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SBTHP Presents Mesa of Sorrows: A History of the Awat'ovi Massacre

April 20, 2016

(Santa Barbara, CA) – The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) and UCSB History Associates are pleased to present Mesa of Sorrows: A History of the Awat'ovi Massacre, a lecture by professor James Brooks on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Alhecama Theatre (914 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara). 


The Hopi community of Awat'ovi existed peacefully on Arizona's Antelope Mesa for generations until one bleak morning in the fall of 1700 when raiders from nearby Hopi villages descended on Awat'ovi, slaughtering their neighboring men, women, and children. The easternmost town on Antelope Mesa, Awat'ovi was renowned for its martial strength, and had been the gateway to the entire Hopi landscape for centuries. Why did kinsmen target it for destruction? Drawing on oral traditions, archival accounts, and extensive archaeological research, James Brooks unravels the story and its significance. Mesa of Sorrows follows the pattern of an archaeological expedition, uncovering layer after layer of evidence and theories. Brooks offers insight into why some were spared--women, mostly, and taken captive--and others sacrificed. He argues that a perfect storm of internal and external crises revitalized an ancient cycle of ritual bloodshed and purification.  


Dr. James F. Brooks is currently a Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Director of the Public History Program at UCSB. He is a specialist in the history of the Southwestern Borderlands and is the author of Captives and Cousins: Slavery, Kinship, and Community in the Southwest Borderlands (2002), which won many awards, including the Frederick Jackson Turner Award (Organization of American Historians), the Bancroft Prize (Columbia University), the Francis Parkman Prize (Society of American Historians), and the W. Turrentine Jackson Award (Western History Association).  He received his PhD at the University of California, Davis in 1995. After holding professorial appointments at the University of Maryland, College Park and UC Santa Barbara he served as President of the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico (2005-2013). He recently completed a ten year term as trustee, three as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Western National Parks Association, which supports research, preservation, and education in 67 National Parks, including Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Channel Islands National Park.  Brooks is also a member of the Board of Directors at both the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation and Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library.

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