We were really glad to see that SfAA extended its deadline to register for the 2021 Norfolk meetings to November 15. For the academics among us, getting into the distance education or hybrid teaching rhythm made October 15 a blur on the calendar. For those practitioners back at work, it was a mixed month, with COVID-19 rates falling and rising in many states. Jeanne’s NPS season ended on October 10, as the National Parks and Monuments saw one of the busiest years in history. Meantime, Orit and a team of STEM faculty and students from New Mexico Highlands University continue their work on combining quantitative and ethnographic data in an effort to model the spread of COVID-19 on the Navajo Reservation, while and attending meetings from home – life in the age of COVID-19.
Our season at Pipe Spring National Monument in the Arizona Strip saw an outbreak of Covid hitting more than half of its Interpretive staff. Back at work after an unexpected quarantine break, we found about 50% of visitors wearing masks. After all, nature is safe! Though masking was considered by visitors to be a political statement, it had other uses in the hot, dry Southwest. As California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona burned, masks made it possible to breathe. In October, as the rabbit brush flowered, masks kept down exposure to allergens. I may continue to carry one after this era fades out in the next couple of years.
Meanwhile, SfAA members have been working hard to craft a model for a hybrid meeting, to reach out to international members, and to fundraise to help keep the organization viable. Our publications, Human Organization and Practicing Anthropology, have constructed issues covering how the social science community has responded to the continuing saga of COVID-19. The News helps to keep us connected between publications and gatherings.
If you’ve logged on to the SfAA website recently, you may have noticed the current issue of the News running as a banner at the bottom of the page. Thanks to the SfAA office for this addition. With the News appearing online, we can publish a range of submissions that allow members to announce, share, comment, and reflect. This issue features pieces that update you on TIG activities, comment on international membership, reflect on a long career, and announce and recommend new books. We also introduce what we hope will be an ongoing area: applied projects from new practitioners. Jeanne’s NPS colleague Autumn Gillard, a Paiute full-time ranger and a full-time student, talks about her work at Pipe Spring. We invite other students to submit short pieces about their on-going work for future issues.
It is impossible to predict what the next months will bring. We encourage all of you to vote. If you don’t cast a ballot for your dream, you could find yourself trapped in someone else’s view of the world.