Plateau on the Radio: Episode 20 Sacredness and Environmental Protection

Listen to Episode 20 HERE...

In the first part of our show this week we explored the protection of areas on the Plateau that are sacred to the many sovereign Nations that have called this region home since the very beginning.

At Zuni Salt Lake for instance, sacred area to the Zuni, Acoma, Laguna, Hopi and Taos pueblos. There are annual pilgrimages to Zuñi Salt Lake to harvest salt, for both culinary and ceremonial purposes. Ancient roadways radiate out from the lake to the various pueblos and ancestral pueblo sites, such as Chaco. The lake itself is home to the Salt Mother deity, known to the Zuñi as Ma'l Okyattsik'i. When the coal industry came around, a grassroots effort from the pueblos and environmental groups helped to stop the water table from being pumped out of the unique and precious area.

Zuni Salt Lake on the southern edge of the Plateau (AirPhoto)

At the Confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado Rivers a massive tourist area dubbed Grand Canyon Escalade threatened to go in to an area considered extremely sacred to all tribes who have connections to the Grand Canyon as either an emergence place or a place of historic and modern importance. A group called Save the Confluence and many local people helped to stop this from happening.

The Little Colorado on its journey to the Grand Canyon (OARS)

And the decades long fight to prevent a ski area on the San Francisco Peaks from expanding and then later from using treated sewage water to make artificial snow is still being fought in the courts, primarily by the Hopi Nation but backed many other people and tribes who consider this mountain to be extremely sacred.

We also were extremely honored to talk to Jim Enote from Zuni, the CEO of the Colorado Plateau Foundation.

Jim Enote, farmer, fisherman, and so much more...
Still taken from the film Counter-Mapping by
Adam Loften & Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee)

Jim is responsible for helping to create the efforts surrounding the ideas of counter-mapping, a revisionist effort to elaborate Zuni history and cultural survival independent from the non-Zuni narrative, using Zuni language and Zuni aesthetics and sensibilities as they artistically map their region. We discussed Jim's history, his family, farming, building homes and the difference between trying to converge Native knowledge with science, and keeping them separate while having respect for both. It was one of the best conversations we ever had on the air, and hopefully paved the way to future shows with Jim whenever he is in town again.

To see a great video in regards to counter-mapping with Jim, head over to Emergence Magazine and prepare to be extremely moved.

And if you are interested in supporting the wonderful efforts of the Colorado Plateau Foundation as they strive to help protect sacred and endangered lands, water, language, and sustainable community based agriculture, or are a Native-led group looking to apply for a grant, head over to their website to learn more.

And stay tuned for future news in regards to a new PBS Series titled Native America that will feature Jim and will be airing this Fall.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 19 Science Communication in the Classroom with Tad Theimer

Listen to Episode 19 HERE...

In Part 5 of our 5 part series all about Science Communication, we close by taking a peek into communicating science within the classroom. Our guest Dr. Tad Theimer, Biology Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, gives us some beautiful insight on what it takes to be a good teacher, on the joys of meeting and helping students, and on the importance of science literacy when thinking critically about what the world is offering us.

Also, the host and friends of This is the Colorado Plateau share memories of their favorite science teachers, and much more.

For more thoughts by the spectacular human being, Tad Theimer, check out his piece about the Flagstaff March For Science

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 18 Science Communication through Photography with Mike Remke and Tim Macy

Listen to Episode 18 HERE...

This week brings us two great guests in Part 4 of our 5 part Science Communication series, this time focusing on communicating through the lens of a camera. Landscape photographer and soil scientist Mike Remke and wildlife photographer and owner of Macy's Coffehouse in Flagstaff, AZ Tim Macy share their perspectives and experiences from behind the camera, and what photography means to them personally.

Marble - by Mike Remke

Belted Kingfisher - by Tim Macy
If you are interested in learning more about mycorrhizal associations with soil and plants as mentioned in the show, you can check out the definitive page and also head over to the Forest Rangeland Soil Ecology Lab for some great regional information too.