TUCSON RUGBY: “THE LONGEST 40 MINUTES IN YOUR LIFE-YOU WANT OUT-BUT ARE AFRAID SOMEONE WILL LAUGH AT YOU” RUCKING AND MAULING IS TEAMWORK
The Tucson Rugby community scrums and drinks together – “when the beer flows, what happens on the field, stays on the field”! After a day of combat on the pitch, ruggers reconvene to No Anchovies and The Frog and Firken, both UA Main gate Bars with outdoor patios right next to each other, there players from each team votes for the “Player of the Match” recognizing those who “really made a difference and played above himself”, those guys get the extra drinks” says Magpie coach John Rouff. The Tucson Rugby adult Community is made of the Magpies, Blackbirds, the Barbarians, Old Pueblo Lyons, and their Women’s Lightning league, and include both the University of Arizona Men and Women clubs and they all carry a grudge on the field but bond together as members of the Arizona Rugby Union off the field.
Rugby has not always been so peaceful, its history goes back centuries and can be traced back to ancient England. In the 10th Century, great mobs would get involved in games that involved kicking and throwing an inflated pig bladder through town streets and squares. Villages would compete against each other and any means short of murder could be used to get the ball across the goal. In 1823, during a game of school football (soccer) in the town of Rugby, England, a young man named William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran towards the opposition’s goal line. In 1871, the Rugby Football Union formed and led to a split in 1895 which resulted in the sport being named the rugby union by some while the others took the name of the rugby league.
Rugby students took the game, carrying the ball with them when they graduated and soon rugby clubs were forming throughout England. The first known club started at Cambridge University in 1839. Matches were played under fairly informal rules. In 1845, three Rugby School students established the first set of written rules. Not all clubs knew these rules or chose to abide by them. It became clear that if they game were to thrive, a central organization was needed, in December 1870-22 rugby clubs met so those rules could be agreed upon and form the Rugby Football Union.
Some believe American football is more dangerous because in football, you hit full-force. In Rugby, contact rules don’t allow tacklers to slam into the ball carriers. Instead, Rugby players use the wrap tackling technique — wrapping their arms around the ball carrier to bring him down. Some folks still believe Rugby is too rough, but ruggers believe if you play smart, you’ll be OK. What makes Rugby really rough is the fact you’re running the entire match. It’s a demanding sport and new players are often surprised because if lack conditioning, you really feel it. Today many prefer rugby over football. They like it without pads because it’s a faster pace with less stopping, rugby has a lot more sportsmanship.
Macho members of the Tucson blackbirds point out a Rugby half, “is the longest 40 minutes of your life, you want out, but you are afraid someone will laugh at you if you head to the sidelines.” As a game of stamina, rugby developed into a fast-paced physical game that requires tremendous endurance and teamwork, much of the practice is built around strength-building. In Rugby, two teams of 15 players compete in two, 40-minute halves, on a 120 meter field. Play is continuous, unless the referee stops the clock for an injury.
A team can score in four ways: Try-5 points: A try is scored when the ball is carried across the goal line and grounded in view of the referee. Conversion-2 points: A conversion kick follows a try. The kicker attempts to kick the ball between the goalposts. Penalty is 3 points: When a penalty is called, the other team may elect to attempt a penalty kick from the spot of the foul. Drop Goal-3 points: At anytime during a match a player may attempt a drop from anywhere on the field. If the ball goes through the goal posts, the team is awarded three points. Many games have been won by last-second drop goals but often the ball is positioned further from the opponents goal.
Rugby became a popular sport in the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s. James Naismith, who created basketball, was a rugby player. Actor Boris Karloff was an exceptional rugby player in Hungary and founded a rugby league in Southern California after he moved to Hollywood. The United States owns two of the four Olympic gold medals ever awarded in Rugby won in 1920 and 1924. When rugby was tossed from the Olympics after 1924, interest in the game diminished. Since the 1960s, interest in the sport has grown and the USA Rugby Football Union was established in 1975. Today, more than 50,000 rugby players belong to the union. The men’s U.S, national team has qualified for four Rugby World Cups. The women’s national team won the first-ever awarded women’s Rugby World Cup in 1991. Today, 97 nations have rugby unions and more than 3.8 million people watched the last Rugby World Cup on television. That’s a lot of people who understand and appreciate the nuances of a scrum and the strategy of a lineout.
Rugby has grown into a global sport played by tens of thousands of players in over 100 countries. The game features national teams that play each other regularly including the Rugby World Cup played every 4 years between the top 20 eligible countries. Rugby is the No 1 winter sport in New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Wales and is a top 3 sport in Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Italy and Argentina these 10 teams consist of the tier one countries. Rugby has become popular in dozens of countries and particularly in the United States which is now one of eight countries in the second tier of competition.
The ARIZONA RUGBY UNION consists of the Division One (National Division 2) Men’s Clubs including the Phoenix RFC, Red Mountain Warthogs, Scottsdale Blues and the Tempe Rugby Club The Men’s Division 2 (National Division 3) includes: Camelback, Northern Arizona Landsharks, Old Pueblo Lions and the Tucson Magpies. The Associate Men’s Members include: Phoenix Storm, Prescott Blacksheep, Thunderbird and the Yuma Sidewinders. The Arizona Women’s Clubs include Northern Arizona Timberdoodles, Tempe Women’s Rugby Club, and the Old Pueblo Tucson Lightning College. College Men Clubs include: Arizona State University Men Rugby and the University of Arizona Wildcats. The College Women Clubs include: Arizona State University Women Rugby Club and the University of Arizona Women’s Rugby Team. There are several “Under 19 Clubs” or High School Teams including: Scottsdale Wolves High School, Tempe Rugby Club Youth, the Old Pueblo Lyons, West Vally Misfits and the Red Mountain U-19. Youth Teams include : Scottsdale Wolves Youth – U14/U12/U10/U8, Phoenix U14 Firebirds, North Valley Scorpions and the Laveen Golden Eagles.
The Tucson Magpies and the Old Pueblo Lyons call Estevan Rugby Pitch home. The field is one of the nicest in the state equipped with stands for fans attending games. Estevan Rugby Pitch is located on the Southwest corner of Speedway Blvd. and Main Ave, and home matches begin at 1:00 pm.
Old Pueblo Lyons RFC is celebrating its 40 anniversary in 2015 of being an active rugby club in Tucson. Created in 1975, by a group of former University of Arizona ruggers, Old Pueblo has never looked back. Old Pueblo has a tradition of traveling to tournaments and international tours. The Lyons have played on pitches from El Paso to Pasadena, Ireland to New Zealand. Additionally, Lyons have hosted several players from France, Wales, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and England. In the mid-nineties, the Old Pueblo included a new group of ruggers. The U.S. Air Force was being deployed overseas and the rugby club at Davis-Monthan AFB was struggling for players, so the two clubs combined to make Old Pueblo a stronger club. Over the years Old Pueblo has been the club for a number of military personnel passing through Tucson. It has been a source of pride that OP can be a temporary home for the military personnel looking for a rugby team. This successful program is credited to Col. Richard “Dick” Battock. Dick was a genuine rugby enthusiast and past President of Old Pueblo. Today, Dick Battock’s spirit lives on in the club.
Old Pueblo competes at the Division III level of the Arizona Rugby Union. The OP Lyons also develops youth rugby in Tucson, it has supported the Tucson Barbarians Under-19 team. In 2006, Old Pueblo created a women’s squad now called the Old Pueblo Lightning. Old Pueblo Lyons RFC is truly a Rugby Community. The Lyons are always recruiting, and athletes of all abilities are welcome regardless of background, size or skill. Because rugby is a challenging and physically demanding sport, they train and practice twice a week to build fitness, skills, develop game plans. Practices are Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:00-10:00 pm at George Mehl Park, 4001 E. River Rd.
Old Pueblo Lightning Women’s Rugby unofficially began in 2006 and it was composed mostly of alumni from the University of Arizona Women’s Rugby Club. In 2007, Lightning joined the Southern California Rugby Football Union. In the Spring of 2008 Lightning was the Division II champion, and in 2009 and 2010 Lightning finished second in the division. In the summer of 2012 Lightning joined the Old Pueblo Rugby Club, changing its name to Old Pueblo Lightning Women’s Rugby and changed their team colors from black and yellow to navy blue, sky blue, and yellow. The merge made it the first and only rugby club in Tucson to have a men’s team, women’s team, U19 team and master/old boys’ team.
The Tucson Barbarian Rugby Football Club is U19 organization that always welcomes new members. Practice takes place Monday and Wednesday evenings from 4pm-6pm at Udall Park- 7200 E Tanque Verde Road in Tucson.
The Tucson Magpies are celebrating their 35th anniversary this year, founded in 1980 by three standouts from the University of Arizona: Dave Sitton, Rick Rendon and Rich Rectanus. In the Magpies history they have developed a strong tradition of winning, taking titles in the Warren Lee Sevens in 1983 and 1984 and the Kachina Sevens in 1984. Playing in the Arizona Rugby Union, the Magpies have won the league championship in 1989, 2003 and tied in 1988, sharing it with the Tempe Old Devils. The Magpies also won the Western Division Michelob Rugby Classic title in 1993. Known as a hard hitting and aggressive team the Magpies are also known as gentlemen, in 1989, 1992 and 1993 they were recognized for Sportsmanship and awarded the Craig Sweeny Memorial Trophy, awarded to the club that demonstrates outstanding sportsmanship, team spirit and pride in the game of Rugby. Magpies practice at Joaquin Murrieta Park at 1400 North Silverbell in Tucson between 6-8pm Tuesday and Thursday. Their Host Pub is No Anchovies on University located at 870 E. University Blvd. The ‘Pies are always there on Thursday nights after practice.
The Tucson Black Birds, Magpies Under 19 Team, assistant coach Jeremy Fonoimoana Assistant Coach said it best “I didn’t choose the rugby life; the rugby life chose me. ” 2011 Marks the inaugural year for The Black Birds. Led by head coach Tim Pappas, who believes the Black Birds are certain to be one of the top youth programs in Arizona. The U19 program is a great way to get kids into the game early,he says and assures them future success as a Magpie. “We believe in three ideas and all three stem from the same word, RESPECT: Respect yourself, Respect your teammates and Respect the game of rugby”, says Pappas. “Our players have positive attitudes and are challenged physically and mentally each week. Our goal as a club is to develop competent and well-prepared young rugby players in a Safe, Fun and very Competitive environment.”
Following the Blackbird’s 22-50 thrashing by Phoenix Desert Vista Club Team a few weeks back Coach Pappas after the game noted “We have huge hearts, we’re going to have games that are going to be nightmares, all we can do is play hard and concentrate on safety. It was a respectable performance, a time to learn-you are younger-but we’re right there, Desert Vista was first in the league, we came here to learn. We need to work on the art of deception and moves. They were moving moving new players in constantly, how do you defeat that! We have good kids, and its like going into combat, if you get hit, you get to learn-immature teams have lots of kids that haven’t played so next year you will be great. No real patsy’s, you are just going to get bigger and stronger.”
Coach Pappas continued his pep talk online, noting Saturday’s effort. “We lost a little momentum there at the end but the 10 or so fresh players they substituted in-may have contributed to that. I saw improvement in many areas. Our young players tackled extremely well, we took the ball hard into contact and were able to win most of our offensive rucks. Line outs continue to be a strong point! Congratulations to Freshman Zachary Roberts for winning the coaches votes for PLAYER OF THE GAME. Quite an accomplishment considering Captain John Barney turned in his usual outstanding performance. Our goal will always be to win every game and in order to do that we must begin by focusing on the one-on-one battles. Once we are able to win these situations, we can then turn our focus to the bigger picture. Our next game will be Saturday, March 7th against Basis Oro Valley. This game will be for players 8th grade through 10th. There will also be a U-14 contact game and also a youth touch game.”
Assistant Coach Hans Gregg notes online that the Blackbird’s success is measured one young man at a time, building on the lessons provided by their parents, helping make them be the best person and rugby player possible. Inorder to help thee Blackbirds grow they recently had a chance to work with UA Coach Sean Duffy. It was fun and gave the Blackbirds the opportunity to learn from a successful college coach. Duffy’s message to the under 19 team was clear-commit to learning the fundamentals and it will serve you well in your rugby career at whatever level you pursue. Coach Duffy emphasized you can only learn the fundamentals if you’re attending practice.The University of Arizona rugby team was coached as a labor of love by Dave Sitton for 35 years, following Coach Sitton’s death in August, the UA hired new head coach Sean Duffy. Sitton was known as “Pops” to his players and he championed the sport as a coach and announcer, influencing the game on a national level. The men’s Division I MVP Award for the 2013 USA Rugby College 7s National Championship has been renamed The Dave Sitton Memorial Trophy. “We will miss his energy and enthusiasm,” USA Rugby Collegiate Director Rich Cortez said in October. “With this award, perhaps we can remember that excellence is an objective worthy of a lifelong quest.”
The University of Arizona Men’s rugby team then named Sean Duffy – assistant head coach at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and former USA Rugby employee who helped develop the sport’s popularity both in the Eastern U.S. and internationally – as the first paid head coach in the Wildcats’ 45-year history.
Duffy, 26, replaces the late legendary coach Dave Sitton who passed away on August 12, 2013 after thirty five years at the helm of the University of Arizona program. The program currently has 60 players and has turned out numerous collegiate All-Americans, Eagles 15’s, and 7’s representatives. “I’m honored to be appointed to this position and to carry on the legacy of Dave Sitton who helped establish Wildcat Rugby as one of the most successful collegiate rugby programs in the U.S.,” said Duffy.
Heath Bray, former Arizona football player and assistant coach, said after Sitton’s death, “I want everyone to know how much of a loss our friend Dave Sitton is. I have had the pleasure of meeting many people in my life. I have never met a person that I liked more than Dave. I have a deep hole in my heart over his loss. He was one of the smartest, nicest, most sincere, and informed men that I will ever know. He was so supportive of me, and so many of us. We lost one of the greatest wildcats ever today. He is one of the people that I can’t wait to have a beer with in heaven. You are missed bro. Cheers. Another of Sitton’s Rugby players said about him: “He bled red and blue.” Don’t think there’s a simpler way to describe him”.
The Arizona Wildcats Rugby Club continues the grudge tradition of battling with ASU Sun Devil Rugby Team earlier in the year the Wildcats took a 38-10 victory this past Fall and last Spring’s season matchup against ASU club team, the Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 51-38 in the first ever game on William David Sitton Field. The Sun Devils took this year’s matchup winning the Dave Blank Trophy 34-15.
The UA Women’s Rugby Club finished up their regular season play with a 49-24 win over Kennesaw State University, and they will begin play-offs March 29th. This was the last home match for the senior class, and they could not be happier with the way the Ruck Tide played this season: their motto is Get Dirty, Play Rugby…President and 4-year member of the club, Caitlin Reilly stated on Facebook, “Every Sunday when I wake up the sorest that I have even been (since the last Sunday) I ask myself why I keep playing rugby. Then I show up to practice on Monday, tackle my friends and remember. Can’t wait to head to playoffs with you wonderful ladies, and I’m so proud of our team!”
Rugby Union was played in the Olympic Games in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924. The United States won the gold medal in rugby against France in both 1920 and 1924 making the United States the only country to hold two gold medals in rugby at this time. In 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted to re-introduce rugby to the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games but in a sevens rugby four-day tournament format instead of the rugby union 15’s rugby. The next Rugby World Cup will be held in England in 2015. In addition to the Olympics and the Rugby World Cup, other major tournaments are held every year including the Six Nations Championship, The Rugby Championship, Super Rugby, and The Heineken Cup.
Rugby Sevens at the 2016 Summer Olympics is scheduled to be held in August in Rio de Janeiro. The competition will take two days. The 2016 Summer Olympics is the first time rugby sevens will be played at the Olympics, though rugby union was last played at the 1924 Summer Olympics. Rugby sevens, also known as seven-a-side, is a variant of rugby union in which teams are made up of seven players, instead of the usual 15, with shorter matches. The game is popular at all levels, with amateur and club tournaments generally held in the summer months. Sevens is one of the most well distributed forms of rugby, and is popular in parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and especially in the South Pacific
Since its beginning, rugby has developed into one of the world’s most popular sports, with millions of people playing, watching and enjoying the game. It is enjoyed by men and women of all ages from young children in youth programs to masters (over-35) rugby leagues. Rugby is also played at a variety of levels from amateur to competitive collegiate and professional levels. At the heart of the sport is a unique ethos which it has retained over the years. Not only is rugby played to the letter of the laws established by World Rugby, but within the spirit of the laws. Among all fans, players, referees and coaches, you will find a common bond of dedication and passion for the sport that unites them all. From the school playground to the Rugby World Cup final, Rugby Union offers a truly unique and thoroughly rewarding experience for everyone that is involved in the game.
In Arizona, within the Arizona Rugby Union, there are now 16 Men’s Clubs in the State that play each season for a state championship trophy and can progress to regional then to a national club championship competition. The Devil’s Rugby Cup is one premier rugby 15’s tournament that is held the first weekend in December each year in Tempe. The event attracts some of the most competitive sr. men’s, sr. women’s, collegiate (men’s/women’s), and youth (HS boys/girls) clubs from around the nation and offers an exceptional social program for the rugby fans! FUTURE DATES: December 5–6, 2015 and December 3–4, 2016.
The Tempe Sizzling 7’s Rugby Invitational and National Qualifier is a premier rugby 7’s tournament that is held in June, annually. The Sizzling 7’s Invitational also attracts senior men, senior women, collegiate men and women, and youth (HS boys/girls) programs from around the nation. The Southern California Rugby Football Union (SCRFU) has also designated the Sizzling 7′s as one of four qualifying events and Sizzling 7’s is hosted by the Tempe Rugby Club and sponsored by the Desert Southwest Athletic Club.
The Tucson Rugby Cup is scheduled for March 28th and will feature a long-lived grudge match between the Tucson Magpies and the Old Pueblo Rugby Teams and will conclude with a Senior contest. Rugby words to live by; “that flanker will be in the World Cup in four years and if you are playing your very best and you get your ass kicked-you’re getting your ass kicked by the very best!”
Magpie Coach John Rouff is trying to gather a club team to tour Wales this year and if you are interested call him.
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HONEY BEE PIT HOUSE CONSTRUCTION MAPS OUT THE HOHOKAM’S LIFE WAYS AT STEAM PUMP RANCH IN ORO VALLEY EXPANDING THE PREHISTORIC RECORD !
Allen Denoyers is building a Hohokam village on Tucson’s northwest side. Visitors to Oro Valley’s historic
Steam Pump Ranch can crawl between two wood uprights and find themselves transported back to 900 AD. The southwest archaeologist has propelled his career by taking prehistoric technology into his hands and by learning from the past and teaching his students what life was like a thousand years ago. Denoyers passion for the past has taken many different forms, since junior high school, the self-taught flintknapper has created knifes, axes, spears, atlatls and now prehistoric pit houses. Archaeology Southwest, a local archaeology research firm, where Denoyer works, has long been responsible for expanding the prehistoric record by their survey of endangered sites and filling in the holes of existing knowledge about the folks who once lived here in the Sonoran Desert. So when Denoyer built his first pilot pit house, he was working from the knowledge gained from the past century of southwest archaeology and in partnership with the Town of Oro Valley and the Oro Valley Historical Society. In truth, most of what is known about the Hohokam pit house are the holes in the ground left behind by the wood uprights stuck in the ground centuries ago. The roofing, side and interior of these homes today are modeled on historic homes of the Hohokam descendents that today, are known as the Tohono O’odham and Pima people, of Southern Arizona.
When Hurricane Norbert dropped four inches of rain on Oro Valley last September, swelling washes to ten feet deep in places and requiring local fire and police to rescue motorists from swollen washes and flooded roadways. Loads of mud sloughed off Denoyers pit house completely filling it with water. That’s when the learning began for Archaeology Southwest who figured 40-50 percent of the mud was lost. Mud from the upper portions of the walls washed away or slumped in. The roof actually stayed relatively intact, with losses mostly confined to the edges. “But we don’t see this as a tragedy—in fact, we’repretty excited about what we’re learning, Denoyer points out in the Archaeology Southwest blog. “Remember that we built this as the first stage in a series of experiments, and now we have more information. If southern Arizona’s pit house dwellers had built their structures just like ours, then a rain like this would have been devastating—most dwellings in a village would have been affected. It is possible that Hohokam pit houses had more thatching, or that the relative proportions of materials in our mud mixture need to be adjusted, or both. Now we’re designing the next stage of experiments to test these possibilities.” These pit houses were pretty stuffy after the monsoons begin, maybe when rain opens them up, instead of re-mudding they laid thatch mats over the new openings allowing air to circulate. Perhaps we need more thatching or interior support and possibly a different mixture of water and mud, to better combat the elements. Getting the moisture content of the earth just right is a real art, “I love the sound of the mud”, says Denoyer as he applies a rock to the wet surface smoothing it and creating a slick surface. “Floating the mud gives it a sheen and when the rain hits-it just rolls off.” “It really doesn’t take all that much work”, he says of pit house construction, “five or six people working together could finish in a couple of days”. “I love digging, screening earth, being out here all day. I’m so lucky so many people hate their work. At the end of the day, you can step back and appreciate what you accomplished.”
Archaeology Southwest has taken the next step to learn from the past, under the tutelage of Denoyer, the
research firm is offering several ongoing workshops, where participants will learn the basics of pit house construction as archaeologists have learned from excavations. Denoyer will lead participants through the construction process, from excavation of the house pit to creating the superstructure, putting each student hands-on with traditional tools and materials. Through this work, Archaeology Southwest hopes to add detail to archaeological knowledge of how these structures were made by ancient people. Workshop sessions take place at Steam Pump Ranch in Oro Valley. Each session will last for three hours. Initial sessions will be dedicated to repairing rain-damages to the 2014 pit house. After that pit house is restored, participants will create small test pit houses that will enable us to compare how slightly different methods and materials respond to time and weather. Class Dates: Friday 3/6/15 from 9:00am-12:00pm – $40.00, Friday 3/13/15 from 9:00am-12:00pm, Friday 4/10/15 from 9:00am-12:00pm, Thursday 4/16/15 from 9:00am-12:00pm, Friday 4/24/15 from 9:00am-12:00pm -classes are for participants 18 years and older, there is a $40.00 charge.
ONE STUDENTS IMPRESSIONS ON THE HANDS-ON PIT HOUSE CLASS
Denoyer has based the pit houses his classes are building on homes found in Honey Bee Village, an Oro Valley
Hohokam site, the 32 acres excavated by Henry Wallace, in 1986, his study turned up more than 2000 features, including 100’s of pit houses, a large plaza and a small ball court which established Honeybee as the economic center of several villages situated along the Canada del Oro River. The ball court Wallace believes was based on the Mesoamerican ball game, played with a rubber ball batted around with paddles perhaps resembling those used today in ping pong. The ball game, Wallace believes, was an “integrative tool” to bring folks together and exchange goods creating a “large trade fair”, around 800 AD, in the village’s center plaza. The larger excavation of the Tortolita foothills was undertaken by Desert Archaeology because of the advancing bulldozers for the development of the 5000 acre Rancho Vistoso housing project that today has covered over or bull-dozed many other sites right off the face of the earth. Honeybee’s sister site the larger “Sleeping Snake”, where “not much is left” says Wallace of the site now covered by a golf course. So when Wallace got to Honey Bee, the archaeologist trenched the village core and conducted a systemic shed collection, learning a lot about the residents of the 100’s of homes characterized by large oblong holes in the ground encircled by holes left by the pole uprights supporting the pit house village. Wallace believes the life of a pit house was 15-20 years and believed Honey Bee which was a “great place of ak-chin farming” said Wallace of the wide flood plain along Big Wash. It never supported more than a 100 people at any given time, saying the village’s population was “between 40-90 people at any given time” and that Honey Bee” was not alone but part of something larger”. Denoyer points out supplies were limited and not everyone could build a pit house whenever they wanted. “They wouldn’t pull out the plants”. which grew along side of the Canada del Oro River which provided weep willows, for the necessary wall and roof support, for the Hohokam pit house, instead “they would cut the plant and it would grow back the next year” and more homes could then be built. Carbon 14 dating has placed some of the wood found around 1050 AD, and Wallace feels the wood was carried a great distance, climbing into the Catalina Mountains and carrying it many miles home. There was a lot of competition for building supplies, Honey Bee was far from alone along the CDO, notably the Romero Ruin now protected in Catalina State Park and Rooney Ranch site was bulldozed, and now is named after a shopping center. There were fifty pit houses and the bulldozers had entire pots rolling down the hillside, along with burials from between 700AD to 1380AD. One pit house had an altar at one end, where a bighorn sheep’s lower jaw was found buried shows a large populations lived along along this stream and visited the high country to hunt and possibly worship. Henry Wallace believes the Catalina high lands brought spirituality to the Hohokam people, “so it was important to bring a piece into your home,” speaking of the large ridge poles carried from the mountain.
Today, archaeologist study a rich rock art site, surrounding the “easiest path to high altitude” up the Catalina Sutherland Ridge. In November 1949, a hunter’s foot broke through the earth’s crust and Ray Romo peered into the past. The broken ground revealed a Hohokam pot cupped over another larger pot, inside were 25 copper bells and a 100,000 beads, Emil Haury and Carol Gifford speculated that the Romo Cache was an offering to insure the welfare of a village. The beads weighed 3.5 pounds, some are made of steatite or talc. These are black. Some are of a ferruginous aphanitic matrix containing quartz grains. These are red. Some are of chryosolla or turquoise. These are green and blue. A dozen are made from seashells. The black beads make up 40 per cent, the red beads 58 per cent, turquoise beads about 2 per cent. Some have marks, showing they were worn at one time. The bells were all made in Jalisco, more than 1200 miles south in Mexico. Someone carried them here and carefully hide them in these rocks, below you would have seen Honey Bee, the larger Sleeping Snake Village and the Romero village and many more villages laced along the running Canada del Oro stream. Who left it, we can’t say nor do we know why ? Maybe it begged God for his blessing ! After the Aspen fire, lots of pottery showed up, along the pathway up to the Catalinas. Excavations turned up one bell at the Rooney Ranch site, one more bell was found at Honeybee village–whatever the message the Romo cache begged, “in 950 AD, the Tucson villages fragmented”, people were moving away from Honey Bee’s Plaza, “they were moving out”, says Wallace. “There was a drastic and sudden change in 1150.” “Perhaps warefare or environmental change and social divisions created by a hierarchy of people with power living over people,” speculates Wallace. “Not long after this, they are all gone…”
“It’s very sad” Wallace says, “that east ridge is where all the Hohokam houses were–that’s where all those new houses are now.” A coalition of groups recognizing the prehistoric value of the Honey Bee Village proposed a preservation effort about a decade ago. In 2006, Oro Valley and Pima County, through a land donation from Steve Solomon, owner of Canada Vistas Homes, the development company that purchased the land, together created the Honey Bee Village Preserve.
The new preserve was established to protect the large Hohokam Indian community that occupied the site between 700 AD and 1200 AD, according to archeologists. Honey Bee Village is located just north of the intersection of Rancho Vistoso Boulevard and Moore Road. Archeologists have identified the locations of hundreds of pit houses, a ball court, a walled compound and a central compound on the relatively undisturbed site where developers once intended to build the town center for Oro Valley. Preservation of the 13-acre village was possible with the $8 million donation of real estate placed into public trust. “On one hand, we have 13 acres of highly valuable real estate, and on the other hand we have an invaluable prehistoric resource that would be plowed over and lost forever,” said Steve Solomon, owner of Canada Vistas Homes, the development company that had originally purchased the land and donated it.Pima County originally intended to use $1 million in preservation bond funds to purchase the land before its real estate value skyrocketed to $8 million. In exchange for Canada Vistas Homes donation, Pima County conducted an archeological survey of the land around the Honey Bee Village Preserve to collect any artifacts or Indian remains and clear the way for the development of 145 single family homes and 124 luxury condominiums. After the 2008 depression, “the property sat neglected for years” says Loy Neff, with Pima County Sustainability and Cultural Resources.
Today the 13-acre core of Honey Bee Village is now preserved for future generations. The preservecontains most of the large mounds, the ballcourt, the large plaza and the rock-walled enclosure. Access to the Preserve is controlled for preservation and management purposes. A permanent wall was placed on an easement on the adjoining property to avoid disturbance to the Preserve. Public access to Honey Bee Village Archaeological Preserve is along a public easement through the commercial development from Moore Road to the boundary wall gate within the Archaeological Display Area. Limited access to the Preserve by the neighboring residents is through the Archaeological Park, accessible from the Preserve. A public access easement through the residential development allows trail users to access the Preserve through a gate on the northern boundary of the Preserve. Honey Bee Preserve is protected by Arizona state statute, and collection of plants, artifacts, rocks, or any items is strictly prohibited and violators will be prosecuted. Honey Bee Preserve is monitored on a regular basis by Arizona Site Steward volunteers. The remarkable status of Honey Bee Village as the only large intact Hohokam village remaining in Oro Valley area makes it one of the most significant cultural resources in Pima County.
For South West archaeologist, the ubiquitous pit house, clouded the prehistoric picture of ancient man. The Hohokam is now known to be the primary prehistoric agriculturalist of the Sonoran Desert. This ancient man surrounded himself with Mother Earth to protect his family from his harsh environment, like the sun and rain, that fell from the sky or the cold that surrounded them. The pit house has roots in prehistoric times in the arctic, the desert, the mountains, the plains and in woodland areas over a large part of North America west of the Mississippi River. The earth-covered frame house changed slowly in architecture, no two pit houses were exactly alike but their features are typical of homes found in northeast Asia, across the Bering Strait, throughout North America and deep into South America. From the earliest dates, the pit house changed very little, it’s shape evolved from a square, to a rectangular, eventually taking an elliptical shape over the centuries. The Hohokam evolved their oblong pit homes with rounded ends, the front and back wall were parallel and sized approximately 6 meters wide x 3 meters depth.
Archaeologist find pit homes of the Plains cultures as far East as the U.S. southeast in Arkansas, there historical earth lodges of the plains Indian seem identical to the type used by the prehistoric man. Typically the pit house had four central roof supports in early homes, the supports increased later with a side entrance composed of a covered passage-way, inclined from the floor. The floor of well plastered caliche, was built on native soil. The fire pit was a deep basin in the interior with a thick coating of caliche, the rim being flush with the floor. Cross beams, spaced at irregular intervals, held a thatch of twigs and grass, which was covered with caliche. The dirt covering the roof extended down onto the walls, they were plastered and renewed as the need arose.
Many were burned, perhaps as part of a funeral rite ?
Archaeologist believe most villages were economically related through exchange systems, typified by the trading of shell bracelets and jewelry from the Sea of Cortez for cotton textiles from the Salt/Gila canal systems. A larger widespread trade network is suggested by the trade of shell from the Gulf of California, parrots and macaws from Mesoamerica and turquoise from various Arizona locations.
Villages were small with houses centered around plazas. During the Colonial Period AD 775-975 homes are arranged in house clusters or courtyard groups archaeologist Dave Wilcox finds two to four houses arranged with entrances facing a common courtyard and sites generally contain one or more house clusters. Many archaeologist see this as a time of expansion-the Sedentary Period 975-1150 AD saw continued growth of existing settlements and new villages sprang up along rivers and in the open desert. Irrigation canals expanded in the Salt Gila and houses increased in size. Public architecture like ball courts occur now, public architecture including platform mounds became more elaborate, some larger sites had one or more ball courts as well as platform mounds. After 1300 AD everything starts to diminish and withdraw – platform mounds begin to be encircled by adobe walls, the Casa Grande great house was built during the late classical period. Walled terraces or cerro de trencheras, were constructed on steep hillsides, in the Tucson Basin. Extensive agricultural farms are expanded in the desert regions and agave farms are expanded. Bill Doelle and Henry Wallace have argued the Tucson Basin emerged as a regional center during the Classic period, they suggest that cerro del trencheras were defensive and indicate warfare or the threat of warfare between the Tucson Basin and the Salt-Gila Complex (Phoenix). Archaeologist find an increase in site hierarchy along the Salt-Gila and the Tucson basin during the Colonial period. Ball courts were first constructed along the Canada del Oro and served to integrate a number of associated smaller villages within the Hohokam community. By AD 1000, the Hohokam were using all parts of the Tucson Basin, they built their villages along streams and rivers and hunted and gathered in the foothills and mountains.
Experience the ancient art of flintknapping. Join Allen Denoyer for his Hands-On Archaeology class, “How Did People Make and Use Stone Tools?”. In each of these beginner classes, you will use ancient techniques and replica tools to create a stone projectile point. You will also learn more about how people made and used such points, and that points were just one component of a complete hunting technology. The class is for individuals 18 years of age and older and lasts approximately 3 hours. This class will meet at Steam Pump Ranch at 10901 North Oracle Road, Oro Valley, AZ 85737. If you are interested in registering a group of three or more participants, please contact Kathleen Bader by phone at (520) 882-6946 x26 or by email to reserve space for your entire group. Class is Friday 3/20/15 from 9:00am-12:00pm – $40.00
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SAN CARLOS APACHE MARCH TO OCCUPY OAK FLAT PROMISE A FIGHT TO SAVE THEIR HOLY GROUND FROM THE GREED OF McCAIN, KIRKPATRICK, FLAKE, GOSAR AND THE RESOLUTION COPPER MINE !Campfire smoke is thick in the morning chill on Oak Flat in the lush 5000′ Arizona high country. Western Apache from all over the state have come together to “occupy” their ancestral homeland and the smell of breakfast drifts across the Flat as members of the San Carlos Apache, White Mountain, Yavapai and Tonto Tribes leave their warm sleeping bags and meet up around the oak wood fire. There is little said about the planned Resolution Mine that will collapse this spot into a huge hole when their robots have undermined this land. President Eisenhower set aside this treasure by Presidential decree to save America’s unique wild places. Instead talk centers on happier days! Days spent with their mothers, fathers and grandparents, aunts and uncles, the kids and babies, as everyone scurried about harvesting the rich, sweet-tasting acorns which for centuries have been a delicacy of the Apache people and a centerpiece to their ceremonies marking each chapter of their lives, like joyous weddings.
Today some of those beloved relatives are now buried in Gann Canyon, their wakes and funerals where held here in the campground, acorn stew was boiled with meat, into a pancake batter like paste, and served honoring those who have now met their Creator. Many Apache Sunrise ceremonies are held here each summer to celebrate Apache daughters reaching womanhood, accented by the Apache Crown Dancers, twirling and funneling their prayers to God.
Today, Anthony Logan, an Apache medicine man will bless this holy ground beneath them and they will all dance to the drums and pray that God will answer their prayers.Many will pray the Creator protect Oak Flat from the destruction set in motion by politicians, like Arizona Sen. John McCain, who behind their backs put a land swap into the “must pass” defense spending bill at midnight. The new Republican Senate then passed the $585 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2015…89 to 11. Tucson representative Raúl Grijalva has called this “a grave injustice” and calls this “unjust legislation” be repealed, a motion supported by more than 70 Indian Tribes across the United States who now join him in demanding protection for Oak Flat. The Apache protest began in San Carlos last week when tribal members started a 50 mile march to their sacred holy ground two miles east of Superior, Arizona. In spite of a few blisters, they arrived more than 250 strong supported by Tribal members from all over the U.S.. They filled the campground and Anthony Logan, aka “Rolling Fox”, conducted the “Holy Ground Blessing” ceremony held beneath the mine shafts being constructed by Resolution, a British mining company who wants to undermine the mountain and collapse the entire sacred Mountain into the country’s third largest copper mine to sell the ore to China, leaving the Apache the hole and a compromised water supply. Apache drummers and singers performed sixteen songs blessing the sacred land and dancers who came to take to back their ancestral land. After the ceremony, the Reverend John Mendez, an internationally recognized civil rights activist, told the crowd that the Apache spiritual movement would move “like a prairie fire”. The fire and brimstone preacher from Emmanuel Baptist Church in North Carolina told the mostly Native American audience, “they can’t stop you, when we unit”. “A people united won’t be stopped. We will not quit, there is nothing that can stop you.” Mendez closes in pray “Father we put all things in your hands, guide us.” “We have to stand up and fight Congress, laws can be made and laws can be changed! John McCain made a big mistake doing this to us said Terry Rambler, present Chairman of the San Carlos Tribe, who gave all tribal employee an administrative day off to join the March. They put this (land swap) in behind our backs-then they stabbed us in the back.” God blesses the world–he put us here to protect the land and as long as we put God first–he will fight for us. Apache people were taught to pray and only through prayer will we win. The white man came to America in search of religious freedom but still they deprive the Apache of what is his religious right.” “We are still prisoners-of war” said Wally Davis, chairman of the Tonto Apache speaking of how all Apache had historically been forced marched to the San Carlos Indian Reservation. “This is a message to all Native Americans.” “San Carlos is still a prison,” Davis said.
Apache Leap Mountain gains its name from the Pinal Apache Band who lived in these hills and valley, the rocks still carry rock drawing left from their dreams of successful hunts for deer and mountain sheep, game that filled their stomachs and fueled their children’s futures, their love of the land and their freedom. Fifty of the 1870 band died leaping from the ragged mountain edge as they were surrounded by the United States Cavalry who demanded they return to the reservation in San Carlos, or die by their sabers. They chose to leap instead knowing their God knew best how they should live and die.
Speaking in one voice for Native Americans everywhere, tribal members attended from all over the world and former San Carlos Apache chairman Wensler Nosie announced Thursday February 4th, 2015, to be a historic day asthe Apache once again took the field against the United States of America. “We were pushed here”, we used to roam the entire South West, but we were told to stay on the reservation and extermination was the response when we didn’t. The white man killed our ancestors, my great-grandparents, when they tried to continue their nomadic lifestyle! My mother told me, stay on the reservation-don’t bother those white people outside or they will hurt our people! That was a sickness pressed upon our people by the U.S. government, that ends today, says Nosie, “Today we pray to our God and through God we will win.” Nosie told the 250 people and media assembled outside the Tribal Administration building to begin their march to Apache Leap Mountain which towers over the Arizona community of Superior.
Their voices thundered with emotion Thursday as the San Carlos Apache prepared to march on Oak Flat the words spoken left no doubt that “greedy politicians”, like Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake Representatives Anne Kirkpatrick and Paul Gosar, have worn out their welcome in San Carlos, Arizona or in Indian Country anywhere else in the United States. “The rape of Indian land stops today on this historic day. Oak Flat was a gift from God to the Apache people, may we all be blessed from this day forward,” Nosie told the crowd. “We are spiritually guided today–indigenous people from all over the world are watching our fight”! If America is the World’s Policeman, and this under-handed maneuver is how they treat their native peoples, then what hope do native souls have anywhere.
“They think we are stupid, he said, “but our ancestors are smiling down on us and saying those our children — our educated children! “We want entitlement to our land and reservation, this is a day of healing and through prayer,we are going to win this! Today we are bringing down the barriers imposed upon us and today we breakout, our children are strong and the abuse from the people outside (the reservation) ends today.
All 2,400 acres of the land swap are part of Apache ancestral and ceremonial lands. So although Republican lawmakers have tried for years to secure the transfer of these lands, they have always run into strong opposition from the San Carlos Apache Tribe and Democratic lawmakers and conservation advocates, so they stole it. If the legislation succeeds, it will allow Resolution Copper Mining Co. to exchange more than 5,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land it owns throughout Arizona for about 2,400 acres of federal land near Superior. The company would develop a 7,000-foot-deep mine there, opening the third-largest undeveloped copper resource in the world.
Councilman Fred Ferreiria from the San Carlos Peridot district says “they gave us this land because no one wanted it — they found minerals — and they took it. If we don’t stop it now — bit by bit they will take it all away again.” We learned the laws and how things are done, we were doing that, and the government broke the rules, we continue this fight, we are here today for our children.” “We have champions in Congress and they will help us “repeal this law” said Ed Norris, chairman of the Tohono Oodham.
The Tonto National Forest is this country’s fifth largest forest and has on average 5.8 million visitors annually.It was set aside as a national forest back in 1905 in order to protect its watersheds around key reservoirs used by the people of the communities around it which include Phoenix, Flagstaff, Prescott, Snowflake, Winslow and the nearby Apache Reservations. The forest produces an average of 350,000 acre-feet of water each year feeding into Theodore Roosevelt Lake and the Salt River which bisects the national forest running east to west. In 1955 Eisenhower used Public Land Order 1229 to protect parts of Tonto National Forest from the mining industry that wanted to despoil it for profits. Thanks to the work of conservationists over the decades, without a doubt, it is one of the most beautiful unspoiled areas this nation has left…
For 50 years Vonda Cassadore whose grandmother Josephine always brought them camping at Oak Flat, to the very campsite we enjoy today as they prepare breakfast for the Apache protestors. They had fun picking up the acorns and now Cassadore shares that experience with her little grand-daughter Amaee Talgo who is learning the art of baking bread. For today’s breakfast Vonda and her friend, Kris Salaloa, work together to fry bread and tortillas, Theresa Nosie is dishing out the biscuits and gravy, hash browns, bacon and sausage for the hungry, growingcamp of protestors. The Apache Way makes it’s grandma’s duty to teach her grandchildren the traditions of their people. “Since I was a little girl I came here with my mother and now I bring my grandkids says Salaloa, some of these trees are as old as I am and God knew what he was doing when he gave Apache acorns. For Cassadore, today’s memory of watching her mom sitting at the base of the Emory Oak shading them today is still quite vivid. “She would check to make sure we were okay and where we were, “making sure we didn’t get more acorns picked than she did”. Since I was age 3, I started picking up acorns and filling up coffee cans”, they always arrived in July before the monsoons came, the whole family came to pick, the babies would be hung in their cradle boards from the huge Emory Oaks while we searched for acorns. The acorns would be transferred to a glass jar with old levi’s wrapped around the glass and soaked in the cool stream to keep them fresh. Mom would let us run free here around “Grandmother’s Tree” where we camped while they picked plants for the burden baskets and medicinal plants. “Go to the new trees”, she would say, “they have the biggest acorns”. “This is Apache territory and Oak Flat belongs to the Apache–they took it away from us and we must take it back says Chairman Terry Rambler. I am very proud of my ancestor’s “Apache Pride” we were supposed to be exterminated but we are here today, let’s take over Oak Flat, this is our time to be involved! Apache were slaughtered and killed here–we will fight for the blood of our ancestors. “The chairman continues saying San Carlos Tribal council went on record voting against any copper mine being built upon their land and notes the white people came to this land in search of religious freedom, fleeing persecution, they wanted “to have the ability to pray, we want the same freedom”.”Some people have to visualize something, like a church, a structure to express their love of God, Oak Flat is our church, it is no different today, today is about religious freedom, we need to keep our connection to our God.” “Oak Flat is our high ground, our mountains are called “weather makers”, they attract snow, it melts and the water flows in the four sacred directions. It flows to the Gila River, Queen Creek, the Salt River it makes the water that flows to us–it is the giver of Life and when Resolution Mine drill a mile deep making a hole a thousand times the size of a professional football stadium, it will subside and cave in–it will change the water.” All our medicinal plants will go away… We followed all the rules for ten years, we were winning and they put in a rider which made it hard for the legislature to say no. So without public input they passed this bill…”
When thunderstorms hit in this region, the mountains are where water is deposited before it flows downward toward the streams, rivers, underground aquifers and lakes. The water from the Oak Flat area continues eastward underground and flows down from the Pinal Mountains into Gilson Wash, then into the San Carlos River onward to the Gila River before it reaches San Carlos Lake. Our water is precious and limited. Resolution Copper Company will poison our waters and drain our aquifers.
“We are not going to give up, it’s because of our children–our children’s children…we must fight this land deal!
White Mountain Apache Kay Lewis, a former tribal judge, wearing yellow pollen on his cheek noted Rep. Anne Kirkpatrick was raised on the WMA reservation where her father made his living from a Trading Post selling to theApache and “she should know better”. “I was surprised”, Lewis noted, Apache are Democratic voters and they supported Kirkpatrick in her last successful re-election.”She used the Apache! She should know the Apache values, traditions, customs and ceremonies and she did not speak up for the Tribe on this land. The Apache are really done with her !” Signs proclaims “AZ. TRIBES BEWARE OF KIRKPATRICK”, “DON’T UNDERMINE OUR SACRED LANDS”, black teeshirts say “PROTECT SACRED OAK FLAT”, “YOU CAN’T GIVE AWAY LAND THAT ISN’T YOURS TO GIVE” “SAVE,PROTECT AND OCCUPY OAK FLAT — NO LAND EXCHANGE, NO COPPER MINE !
Sandra Rambler says if bulldozers show up on Oak Flat, I will stand in front of them and “they can bulldoze me if they want…I am all in !” says the sister of Chairman Rambler.“It will be a great devastation, I don’t want our ancestors graves disturbed, my daughter had her Sunrise Ceremony on Oak Flat, if these laws can be made and they can be changed! We want justice for the Apache people, we are educated not stupid, they brought us here and made promises now broken, we are too smart to let this happen again!” Rambler says. “I have ancestors who fought for the U.S. Army, who weren’t given the right to vote until 1948″, even though Native Americans were given the right to vote on June 2nd, 1924, but because of some state law, Indians were not allowed the vote until 1947 except for Arizona and New Mexico who finally dropped their prohibition in 1948 because of legal rulings. Three main arguments for Indian voting exclusion were Indian exemption from real estate taxes, maintenance of tribal affiliation and the notion that Indians were under guardianship, or lived on lands controlled by federal trusteeship.
U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar’s reference to American Indians as “wards of the federal government” following a discussion about the controversial Arizona land deal that opens the door for the country’s third largest copper mine. The Arizona Republican in responding to concerns from Phil Stago of the White Mountain Apache Tribe when he made the comment that stunned people at a December round-table talk in Flagstaff, as well as Indians all across the United States.”He kind of revealed the truth — the true deep feeling of the federal government: ‘Tribes, you can call yourselves sovereign nations, but when it comes down to the final test, you’re not really sovereign because we still have plenary authority over you,'” Stago told The AP.
In 1978 Indians were given the right to express our religion through the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Aug. 11, 1978 a United States federal law, enacted by Congress to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians. These rights include, access to sacred sites, freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rights, and use and possession of objects considered sacred. The Act required policies of all governmental agencies to eliminate interference with the free exercise of Native American religion, based on the First Amendment, and to accommodate access to and use of religious sites. It also acknowledges the prior violation of that right. Due to the complex nature of American Indian religious beliefs, American Indian religions have often been at odds with existing federal laws and government policies. There have been several areas of conflict. Firstly, American Indians did not have access to a number of sacred places that the tribes had traditionally used in religious ceremonies. Native American religious practices often came into conflict with the idea that American public lands exist for the use and benefit of the American people.
“We are a non-violent religious movement, said Wendsler Nosie at the conclusion of the Holy Ground Blessing.“Today eagle feathers arrived here on foot, this is a spiritual gathering. The idea is to get here so the blessing can be given by God. We have arrived so God will have blessed us … we are all brothers and sisters here. Together we will protect our waters so we can continue to live as human beings. The Apache need to be afforded the same protection as all U.S. citizens — we Apache want the same rights afforded everyone else. This is a gift from God to help save the world may we all be blessed from this day forward,” Nosie concludes.
Carrie Curley, age 26 is dancing with her aunt Margie Curley and says she is fighting for “my identity, our religion and our ancestral land”. Curley says every time she drives into the valley she stop at Oak Flat to pray. Her fondest memories are in Gann Canyon, where she prays thanking the good spirit for their land and to grace us withhis blessing. “The creator gave us land so they can’t take it away.” Margie remembers Oak Flat from her high school days where she attended high school there, her fondest memories of the Easter celebration celebrated by the much of the whole town who moves to Oak Flat over the Easter weekend-but as an Apache, she loves Oak Flat as “a holy land, a land of prayer.”
On a bronze plaque in front of the San Carlos Apache Administration building is written beneath the names of all the Apache who served as chairman or leaders of the San Carlos Tribe; it reads: “We remember those who sacrifice and defended our people–we recognize our great leaders and their respect for those who know freedom. We must guide our people to, once again, hold our destiny in our own hands, so I challenge each of us to overcome the oppression and begin the process of believing in ourselves. This must be the first step…
Usen, we ask for your blessing to guide our current and future leadership so that our children and the unborn will inherit our Apache Way of Life…..Wendsler Nosie Sr.
The Oak Flat Campground was set aside in 1955 by President Eisenhower in an effort to preserve special public lands from threats like mining and development. Since that time, thousands of visitors have enjoyed the wilderness.
Copper mining would shut out visitors to Oak Flat and allow international mining companies like Rio Tinto the power to disrupt the land by digging mine shafts, excavating minerals and carving roads through a once wild landscape. The tribes would be stripped of access to native and sacred lands to practice their religion, contrary to the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
Block cave mining is a technique that involves drilling and blasting from underneath the copper ore body, creating an underground cavern. This method causes instability within the mine and at the surface, making it collapse. At the Henderson Mine near Empire, Colorado, an entire mountainside collapsed after undergoing block cave mining. At Oak Flat, this would put sensitive ecological areas and sacred tribal lands at risk and would change the landscape forever.
Former Republican Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi reported to a federal prison in West Virginia
to begin serving a three-year sentence for corruption, money laundering and 15 other convictions
including wire fraud, extortion and racketeering.
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TOHONO O’ODHAM SLAP STICK IS A COMPETITIVE BATTLE IN SELLS, NOT FOR THE WEAK-KNEED, NOR FOR THE FAIR WEATHER VISITOR…
Playing the Tohono Oodham women’s stick game, Toka, is not for the weak at heart. The Lacrosse-style game involves teams of 5-12 members played without pads and battling it out with sticks cut from the desert mesquite tree. Getting slapped around in the heat of battle is part of the experience for contestants who range in age from early youth to late middle age.The recent tournament played during the TO’s Nation’s annual Rodeo and Fair brought out ten teams and almost 125 participants who took on various villages for the honor of being the best or toughest of the bunch. Starting at the civilized hour of noon, rivals “back-in-the-day tournaments which often began before sunrise and then moved into mid-day, stopping only as the heat of day forced folks into the shade. Today’s Toka Tournaments, since 1990 have been organized into tribal tournaments encouraging women of all ages to come out and fight for the “honor of their village” and this year celebrating the 25th anniversary of the “revival of Toka” has seen frequent tournaments pop up around the reservation and causing moreand more teams to surface particularly during the cooler months. The next tournament will be hosted by the San Xavier District and many of teams have eyed that trophy. While Toka was played differently in the 1970’s taking over large fields with no specific out of bounds, today’s tournaments are fenced in providing some barriers to those battling for the Toka puck, two pieces of wood, held together by a piece of rawhide string, to win-the victory goes to the first team to get two goals. Spectators should not get to comfortable sitting on the sidelines because like the days of old, any spot within the fence is in play and a snoozing fan would not be the first to get slapped around and chased from their chairs-if not run over and flattened. I personally took a dirt bath when photographing my first tournament as the play moved toward my stance on the sidelines, expecting things to cease on the sidelines, was surprised to hide myself and camera in play. So I wasn’t surprised to find out, men are not allowed on the Toka field, probably because they aren’t tough enough to take the beating. Chatting with a former Santa Rosa player what she found the most challenging about Toka, she emphasized how much it hurt getting wacked on the ankle by a mesquite branch and further it was pointed out while the game might be about earning the honor for their village–secretly it was pointed out a few well-placed wacks on your competitors ankle–slows them down a bit and schools them on the finer points of competition. May the best team win ! This year’s Tohono O’odham’s Rodeo and Fair was hammered by desert rains, beginning on Friday with the Nation’s Junior Rodeo and continuing into the weekend. Saturday the day started out with a drizzle for the annual parade and then it opened up and poured on the mid-way and fair, making the rodeo grounds a muddy mess, adding new action for the wild horse races, bareback and saddle broncs competition, presided over by rough stock, who didn’t really need the help but got it anyway. Some events didn’t register a good time all day taking all the prize money into a much drier Sunday performance. Still attendance was good, fantastic for weekend of rough weather, almost 800 people turned on Saturday and braved the downpours, some wrapped their feet in plastic shopping bags, to wander around the midway to enjoy the rides and corn dog alley. Sunday the sun came out, as did the mud-graders, who pushed the “chocolate pudding” aside, to make way for die-hard participants who danced the “Chicken Scratch” to a battle of bands honoring the Tohono Oodham way of dance. On the road side graders piled up mud 18 inches deep, reminding me of the mid-west winters, when snow would be pushed off the roadways and stack up there until Spring, in Sells, the mud was all gone by noon.
MORE PHOTOS FROM THE 2015 TOHONO OODHAM RODEO, FAIR AND TOKA TOURNAMENT CLICK HERE….
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SOUTHWEST SPANISH MISSIONS BROUGHT THE “GOSPEL’S LIGHT TO THE RIM OF CHRISTENDOM”, HELPED THE NATIVES CARVE A LIVELIHOOD FROM THE LAND AND WRITTEN HISTORY BEGAN !
Why did the “White Dove of the Desert”, Tucson’s San Xavier Mission, survive when all it’s brother missions scattered across the South West mostly melted into the desert? Today’s Mission was built between 1783-1797 and is the oldest European structure in Arizona. Its hosts 200,000 visitors from all over the world each year, charging no admission, the Mission is widely considered to be the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States. That wasn’t always the case, San Xavier began life in New Spain, then it was gathered up by Mexico and when the lines were drawn for the Gadsen Purchase, it came to the United States and became a part of the Diocese of Santa Fe and soon major repairs began. It was spared the fate of the Tumacacori Mission whose roof collapsed when locals salvaged the timbers and instead it was adored and appreciated by the nearby Tucson community unlike the Missions of the Baja, beloved by their neighbors, but too poor to build up their missions overtaken by the weight of time. The Tucson Presidio contributed to San Xavier’s success by extending its protections to the remote village, and while the Apache razed San Xavier in 1770, the soldiers from the fort allowed repairs to be made then and work today continues to restore the ancient relic to its original state.
“Father Kino, made his first visit to the Tohono O’odham village of Wa:k (Bac) in 1692, the centuries old village was called the “place where the water appears” for the natural springs fueled by the nearby Santa Cruz River.Kino began to build a church in 1700. It apparently never got beyond its foundations. According to The South West Mission Research Center on “The Pimeria Alta” in 1751 the Jesuit Father Visitor Jacobo Sedelmayr said of the Indian community, ‘It is still very backward without a catechist, without obedience, and without any church other than a ramada and a wretched house. It is clear to see that this village has been visited very little.’ San Xavier’s first church, other than a ramada, was a flat-roofed, hall-shaped adobe building begun after the arrival of Jesuit missionary Father Alonso Espinosa in 1756, it was in service by 1763. Espinosa failed to level the site and there were no stone in the foundations, so structural problems existed from the beginning. “The adobe church built by Father Espinosa was the one inherited by Father Francisco Garcés when he arrived at San Xavier in 1768 as its first Franciscan minister.”
Bishop Antonio de los Reyes on 6 July 1772 wrote a report on the condition of the missions in the Upper and Lower Pimeria Alta. This is his report on San Xavier as translated by Father Kieran McCarty:
The mission at Bac is located on a long, flat lowland. To the east lies a land, little known and occupied by the wandering and warlike Apache nation. To the west lie the settlements of an infinity of pagan Indians, meek and docile, who people the land all the way to the Gulf of California, a distance a little more than a hundred leagues. To the south at distances of eighteen and twenty leagues lie the two missions at Guevavi and Suamnca and the Presidios of Tubac and Terrenate. To the north lies the little-known land stretching some forty leagues to the Gila River. The village of San Xavier at Bac is situated on open ground with an abundance of water and good land where the Indians cultivate a few small fields of wheat, Indian corn, and other crops. The church is of medium capacity, adorned with two side chapels with paintings in gilded frames. In the sacristy are four chalices, two of which are unserviceable, a pyx, a censer, dish and cruets, a baptismal shell, all of silver, four sets of vestments of various colors, with other ornaments for the altar and divine services – all very poor. According to the census Book, which I have before me, there are forty-eight married couples, seven widowers, twelve widows, twenty-six orphans, the number of souls in all – two hundred seventy.
“Improvements in the architectural at San Xavier had to await the 1776 arrival of Father Juan Bautista Beldarrain, a Basque friar. Building San Xavier was expensive, but Father Juan Bautista Beldarrain, was able to borrow $7,000 pesos – the equivalent of more than twenty years of a missionary’s salary – from a businessman, Don Antonio Herreros. The friar’s only collateral was wheat from crops not yet planted – almost as if he expected Don Antonio to join his vows of poverty. He hired an architect, Ignacio Gaona, and a large workforce of O’odham to create the present church. The church is roofed with masonry vaults, making it unique among Spanish Colonial buildings within U. S. borders. Gaona, is credited with building another church in Caborca, Sonora. The good Padre was never able to repay the debt; he died at San Xavier in 1790, the church still was undecorated and incomplete. Father Juan Bautista Llorens, oversaw the finish in 1797.
“In the nineteenth century, when Southern Arizona was still part of New Spain, around 1783 Father Espinosa’s old church was torn down and its adobes, wooden columns, and ceiling beams were re-used to build a convento wing extending east from the east bell tower of the Franciscan structure. Today’s church itself has interior and exterior walls of fired bricks set in lime mortar with an interior core filled with stone rubble over which lime mortar was poured as the walls went up.”
Following Mexican independence in 1821, San Xavier became part of Mexico. The last resident Franciscan of the 19th Century departed in 1837. With the Gadsden Purchase of 1854, the Mission joined the United States.In 1859 San Xavier became part of the Diocese of Santa Fe, which began the first repairs of the Mission. In 1866 Tucson became an diocese and regular services were held at the Mission once again. Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet opened a school at the Mission in 1872. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity now teach at the school and reside in the convent. In 1913 the Franciscans return to Bac.
An earthquake in 1887 knocked down the mortuary wall and damaged parts of the church, extensive repairs began in 1905, under Bishop Henry Granjon. The next restoration followed the years after 1939 when a lightning strike hit the West Tower. In 1953 the church facade was restored. San Xavier became a National Historic Landmark in 1963. The Mission is nine miles south of downtown Tucson, just off of Interstate 19. Take exit 92 to San Xavier Road, follow the signs.
The Patronanto of San Xavier in 1978 arose from within the Tucson Community to promote the preservation of Mission San Xavier. The group led a comprehensive study of the church’s architectural condition and found water seeping into the west wall of the church’s sanctuary, forcing emergency repair. An international team of conservators cleaned, removed over-painting, and repaired the interior, painted and cleaned the sculptured art within San Xavier. More work remains to be done to guarantee this landmark for future generations.
A kissing cousin to San Xavier del Bac California’s Old Mission San Luis Rey de Francia was founded in 1798 by Padre Fermin Francisco de Lasuen, the Mission was named after St. Louis IX, King of France, who lived during the 13th century. Due to its large size the mission was nicknamed “King of the Missions.” Its construction is similiar to San Xavier, more than any of the twenty-one missions, built between San Diego to the San Francisco Bay region. San Luis Rey may be the King of the California Missions but San Xavier was built first and towers over all the Spanish Mission now or historically, and today, is found on the City of Tucson Logo and Great Seal of Pima County.
Phillipp Segessor awoke to the understanding at age ten he was born to be a missionary on the edge of civilization in some far distant land. Within twenty years he would realize that dream, and for forty years his life in New Spain would bring many hardships far beyond the sweet promise of childhood daydreams. Segessor would bring many souls into the light and dispatch many more with the promise of salvation in eternity. Phillipp found himself far from the lush Switzerland slopes of his youth and in a land where there is only “the sky above and the ground below”. If one wishes more, he would have to either build it or grow it and then defend it.
Many letters were written between the missionary, his mother and brother who sponsored his spiritual service by shipping the needed seeds, and supplies required to kick-start a civilization just finding the wheel. Knifes, forks and spoons, plates, farm tools; hoes, books, writing paper and chocolate. Correspondence, record-keeping and journals became today’s history or the first written record which helps us understand the hardship these pilgrims endured, for their love of GOD.
The Catholic Jesuit Order built a mission based economy on the frontier by harvesting everything of value. Missions less fortunate were re-enforced by more prosperous missions who shipped the Baja missions grain and dried beef from the mainland. For the malnourished Indians of the Baja, the missionaries changed their lives. In Mexico and southern Arizona, the Pima Indians were less taken by God’s representatives in New Spain and ignored them as long as they did not annoy. After a few dust-ups over late night dances and singing, missionaries tried cracking down on “their villages” and found the natives ready to revolt and after some unfortunate deaths on both sides the Indians saw the wisdom in the word of their father’s god and moved back to the villages, to work the fields, milk the cows, tame the horses and bring in the harvests. Death was everywhere from disease and both sides wallowed in superstitions that only made the deaths worse, breeding more fear and misunderstanding. The Indians moved closer to the Church in hopes it would protect them from the disease killing their family and friends and not affecting the men in robe, could they save them ?
As for Father Segessor, when he was young, sleeping still under his mother’s roof-he was ready to conquer the world for Jesus Christ. The further he got from his homeland, his confidence eroded, until after years of being on the frontier where the Apache made each day a lottery. He became pretty realistic about the demands on his time and how much one man could possibly accomplish under such extreme conditions.
“For ten years the Seri and recently also the unbearable Apache, who have often come to my mission, raided it four times in three months, carrying off all the livestock. Nevertheless, they have reduced my mission and the neighboring indian to such a wretched state that I have even found myself forced to beg for a coat to cloth myself, and others do not have a shirt to cover themselves.”
“So that we can eat, it is necessary that my Indians, like the mountain hunters, procure wild cattle or oxen. No such misery has been experienced for as long as the mission have existed.”
“It is so dangerous to travel the paths and byways that no one is safe. All travelers are in great danger of falling into the hands of the enemy or dying from poisoned arrows and lances. I wish that the soldiers would humble my neighboring enemies, the Seri. “Last night”, he reported, “they finally carried off the few cattle, mules and horses that had previously escaped their thievish hands and have robbed me of all needed support, so I know not how I shall subsist in the future. Gold help us! On top of that, this year the crops have been very meager, so I do not know how we shall maintain ourselves.”
“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
I hope he will not desert us. God’s will be done.”
Later still there was less of the “His Will be Done!”, and more of a complaining tone which noted how much was accomplished and how more was impossible until such time as more money was contributed from the Crown or the Lord provided! Still the Mission system grew and grew, prospered, greened over while providing the surrounding tribes with a crop to sustain them and establishing a barter network that allowed missions to swap stuff needed elsewhere and some comforts from the Old World made the New World better.
“The missionary in America makes his way by horse, writes Segessor, which can be ninety miles or more, while in Europe he goes on foot. The differences is that in Europe he at least sleeps in a bed in a house at night, has a nice roast and some wine and can get some rest. In American he sleeps in the field and has to drink muddy water scooped from a pond, or no water at all, as has happened to me more than once. The difference is that in Europe the priest can get together with his friends or other competent residents and take care of his duties in a calm manner. The American must deal with a very careless Indian and even must put his own hand to the plow if he wants to support himself and his Indians. The different is that the European has ample income, while the American missionary Father has to live day after day in sworn poverty and pray by the light of a candle.”
New diseases from the Old World were everywhere, the plague took tens of thousands in Europe. But the chickenpox bedeviled Segessor and his missions, like San Xavier del Bac, Guevavi, Urias, his own health was up and down from the time he boarded a ship and sea-sickness wracked his system, still while he attended to his duties he had repeated bouts of malaria and at times, he gave death blessings for his fellow priests. Soon his letters spoke of a willingness to move closer to Jesus, a readiness for eternity if it pleased his Lord!
“I am in a state of distress in all things this year (1760), partly on account of enemy attacks, partly because we can’t work in the fields for fear of the enemy. Robbers attack the inhabitants and beat them horribly.
“Besides this, in the past year lightning hit my house and church three times causing great damage. I have not yet been able to repair the damaged house and church roof for a lack of nourishment, for everything in the field was lost.”
“During these dangerous uprisings when one is not safe on any road, or indeed even in his own house. My neighboring enemies, the Seri, burn and slaughter at will and kill the inhabitants. They cleverly appear first in one place, then in another, and there are too few Spanish soldiers partly because of the great expanse of the region and partly because of the great drought, the enemy has free reign to pursue his evil deeds.”
“I fear they will soon reduce my villages to ashes because they are roaming in the area and have killed or taken away all the horses, not to mention the great damage they have done to the herds of cattle.”
“I am not at all sure that they wouldn’t capture me, because I have to travel to the visitas (the outlying churches). “I am not even safe with my own Indians.” “Their fellow country men, the Upper Pima at San Xavier, killed two missionaries, a Spaniard and a priest in the Pima Rebellion of 1751 which took the lives of many, all between breakfast and dinner”, reported Father Segesser, writing from Horcasitas…April 11, 1761, rather his assigned Ures Mission which lay in ruin.
Segesser was at the presidio of San Miguel de Horcasitas to execute the will of the new governor and friend who decided to visit and was greeted by a hail of poison arrows from Seri tribesmen. Juan Antonio de Mendoza, governor of Sonora and Sinaloa, died November 28th, 1760, he had a promising future, but left no son.
Five years after Kino’s death, Padre Luis Velarde, wrote that he died as he lived, “very humble and poor”.
His bed was two calf skins as his mattress and a saddle as his pillow. Hot-headed when reprimanding sinners in public. He would pray a hundred times a day, and after supper he would enter the church and Father Velarde never saw him leave. He had no vices, he did not smoke, use snuff, drink, nor use a bed. He took his food without salt. He gave everything he had to the Indians. He was pious with everyone and cruel to himself, lacerating (flogging) his body. Father Vellarde stated that “to discover lands and convert souls were the virtues of Padre Kino”
Father Kino died in Magdalena, Sonora on March 15, 1711, his bones ly there still. He had traveled from his mission at Nuestra Senora de los Dolores to celebrate with Padre Agustin de Campos the Mass of Dedication for the new chapel to San Francisco Xavier, Kino’s patron saint. At the time of his death, Padre Kino had established 24 missions or vistas. Kino established the California peninsula was not an island, a popular theory in his time. After their discoveries in the New World by Kino and other Jesuits, in their absence, little knowledge was gained for 150 years.
Kino followed ancient trading routes established by the natives, these trails were later expanded into roads. His many expeditions on horseback covered over 50,000 square miles, during which he mapped an area 200 miles long and 250 miles wide. Kino was important in the economic growth of the southwest. He introduce the indians to European seed, fruits, herbs and grains. He also taught them to raise cattle, sheep and goats. Kino’s initial mission herd of twenty cattle imported to Pimería Alta grew during his period to 70,000. One historian called Kino Arizona’s first rancher. In his travels in the Pimería Alta, Father Kino interacted with 16 different tribes.
MacDougall’s Papagueria essay says ten or twelve centuries ago, the Tohhono Oodham (Papago) Tribe was encountered by the Spanish in Coronado’s expedition in the mid-16th century. The area became known as Papagueria and was traveled in all direction by padres establishing missions. Padre Kino, climbed the summit of Sierra Pinacate to view the Sea of Cortez, the peninsula of Baja California and the mouth of the Colorado River to determine whether Baja California was a peninsula or an island. Kino believed it was a peninsula, though today, most folks feel he could not have see that far. However, giving credit where it is due–when Kino’s caravan moved into a water spot to camp–it was dry when he left and that meant he could never return the way he came and constantly was looking for new water, a fearless approach to life. In the early days the ancient road from Sonora coming through Altar and Carboca led through the oasis of Sonoyta and across the desert to California, crossing the Colorado River in Yuma. It was traveled religiously by Spanish priests and the guards for the missions, it was the route followed by Father Kino in 1699, and became known as the “Camino Real”. During the Gold Rush days many inexperienced in desert travel, attempted the long arid stretches, it was the scene of many tragedies, as evidenced by the numerous crosses of stones spread out along the way. Particularly near Tinajas Altas, a series of holes high up on the granite, holding the only water in a three day journey, this became known as the “Camino del Diablo” through the Tule Desert.
The University of Arizona have conducted their Spring Archaeology Field School at the Guevavi Mission in 2013 and 2014, under the direction of Dr. Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman of the University, Homer Thiel of Desert Archaeology, Inc., and Jeremy Moss of the National Park Service.
Father Juan Domingo Arricivita, in 1792, writes “In 1768 Fray Juan Chrisostomo was assigned to the mission Los Santos Angles de Guevavi in Primeria Alta. Guevavi had three villages or visitas in its jurisdiction: Calabazas, two leagues away, Sonoitac, six and Tumacacori, seven leagues. It also had in its charge the Presidio of Tubac.
The Guevavi Mission site is owned today by the National Park Service, as part of the Tumacacori National Historical Park, and the City of Nogales, AZ. Today 21 students have participated in the field school’s mapping project that revealed features being damaged by traffic, erosion, and burrowing animals who were digging into a mission-era trash midden. The students found copper ore and slag at the top of the midden and believe it relates to Yaqui occupation of the site by miners in the 1810s. Deeper levels revealed mission-era Native American ceramics, Spanish olive jar fragments, Mexican majolica, Chinese porcelain, metal items, and large amounts of bone and plant remains, including maize cobs and peach pits. Aerial photos of a light-colored soil area revealed possible wall alignments, that proved to be trenches for animal pens, likely used to manage cattle and sheep herds. The students have on-going soil analyses in an attempt to find signs of animal manure, and chemical analyses of animal teeth, to find the origins of the cattle teeth found on site.
Their studies suggests the cattle was free-ranged. The bones were predominantly rabbit, deer and fish but found an active tallow rendering process to make candles for their light and axle grease to keep things moving. Trincheras pottery was found from Mexico, shell beads and one glass bead. A hand made cross was found at 3.5 inches dig depth, the Chinese porcelain was probably from Hong Kong which came from the Philippines, then Mexico by ship, then overland to Arizona, Spanish Olive jars, and peach pits from the oldest known specie of Peach tree, Tohono and Subaipuri ceramics. Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman notes this small and the less prosperous of frontier missions “had material coming into Arizona from all over the world”, noting China, the Sea of Cortez, Gulf of California, Spain/Mexico also Czech and Italian influences were found in this 1700 era mission.
The Letters of the Swiss Jesuit Missionary Philipp Segesser (1689–1762): An Eyewitness to Settlement of Eighteenth-Century Sonora (Pimería Alta)
Mission San Ignacio was founded by the Jesuit missionary Juan Bautista de Luyando in 1728 at today’s San Ignacio, Baja California Sur, Mexico./>[/caption] San Ignacio brags it has more date palms trees than residents, it is an oasis that is in contrast to the cactus and rock of the Baja. The palm covered oasis of San Ignacio is a welcome sight for all Baja travelers, the Jesuits planted the date palms and citrus orchards after 1728 when they built the mission. This site proved agriculturally productive, and was the base for Jesuit central peninsula expansion. In 1706 the surviving church was constructed by the Dominican missionary Juan Gómez and eventually abandoned by 1840.
A whale skeleton on Highway 1 marks the halfway point from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas, it also marks the turnoff into the small town which serves as the gateway to Laguna San Ignacio, one of the best whale watching areas in Baja. The peaceful natural lagoon opens up to the Pacific and lies 40 miles to the west of San Ignacio. This is the only lagoon that is still completely undeveloped and a seasonal stop for the California gray whales.
After the Spanish conquered the Mexican mainland early in the 16th century, they began searching westward for the fabled Island of Gold. In 1532, the conquistador Hernán Cortés sent two fleets of ships to look for the island. They failed to find it, so Cortés decided to lead the search himself. In 1535, he landed north of La Paz near the southern end of the Baja California peninsula where he found black pearls but no gold. Cortés and his men returned to the mainland, only to launch another expedition in 1539 under the leadership of Captain Francisco de Ulloa. This time the Spaniards sailed the full length of the Sea of Cortés, confirming that Baja was a peninsula. Ulloa was lost at sea the next year; Cortés returned to Spain in 1541 without fully exploring or colonizing Baja California. In 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo ventured into the region, but it proved to be the last exploration for 50 years.
La Paz was frequently the site of conflicts between the Spanish and the local Guaycura and Pericú Indians. In 1555, Cortés led a large party that attempted but failed to establish a settlement. Isidro de Atondo y Antillón and Eusebio Francisco Kino attempted to establish a mission settlement in 1683 but failed because of conflicts with Indians. When Jesuit missions finally took root in Baja California after 1697, their focus went north to Loreto.
Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Todos Santos (Our Lady of Pilar Church) was built in 1733 perched above the town of Todos Santos and has a spectacular view of the ocean. Much of the mission’s original architecture and many of the period furnishings have survived intact. Take the guided tour, which presents the mission’s history, for a fee. The church towers protectively over the square, but it is not the 1730’s original but an adobe reconstruction. This mission site was selected by Father Jaime Bravo in 1723. He built a “visita” town able to help support the mission of Nuestra Señora del Pilar in La Paz. He explored these lands and chose this place due to the number of “Pericúe” indians he found there, as well as, its climate and good soil conditions. Under Bravo’s direction, sowing of some crops began, their most important crops, were corn and sugar cane. As time went by, Todos Santos became one of the main providers for the La Paz mission. In 1733 the “visita” town became the mission Santa Rosa de Todos Santos and when the La Paz mission was closed, the mission of Santa Rosa de Todos Santos adopted it’s name Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Todos Santos.
Unlike the mainland settlements that were designed to be self-sustaining enterprises, the remote and harsh conditions on the BAJA peninsula made it all but impossible to build and maintain these missions without help from the mainland. Supply lines from across the Sea of Cortez including from the missions and ranches of Padre Eusebio Kino on the mainland to the Port of Guaymas played a crucial role in keeping the Baja California mission system intact. Along with religion, the Europeans brought diseases to indians who had no immunity. By 1767, epidemics of measles, plague, smallpox, typhus, and venereal diseases had decimated the indian population. From an initial population of 50,000 indians, only some 5,000 are thought to have survived. In Segessor’s letters he speaks of one priest who had spent a lifetime amongst the Pima and when he appeared to be getting soft on his Indians, they removed him, fearing he had become unstable and not more humane. This story reminds us in the wake of the Spanish wave across the New World that “they could be very cruel”…
Indians were housed often by gender, forced to convert to Catholicism and trained in the ways of the Spanish Empire within the confines of the mission. Indians often ran away or revolted, and many missions tettered on disaster. Use of firearms, whippings, religious ritual and psychological punishments were all methods employed by the missionaries to maintain control of their slaves. The cost of getting into Heaven, went sky-high, since there was little else for the Church to sell their flock.”From the wealthiest, whether it be for marriage or burial, the pastor demands as much as seems appropriate, even if it comes to two or three thousand whalers” writes Phillipe Segessor of his experience on the frontier. “The burial of an Indian servant or of his child costs 16 thalers, provided the large cross is not carried in the forefront of the procession. If it is carried, the cost is twenty-five thalers. Burial of a wealthy Spanish costs 30 thalers, with Mass and offices for the soul extra.” None of this money went to the Missionary father who provided all services for free in the belief that, “God would provide”.
During the sixty years that the Jesuits served the natives of California, 56 members of the Society of Jesus came to the Baja California peninsula, sixteen died at their posts, two were martyrs. Fifteen priests and one lay brother survived the hardships, only to feel the sting of the Jesuit removal decree launched against the Society by King Carlos III of Spain. Rumors that the Jesuit priests had amassed a fortune on the peninsula and were becoming very powerful, produced he order on February 3, 1768 when the King ordered the Jesuits forcibly expelled from the Americas and returned to the home. The Franciscans, under Fray Junípero Serra, took charge of the missions-closing or consolidating settlements.
When the expulsion order was issued from the King of Spain for the Jesuits to be rounded up and shipped to Europe, no resistance resulted. Instead the Jesuits from the fourteen operating missions said goodbye to the Indians who had worked for them and sadly left for Loreto. Following their forced march, many of their loyal friends reportedly followed their path and provided food and water to the priests throughout their ordeal. One priest later wrote “Not only did I weep then but throughout the journey, and even now as I write the tears stand in my eyes.” While few believed the Jesuits had amassed the fortunes believed to be hidden in the hills, it is true, on the mainland there were priests more tolerant of the natives and their ways than others. There beatings and hard labor was the measure of their devotion. On the Baja where life was strikingly harder, the Jesuit fathers changed the lives of many of their Indians neophytes and in return, they reportedly returned the love shown them. When they arrived in Loreto, the King’s order was read to them. Together they said a farewell prayer for their native friends and themselves; and in the dark of night they marched to the beach, to board the ship home. Still, the natives cried and kissed the hands that had worked so hard to lift them up from their hunger, as true friends, they begged the priests not to desert them. It is written even the governor shed tears, as the exiled missionaries stepped into the boat and together chanted the litany of Our Lady. Their voices rang out from the dark, reaching the weeping crowd on shore and the Jesuits sent their last farewell to Baja and their flock. Of the 678 Jesuits expelled from Mexico, seventy-five per cent were Mexican born. The royal decree said any Jesuit who returned to Spanish land under any pretext, was subject to the penalty of death. All the missionaries were sent to Vera Cruz, where they were held until their brothers from remote lands joined them there, so they all could be shipped together. There thirty-two of the Jesuits priests died while awaiting transit.
The only Franciscans mission in Baja was Missión San Fernando Rey de España de Velicatá and the nearby Visita de la Presentación was built in 1769. Thirty-nine Friars toiled on the peninsula during the five years and five months of Franciscan rule. Four died, ten transferred to Alta California, and the rest returned to Europe. Along with Governor Gaspar de Portolà, Father Serra was ordered by the Spanish government to travel north and establish a series of mission sites in Upper California. The Dominican order arrived in 1772, and by 1800, had established nine more missions in northern Baja, while running all the former Jesuit missions.
MULEGE BAJA SUR…CLICK HERE
Thus began the Mission Loreto. Loreto served as the base for expansion of the Jesuit mission system, first in south-central Baja California and then to more remote portions of the peninsula both to the north and to the south. The mission’s stone church, which stands today, was started in 1740. After the Jesuits were expelled from Baja California and replaced, first by the Franciscans in 1768 and then by the Dominicans in 1773 Loreto continued to be the headquarters. In 1769, the Loreto Mission was the starting point for the land portion of the land/sea exploratory expedition the joint military-missionary expedition that traveled into today’s state of California as far north as San Francisco Bay, led by Juan Bautista de Anza who later established new Franciscan missions at Velicatá Baja, San Diego and Monterrey. The Mexican Captain established a land route to California which aided colonization and cut off Russian and English encroachments.
San Javier is a village in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. It is approximately 25 miles southwest of Loreto on an dirt mountain road. It has a population of 131 residents and contains the Misión San Francisco Xavier de Viggé-Biaundó (more commonly called Misión San Javier). In 2002 San Javier Mission was checkpoint #8 in the Baja 1000 off-road race. Located in a deep valley in the Sierra de La Giganta, Mision San Javier is one of the few original Baja California Missions in an almost perfect state of preservation.
Mission San Javier was the second mission founded by the Jesuits and dates from 1699. That Mission is considered the most beautiful and best preserved Mission of the Californias. San Javier was built with stone hauled from a quarry 16 miles away. Its interior has a golden altarpiece with five oil paintings, brought from Mexico City in thirty two boxes; two statues: one of San Francisco Javier and another one of Our Lady of Guadalupe; a crucifix, all from the 18th century. It has three bells, two of them are dated 1761 and the other one 1803. There is a monument at the end of the street that leads to the church, known as “the Cross of Calvary”, from there hundreds of pilgrims walk on their knees to visit the Church of San Francisco Javier.
Festivities of the Patron Saint Day are from December 1st-3rd; There will be horse races, cock fights, folklore dances, a few national artists will perform. On the way up the road, take a side trip to Las Parras Ranch, which has a 200-year-old chapel to visit. During the annual celebration that attracts hundreds of pilgrims to participate in the county fair/carnival atmosphere that overwhelms the hamlet every year. One women decided to build a hot-dog stand – her first such venture at the Festival, although she grew up there. She had her portable wood stove set up from which she was making and selling tortillas, and while she sold lots of hot-dogs, she was surprised that her tortilla stove attracted a crowd of fascinated on-lookers waiting to be customers. The town’s wants to establish a self-guided nature walk of the surrounding area, including the orchards that date back almost three centuries to the Jesuit founders of the original mission. Dedicated to All Saints on the 1st of November 1699, by Father Juan María de Salvatierra it was later destroyed by hostile Indians. In 1701, the task of rebuilding the mission was given to Father Juan de Ugarte, he introduced cattle breeding, big and small species, developed agriculture and taught the locals to thread and knit wool, not only for themselves, but also for the missionary project in general. It was not until 1744 when they started construction of the mission that stands today, because of the difficulty in obtaining masons who wanted to come to a remote land, the mission was not completed until 1759. Its strong waIls and foundations are built of limestone have withstood the ravages of time.
Mission San Borja was established in 1762 by the Jesuit Wenceslaus Linck at the Cochimí settlement of Adac, west of Bahía de los Ángeles. Before becoming a mission, the site of San Borja served as a visita for Missión Santa Gertrudis. The construction of buildings started in 1759 and a stone church was completed in 1801 during the Dominican period. The mission was abandoned in 1818, as the native population disappeared. Early on, the Mission was supplied from the mainland by boat which shipped grain by wagon a dozen miles from the gulf. This mission was financed by one women in Europe who supported the name of her favorite saint.
SAN BORJA, BAJA
It was the silver smelted from Mount Alamos that fueled the interest from the Spanish Crown to colonize the New World. Coronado camped here in 1540, but Alamos and Aduana really boomed when silver was discovered in 1680. Alamos then held sway over a vast region and was arguably the most historically important spot in Sonora, the ecologically richest spot where the Sonoran Desert met a dry tropical forest, In 1955 the Aduana Mine just outside Alamos, Sonora was gearing up for a new decade of silver mining and work crews were assembled to tear down the 200 foot smoke stacks, tools in hand not a worker moved, instead the Indian work force, explained the stack was needed the Indian’s believe so “that thousands of ghosts could nightly leave their tombs in the depths of the mountain each night wandering as free spirits. Before dawn the ghosts return through the smokestack to passages networking throughout the mountain, without the stacks, the ghosts would be doomed to wander homeless forever without rest. The huge stack was protected from demolition by superstitions and stands still today as a symbol of the past rich silver age. Time and time again Alamos, Sonora has planted the seed of History, and has helped spread Civilization across the South West. This rich mining community nestled in a Tropical region of Northern Mexico has flown many flags including Mexico, Spain and France and its history has been turbulent, it was once almost a country itself.
In 1780 Álamos was at its peak of population and wealth. It was an era of mansions building and furnishings from the world’s finest items, Philippine galleons brought fabrics, rich silver and all the best of the Orient. The mines were exporting silver bars and the wealthy business community was importing the best Europe had to offer, during this time Father Baegert wrote, ” even at times of fasting, when they come to us in confession…such finery among the women as I scarcely ever saw in Mexico… With astonishment and pity I have seen many a woman dressed in velvet cloth of gold.”
Seven miles west of Alamos surrounded by 4,700′ mountains, Aduana has less than 300 people where once there was 5,000, there is a store, cemetery, a small restaurant-inn, a plaza and a church named Nuestra Senora de Balvanera. At the altar is a painting of the Virgin of Balvanera and in the shrine below is her statue. Legend says the statue was actually brought here from Spain where it was discovered hidden in a cave. The cactus growing from the church wall 12′ above the ground represents the cactus which a legend says from when a Mayo Indian saw a lady on top of a cactus. Thinking she needed help the Indians built a pile of rocks to climb up and reach her. Once there, they discovered she had vanished and in her place was a rich vein of silver.La Aduana became one of Mexico’s richest silver mines, for four hundred years from 1737, the Aduana mine produced silver. In 1906, mining stopped and the isolated small mining communities fell into ruin, ghosts took the place of the residents and slowly the jungle began reclaiming it’s own. The pages of history speaks of a 1000 mule train that left the tax collection site in Alamos and labored for five months winding along the Kings highway, the Camino Real, to Mexico City. The cactus growing in the church wall represents the cactus the Virgin was seen on and late each November Aduana’s Fiesta of Nuestra Señora de La Balvanera the statue of the Virgin is taken from the Aduana church to the Alamos church in a Saturday procession. Before dawn on Sunday morning, the Alamos bells ring for the start of the quiet religious procession back to Aduana. During the week, pilgrims walk, some on their knees, from all over Sonora to fulfill their vows to the Virgin. The weekend of the Fiesta, Aduana is jammed with thousands of people, bands playing, food and religious art vendors, take a bus to the junction and walk-in, traffic snarls quickly.
In 1775 on September 29th de Anza’s expedition leaves Alamos, it arrives in Tubac in 17 days. On October 23, de Anza departs Tubac with 300 people and more than a 1000 head of livestock. They have no wagons or carts, all supplies were loaded on pack mules every morning and unloaded each night. The expedition follows reports of a great river flowing into the bay, where they built a presidio, mission and a pueblo now known as the San Francisco. In March 1776 deAnza arrived in Monterrey, California, 1800 miles from where he started, on March 28th Mexican Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and Padre Pedro Font arrive at the tip of San Francisco, where deAnza planted a cross, claiming all lands for the King of Spain.
In February 1781 Ramoñ Laso de la Vega came to Álamos to recruit settlers for Los Angeles. He left with 11 settlers and 17 soldier families. Several of the soldiers had married in Álamos. Ramoñ Laso de la Vega was under the command of Fernando de Rivera y Moncado who was leading a group of 42 soldiers. Fernando de Rivera followed the de Anza trail north through Sonora to Arizona and then west towards Los Angeles. He was killed along with his men, before reaching the San Gabriel Mission. On September 4 Ramoñ Laso de la Vega arrives in Los Angeles. His party had gone from Álamos to Guaymas and then sailed to Loreto, Baja California. From there they marched up the Peninsula. The official record states that 11 families of settlers from Sinaloa and Sonora along with four soldiers and their families founded Los Angeles./a>
In the extreme southeast corner of California, far from the more famous chain of twenty-one coastal missions, were two forgotten missions. The short lived missions of the Colorado River, near present day Yuma, remain a sketchy record and exist only as one historical marker each. Purísima Concepción, established in October 1780 at Fort Yuma and Mission San Pedro Y San Pablo de Bicuñer, founded January 7, 1781, were really “Arizona” missions on the California side of the Colorado River and not part of the better known coastal California Mission system. One mission site, Mission La Purisima Conception de la Virgen Santisima, most likely was built here because of the commanding hill top location.
Both mission’s short history are closely intertwined.
Mission San Pedro y San Pablo de Bicuñer was founded on January 7, 1781 by Father Francisco Garcés to protect the Anza Trail where it forded the Colorado River. The settlement, located about ten miles northeast of Yuma Crossing, was a part of the Arizona mission system. It could not adequately support it’s Indians, the Spanish colonists had seized the best lands and destroyed the Indians’ crops, and ignored their rights. In retaliation, the Quechan Indians attacked and destroyed the settlement and the neighboring Mission Puerto de Purísima Concepción during a three-day period, beginning on July 17, 1781. Some 50 Spaniards, including Father Garcés as well as three friars and Captain Fernando Rivera y Moncada were killed, and the women and children taken captive. The attack closed the crossing and crippled communications between Las Californias and New Spain-Mexico. Today, a historical marker is on Imperial County Road 524, 0.2 mi W of intersection of Levee and Mehring Roads, 4.4 mi NE of Bard, California, eight miles away, along the river.
Saint Thomas Yuma Indian Mission is a Catholic mission in Winterhaven, California. It was dedicated in 1923, and its design replicates the Mission Puerto de Purisima, which once stood on this site. Built on the grounds of the original mission founded by Father Garces in 1780, the mission is a reminder of the long history of the Quechan Indian Nation and Yuman People. The present Catholic Mission Church was built in 1922 and is a replica of the original Mission destroyed during the uprising in 1855. Mass Sat. 4:30 and Sun. 9:30 a.m. June-Sept
St.Thomas Indian Mission is at Fort Yuma, California, on the Colorado River’s west bank, opposite the present city of Yuma. Take Interstate 8 almost to the Arizona border. After the check station, turn off on Winterhaven. Fort Yuma (1849-1885) would become a U.S. military outpost and was revived as an active mission in 1919.
During his travels, Father Garcés became acquainted with Chief Palma, head of the Yuman Indians living along the Colorado River. Palma had embraced Christianity and visited Mexico. He asked Garcés to live with the natives and seemed interested in conversion. After some study the king ordered a mission be built. Father Garcés strongly recommended against too large a presence. The Yumans, unlike the California Indians who lived off the land, were agriculturalists likely to resent settlers, who appropriate Indian crop land. Unfortunately the commandant general, Carlos de Croix did not listen to Garcés, and he ordered that two missions be built, Purisima Concepcion at Fort Yuma and San Pedro y San Pablo at Bicuner. On August 1st, 1779, leaving Padre Diaz with a small escort of soldiers at Sonoyta, Padre Garcés started with two soldiers on his last expedition into what is now Arizona. He reached Yuma late in the month, and on September 3rd, sent the soldiers back to Diaz at Sonoyta, with the information that he was already having trouble on account of the dissensions among the Yumas. The soldiers reached Diaz, just when a Papago reported that some of his tribe had revolted and were planning to attack the soldiers.
Just as Garces had predicted, the natives resented the white presence and Garcés was given several warnings that the missions would be attacked. The Yumans finally did attack both missions on Tuesday, July 17, 1781. Garces was saying mass at Concepción to a few people, mostly women, when the attacks started. While the killings and looting was occurring, both priests heard confession and administered the sacrament to some of the dying. The same day the Indians attacked Padres Diaz and Moreno at Bicuner as they were preparing to say mass, and they, and most of the soldiers, were killed in the attack. Through the influence of Palma, Garcés and Father Barranche survived until the 19th when they were both beaten to death with clubs. The four priests were afterwards recovered and laid to rest in one coffin in the church at Tubutama.
The Baja resisted European colonization for more than a century after its discovery, the Spanish finally managed it using the missions we find in poor condition today or have disappeared completely, but tourists today still visit sites such as Misión San Vicente Ferrer, Misión El Descanso and Misión San Miguel Arcángel de la Frontera.
Missión San Vicente Ferrer was established on August 27, 1780 on the western edge of the basin of San Vicente, a permanent creek creating rich pasture lands allowed this mission to grow corn, wheat, beans and barley. The brothers, Miguel Hidalgo and Joaquin Valero also raised cattle, goats and sheep. Wild plants as mezcal, jojoba and various kinds of cactus were harvested. At its founding, St. Vincent Ferrer was the administrative center of the military missions, with the job of preventing attacks on the Indians coming down the stream of San Vicente and to protect the mountain missions they were erecting. Of all the Dominican missionary settlements, San Vicente Ferrer was the largest, with almost 1300 square kilometers, including the church, bedrooms, kitchen, dining and the presidio walls and towers. Today the ruins are ninety miles south of Ensenada by the federal highway about seven miles north of San Vicente.
Nowadays, indigenous Cocopah people still inhabit a small government-protected corner of the Colorado River delta near the junction of the Hardy and the Rio Colorado. The Cocopah Tribe is split into two groups, one of the U.S. side of the border and another poorer group living in Mexico who mostly work on fishing and agricultural ejidos. While working in the Colorado River Delta, I happened by the Cocapau village about the time the Bishop of Mexicali, the Monsenor José Isidro Guerrero Macías, was visiting the “Vista” which the Catholic church still serves and hosts mass for the locals, much like the missionaries of old, who visited the outlier villages and held mass for the locals. There was a large turnout and the church provided rosary beads for those attending, a few babies got kissed and blessed–the Bishop’s ring was kissed and the Monsenor then moved on down the road til the next time. The locals really enjoyed and appreciated the visit, it was well-attended and food was served following Monsenor Macias visit.
A Spanish mission was more than a religious institution. Its purpose was to take an indian population and convert it not only to Catholicism, but to the Spanish way of life. In building the missions in Texas, the Spanish wanted to create a self-sufficient population that would become loyal Spanish subjects, thereby staving off any involvement of foreign powers like France. Indian converts were taught farming, raising livestock, black-smithing, carpentry, stonework, and weaving. To sustain a mission, the padres needed strong backs, to cultivate crops and run enough live stock to support a mission. Indians were often forced into living at the missions, and beatings enforced the conversion to Catholicism. Forcing tribes into missions was enforced by Spanish soldiers, simple flogging was handled by the priest or assistants. Indians and missionaries at San Antonio de Valero found protection at the mission from Apaches from the west and Comanches from the north, the local tribes, were under constant attack. Mission life brought protection as well as a shelter with a stable food supply. It also gave Indians access to: firearms and horses. On June 30, 1745, an Apache attack on the town of San Fernando was driven back by 100 mission converts from Valero. You might remember another story of Americans holding off the Mexican Army in a Mission of the same name “San Antonio de Valero Mission”, or more fondly asthe Alamo, the cradle of Texas Liberty.
The Spanish Missions in New Mexico territory were a series of religious outposts established by Franciscan friars under charter from the Spanish Empire and the government of the Vice royalty of New Spain for Indian Reductions of the Native Americans—Indians into Christianity. The Spanish wanted to hispanicise the Indians, including the rich cultures of 21 distinct Pueblo people; the Tewa; the Navajo; and the Apache. The missions also tried to pacify resistance to the European invasion of the tribes’ pre-Columbian homelands. The missions introduced European livestock, fruits, vegetables, and small-scale industry into the Southwest region. Fray Marcos de Niza, was sent by Coronado, he first saw New Mexico in 1539, where the picturesque mission church of San José de la Laguna was built around 1706 by Fray Antonio Miranda and shows the single aisle floor plan commonly used in pueblo churches. It has been repaired many times, and acquired its distinctive white stucco exterior in 1977. The church contains a beautiful altar screen made between 1800 and 1808 by a folk artist. The interior walls are mud plastered and white washed, and the floor is packed earth. Marker is on Interstate 40 at milepost 113.5.
Three historic sites in the sparsely-populated grasslands of central New Mexico, southeast of Albuquerque, are protected as Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, a relatively little-known preserve with low annual visitation. Centerpiece of each are the ruins of 17th century Spanish Franciscan missions, dating from the earliest period of European colonization, when the settlers began to spread Christianity to the local Tompiro and Tewa Indians. The sites have ancient pueblos, mostly overgrown and unexcavated but one village is large and well preserved. Although all structures are ruins and have been abandoned for since 1677, the general remoteness and lack of subsequent settlement in this part of the state have left the remains in excellent condition.
The northernmost site, and the least visited, is Quarai, in the foothills of the Manzano Mountains – this contains a sizeable red brick church plus outbuildings and grassy mounds with pueblo foundations. Twelve miles south, the Abó ruins receive more visitors as they lie along a main road (US 60), but are similar to Quarai except the surroundings are more desert-like, less tree-covered, with long distance views across open plains to the mountains. The third and most extensive site is 20 miles further southeast, at Gran Quivira; this too is based around a mission complex, next to a multi-room pueblo village, both rather different in appearance to the reddish sandstone buildings further north, being instead made of white-grey limestone. The national monument headquarters is in the small town of Mountainair along US 60 though each site also has its own visitor center. No fee is charged for entry, and the ruins are open between 9 and 6 pm.
First contact with the Spanish happened in 1583 with the arrival of Don Antonio de Espejo who mentions a settlement that sounds like Gran Quivira. In 1598 with the expedition of Don Juan de Oñate who was the first Spaniard to colonize New Mexico. As part of the mission system, Gran Quivira was first placed under the Pecos Mission District, with the arrival of Fray Alonso de Benavides in 1626, Gran Quivira became a visita of Abo in 1629, then construction began on the first permanent mission at Gran Quivira. Soon a larger church, San Buenaventura, was begun. By 1672 a combination of disease, drought, famine, and Apache raids led to the abandonment of Gran Quivira.
The Acoma Pueblo had contact with Spanish explorers heading north, all generally recorded as peaceful interactions. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s Expedition, described the Pueblo in 1540 as “one of the strongest places we have seen.” Upon visiting the Pueblo the expedition “repented having gone up to the place.” The only access to the Acoma Pueblo during this time was a set of almost vertical stairs cut into the rock face. It is believed Coronado’s expedition was the first European contact with the Acoma.
By 1598, relationships with Spain had declined. In December, the Acoma heard that Juan de Oñate intended to colonize the area. The Acoma ambushed a group of Oñate’s men, killing 11 of them, including Oñate’s nephew. The Spanish took revenge on the Acoma, burning most of the village and killing more than 600 people and imprisoning approximately 500 others. Prisoners of war were forced into slavery and men over 25 years old had their right foot amputated. Wikipedia says that a row of houses on the north side of the mesa still retain marks from the fire started by a cannon during the Acoma War.
Many Acoma people resent Juan de Oñate being called New Mexico’s founder. In 1998, after an Oñate statue was erected as a tribute at the Onate Monument Center in Alcalde, someone cut off the bronze right foot of his statue with a chainsaw. Karma!
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CAN NEPAL REBUILD FROM TREKKING AND CLIMBING DISASTERS ? DOES SAVING NEPAL’S ANNAPURNA FROM THE ROAD MEANS LOCALS MUST LIVE IN THE PAST ? CAN ROAD CO-EXIST WITH AN ANCIENT HIKING TRAIL ?
Unhappily, Nepal never was conquered, it was helpful! When the British fought India, Nepal sent in their Gurkas to break up the trouble-makers. The legend goes that pinned down by rifle fire, out of ammo, their backs to the sea. The now-legendary Gurkas, who weren’t big on swimming, pulled their knives and charged the Limey’s fighting force, who then dropped their rifles and ran off…. Churchill built India, roads and railroads because they needed them for their fight and colonial exploits…all they gave Nepal was the English language which today is the Nepalese second tongue. Nepal has grown as a powerhouse in being helpful to the trekking and climbing community! The entire country is dwarfed by the magnificent Himalaya Mountains, hosting eight of the fourteen 8,000 meter mountains makes it the rooftop of the world. More than a hundred thousand climbers visited Nepal in 2013 and Nepal has hopes to build that number to three million visitors. Nepal wants to grow the third-world country into a developing nation. There are many places in the Hindu Kingdom still untouched by telephones, roads and electricity all the creature comforts of the 21 century. That is changing. Annapurna, the world’s best trekking, once a 21 day trek, across the most beautiful landscape anywhere, now 21 days has shrunk to 16 day treks because roads are being cut on both ends. For five years roads have been built into the Annapurna Conservation District which delights locals who must carry anything they wish from the outside themselves usually on their backs. On my way out of Annapurna a young man in front of me had his grandfather strapped to his back, sitting in a wood chair. The road-building has brought the local tourist and religious Indian pilgrims but trekkers are seeking out detours and new routes, bypassing huge numbers of Tea Houses, lodges and a large number of folks who made their living from the trekking industry. Before the roads were cut, if you want anything in or out of Annapurna you had to carry it or pay for it to be hauled in now locals are glad to see the progress. In 1997 a hundred years from the first white man’s visit to Nepal, I showed up and hiked up to Ghangdruk, three days in and two nights out, our expedition’s half-dozen camp boys, swelled to 28 sherpas, to carry provisions and camping gear. It was so neat, no roads, just a well worn trail! The same trail mankind had used since day one. Your feet leaving footprints where half of humanity have crossed over this mountainous trail. “HERE I AM FAR FROM HOME!” sang our camp boys around their warming fire. “NO ONE MISSES ME, I AM ALL ALONE.” NO SWEATHEART, MOTHER OR LOVED ONES…ALL ALONE!” they all sing delighted to have a job, with money coming in and sitting next to a warm fire. One of them would stay up all night with a Gurka knife watching over our tents and the entire camp, Germans the week before, had been robbed while eating dinner when someone with a knife slit their tents and helped themselves. I remember the trail was often choked by donkey caravans each carrying two twenty gallon containers of kerosene for the generators, heaters, machinery and for light after the sun sinks. They took over the trail and you hugged the inner wall, each donkey following the tail of the one in front, who seemed to know the trail. Today the people of Annapurna would like to let the 21st Century in and benefit from the outside world with the ease of modern conveniences. Trip leaders and the famous sherpas fear the road will be the end to their profitable business of taking tourists into the wilds of Nepal. If there is a bus stop then who needs a guide! We encounter a new Tea House under construction beside the age old Annapurna route this tourism entrepreneur was building a six room hotel by shaping rock and cementing it one rock at a time, just like his ancestors centuries ago, The older man’s young wife, less than 20 years of age, the Tibetan refugee had a beautiful young child whose future looked bright. Work had began four weeks earlier on the hotel and he believed he would have it complete and ready to take boarders in another two weeks. Eventually we will climb to 2000 meters to Ghangdruk on our third day of trekking, there at the cities edge we would be greeted by Nepalese Police who required we check-in (filling out some forms and flashing our Trekking Permits) before we could find our lodge where we would pitch our tents beneath the huge Fishtail formation known as Machhapuchre at a 22956 feet. The next morning I would arise early and walk the pathways through the community, enjoying meeting the residents-making some pictures and eventually being adopted by three boys who wanted to show me the basement of their large urban home. I followed them into the pitch dark room where after my eyes adjusted, I could barely make out a drum and some wall drawings and so I mounted my Nikon flash and made a photo. Since those were the good old film days, I didn’t see it was a ceremonial room for Hindu celebrations until I got home and got all my film developed and edited down.
I soon found myself following kids in uniform heading to town for their school which held class outdoors right next to the main downtown businesses which consisted of tea shops and fruit stands. Everyone was very friendly, particularly the kids most who learn English in school and then chase down Western visitors to practice on. The people are a lot of fun and very curious where ever we went and set up camp, the locals would turn out like the circus had just arrived and watch. The return trek was the best because it was downhill and after a couple nights we returned to Pokhara which had been knocked off the grid by a thunderstorm. Everything was dark except car and truck lights and the amazingly light-up SHIVA murals flashing on the passing buses or Tata trucks which reflected in the standing water puddles. According to Hindu tradition, Shiva was once married to Sati and who would not be consoled after she died. The distraught widower never wanted to marry again. However, a young women named Parvati “Daughter of the Mountain” committed herself to living an austere life of meditation to win over Shiva. She meditated in the Himalayas for years, through driving rain, blistering heat, or elephant stampedes. But one day, she heard a child cry in suffering and she immediately sprang up to help. But it was Shiva, testing her resolve. She had failed his test, but he was so touched that she would give up what she desired most to help someone in need that he took Parvati as his wife who according to some actually his former wife, Sati in another life. The Annapurna Sanctuary, a breathtaking high country tabernacle set in a circle of snow-capped mountains, won’t ever have the intrusion of a road. Settlements after the village of Chomrong were especially built for trekkers to whom a jeep or bus ride into the amphitheater’s over 13,000 feet would be profane. This open-sky, inner shrine, offers nearly 360 degrees of the surrounding Himalayan goddesses. Nepal has been rebuilding its public image after a decade of Mao Communist storming the countryside, kidnapping, stealing and killing off enemies of their movement, particularly the Nepalese Army who police the remote spots on their landscape. The past two years, with the death of 16 climbers dying while climbing Everest in 2013 and now news of more than 43 dead, 175 injured, more than 40 people still reported missing after 6 feet of snow fell on the mountain in 12 hours unexpectedly closing the trail during the peak of trekking season. More than 500 trekkers have been rescued from the snow which fell in the Manang region, and it is damning news for a country trying to build their credibility as a safe outdoor adventure land. A story from the British Telegraph now blames eight deaths on a Tea House owner who threw out trekkers seeking shelter from the storm and offered to lead them to safety for cash, then abandoned them, leaving them to die, tough story to build up the business with. Big snows in the Nepalese high country is not unusual, usually the worst of it means there is no place to sleep and the price of tea goes through the roof after being trapped for a couple of weeks, on the Himalaya 10th highest peak, especially when the helicopters can’t fly. Like 2014, in 1995 more than 700 people died when residents and trekkers without the needed gear died of exposure, but worse yet, two avalanches took out two tea houses where trekkers had hold up for protection from the storm. Heavy snow had fallen in the high Himalaya when my trekking trip kicked off and we changed routes starting beside the beautiful reflecting lake near Pokhara. We refocused on the Annapurna Ghangdruk trek which is still popular among those trekkers who love soft and few days walking. Ghangdruk circuit trekking is a short trek in Nepal, the major highlight of Ghangdruk trekking is Ghangdruk village situated at an altitude of 2012 meters above sea level. Ghangdruk is inhabited by Gurung people, they are one of the major ethnic groups of Nepal having their own traditions and culture. Trekking there offers an excellent view of Annapurna South, Machhapuchhre and Himalchuli. Walking through rhododendron forests is another experience of this trek and the villages of Landruk, Dhampus gives a nice snapshot of rural lifestyle of Annapurna. THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT Trekking began in NEPAL in the 1950s. The role the Gurkha soldiers played in the British Army was very much appreciated so they promoted the Annapurna Region with the British. Before that, the famous Japanese monk and explorer Ekai Kawaguchi is considered to be the first tourist who visited the Mustang of Annapurna Region in 1899 while on his way to Tibet Girls I met on my visit on a viewpoint beg off photos because of modesty. These pretty middle class young women are close to the age to marry and must be modest. If they like a boy they would give him a picture. But if their picture was seen elsewhere–their virtue or character would be in question and their boyfriend might dump them. Tourism entrepreneurs in the Annapurna Region have suggested new trekking routes will be explored to avoid the threat of road extension and Tourism officer Anu Kumari Lama says new routes will be built. The new road, she says, is an opportunity to bring both conservation and development forward on a parallel track. The main Annapurna circuit starts from Lamjung and ends in Kaski. However there are dozens of other long and shorter trekking routes throughout the area. NEW ANNAPURNA ROAD THREATENS NEPALS TREKKING INDUSTRY All the treks feature scenic mountain views and cultural diversity, flora and fauna are the major attractions within the region. According to the Annapurna Conservation District there are 1226 species of plants, 102 mammals, 474 birds, 39 reptiles and 22 amphibians within Annapurna. One of the world’s largest rhododendron forests is in Myagdi, the world’s deepest gorge (22857 feet) is at Kaligandki, Tilicho Lake, the highest lake in the world (16138 feet), is in Manang and where there is an abundance of hot water springs. Additionally, beautiful mountains like Annapurna I (26545 feet), Dhaulagiri (26794 feet), above photo Machhapuchre a.k.a. Fishtail (22956 feet), the famous Muktinath Temple, decades old monasteries in Mustang and Mustangi King Jigmi Palbar Bista’s palace in Lo-Manthang of Upper Mustang are also attractions in upper Annapurna. Nepal has a population of 18 million made up of different races and tribes living in different regions each with their own language. The rural Nepalese live much as they did centuries ago. “NAMASTE !” Is a form of greeting commonly found among Hindus of South Asia, Namaste is spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. This gesture means “I bow to the divine in you. CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS…SEE SOUTHWESTPHOTOBANK.COM NEPAL GALLERY… CLICK HERE FOR MORE VIEWS OF TREKING IN ANNAPURNA…..
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TOO GREEN, IT HURTS MY EYES ! U.S. MIDWEST PRODUCES MORE PHOTOSYNTHETIC ACTIVITY THAN ANY OTHER SPOT ON EARTH…
Missouri votes today to protect their right to Farm. Many in the Mid-West believes Farming is their God given right to till the soil and take produce to market. Regardless of how their votes tally, it seems they are right about God endorsing the 100,000 family farm making up Missouri and the surrounding green states which each summer bust out with lots of crops.
The NASA’s Orbiting Satellite Carbon Observatory have given climate researchers an unexpected global view from space of a nearly invisible fluorescent glow that sheds new light on the productivity of vegetation on land. A “signature” of photosynthesis, the solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence is an indicator of the process by which plants convert light from the sun into chemical energy. As chlorophyll molecules absorb incoming radiation, some of the light is dissipated as heat, and some radiation is re-emitted at longer wavelengths as fluorescence. The new data allows monitoring solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence on a global scale, opening up a world of potential for studying vegetation on land.
The Midwest United States boasts more photosynthetic activity than any other spot on Earth as seen from space as chlorophyll emits some absorbed light as a fluorescent glow.
I love to drive the blue highways of the midwest, crossing states like Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Illinois, Ohio and Nebraska, those two way traffic highways which are pretty narrow back there, no shoulders to speak of, lots of streams and real rivers flowing beneath the numerous bridges needed to keep traffic moving. I remember summer as a time of heat, humidity and growth. I moved to Arizona forty years ago, so I have forgotten much about life in the breadbasket of the U.S., I moved to Tucson which is the front door of the Sonoran Desert and have learned to love, hike and enjoy the American Southwest which is a lot browner…
Folks who live in the Midwest would say I’m crazy. In fact, there are folks there that say that, BUT one summer I drove back to the heartland of the Midwest landing in the middle of the Missouri and found myself mesmerized by the greenness of everything around me. I drove on and on getting deeper into the green and soon leaves were climbing over buildings, entering some through broken windows and transforming brick, wood and mortar into vegetation. But the farmlands overwhelmed me the most until finally I saw a place so green I had to pull over and make a photograph. Settling into the scene I find myself standing next to the road and composing a field of hay which to my “desert” eyes is glowing in green when the farmer himself drives by and stops to see what’s all the excitement is about. He rolls down his window, letting a/c blast from the interior and says, “what’s the picture”?
“This field”, I reply, “it’s so green that it hurts my eyes”! The farmer rolls his eyes, rolls up his car window and kicks up a little gravel as he pulls away toward town. He didn’t stick around for me to explain that the Midwest region of the United States boasts more photosynthetic activity than any other spot on Earth and all that chlorophyll emits absorbed light as a fluorescent glow and if he didn’t have his sunglasses on-he might see it himself, maybe!
Scientists are excited about the new fluorescence measurement because it gives them insight into how Earth’s plants absorb carbon dioxide. The future of Earth’s plants depends largely on water. Plants need water to carry out photosynthesis. When their water supply runs low, such as during times of drought, photosynthesis slows down.
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TUCSON’S DOWNTOWN NEW STREET CAR SYSTEM ROLL OUT OVERWHELMINGLY RECEIVED BY 60,000 RIDERS EMBRACING THE NEW RIDE
The new Tucson Street Car System was rolled out for public inspection last weekend much with the fan fare of a Walt Disney Production this pumpkin of a RTA project, might well bloom into a Cinderella story, if the 60,000 riders who participated each buy a monthly pass. Realistically, Tucson expects the daily fare to run around 3600 riders each day, instead of the 17,000 who rode Friday, the 25,000 who rode Saturday or the 17,000 counted on Sunday, today each trip costs $1.50 or $4 for 24 hours or $40 for monthly coverage.The free weekend was a lot like Disneyland’s Log Ride, each car was filled (about a 100 people), and the backup buses picking up overflow from the Street Car were filled of folks too tired to wait for another Streetcar. Saturday night in the middle of the 25,000 crush, the Street Cars filled up, and stacked up somewhere because around 9 pm no street car could be found. Six passed us going West and after more than an hour one East bound street car showed up and filled up remarkably tightly, but riders seemed to embrace the armpit laced journey. I noted Mayor Rothchild on that last Street Car on the “Street Car to NoWhere”… he or someone arranged for stranded voters to be picked up and taken to their cars. Where the rest of those street cars went I can not say, perhaps they all stacked up on the bridge across the Santa Cruz.
In fact, at that point, I noted how “Eastern” an experience this Street Car ride had become. It reminded me of train rides I have had in the “rustbelt” of the East Coast, and found there is an element in Tucson who wants to embrace more of an Eastern lifestyle. Many of those folks live near downtown and now find themselves living along the Street Car route and will no doubt embrace this new conveyance into their travels. There is another part of Tucson who scarcely noticed, in spite of the $OneBillion rollout investment for infrastructure, they will never go downtown and will not benefit greatly from the City’s new toy.
The tightening up of downtown parking continues to push motorists into parking garages. It will continue to get worse, Tucson plans adding parking meters to what little open parking still exists, you don’t like parking meters? Wait until you get one of the $187.50 parking tickets, you won’t like them any better. This is summer, wait until the snowbirds and next semesters students arrive, there will not be any parking at all. Realizing last weekend as a “learning moment” I joined friends on Saturday afternoon, to go downtown and meet another couple for dinner, we parked at the University Medical Center, walked to the Street Car and rode downtown.
Pretty easy travel getting on a car and heading into town (the day before I hit the UA just before 5 pm and the street cars were all packed solid and everyone knew each other) but after 8 pm, when the Street Car was supposed to quit on Sunday (the overflow bus was full also) conductors continued to run because people continued to line up for the street car.
But last weekend was also about adventure. Kids loved it! Most kids saw very little since their point of view was at the belt buckle level-but still they soldiered on… The UA types seemed jazzed since this Street Car is really aimed at them and the 5000 plus UA students now living downtown, they will get the most from this investment, while others will have to pay the freight. Sixty police officers were assigned the New Street Car system last weekend and there will be additional staffing, in addition to the already increased downtown policing to deal with the new reality there. Many have complained the Street Car is not “bike friendly” and recent studies show 87 bike riders who have already had serious injuries and for others, the new system has disrupted their daily commutes. I witnessed a young women bike rider accidentally ride into the track which grabbed her front wheel–froze it–which spun the young rider headfirst into the pavement as the rear wheel continued to travel, paramedics were called. The long roll out has hindered businesses, keeping away shoppers for almost 2 years, the route saw business’s fold and solicited “the Street Car to NoWhere” mood among the survivors. It wasn’t surprising to see members of the Tucson Transportation Staff drinking Friday celebrating the launch of “SUNLINK” Tucson Street Car, their baby to present to the public. At each of the 20 stations along the Street Car route, volunteers lectured those waiting in safety, and they offered cold water bottles from a kid’s swimming pool, filled with bottles and ice.
And last weekend was festive. Folks turned out for the new ride and showed great patience and few seemed disappointed. Many supporters believe the new street car system is breathing new life into Tucson’s once dead downtown. The truth is–Downtown has been growing and gathering critical mass for the past few years, local investment, the Rio Nuevo projects buoyed by key local movers and shakers who continue to mold this city around the history that built it. Projects like the San Augustin Mercado on Tucson’s westside, or the greening of the San Augustin Mission Gardens at the base of A-Mountain, are still buds of growth, which few Tucsonan’s have yet discovered. Perhaps the completion of the Street Car which now runs into that development will provide the incentive needed to launch west side infill. In the next 3 to 5 years, developers plan to build 700 to 800 additional residences, both high and low end. That construction should begin in the fall, while more retail and a questionable “boutique hotel” are also planned.
Advocates look forward to the day when the system expands further east to Wilmot Road and eventually north up La Cholla to the Pima College North Campus. Light rail in Phoenix which runs from Mesa to downtown has been really successful and has helped make downtown Phoenix vital, but so has moving ASU’s Walter Cronkite School there. Presently, the Tucson Street Car runs 3.7 miles from the University of Arizona along University Blvd to North Fourth Avenue through Downtown on Congress across the bridge spanning the Santa Cruz River back under I-10 along Broadway back to Fourth Avenue.
Regular fares will now be charged on the streetcar. A one-way trip is $1.50. Kiosks at the Streetcar Stations will sell for $4 for the next 24 hours, and these machines accept only exact change and credit cards. Passes can be purchased online or at any of the municipal transit system three centers.
Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every 10 minutes 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every 20 minutes
Thursday-Saturday nights: 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. every 30 minutes
Saturday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every 20 minutes
Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every 20 minutes
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THERE’S A BUS COMING IN ! WAS THE ORACLE IMMIGRATION PHOTO OP, A PROTEST OR WAS IT PERFORMANCE ART, YOU DECIDE ! THE U.S. POLITICAL WORLD IS A STAGE NOT REALITY !
The Mexico-U.S. Border across the SouthWest has long been ground zero for political debate between the American liberal left and conservative right, today, that debate finds new strength in the thousands of Central American children hot-footing it across our fences in hopes of finding safety in the long reported “Land of the Free”. In spite of recent press, this has been happening for years and has again reached critical mass due to the numbers of children finding sanctuary in Texas and now overflowing into new states like California and Arizona where locals have long been divided over whose responsibility it is to provide for those who arrive here in the newest invasion.
Much like the American Civil War, a battle for human rights masked as a struggle for states rights, some have opened their arms and embraced those crossing our borders in need for safety and others, like in Murrieta, California have chosen to repel them from their communities. Murrieta named after Basque immigrants who first settled what is now one of the fastest growing communities in California surfaced in headlines recently when the city’s mayor and residents blocked the arrival of buses carrying Central American immigrant children who were to be processed there.
In Arizona, a politically-damaged Sheriff, whose sees his political future embolden by the onslaught of illegals in the state made a point of alerting the Conservative Right of a busload of Central American immigrant children arriving in the small community of Oracle, 30 miles north of Tucson, a 100 mile drive to the U.S.-Mexican Border.
This calculated move had the desired effect, all the Nation’s media fearing another Murrieta, converged on the bottleneck in the road where the buses carrying 50-60 children were expected to be stopped there and turned around. Any media organization who missed this potential slow-summer news story, would have looked likes fools and perhaps biased.
Any Conservative political who missed this opportunity to show up and preach their hatred for the Obama Administration was obviously asleep at the switch knowing full well this was going to bring out a charged community of activists who seldom missed an opportunity to push their agendas, aka, another Murrieta, and lots of national press.
“This is a lawless and godless administration putting Americans at risk and we’re not going to take it” said Russell Pearce of SB10-70 fame who was escorted by the Arizona State Militia as he milled around in the crowd, speaking into every microphone he could find. “I’m here as an U.S. Citizen'” he said. “I came here to stand up for the rule of law and I’m going to do whatever it takes. (Stopping that bus by whatever means it takes) I will defend America and will stand with these people.”
Perhaps 200 activists, sheriff deputies and an entire posse of media from all the big outlets arrived hours before the buses was expected to pass through their choke point on the back road to Southern Arizona’s highpoint, the Santa Catalina Mountains, which lead to the Sycamore Canyon Academy, a home from troubled youth, many of whom are in the Arizona criminal justice system. Speaking to a charged audience–the Sheriff made his case for everyone obeying the rule of law and promised that “everyone’s rights would be protected”… The Arizona State Militia “was asked by the State to provide security” for dignitaries who showed up to speak their minds. As you might expect, arguments broke out — people spoke their minds while music played in the background, tunes like Dixie, Born in the USA, set the tone for the day.
It wasn’t until Ruben Moreno, a leader of Mariachi Luz de Luna, a Tucson Mariachi group arrived from behind the checkpoint and took everyone by surprise when the group of a dozen musicians and activist came walking up the road holding signs that read “Open your Hearts, not your Hate!”, “Show the Children Love” (heart) and the large group greeted them with some yelling, pushing, then attempted to drown out the traditional mariachi sound with their own refrain until Moreno’s trumpet solo broke out with “America the Beautiful”. Literally quieting and taking the wind from the sails of the hatred raining down on him–his group of mariachi and hispanic activists, all the cameras were on him. TV loves good video and great sound.
Then the buses arrived! Children on board pressed their faces against the windows, peering out at the crowd holding signs, waving U.S. flags (some upside down), POW-MIA flags, “Don’t Tread on Me” said some and screaming at the children “Go Home”. It was great sport for the YMCA campers who had every right to be there and had never had as much fun as being the center of a national news story they scarcely understood. Still one political tweeted from the scene “Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law”. He later reported, “I was able to actually to see some of the children in the buses. And the fear on their faces … This is not compassion!” When Adam Kwasman was then told by a reporter that the children on the yellow school bus were actually YMCA campers from Marana, Kwasman said, “They were sad, too,” and admitted he made a mistake. The kids I saw, and photographed on the bus were having the time of their lives.
Tuesday was a day for performance art! When I arrived in Oracle, I first encountered a large group of Oracle protesters six were costumed as Guardian Angles aligning the road that the Central American children would see first, signs screamed “Bienvenidous a Todos”, “All Children deserve Human Rights, All Children are Children of God, So are You !”, a 25 foot white banner lined the roadway proclaiming, “AMOR (heart) LOVE”…not the worst first impression!
Several miles further up the back road to Mount Lemmon you ran into the main protest, a pickup with a generator and a stereo, truck loads of water for the participants and two outhouses were setup for those attending. Impromptu, I don’t think so, this was a planned political event and the target for the whole event never showed up, the buses from Nogales carrying 40-60 illegal Central American Children. Around l pm, everyone was told by sheriff deputies that they had received word that the buses would not be coming that day. So pretty quickly people folded their signs, downed their water bottles and took off for lunch someplace cooler and less toxic. Conservative politicians had turned out to make this day all about them and their upcoming race for election.
“They are using fear and hatred in hopes of generating demonstrations like those in Murrieta” says Latino civil right group Somos America. Republican Rich Nugent (R-Florida) told a radio show Monday, that the children crossing into the U.S. are “gang affiliated”, he promised listeners. “When you have those types coming across the border, they’re not children at that point. These kids have been brought up in a culture of thievery. A culture of murder, rape. And now we are going to infuse them in the American Culture.” It’s just ludicrous, Nugent said.
Bob Moore standing on a hill overlooking the protest said, another sheriff, would have created this day differently. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is on our side he said to me. Turning to his phone video Moore does a “selfie” of himself in front of the protest and speaks into his phone. “Lot’s of patriots here–lot’s of freedom-loving Americans”. Then he turns back to me and says, I’m 62 years old ! I figured by now I would be traveling the USA in an RV but instead I’m buying beans and bullets and protesting the government he said. “I’m here for my grand kids, he concluded.
Another sign that caught my eye read: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuge of your teaming shores. Send these, your homeless, the tempest tossed, to me!
I will lift my lamp beside the Golden Door …” taken from the inscription carved upon the Statue of Liberty that greeted all of our ancestors when they arrived in New York harbor, decades ago.
TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY SENDS 1000 NATIONAL GUARD TO THE US-MEXICO BORDER TO AID THE HUMANITARIUM CRISIS CAUSED BY CENTRAL AMERICANS REFUGEES…CLICK HERE
THE WITCHES BREW: DESPERATION AND HOPE, CHILDREN ON THE BORDER
There is a perverse irony to the Murrieta protests, given that the rallying cry for the anti-illegal immigration movement is “What part of illegal don’t you understand?” By blocking the buses, the protestors were engaged in the illegal act of interfering with law enforcement.
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THE DRIEST & HOTTEST YEAR IN 500 YEARS ! THE RELENTLESS SOUTHWESTERN DROUGHT: EXPERTS SAY ‘GET USED TO IT’…WILL ARIZONANS BE THE NEXT ‘CLIMATE REFUGEES’ ?
Lake Mead has dropped below 1,082 feet above sea level — 7 feet above the level at which the federal government would declare its first shortage on the Colorado River, the lake is 39 percent full. “How urgent it is depends on what you think the risk is,” said attorney Wade Noble, who has represented Yuma-area (above) irrigation districts for 30 years. “If the risk is high that the water is not going to be there … then something needs to be done in the immediate future, not next year.” ALL EYES ON LAKE MEAD AS SHORTAGES GROW….. Since December 2004, the basin of the Colorado River lost nearly 53 million acre feet (65 cubic kilometers) of freshwater, almost double the volume of the region’s largest reservoir, Nevada’s Lake Mead, the researchers reported. About 75 percent of the total — about 41 million acre feet (50 cubic km) — came from groundwater, the new study found. “We don’t know exactly how much groundwater we have left, so we don’t know when we’re going to run out,” Stephanie Castle said. “This is a lot of water to lose.” Castle and her co-authors tracked groundwater loss in the basin with NASA’s twin GRACE satellites (for Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment). The satellites circle the Earth, monitoring the slight changes in Earth’s gravity from increases or decreases in ice and water.
In the Spring of 2014 the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has reached the highest level in human history, exceeding 400 parts per million in April. Ice cores taken from Antarctica with air bubbles as old as 800,000 years has not revealed a level higher than 300 ppm. “This should be taken as a warning,” said Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist with the Carnegie Institution’s department of global ecology at Stanford University. “It is time to stop building things with tailpipes and smokestacks. “If we fail to heed this warning, our children will end up living in a world that is much hotter than any human being has ever experienced,” Caldeira said.
Clifton-Morenci Stacks at sunset, Arizona’s Oldest Copper Mine and Smelter since 1849. Scientists predict this 2014 summer we will experience a new global record for all time HOT … ! Nature reported within 35 years, a cold year, will be warmer than the hottest year now on record. Thirty nine climate models were used to make a single temperature index for places all over the world, findings estimated when major US cities’ average temperatures will never again dip below that of the hottest year in the past century and a half. Data showed Phoenix and Honolulu would swelter as early as 2043 with 2049 taking San Francisco, and by 2071 Anchorage Alaska would melt.
Sharon Megdal, director of the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona, says she doesn’t want to alarm people, but she thinks our water situation could be serious. “I don’t want to get people worried. If there is a shortage in 2016, it won’t affect the Colorado River water to Tucson and Oro Valley, but it’s getting real,” she said. “I think the reality of a shortage is resonating with people.”
Megdal believes “toilet to tap” water is in Tucson’s future believing the city will have to implement new systems for recycling water, including cleaning waste water for use again by the customer. Much of Arizona’s water comes from the Colorado River via the Central Arizona Project, but the river is in trouble, Megdal told AZ Illustrated Nature. “The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the manager of the Colorado River says there’s a two percent chance of a shortage in 2015, but a 50 percent chance in 2016, Megdal said. “The Colorado River flows, are based on rain falling on the headwaters and how much water they’re releasing from Lake Powell to Lake Mead.” Former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said last year that to avoid a water crisis, Arizona should partner with Mexico to establish desalination plants to bring water north, if the Colorado River’s flow continues to suffer. The U.S. Department of the Interior could declare a shortage as early as 2017. Stocking up for the 4th of July Holiday, buying fruit, ice tea and hotdogs–I ask my grocery checker what folks are buying to cool off today …. “Water!” she says, “people are loading up on water”.”I never thought I’d see the day she says–when folks would pay good money-a dollar or more-for a plastic bottle of water”, I mutter pushing my cart across the parking lot. “Now we can’t keep it on the shelves” and we are running out!
” As many already know, Tucson’s historic Agua Caliente Park is experiencing the extended drought and changes in the water table. The stream that feds the ponds is not currently flowing and, although Pima County is pumping well water to augment the pond, it is insufficient to counteract the water loss. Continuing drought has been blamed for dropping water table, as well as, the significant amount of palm trees and cattails that use lots of water. The park originally was once a three pond compound which has shrunk up and has now only the main pool. Twelve new nearby wells have reportedly dropped the water acquirer and additional pumping has been unable to replace the monthly loss. The County wants now to bail on the two ponds and shrink the main pool. Last Spring something mysterious happened in deserts of the West. In the Mojave Desert’s Joshua Tree National Park. we’re talking about blooms on the Joshua trees that are larger than locals say they’ve ever seen, the reason may be grim but the effect was beautiful. “I don’t know what happened this year, but it was an incredible display,” Virginia Willis, a 15-year resident, told ABC. Biologists have said they think the blooms are a stress response by the trees to climate change, specifically, to no rain. Joshua Tree National Park receives two to five inches of rain a year but this year only received 7/10 of an inch, the Los Angeles Times reported. The theory is that the trees are producing more flowers, and thus more seeds, in an effort to survive with less rain. And locals hope it works, because right now the iconic trees are in decline. “We haven’t had a new, young Joshua tree emerge on our Wickenburg study site in almost 30 years, and there have been a number of trees that have died,” desert ecologist Jim Cornett told USA Today. “They’re just not getting the kind of environmental conditions that they require to survive.” The Wickenburg Joshua Tree Forest also produced large blooms and maximized seed output “It’s more than interesting, it’s probably unprecedented in anybody’s recent memory anyway,” Cameron Barrows, an ecologist at the University of California, Riverside, told ABC.
Get used to the heat!”, says Jonathon Overpack, a UA Scientist, “Expect 130 degree days and by 2050, the Colorado River will probably be dry.” “Once the Central Arizona Project (canal) goes dry for one year, Arizona is dead,” Overpeck warns. “People won’t want to live here anymore.” Economic calamity will result. The question isn’t whether the man-made Colorado River and its reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell will go dry, it’s when.” “PHOENIX IS DOOMED” NEW TIMES LAYS OUT HOW CLIMATE CHANGE TAKES PHOENIX’S AND ARIZONAN’S BECOME THE FIRST CLIMATE REFUGEES…”NO ONE WILL WANT TO LIVE HERE…” Phoenix will become the largest ghost town in history-extending to every corner of the Valley of the Sun. The few folks who remain will do so mostly to provide services for people passing through. The date is January 1, 2114 and Phoenix is dead. THE RELENTLESS DROUGHT…it’s getting more real ! Scientists predict this 2014 summer we will experience a new global record for all time HOT … ! “Temperatures are more frequently going beyond the bounds of what we’ve seen before,” said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center. It wasn’t just Phoenix that simmered last summer. It was the fifth-hottest summer worldwide since record-keeping began in 1880, and the 15th-hottest in the United States, Crouch said. Most of the hotter areas were in the West. Nationwide,it reflects a warming trend of 1 degree over the past century. In Arizona, the increase has been about 2 degrees, he said. Higher temperatures can affect moisture in the air, Crouch said, leading to more floods and longer droughts. “When it’s wet, it will be wetter. When it’s dry, it will be drier,” he said.
It isn’t your imagination-since Phoenix recorded its all-time high of 122 degrees on June 26, 1990-it has just gotten hotter, last summer was the hottest in Phoenix since U.S. record-keeping began in 1895. 2013 was the 6th hottest year in Arizona since 1850, the National Weather Service says the average temperature in Phoenix was 95.1 degrees from June through August. Tucson recorded its second-highest average temperature, 88.3. John Glueck, a meteorologist notes those temps were partly from heat-island effects, the tendency for concrete and asphalt in urban areas to retain heat, raising night-time temperatures. Every day last summer in June the temps pushed past 100 degrees, and news stories promised all-time heat records and Phoenix finally topped out at 118, Death Valley reached 128, pushing the all-time Death Valley record, of 134 degrees at Furnace Creek Ranch, recorded on July 10, 1913 it’s the highest or hottest temperature ever recorded in the World. Valley residents better prepare to swelter through more days like the June 26 record temperature when in 1990 the heat soared to 122 degrees in Phoenix, the hottest recorded day in the city’s history. That extreme heat does more than make people sweat. Temps climb over 119 in Phoenix, cancels air flights because excess heat affects a planes’s ability to take off and land. The American Southwest will be ground zero for extreme heat. The Southeast and Upper Midwest of the United States will add 27 to 50 extra days each year when temps hit at least 95 degrees by 2050. By 2100 45 to 100 additional days when days exceed 95 degrees. These ground temps will make being outdoors so difficult, labor productivity will drop. Demand will increase for air conditioning, requiring more power thus increasing costs.
In the Southwest, we have plenty of drought experience. The region has been in drought much of the last 14 years, including several years of unprecedented drought, first early in the 21st century, and then eclipsed by the burning dryness of the last two years. Burning dryness because we’ve literally seen unprecedented wildfire, but also because Southwest droughts of the last two decades have been hotter than any time since we started keeping track reports Johnathan Overpeck.
One small “hot spot” in the U.S. Southwest is responsible for producing the largest concentration of the greenhouse gas methane seen over the entire United States — more than triple ground-based estimates — according to new studies of satellite data by scientists at NASA and the University of Michigan.
Methane traps heat in the atmosphere and, like carbon dioxide, it contributes to global warming. The hot spot, near the Four Corners intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, covers about 2,500 square miles, or half the size of Connecticut.
In the seven years studied from 2003 to 2009, Four Corners released 0.59 million metric tons of methane into the air. War is now raging over Colorado coal-fired power plants new tough stack EPA regs which coal advocates are fighting.
Today throughout the South West individual states are fighting their own battles with drought, Las Vegas is paying its residents $2 a square foot to pull out their grass and lush gardens, the landscape is changing slowing. Nevada is removing wild horses and cattle from all federal rangelands. Wyoming is seeding clouds as part of a long-term “weather modification program,” officials in Colorado say the state’s southeastern plains are experiencing Dust Bowl conditions, and the entire western U.S. has been beset by ferocious wildfires across an ever-more combustible landscape. In small towns all across New Mexico residents are subsisting on trucked-in water, and others are drilling deeper wells. Eighty-seven percent of New Mexico is in drought, the last three years have been the driest and warmest since 1895. All of New Mexico is officially in a severe or exceptional drought, water reservoir storage statewide is 17% of normal, the lowest in the West. Wildlife managers are hauling water to elk herds in the mountains and blame drought for the high number of deer and antelope being killed on roadways. WATCH CALIFORNIA DRY UP IN SIX PHOTOS
Thousands of Albuquerque’s trees have died because homeowners under water restrictions can’t water them, and in the NM state’s agricultural belt, low yields and crop failures are the norm. Livestock levels in many areas are about one-fifth of normal, and panicked ranchers face paying inflated prices for hay or selling off their herds. CALIFORNIA’S HOTTEST YEAR ON RECORD…….SAN JOSE MERCURY Last year was California’s driest on record for much of the state, and this year, conditions are only worsening. Sixty-three percent of the state is in extreme drought, and the Sierra Nevada snowpack is just 10 to 30 percent of normal. Last year was California’s driest in 119 years of records, Los Angeles and other cities around the state recorded their lowest precipitation amounts for a calendar year. Urban areas are feeling the pinch, the Metropolitan Water District, which serves about half of heavily populated Southern California, has been using reserves to meet residents’ needs, and plans to do the same next year, said spokesman Bob Muir. If 2015 is also dry, rationing may be required. Water levels in key reservoirs have been dropping when they should be rising with winter rains, storage in Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville, the two largest reservoirs in California, is at 57 percent. Gov. Jerry Brown has asked Californians to reduce their water use by 40% in this drought emergency. Lake Mead’s water levels is eight feet above the cut off level where a shortage is officially declared and rationing goes into effect for Nevada and Arizona, and at that point, Hoover Dam’s hydroelectric output could be seriously jeopardized and may brown out the Vegas Strip. Lake Mead could be dry by 2020 and Lake Powell will never fill up again. “This strikes me as such an amazing moment” says Barry Nelson, an analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, “It’s three-quarters of a century since they filled Lake Mead. And now at the three-quarter-century mark, the world has changed.” In the winter of 2005, Lake Powell reached its lowest level since filling, an elevation 150′ below full pool. Lake levels recovered during 2005 – 2011, but the resurgence of extreme drought conditions have provoked a steep decline in 2012 and 2013, with the lake falling 35′ over the past year. As of August 18, 2013, Lake Powell was 109′ below full pool (45% of capacity), and was falling at a rate of one foot every six days. LAKE MEAD GOES DRY, THE VEGAS STRIP BROWNS OUT – WILL VEGAS BECOME THE NEW CHACO ?
Looking back in time through the tree rings, scientists have determined that the current Southwest drought, beginning in 2000, is the fifth most severe since AD 1000. Devastating mega-droughts have occurred regularly in the region, one struck during the latter 1200s (probably driving people from the region) and another in 1572-1587, a drought that stretched across the continent to the Colonies. Few conifers then abundant in the Southwest survived including piñon, ponderosa pine, and Douglas fir, despite lifespans approaching 800 years; those species have now regrown.
By the Classic Period, 1150 to 1450, the Hohokam irrigation systems could deliver water to over 110,000 acres and support the largest population in the Southwest. It was the largest canal irrigation system ever developed in the prehistoric New World. The Hohokams created a sustainable agriculture that survived for at least 1,500 years. From 1200AD to 1350AD, their irrigation systems delivered water and fed the Southwest, today, canals still follow prehistoric routes, and many were built by cleaning out original Hohokam canals. The Hohokams were also the only prehistoric culture in North America to rely on irrigation networks to raise crops. They transformed their environment creating fields that stretched as far as the eye could see. Scientists studying the drought say the extensive damage done to trees shows what the future holds for other forests worldwide face rising temperatures, diminished rainfall, and devastating fires. As air grows warmer, its capacity to hold water vapor increases exponentially, which speeds evaporation and sucks more moisture out of trees’ leaves or needles, as well as the soil itself. If the vapor pressure deficit sucks out enough moisture, it kills trees. U.S. Drought Monitor Click Here… ‘The forests in the Southwest probably cannot survive in the temperatures that are projected.’ Global warming will make feeding the world harder and more expensive, a warmer world will push food prices higher, trigger hunger among the world’s poorest people and put the crunch on delights like fine wine and robust coffee, says the Panel on Climate Change in a 32-volume report. Food prices are likely to go up in a wide range of 3 percent to 84 percent by 2050 just because of climate change, said the United Nations scientific panel.“We’re facing the specter of reduced yields in some of the key crops that feed humanity,” panel chairman Rajendra Pachauri said. We will still get good years—wet years—but they will be more and more the exception. A better bet is to expect more drought and plan for it. Climate change is affecting today’s world’s oceans as well as every continent and it’s going to get much worse if emissions are not curbed, scientists say in the sweeping report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last spring. The report asserts that ice caps are melting and global water supplies are being affected. Important for many island and coastal countries, the pace at which sea levels are rising is endangering coastal areas. The list of problems reads like an unending parade of misery, including rising acidity in the oceans, a threatened world food supply, and possibly mass migration and violence as a result.
January 2014 was recorded as the warmest January in fifty years in Arizona. Tucson’s Ski Valley on Mount Lemmon lost the whole ski season to the lack of snow in the southernmost ski area in the United States. Sabino Creek, a mountain stream fed by snowfall and rain stopped running three weeks early this year. Residents of Oracle on the North side of the Santa Catalinas find their beloved oak trees receding and withdrawing up the mountain. Fires and tree die off makes longtime residents like Rick Volante, think their forest may soon become a grassland. Elsewhere in Arizona, plant species are scaling the Sky Islands growing uphill to reach higher altitudes and cooler habitats. Last year Drought covered 30 percent of Arizona–this year it has almost doubled to 57 percent settling in the southern counties of Pima, Pinal, Cochise and Graham, where residents there are being hammered the hardest. U.S. Forests shows stress, 20th-century temperature records show a connection between drought and tree mortality associated with huge wildfires and bark-beetle outbreaks, like we have seen here in the past two decades. Projections say forests by 2050 in the Southwest will be suffering regularly from drought stress at levels exceeding previous megadroughts. After 2050, 80 percent of the years to follow will exceed those levels. “The majority of South West forests will not survive the temps projected”. In 2013 the USDA designated a Drought Disaster Areas in Arizona where Navajo Reservation water supplies were being compromised by the springs drying up and folks turning to shallower wells that might have been impacted by uranium or arsenic. On January 9, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated Apache, Maricopa, Navajo and Pinal Counties as primary natural disaster areas due to drought. Eight other counties were named as contiguous disaster counties Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Yavapai and Yuma.
In a new study, a team of researchers led by David M. Romps predicts that the frequency of lightning strikes will increase about 12 percent for every degree of rise in the average global temperature. If current trends in warming continue unchecked, it could result in a 50 percent increase in lightning strikes by 2100, the authors of the study say.
“For every two lightning strikes in 2000, there will be three lightning strikes in 2100,” David Romps, at the University of California, Berkeley, is quoted by the BBC as saying. Currently there are around 25 million lightning strikes per year.
Romps says temperature fuels lightning and that his team’s conclusions are based on the fact that there will be more heat energy to fuel storm clouds. “As the planet warms, there will be more of this fuel around, so when thunderstorms get triggered, they will be more energetic,” Romps says, according to the BBC. (science11/2014)
Mother Jones magazine points out: “lightning strikes are the principal cause of wildfires, which are predicted to grow more severe due to global warming. In one 24-hour period in August, lightning in Northern California started 34 wildfires.
The tragic Wildlands firefighter death toll taken last summer when 19 members of the Arizona’s Prescott Granite Mountain Hot Shots died fighting a wild fire near Yarnell, Arizona, it was the worst tragedy since 1903. More than 500 homes were lost in a firestorm of epic proportions in Colorado Springs, where wildfire triage wanted to save “every other house” but saved only one in four homes. In California the Fire season just didn’t end last year which prompted Gov. Edmund Brown, to declare a state of emergency. “It’s not if–it burns,” he says. “It’s when.” After a year of asking Californians to cut back their water consumption, water use has gone up one per cent. A $500 Water Waste fine has now gone into affect… Thomas Tidwell, the head of the United States Forest Service, told a Senate committee on energy and natural resources recently that the fire season now lasts two months longer and destroys twice as much land as it did four decades ago. Fires now, he said, burn the same amount of land faster. The Slide Fire’s 1200 firefighters are now just winding down with a 32 square mile damage footprint wiping out iconic Oak Creek Canyon which would just now beginning to pull in Phoenix tourists for cooler get-aways and now will not attract any tourist, causing huge damage to the high country economy when it is just beginning the season. Flagstaff averages a 100 inches of snow a year, last season, the area received 19 inches of snow, they now fear fire.
The present 11-year drought, says Nelson, has caused the Colorado River to deliver considerably less water than users were promised. The Bureau of Reclamation’s current plan calls for an increase of up to 40 percent in the amount of water delivered to Lake Mead from Lake Powell, the big reservoir upstream, a step that may help equalize the amount of water in each reservoir and possibly avoid triggering the shortage declaration that cuts off towns like Tucson from the concrete tit.
Nate Stephenson, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), based near Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, says that if climate warming continues tens of thousands of the ancient Sequoia trees will be at risk in the coming century from destruction. “In 25 years, we would see trouble for sequoia seedlings, then in 50 years trouble for the whole population,” Stephenson said. “In 100 years time, we could lose most of the big Sequoias.” The threat that climate change poses to giant sequoias is indicative of a broader danger to tree species worldwide. A study published in December in the Journa Science found rising death rates among trees 100 to 300 years old across a wide range of global landscapes, from forests, to savannas, to cities. The study noted that mortality among older trees is linked, at least in part, to higher temperatures and drier conditions, according to a paper in Nature Climate Change. A 2010 study conducted by 20 researchers worldwide and published in Forest Ecology and Management documented dozens of cases of “significant tree mortality” on every continent (except Antarctica) over the last 40 years — all of which were linked to heat and drought. According to Craig Allen, a USGS research ecologist based in New Mexico and the Forest Ecology and Management paper’s lead author, ‘Old trees and ancient forests everywhere are arguably at risk.’ Mortality rates have not only risen in dry regions, but also in wet forests. “Old trees and ancient forests everywhere are arguably at risk,” says Allen. “If projected temperatures rise by 4 degrees by 2100, that warming alone could cause most old trees to die sometime this century.” CALIFORNIA WATER RESOURCE CENTER ARIZONA DROUGHT PROGRAM NEW MEXICO DROUGHT MONITOR The Prehistoric South West by Steve Lekson A new study center at the University of Arizona thinks residents of the Sonoran Desert are lucky to be the canary in the coal mine. “In Arizona, many opportunities will come from the fact that we are early adapters. We have so much focus here on drought and extreme temperatures that we’ve actually developed techniques to deal with them: artificial groundwater recharge, reuse of waste water, conservation and efficiency.” We’re going to have to adapt to more huge wildfires, prolonged heat waves, electricity brownouts, floods and more drought in the future, thanks to climate change, says the new director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions that will try to help people do that. “That’s really how people experience climate change,” says director Kathy Jacobs.
“People are confident in their ability to take off another layer of clothes or put on the thermostat. What is of greatest concern is extreme events,” The center is a virtual center, with no formal office or headquarters, and with only Jacobs and an assistant as full-time staff. It operates out of the UA’s Institute for the Environment headquarters in the Marshall Building near Main Gate Square. Being prepared is a key theme the center will focus on. Starting operations in January, the center’s basic purpose is to help people in Tucson, nationally and globally adapt to a changing climate by offering management options and practices aimed at protecting lives, property and the national environment from its impacts. The center will connect with the UA’s climate science community, so ideas stemming from climate research have a better chance of becoming reality. “How do we make science useful?” Jacobs said. Helping manage risks that come with climate change, particularly a cascading series of risks such as public health problems from a major heat wave that damages the electrical grid. “Managing risk is the central nut we need to crack here,” Jacobs said “Risk is a complicated, interdisciplinary problem — it’s hard to understand the factors for risk.” Last year’s drought scorched over half of the U.S. last year. Now that drought is targeting the Southwest and western Plains, according to Mark Svoboda, climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center. Svoboda says the Southwest and Great Plains are likely to see the drought deepen, and it’s possible the drought will reach the Pacific Northwest, like Oregon and Idaho. At the end of last summer, about 65 percent of the country was experiencing drought. Today, the extent of the drought has dropped to 48 percent — but it is far from over Svoboda warns.
Climate change is happening, it’s entirely man’s fault and limiting its impacts will require reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero this century, the U.N.’s panel on climate science said. The report caps its latest assessment, a mega-review of 30,000 climate change studies that establishes with 95-percent certainty that most of the warming seen since the 1950s is man-made.
Still the American public isn’t as convinced. A survey by Pew Research showed 67 percent of Americans believed global warming is occurring and 44 percent say the earth is warming mostly because of human activity. Recently, a New York Times poll said 42 percent of Republicans say global warming won’t have a serious impact, a view held by 12 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of independents.
OLD TUCSON’S MESCAL CHANNELS THE OLD WEST’, IT’S PRICELESS, BUT MOVIE SETS ARE NOT BUILT TO LAST ONLY FILM MAGIC LIVES ON !Since 1913 over 126 movies and television shows have been filmed in Southern Arizona; from Oklahoma! to McCLintock! to The Bottom of the Bottle, movies and television shows provide an economic boost to southern Arizona, which continues to inspire film companies as “the homeland of the Old West”, picking up movies like the recent Hangover III that was partially filmed in ‘Nogales because vestiges of the past still linger on the landscape, perhaps forgotten in the desert, but celebrated in the Spirit of the Old West. Old Tucson Studios set the pace in Southern Arizona for decades beginning in 1939 with “ARIZONA”‘ filmed at the studio. Dozens followed John Wayne, Glenn Ford, John Huston, Steve McQueen, Danny Glover, Clint Eastwood, and the Highwaymen, new generations followed, like Young Riders.
In the 1960’s MESCAL was built originally for TV filming “The Young Riders” and Michael Landon’s “House on the Prairie”, but classics followed like Jose Wales, The Quick and the Dead, Stagecoach with the Highwaymen, Buffalo Soldiers with Danny Glover… For almost 20 years, Frank Brown has been the Sheriff in these parts. Frank is the sole resident of MESCAL except for Samantha, a stray black cat, that follows him everywhere.Frank is the caretaker of this slice of the Old West. He jokes and laughs about working with some of the greats in todays film making, Val Kilmer told him he regretted his “I’m your Huckleberry” line in Tombstone when facing down Johnny Ringo. Today he says, “No one ever comes up to me anymore and says Hello, It’s always, “I’m your Huckleberry”. Just for the record, there is no way that movie should have been called “TOMBSTONE”, it would have sold out as “DOC HOLIDAY”. Val Kilmer stole the whole show from Kurt Russell. We walk through the Saloon where EARP (Russel) walks into the bar and straight up to Billy Bob Thorton who is dealing cards and bad-mouthing everyone around. Earp back hands Billy-Bob a couple good licks and says “You gonna stand there and bleed or you gonna peel that smoke wagon”? Brown giggles to himself as we exchange lines from the scene and relive the moment. Franks loves this job.
Brown is retired Military, been married six times and all of them got new houses and cars, and he paid for them all so he likes living alone, “I love being by himself”. He is on duty 24/7 week-in, week-out. Sometimes kids show up late expecting to party on the site and when I show up, and slide a shell into the shotgun, you can hear their assholes puckering. Brown hasn’t had much problem, he scares away someone, at least once a week.
Sam the cat is nice and friendly but Frank has an allergy to cats and can’t pet her so she is always underfoot begging for the attention Frank can’t provide. Samantha showed up about two weeks after Henry, the mouser at Mescal for fourteen years disappeared, SAM has been there now for six years.
As we wander through the streets Frank relates stories about each building and points to a staircase constructed for just one scene years ago, the OK Corral where the Earps went toe-to-toe with the Cowboys it is now a grassy lot. The Ghosts of Steve McQueen, Michael Landon and David Carradine linger along the Boot Hill built for the filming of TOMBSTONE. Just West of town stands the dead tree used in the movie “Maverick” where Mel Gibson is being hung on his horse and rattlesnakes are thrown at his horse’s feet.Brown originally found the tree in the Sonoita area and dragged it to the site for the filming, later in 2007 winds topping 70 mph knocked down the tree and 20 building on the Mescal site, each had been constructed for a scene or a movie in the past. The tree was resurrected by 3300 pounds of concrete, many of those twenty buildings still lie as stacks of lumber aging in the sun, just awaiting the next movie crew to blow in and start hammering away building something new.
Frank is a little frustrated because his efforts to get MESCAL recorded as a historic park or memorial, have gone nowhere, mainly because nothing here is built to be permanent. Nothing but Frank Brown, who is permanent, Mescal has had four caretakers, the first was “Tex”, the second was “George”, then the couple, “Bill and Marlene”, and now, “Frank”, who says “you betcha” if asked if he wants to die there. He has a trailer, Old Tucson provides power, water and septic. He seldom leaves, he likes the peace and quiet, often thinks he was born too late in the last century.
Frank takes pleasure preserving his small piece of the “Old West”. The Oklahoma Land Rush was filmed here and history will remember Mescal as the place where movies were made that glorified the Old West and opened a window to the world here before Statehood. Frank feels history all around him. He thinks his Dad and kin folk would be proud of the fact he wears a badge every day, he comes from a long line of Marshals, Sheriffs and Constables and Franks wants Mescal to last as long as he does. So they can just carry him over to Boot Hill and erect another cross to balance out that composition.
Until that day, Frank’s too busy to worry, “if you want to die–just sit there, but if you want to live, keep moving and honestly the seventy-nine year old “hopes to die getting shot jumping out of some window”. In the meantime, Frank is learning to shoot a 70lb compound bow to fill his Elk tag for this fall’s hunt. So, this summer, arrows will be flying once again where Fort Apache was filmed to grace the BIG screen. MESCAL TOUR INFORMATION
According to Wikipedia Old Tucson Studios was built in 1938 by Columbia Pictures on a Pima County-owned site as a replica of 1860s Tucson for the movie Arizona, starring William Holden and Jean Arthur. Workers built more than 50 buildings in 40 days, many of those structures still stand.
After the filming of Arizona was completed, the movie set lay quiet for several years, until the filming of The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945), starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. Other early movies soon were filmed including The Last Round-Up (1947) with Gene Autry and Winchester ’73 (1950) with James Stewart and The Last Outpost with Ronald Reagan. The 1950s saw the filming of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1958), Cimarron (1959) and Rio Bravo (1959) among others. In 1959, entrepreneur Robert Shelton leased the property from Pima County and began to restore the aging facility. Old Tucson Studios re-opened in 1960, as both a film studio and a theme park. The park grew building by building with each movie filmed on its dusty streets. John Wayne starred in four movies at Old Tucson Studios. Rio Bravo (1959) added a saloon, bank building and doctor’s office; McCLintock! (1963) added the McCLintock Hotel; El Dorado (1966) brought the storefronts on Front Street; and with Rio BRAVO (1970) came a cantina, a jail and a ranch house.
In 1968 Old Tucson began adding tours, rides and shows for the entertainment of visitors, most notably gunfights staged in the “streets” by stunt performers, the 13,000 square foot soundstage was built to give Old Tucson Studios greater movie-making versatility. The first film to use the soundstage was Young Billy Young (1968), starring Robert Mitchum and Angie Dickinson.
On April 25, 1995, a fire destroyed much of Old Tucson Studios. Twenty-five buildings, costumes and memorabilia were lost in the blaze, 100 pieces of fire equipment was deployed and over 200 firefighters from every fire department in the Tucson metro area, including Davis Monthan Air Force Base and the Arizona National Guard fought the wind-driven fire for four hours. The loss included all of Kansas Street and Front street to the wash on the east side, the corner store on the west, and the entire sound stage. The Mission area was destroyed along with the Mission, the Greer Garson house, and the cantina from Rio Bravo. Damages were estimated to be $15 million. Fortunately, there were no human or animal casualties.
Old Tucson served as an ideal location for shooting scenes for TV series like NBC’s The High Chaparral (1967–1971) where the ranch house survived the 1995 fire: Little House on the Prairie, and later, Father Murphy, featuring Merlin Olsen and “Petrocelli”. Three Amigos was a popular comedy shot there in the 80s, using the church set.
From 1989 to 1992 the show The Young Riders filmed at MESCAL Old Tucson’s sister site. The main street appears prominently in 1990s westerns such as Tombstone, a mirror set still exists at Mescal, AZ and is featured in The Quick and the Dead which filmed all of the town of Redemption scenes there.
In 2013, Old Tucson and Mescal was featured in “A Hot Bath An’ A Stiff Drink”.
DIRECTIONS TO MESCAL MOVIE SET: From Tucson, follow I-10 East. Take exit 297 for J-Six Ranch Rd towrd Mescal Rd. Turn left onto South J-Six Ranch Rd (signs for Mescal Rd). Continue onto N. Mescal Rd (dirt road). Turn left into drive. TOURS ARE $10 EACH. EXCEPT FOR TOURS DAY, MESCAL IS CLOSED TO VISITORS.
Elsewhere in Arizona on June 1960 Apacheland Studios opened for business and filmed its first TV western, “Have Gun, Will Travel” in November 1960 and its first full length movie “The Purple Hills”. From the beginning as Superstition Mountain Enterprises in 1959 as Apacheland Studio until its demise in 2004 as Apacheland Movie Ranch, this historic Arizona landmark has seen Hollywood’s finest western actors walk the streets on Kings Ranch Road in Gold Canyon, Arizona.Actors such as Elvis Presley, Jason Robards, Stella Stevens, Ronald Reagan and Audie Murphy filmed western television shows and movies, such as Gambler II, Death Valley Days, Blind Justice, Charro!, Have Gun, Will Travel and The Ballad of Cable Hogue at the western movie studio for some or all of the filming. The last full length movie to be filmed was the 1994 HBO movie Blind Justice with Armand Assante, Elisabeth Shue and Jack Black.
WELCOME TO APACHELAND….CLICK HERE
On May 26, 1969, fire destroyed most of the Movie ranch. Only 7 buildings survived. The sets were soon rebuilt but then almost 35 years later on February 14, 2004, 2 days after its 45th anniversary, another fire destroyed most of the Apacheland. On October 16, 2004 Apacheland closed its doors to the public permanently.
The cause of both fires remain a mystery.
Many films, not all of them Westerns, were shot at Old Tucson Studios, either in whole or in part;
1945: The Bells of St. Mary’s
1947: The Last Round-up
1950: Broken Arrow
1951: The Last Outpost
1955: Strange Lady in Town
1955: Ten Wanted Men
1955: The Violent Men
1956: The Broken Star
1956: Walk the Proud Land
1957: 3:10 to Yuma
1957: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
1957: The Guns of Fort Petticoat
1958: Buchanan Rides Alone
1958: The Badlanders
1958: The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold
1959: Last Train from Gun Hill
1959: Rio Bravo
1959: The Hangman
1961: The Deadly Companions
1962: Young Guns of Texas
1964: The Outrage
1965: Arizona Raiders
1965: The Great Sioux Massacre
1966: El Dorado
1967: Return of the Gunfighter
1967: The Last Challenge
1967: The Way West
1967: A Time for Killing
1968: The Mini-Skirt Mob
1969: Heaven with a Gun
1969: Lonesome Cowboys
1969: Young Billy Young
1970: Dirty Dingus Magee
1970: Monte Walsh
1970: Rio Lobo
1971: Wild Rovers
1972: Joe Kidd
1972: Night of the Lepus
1972: Pocket Money
1972: The Legend of Nigger Charley
1972: The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
1973: Guns of a Stranger
1974: Death Wish
1974: A Knife for the Ladies
1974: The Trial of Billy Jack
1976: The Outlaw Josey Wales
1979: The Villain
1980: Tom Horn
1981: The Cannonball Run
1986: ¡Three Amigos!
1989: Gore Vidals Billy the Kid
1990: Young Guns II
1994: Lightning Jack
1995: Hard Bounty
1995: The Quick and the Dead
2000: South of Heaven, West of Hell
2002: Legend of the Phantom Rider
2004: Treasure of the Seven Mummies
2005: Miracle at Sage Creek
2007: Legend of Pearl Hart
2008: Mad, Mad Wagon Party
2011: To Kill a Memory
2013: Hot Bath an’ a Stiff Drink
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MEXICO’S ONLY CORAL REEF, CABO PULMO ON BAJA’S EAST CAPE, NEEDS PROTECTION FROM GREEDY DEVELOPERS WHOSE LUST FOR 23,000 NEW ROOMS WILL KILL THIS PARADISE !
The first time I visited Cabo Pulmo I drove right past it. True it’s unique beauty lies beneath the waves in this enormous bay which is quite shallow and nurtures young life and marine treasures. The view from the road was the same view that I had enjoyed for the past 100 miles since leaving La Paz so when I drove past this faint truck path disappearing into the sand and dunes who knew it would led us to a farmhouse and a gate and the most outrageous campsite on the Baja. Over the years I visited three or four times each time I was more excited and pushed out from the shoreline, further and further. Once we rented tanks in La Paz and diving at Cabo Pulmo in 20′-45′ of water our tanks lasted forever. Free diving allowed you to get a better overall view but the tanks made things more personal, the colors, the life and the over whelming size of this undersea garden which is unique to the Sea of Cortez because of the temperate weather, the shallow cove captures the natural solar power from the sun and never dips beneath 70 degrees. In those days I tried to know something about the marine biology of the area, so I had some idea of what I was looking at and what not to touch. Cabo Pulmo has one very curious affect on one resident, the Gineafowl Puffer, which is black with white spots all over its body. Apparently, at one moment in the Gineafowl Puffer life, they have a golden moment, literally a golden phase, where their black and white spots disappear and they turn gold. The reef is a protective place where they can dress outlandishly and not get harvested for their pretty hue. Camping on the beach allowed the early riser to watch the sun climb out of the Sea of Cortez lighting up the world as it rose.
All eight of these bars extend out from the beach and are easily visible, resembling rocky dikes that project from the sand and continue into the sea. Marine life around the coral reefs include; the White-banded Angelfish, Moray eels, lobster, puffer fish, Yellowtail, Surgeon fish, Pork fish, Butterfly fish, Parrott fish, Moorish Idols, Hawk fish and blennies. Along the deeper reefs, schools of grunts with larger game fish and large grouper appear, as well as a greater abundance of gorgonians and sea fans,” this is the picture painted by the “BAJA CALIFORNIA DIVER’S GUIDE, which guided me to Cabo Pulmo the first time back in the 1980’s. The outer Cabo Pulmo reef lies two miles from the point and features 60′-70’dives into caves and crevices covering with rich layers of sea fans. http://www.cabopulmopark.com/
“The coral reefs in Pulmo Bay consist of eight long bars of igneous rock, upon which coral and other marine flora and fauna grow.;
Since I last visited this sleepy cove, the Cabo Pulmo Beach Resort, has grown up around a small, rustic, romantic village of palm-thatched bungalows that are located right in front of the National Marine Park of Cabo Pulmo just 60 miles up the Sea of Cortez from Cabo San Lucas on the gulf side. Cabo Pulmo is a quiet village that has no salesmen or trinket sales to bother you, no paragliders or noisy jet skis, you can walk for miles on the beach and not see anyone at times. The village of Cabo Pulmo has it’s own well and the quality of water surpasses most water found elsewhere on the Baja Peninsula.
The village is off the grid and relays totally on its own solar power.
Cabo Pulmo Beach Resort sells lots on the East Cape of Baja California Sur, Mexico all with panoramic views of the Sea of Cortez, desert and mountains. Lots are said to sell for prices ranging from $39K to $200K and taxes are about $100 per year!
A new 23,000 room hotel complex called “Cabo Dorado”, has been proposed for Cabo Pulmo which is strikingly similar to two previously canceled projects that were proposed for 3,769 hectares in the exact same location as the other. These projects would change the current landscape entirely, Los Pericúes wanted to include nine hotel lots (eight of which were proposed as unobstructed beach front) and 6,650 residential units built on two 18-hole golf courses.
Now for the third time, the threat of massive coastal tourism and real-estate development has returned to Cabo Pulmo National Park, one of the world’s most robust marine reserves and home to a critically important coral reef system. The new mega-resort project, now called “Cabo Dorado”, raises the specter that Cabo Pulmo’s fragile coral reef and the local community’s fresh water supply could once more be at risk.
Here’s what we know so far about Cabo Dorado:
The 3,770 hectare project is proposed on the same lands – just north of and adjacent to the Cabo Pulmo reserve – where first Cabo Cabo Cortés and later Los Pericúes were also proposed.This new mega-resort would be built in five phases at a cost of at least 3.6 billion dollars. The project would have 22,500 rooms, nine hotels and more than 6,000 residences. There would be two golf courses, sports facilities, beach clubs, a 14 kilometer aqueduct, a new airstrip on the site but a project of this scale and scope would also generate 711,900 kilograms of waste per day and could extract up to 4.8 million cubic meters of water from the local aquifer of this arid, desert region. Apart from the proximity to the fragile Cabo Pulmo coral reef and the marine life it supports, the proposed project site is home to 26 species considered at risk under Mexican law, including endemic plant species and endangered sea turtles.
The sheer scale of the proposal has brought concern about the Cabo Pulmo reserve, a gem internationally recognized and treasured by both the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and it was designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. Representatives from both of these international organizations after a visit recommended that Mexico restrict future large-scale development in the vicinity of the park to avoid the risk of damaged habitat.
UNESCO and Ramsar are not the only ones to have weighed in about the risk of large-scale development in this region. The IUCN’s World Conservation Congress in September 2012 issued a resolution urging Mexico to guarantee the protection of Cabo Pulmo, including from the risk of large-scale tourism and real-estate developments.
Fortunately Cabo Cortés was eventually halted by former President Calderón in June 2012, but it should never have progressed as far as it did. Now, with a new project proposed near Cabo Pulmo National Park it is absolutely critical for Mexican authorities to ensure that history does not repeat itself. A project that would endanger the fragile marine and terrestrial ecosystems near Cabo Pulmo and the neighboring communities must not be allowed to move forward as Cabo Cortés did. A bad project that threatens one of the country’s and the world’s crown jewels must simply not get the green light – no matter how many times or who proposes it.
Subject: SAVE NORTH AMERICA’S ONLY CORAL REEF…CABO PULMO!
This petition is about saving God’s treasures on this Earth. I have visited Cabo Pulmo and I have dove into this bay and can testify how beautiful all of this reef can be, with the schools of colorful juveniles and huge schools of jacks, grunts and barracuda. Proposed development will only destroy the reason people want to go there. To enjoy the pristine beauty unique to the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) we need to fight to save it now.
That’s why I created a petition to Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, which says:
“Cabo Pulmo reserve is an internationally recognized treasure it is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. As North America’s only Coral Reef it has been recommended that Mexico restrict future large-scale developments in the vicinity of the park to avoid the risk of ruining what nature has built.”
Will you sign this petition? Click here:
Thanks! Pass this along to like-minded individuals….
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