Friday, April 15, 2011

The ACRA-id Air...

Witnesseth: if you are not so fortunate to subscribe to ACRA-L, the American Cultural Resource Association or some Oregon Listserv, you missed this exchange (slightly edited for brevity by myself). Topped off as of this moment by our favorite Motsi Mudslinger. It's a doozy of a read but oh so entertaining.

1. Email: It’s never too late to stay connected with SAA. As a student member, you can participate in your professional Society for less than 20 cents a day. Renew by logging in at We look forward to seeing you reconnect today.

2. No thanks!  The SAA is too conservative for me and costs too much.  I prefer more community based organizations that don't cost an arm and a leg and are more fun and productive.  Perhaps when you get some actual archaeologists on staff besides the fabulous Maureen Malloy I will reconsider.  David Lindsay's advocacy for archaeology has been abysmal, and former SAA president Dr. Kenneth M. Ames is an elitist hypocrite. I wish the organization all the best though, for the sake of the very valuable resources we have in archaeology that are being destroyed due to lack of leadership in our community. Cheers, Wendy Ann Wright p.s. I think I shall forward my response to the ACRA listserv and our Oregon archaeology listserv as well.

3. With due respect, Ms. Wright I do not feel that the OR Archaeology list (I'm not on acra-l) is an appropriate venue for personal attacks.  I trust I'm not the only one who feels that way. Sincerely, Pam

4. Dear Ms. Endzweig, Well I have received overwhelmingly positive feedback and accolades for my email.  So we can agree to disagree.  Sometimes the truth hurts. Sincerely, Wendy Ann Wright

5. Wendy,  I must second Pam's comments regarding your recent letter. I believe that your decision to join or not join the SAA is a private one and everyone should respect that choice. Your comments to the board on why you have made your decision is between you and them. Our Oregon's Archaeology list serve is meant to be a vehicle to promote a dialogue among the professional and avocational community regarding archaeological issues and concerns. It is not meant, nor should it be used, as an avenue for anyone to extend personal attacks on other members of our community. I see nothing positive coming from your letter and strongly urge you to work with anyone you may have a disagreement with to clarify what the problems may be in your situation rather than lashing out in such a public fashion \ Dennis /

6. Dennis, You already know they refuse to talk to me and I have civil rights case against Ken Ames.  This is a new era of transparency and while you have a right to state your opinion, but that's it.  I'm not even really an archaeologist anymore so why should I care you think.  It's not like you have had the best manners when approaching people about their responsibilities to the archaeological record.  It's a small community.  We all talk.  I've heard about some of the things you have done and it experienced it myself. Sincerely, Wendy Ann

7. Wendy, while I can understand that not everyone is pleased with the SAA for one reason or another, I too would rather that the Oregon Archaeology listserv remain a professional venue for disseminating information. Personal attacks for reasons real, imagined, or otherwise have no place here. Loren Davis

8. Loren, We can all sit around here and talk about whether I had the right to do this or we could take a look at what collective actions we could take to start protecting and promoting the archaeological record cuz the fact of the matter is writing journal articles and nerding out at the SAAs is not going to cut it.  Peace. Wendy Ann

9. And Dennis I am just an unemployed homeless were the state archaeologist when you were acting "unprofessionally".

10.  ENOUGH, Wendy!  I don't really need to hear about your personal issues with archaeologists in Oregon. Bill (in New Mexico)

11. Dear ACRA-L folks, Ok for those of you who care I have been kicked off the Oregon SHPO archaeology listserv for the emails I sent.  Now I realize some of you don't think I should have sent it, but I also received emails from a number of archaeologists who praised me for sending it.  I'm not concerned with whether you think I should have sent it.  I did what I did and I don't have any regrets.  My question is should someone be kicked off a state run listserv for calling out state employees (Department of Anthropology Chair, Portland State and State Archaeologist, Oregon SHPO)?  It seems entirely un-American to me, but that is just my opinion. Cheers, Wendy Ann

12. I think that in principle, it depends.  If you offered a reasoned allegation that state employees abused their government positions, it would seem pretty stinky (but probably not illegal) for them to kick you off the listserv.  If you engaged in petty personal attacks on their characters, morals, hair color, choice of TV sitcoms, etc., they'd probably be justified in seeing you as an irresponsible pest, and tossing you. Tom King.

13. From the perspective of someone who doesn't know any of the parties involved, I must say the emails you forwarded to this list earlier today made me uncomfortable. I felt that the comments you received were kindly phrased and that your replies were unnecessarily harsh, in some cases containing personal attacks and serious allegations. Now, I understand there may have been some personal history precipitating all of that, but those are things better discussed privately. By bringing it onto a public forum, you might as well be asking people to take sides, which isn't fair to them, to yourself, or to the people you've accused. Now you come here and flat out ask a different group of people to take sides, thereby dragging even more people into things. However, since you did ask, I admit I would have considered kicking you off the list as well for making serious accusations against other members of the group in such a public and humiliating way. That being said, I would have spoken  with you privately first and tried to work things out, but I can understand why they didn't. These lists only work well when all members are respectful toward one another even when they're disagreeing. Sincerely, Anna

14. Your points are taken...but I have to say with a grain of salt.  For the record, while I may be 33 years young and only have my B.A.  I have:

  • Chaired the Public Archaeology Interest Group (PAIG) for the SAAs for 2 years
  • Developed numerous community based archaeology programs including a pilot program for the National Park Service (NPS) last summer for Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
  • Received a number of grants including from Portland State University (PSU), the Oregon SHPO, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and am a Ronald E. McNair Scholar
  • Been on numerous panels with leading experts for community based archaeology and local government policy at the SAAs and elsewhere
  • Coauthored a NPS document for helping local governments manage their cultural resources along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Outside of archaeology I have also:
  • Served 2 terms as PTA President at Boise Eliot Elementary
  • Was Senior/Youth Liaison for the Boise Neighborhood Association
  • Worked for Commissioner (now Mayor) Sam Adams in Portland, Oregon
  • Worked for the President of PSU in the Office of Diversity and Equity
  • Helped organize, served as Bargaining Unit Representative, and Grievance Committee Member for ILWU Local 5 at Powell's Bookstore (the largest bookstore in the United States) I am no spring chicken...and quite frankly I don't even know if I will continue in archaeology professionally because I am so fed up with the lack of involvement and advocacy by many archaeologists!  I love archaeology and hope I can continue, but if I have to move on than so be it.  Maybe I will end up going to law school. Cheers, Wendy Ann
15. Quite frankly Wendy, I don't think the primary issue is your original email. Yes, you had a lot of people who took issue with it, and you maybe shouldn't have gone about things the way that you did, but the real issue is how you've handled yourself in the aftermath.  It's easy to just delete a couple of emails and move on with life, which is what I think you should have done. The only person you damaged in your responses is yourself.  I read your first email and thought well, alright, whatever she wants to do.  When the responses started coming in and you became extraordinarily defensive to the point of firing off emails from the hip without any thought about what you were putting out there, you made yourself look like a troll trying to stir up trouble.  I think you would have been better off to either ignore all the responses or take a day to collect your thoughts, apologize for plugging up the listserv with your own agenda, and state your case leaving personal attacks out of it.  I also think at that point you should have let it die naturally. That's just my opinion, take it for what it's worth. Jennifer L. Harty 

16. The Bad News: ABC has announced they will cancel "One Life to Live" and "All My Children" after 40 years The Good News: ABC will begin airing "Listserv Oregon" in the fall. Please all try to be kind to each other.. and to put our troubles into perspective... Haiti. North Africa. Japan to name a few. Mitchell
17. Ha.  Nice one Mitchell.  So very true...and I do feel that my life is a soap opera these days.  Things will get better.  Hopefully the status of archaeology in this country will improve too. Wendy

18.  OMG, remove me form the list……….I can get this type of childish and behavior at my sons school yard. Bryan
19. To all ACRA-L users: We are aware that many (perhaps most) of you found Ms. Wendy Wright’s posts this week disturbing and unwarranted.  She has been removed from the ACRA-L mailing list.  This is the second time in the past few months that we have removed her.  Be aware that because of the way people sign up for ACRA-L (email only), she could reappear under a new email address.  If so, we will remove her again as soon as we identify her. As I said in my earlier email today, ACRA-L will not provide a forum for insulting other people or other organizations.  You will be removed as fast as we can do so.  We do not monitor postings prior to putting them up.  We will, however, respond promptly to improper and unacceptable postings. Lucy Wayne, ACRA President 
20. ACRA-lytes: Despite Wendy's undoubtedly boorish behavior she did obliquely raise one good point. How are we as CRM professionals going to improve the climate for CRM in this difficult economic time?
On a personal note, I was laid off early this week after 19 year's work as an architectural historian, and unfortunately, I am far from alone in that fate. Douglas

21. Please take me off the ACRA list now. This extent that this dialog has continued is painful. Sara

22. While I agree that discussions should be civil and non-libelous, and that the recent postings from Oregon have been out of line, I suggest that it's going a bit far to say that ACRA-L is "not a forum for airing your complaints about your colleagues or other organizations."  Do you propose that ACRA-L should join the various NPS publications in the relentless promulgation of largely irrelevant feel-good stories.  Are ACRAnyms to be prohibited from complaining about the status quo, or about how things are done?  I'm sure that's not what you mean, but this is, I think, the brink of a slippery slope. Tom King.
23. Binford was also a pretty rough-and-tumble debater, however, and Lucy was if anything even more so.  I worry about the chilling effect of tossing people off the list if they offend the self-appointed guardians of majority views. Tom King.

24. Hoo boy, so Wendy Ann is to be blacklisted in perpetuity?  It must be wonderful to be so sure of your moral superiority, Lucy. I believe that many of ACRA-L's member companies actively if more or less unintentionally conspire with their clients to circumvent the intent of the environmental and cultural resource laws.  There: I've now insulted a bunch of people.  Are you going to throw me off?  It would be a simple way to avoid being confronted with issues that people may find troubling. Tom King.
25. I don't understand, what's the big deal being made of this?  It's generated a lot of emails.  So what?  Ignore them.  The subject line clearly indicates "what's it all about, Alfie?"  So delete them.  To ban Wendy for life is not what the Mikado tries when he says to "make the punishment fit the crime."  Personal attacks on individuals has no place here, but archaeology as a whole needs to take a real long look at itself in the mirror before it throws any more stones at the observers. Martin.
26. I vaguely remember somebody else being booted off the list because he/she expressed opinions that weren’t appreciated. I asked on the list if it was a form of censorship and was told that it wasn’t. Although Ms. Wright may someday regret her posting professionally, she does have a right to express her opinion. Yes, she obviously upset a few folks – so what? Supposedly we are all educated adults and should be able to deal with such remarks as professionals.  Ginny

27. No matter what you think about Wendy Wright's post, she had a valid point. Currently there is no professional organization politically advocating for the preservation of cultural resources.  These resources can't advocate for themselves.  If we don't advocate for them, they don't have a chance.  I guarantee that there are many "development oriented" lobbying powers in Washington and locally that are pushing to eliminate protections for cultural resources.  There are even whole federal agencies that are unaware that the National Historic Preservation Act exists.  If the SAA and State Archaeological Societies can't do the necessary lobbying on behalf of the resources, then we need to develop a professional organization and network that can and will. John

28. Hi Folks, I have been a friend of Wendy's for several years.  I have also had the opportunity to interact with her in both academic and professional settings during this time.  I know Wendy to be an extraordinary individual with a passion for archaeology and social justice.  During the last few years she has begun to make meaningful contributions to archaeology on the local, regional and national level. Over the last year, many of us who have been her friends and colleagues have experienced a shift in her personality and professional interactions.  I cannot explain the reason for this shift in Wendy but it has resulted in a break in our friendship and professional relationship.  Wendy and myself share many common friends and professional colleagues and I know that virtually all of them have had similar disruptions in their relationship with her.  I simply want to communicate to the List/Community that there are circumstances in her personal life that are likely affecting her professional life. In my view, several of Wendy's posts to the Oregon List and the ACRA List in the last couple of days have been professionally inappropriate.  I too believe that Wendy should be allowed to rejoin the list at some point in time, although it seems appropriate to limit her access now.  I know this begs the question of who should be the arbitrator of when and how she should be allowed to participate.  I don't have that answer.Best, Roy
29. Dr. King: None of ACRA's (not ACRA-L's) member companies of which I know conspire with their clients to circumvent the intent of environmental and cultural resource laws.  Doing so would violate ACRA's standards of ethics, as I understand them.  I continue to believe that those spiders are yours alone and imaginary. Tom Motsinger


  1. I too am a former friend of Wendy Ann's. Our boys were in pre school together, and we were neighbors.

    Roy is correct in noticing a shift in her personality. I and others watched as she slowly started losing bits and prices of reality. While she can seem lucid, she has trouble differentiating fantasy from fiction. She I think feels persecuted, but will not take any responsibility for her actions. All I can think of is that right now she may not know any better. Please have a little sympathy; she has losther housing, her son, and her friends ,(including me).


  2. Reminds me a little of New Mexico Archaeological Council listserve pulling the plug on Joe Ben with his rants about reading petroglyphs and bar fights with his knife wielding Gran Pa

    Arch listserves are just plain no fun

    I won't subscribe until they bring back wendy or joe ben