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NPR news reports:

As many as 150 federal agents, sheriff's deputies and tribal police served arrest and search warrants in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico Wednesday morning, capping a two-year undercover sting aimed at a black market in ancient Indian artifacts.

The indictments unsealed Wednesday names 24 people and they're charged with violating federal laws that prohibit the digging and selling of centuries-old pots, sandals, religious items and other artifacts left by ancient Native Americans on what is now federal and tribal land.

Most of those targeted live in southeastern Utah, where generations of families have been involved in both a legal and illegal trade in artifacts. Federal law does not prohibit the digging and removal of artifacts from private land.

This artifacts subculture began in the late 1800s, when rancher Richard Wetherill discovered the cliff dwellings of a lost culture referred to as the "Anasazi." The dwellings eventually were protected with the creation of Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.

Wetherill and his family also found burial sites containing clay pots, reed sandals and religious items. That attracted the interest of collectors and museums. A lucrative trade developed that continues in both legal and black market forms today.

Prosecutors have found it difficult to prosecute thefts from federal and tribal lands because the region is vast and remote. "Pothunters," as they're called, are rarely caught in the act and they claim that the items they sell were found on private land.

The sting revealed Wednesday involved 256 artifacts purchased by undercover agents for $333,685. The indictments allege theft of government property, theft from tribal lands and depredation of government property. Both felony and misdemeanor counts are involved. Penalties upon conviction range up to 10 years in prison.

Most of the arrests took place in Blanding, Utah, which is a center of both legitimate and illegal artifacts markets. Arrests also occurred in Moab and Monticello, Utah, and in neighboring Colorado and New Mexico.

The region is known for thousands of archaeological sites containing dwellings and burial grounds of ancient native people who mysteriously vanished before modern tribes appeared. Some archaeologists consider the area to have the world's greatest concentration of artifacts, graves and cliff paintings and etchings.

In the 150 years since he published his groundbreaking On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, and the 200 years since the date of his birth celebrated this week, Charles Darwin has failed to convince the majority of Americans of the validity of his theories; an August 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, found that 63% of Americans say they believe that humans and other animals have either always existed in their present form or have evolved over time under the guidance of a supreme being while only 26% say that life evolved solely through processes such as natural selection. A similar Pew Research Center poll, released in August 2005, found that 64% of Americans support teaching creationism alongside evolution in the classroom.

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20th-Apr-2008 04:15 pm - Cultural Differences Found in Pee
Charles Q. Choi Special to LiveScience

Pee from more than 4,000 volunteers shows that people from different nations often have spectacularly different metabolisms.

The finding could point to new ways to deal with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and other health problems, researchers said.

After guts break down food and drink, chemicals left in their urine can reveal a lot about peoples' bodies and lifestyles.

Urine samples were analyzed from some 4,630 volunteers from the United States, China, Japan and the United Kingdom. More than 1,000 different molecules were looked at.

Each country turned out very different, metabolically.

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So many people from other countries often criticize that the United States has no roots or culture as a result of being a mesh of people from multiple other countries and cultures. Someone even said that we have no words that are only used in the United States. The person saying this was a Hispanic person from Mexico who mentioned that several places in Mexico have many words that came from Aztec or other Central American Native languages. She said that because the US had basically annihilated the Native Americans in North America, and/or forced them off the land, that there is no ability to claim that the culture was impacted by anything other then the mix of cultures from whence US citizens' multi-colored butts came.

I do know that there are a great many words are used that have Native American etymology, but I was hoping that someone who studied this area would have more scope on what other ways it can be said that Native American culture influenced modern US culture.

Thanks! ^^
Record-high ratio of Americans in prison

This seems like a crisis we need to be spending a little more thought power on.
Hi folks!

I'm working on my senior seminar subject. I'm doing it on sexuality in America as perceived by other cultures/societies. I'm thrilled with this subject. The only problem? The place I collected all my articles (ebscohost) isn't working for me and all the journals I had collects are out of reach thanks to that.

So I come asking help in one of two ways. Does anyone either 1) Know another all inclusive site like ebscohost that I could search on? or 2) Have any good sources for information about other cultures looking at sexuality in America?

Thanks for your time, even if you can't help. :)
13th-Feb-2008 11:16 pm - Update on Republic of Lakotah
Maybe this is why no one noticed ...

Withdrawal from US treaties enjoys little support from tribal leaders

ROSEBUD, S.D. - Tribal leaders in the northern Great Plains said that actor and activist Russell Means has accurately portrayed the federal government's broken promises to America's indigenous peoples. But when Means and a group of fellow activists recently announced a Lakota withdrawal from all treaties with the U.S. government, they were not representing the Lakota and other Sioux tribes of the area, the leaders said.

Means and a delegation calling themselves the Lakota Freedom Delegation convened a press conference Dec. 19 at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Washington, D.C., where the withdrawal was declared. A seven-page document titled ''Lakotah Unilateral Withdrawal from All Agreements and Treaties with the United States of America'' was presented to the U.S. State Department, according to the group's Web site at

Rodney Bordeaux, president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, said Russell's group was not authorized to speak on the tribe's behalf: ''They're individuals acting on their own. They did not come to the Rosebud Sioux tribal council or our government in any way to get our support and we do not support what they've done.''

Click here for the rest
Associated Press
BARABOO, Wis. — Georgia Lonetree missed speaking her native language so much that she used to drive around Arizona looking for objects she could name in Ho-Chunk.

The teacher at an American Indian boarding school returned to Wisconsin, and said hearing her tribe’s language was overwhelming.

“It sometimes brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat when I’d hear my elders pray,” she said.

Lonetree now teaches Ho-Chunk to high school students in Wisconsin Dells and Black River Falls. Only a handful of students participate, but she’s hopeful the program’s popularity will grow.

“The people of the big voice” have reached a crossroads with the deaths of three elder Ho-Chunk language teachers in the last year. The tribe is launching an effort to revitalize the dying language.

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With the flick of a lighter, Subhash Chander wiped out his daughter's family -- all because she had defied him by marrying the wrong man, prosecutors said in court Tuesday.

... Chander has allegedly told investigators that he was angry with his daughter, Monika Rani, for marrying Rajesh Kumar, an Indian man from a "lower caste," First Assistant State's Attorney Robert Milan told McDonough. Chander's 3-year-old grandson, Vansh, also perished in the fire.

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26th-Dec-2007 12:17 pm - The Birth of Santa

(Note: I thought the Easter Bunny was the crucified one and that Santa was the one that was born on Christmas Day.)

Art Conrad has an issue with the commercialism of Christmas, and his protest has gone way beyond just shunning the malls or turning off his television.

The US resident nailed Santa Claus to a 4.5 crucifix in front of his house in Bremerton, in Washington state on the US Pacific coast.

"Santa has been perverted from who he started out to be," Conrad said. "Now he's the person being used by corporations to get us to buy more stuff."

A photo of the crucified Santa adorns Conrad's Christmas cards, with the message "Santa died for your MasterCard".

The display is also Conrad's way of poking fun at political correctness. He believes people do not express their feelings because they are afraid of what others might think.

His neighbours found the will to express their feelings this past week. Some were offended but many were just curious.

Jake Tally walked by and chuckled, but did not pretend to understand the message.

"I don't really know what to think. I know it's about God but Santa has nothing to do with it," he told the Kitsap Sun newspaper.

Original Story
22nd-Dec-2007 03:15 pm - Just saying hello!
otp me!
Hi! I've been lurking in this community for a few weeks, and I thought it was high time I introduced myself. I'm recently graduated with a B.S. in anthropology and geology from the University of Mary Washington, in Virginia, and I'm on the prowl for a masters degree in Mesoamerican archaeology. Anyone have any suggestions for schools? (I've started the application process at Florida State, U of Florida, Kent State, and a few others, but its always good to browse.)

I also have this article to share with the class...
Archaeology Magazine's Top 10 Discoveries of 2007
20th-Dec-2007 10:28 am - Lakota Indians break from US
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.

"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us," long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference.

article here
Calling ALL in favor of SUSTAINABILITY on college campuses


I'm writing to let you all in on a very exciting event which is in the making, right now. San Francisco State University Eco-Students are planning to make a trip on bikes to visit different campuses in California who are making sustainable changes to their campuses and in their communities and DOCUMENTING IT! We will be filming this ride and the interactions at the campuses, hopefully to be showed in late January, if all goes well.

Now, it's time for me to ask you lovely folks if you'd like to help, even in the slightest bit since we are really just starting out...

Our goal is to make contact and form some sort of relationship with students or people knowledgeable of sustainable actions at colleges in California. It can be anything, anyone, on or around campus which can be considered GREEN. In opening up your knowledge, campus, hearts, you will helping a great cause for earthly sustainability, or at least the possibility of expanding the momentum toward it.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, e-mail me and tell me about your campus' greening efforts. Only good things can come from your effort if we all work and share together.


Nikki LePage
17th-Oct-2007 01:20 pm - US army enlists anthropologists
By Kambiz Fattahi BBC Persian Service, Washington

The Pentagon is pulling out all the stops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is sending "mine-resistant, ambush-protected" vehicles into the battlefield. It is also using cutting-edge biometric technologies to identify insurgents.

But that is not all. The US military has developed a new programme known as the Human Terrain System (HTS) to study social groups in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The HTS depends heavily on the co-operation of anthropologists, with their expertise in the study of human beings and their societies.

Steve Fondacaro, a retired special operations colonel overseeing the HTS, is keen to recruit cultural anthropologists.

"Cultural anthropologists are focused on understanding how societies make decisions and how attitudes are formed. They give us the best vision to see the problems through the eyes of the target population," he said.

But very few anthropologists in the US are willing to wear a uniform and receive the mandatory weapons training.

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22nd-Aug-2007 04:26 pm - The Food Stamp Challenge
Anthropologists often like to experiment with living like the cultures they're studying (a must, in my opinion, if you're ever going to understand the culture at least partially), so I'm hoping this may appeal to some of the members of this site, particularly those studying poverty-stricken nations. :)

In October, Congress is going to be voting on, among other things, cuts to the food stamp program. In response to this, members of Congress and others have been living on a food stamp budget (and blogging about it) as a way to raise awareness about the issue. For those of you not currently on food stamps, the average recipient gets about $21 a week, or $1 per meal. The challenge: can you live on $1 per meal for an entire week?

If you're interested in trying this, or simply have a scholarly curiosity about the people doing it, stop by the Congressional Food Stamp Challenge website for more information.

If you're in Michigan, there's a scheduled Food Stamp Challenge week for September 4-10, and you can sign up here if it's something that interests you.
(Kyodo) _ The first inhabitants of North and South America could have been fishermen from Japan who traveled there in small boats, according to research in the latest edition of New Scientist magazine.

The new work casts doubt on the traditional theory that the "first Americans" were hunters from Asia who traveled to the continent on foot via the Bering ice bridge in Alaska some 13,500 years ago.

Jon Erlandson, an archaeologist from the University of Oregon, believes the first people to arrive were probably fishermen who followed a near continuous belt of kelp forests in the coastal waters of the Pacific Rim, from Japan to Alaska and southern California.

His research, which will be published soon in another academic journal, is based on discoveries of ice-age sea voyages in Japan, a study of human DNA and investigations of prehistoric marine ecosystems.

"I think they were just moving along the coast and exploring. It was like a kelp highway," Erlandson told the weekly science journal.

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DALLAS (Reuters) - Texas will almost certainly hit the grim total of 400 executions this month, far ahead of any other state, testament to the influence of the state's conservative evangelical Christians and its cultural mix of Old South and Wild West.

"In Texas you have all the elements lined up. Public support, a governor that supports it and supportive courts," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

"If any of those things are hesitant then the process slows down," said Dieter. "With all cylinders working as in Texas it produces a lot of executions."

Texas has executed 398 convicts since it resumed the practice in 1982, six years after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a ban on capital punishment, far exceeding second-place Virginia with 98 executions since the ban was lifted. It has five executions scheduled for August.

The average time spent on death row before execution is about 10 years, not much less than the national average of closer to 11 years, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. But the average would be considerably longer if Texas were excluded.

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Strewth. Crikey. Bloody hell. An Australian woman has reportedly sparked a security scare aboard a US flight after her use of a common Australian phrase was apparently misinterpreted as an act of aggression.

Sophie Reynolds, 41, from Queanbeyan, was flying aboard SkyWest Airlines from Atlanta to Pittsburgh this week when she asked a flight attendant if she could have a pack of pretzels instead of crackers.

"[The flight attendant] said they didn't have any [pretzels], and I said, 'Fair dinkum,' out of frustration," Reynolds was quoted as saying in the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Rest of the story ...
30th-Jul-2007 10:21 pm - US urges 'comfort women' apology
US lawmakers have called on Japan's government to formally apologise for its role in forcing thousands of women to work as sex slaves in World War II.


Japan says it has shown sufficient remorse over the issue, but survivors and relatives say it should go further.

This is an example of offending the Wa.
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