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SAPIENS: A Podcast for Everything Human

Mar 16, 2022

The sky island of Dzil Nchaa Si'an is more than a mountain. It is a significant landmark in Arizona for Apache tribal members to collect medicinal plants, perform ceremonies, and connect with their ancestors. It is also a site of resistance against the development of an observatory informally known as the “Pope Scope,” for its ties to the Vatican. 


  • (00:01:47) A history of competing interests atop Dzil Nchaa Si'an, or Mt.Graham.
  • (00:04:18) Introduction.
  • (00:05:06) Nick and the “Pope Scope” conflict.
  • (00:07:04) About Field schools and Apache Trust Lands.
  • (00:08:49) How Nick becomes an archaeologist.
  • (00:11:09) Sacred vs holy on Mt. Graham.
  • (00:14:30) Fire on Mt. Graham illuminates value systems.
  • (00:18:32) Apache lands and the 1872 Mining Act.
  • (00:23:19) Guidelines for archaeology learned from Apache ways of knowing.
  • (00:25:18) The Apache methodology of Ni.
  • (00:31:00) Credits 


SAPIENS: A Podcast for Everything Human, is produced by House of Pod and supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation. SAPIENS is also part of the American Anthropological Association Podcast Library. This season was created in collaboration with the Indigenous Archaeology Collective and Society of Black Archaeologists, with art by Carla Keaton, and music from Jobii, _91nova, and Justnormal. For more information and transcriptions, visit


Additional Sponsors:

This episode was made possible by the Fiske Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and the Imago Mundi Fund at Foundation for the Carolinas.


Additional Resources:




Dr. Nicholas Laluk is a member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe in east-central Arizona. He completed his Ph.D. at University of Arizona and is currently an assistant professor in the department of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.