Black Mesa Archeological Project
In the late 1970’s, archaeologist George J. Gumerman initiated a permit to excavate the area now known as the Black Mesa and Kayenta Mines. Nothing but a filed permit, allowed a team to set up a field office and begin excavation of more than 1.3 million artifacts. Somehow, Peabody was allowed to transport and store these items at Southern Illinois University and University of Las Vegas, NV. Peabody claims that they are willing to return the remains and non-NAGPRA items with permission of the Tribes.
Promised for return, 20 years later, they still are held in curation, off the reservation. Since the 1970’s the property was scheduled for return, as it was allowed for study in communities outside of Black Mesa. Activists are gathering access to the historic documents and finding no evidence that residents were ever notified of the removal, the type of property being found, nor the transport to curation to the Energy Mogel’s art collections in patron cities.
The resident’s are still mired in a process that is not notifying them of the status and existence of this collection of ancient ancestors. The THPO’s office, is not conducting public notification hearings. The focus of the goals of our project is to apply increasing pressure and to lend exposure to Peabody’s purported reclamation phase until the return of the excavated property of the Navajo at Black Mesa.