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians.

Application Information
Application/Nomination Form

Application Deadline:
December 15, 2008


The SAA first created the Native American Scholarship Fund in 1988 to support Native people who are interested in studying archaeology. However, it took nearly a decade for the NASF to grow large enough to support an annual award: in 1997 the SAA Board established a Native American Scholarship program to be funded by the NASF.

The scholarship is named in honor of the SAA’s first president, Arthur C. Parker, who served from 1935 to 1936. Parker was of Seneca ancestry through his father’s family, and he spent his first 11 years on the Cattaraugus Reservation in western New York. His professional contributions included research in archaeology, cultural anthropology, and history, as well as public education and the development of museum anthropology. Parker was also involved in contemporary social and political issues that affected Native Americans.

In 1995, the Native American Scholarships Committee was reorganized, with Larry J. Zimmerman appointed as chair. By this time, the NASF had grown to support a modest, biannual scholarship award. The committee recommended that the SAA Executive Board immediately establish a Native American scholarship program to support training in archaeological methods for enrolled students or tribal cultural preservation personnel and that a second Native American scholarship program be established to support graduate education when sufficient funding becomes available. The committee recommended a fund-raising campaign to achieve this. At the 1997 SAA annual meeting, the Executive Board accepted these recommendations and established fund-raising procedures. Since 1998, eligibility for the scholarship has included Native peoples from the U.S. Trust Territories and Canada.

The Arthur C. Parker Scholarship now provides up to $4,000 to support training in archaeological methods and cultural resource management, including fieldwork, analytical techniques, and curation for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians enrolled as high school seniors, college undergraduates, and graduate students, or who work in tribal or Native Hawaiian cultural preservation programs. Individuals may apply, or a professor, a cultural preservation supervisor, or an SAA member may nominate them. In addition, each year since 1998, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a grant to the SAA for three people who apply for the Parker Scholarship.

This history is excerpted and edited from: Smart, Tristine Lee, and Joe Watkins (1997) Arthur C. Parker Scholarship for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians Debuts. SAA Bulletin 15(4):20; (1999) SAA Native American Scholarship Programs and Fundraising Activities for the Native American Scholarship Fund. SAA Bulletin 17(1):12.