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Keywords:

  • Engaged Anthropology;
  • Arizona;
  • Hopi;
  • Latino;
  • Education

Arizona these days is a frustrating but fascinating laboratory for many contemporary social and cultural issues, with plenty of challenges for engaged anthropology. Concepts of “sustainability” in this context of unbridled libertarianism, nativism, scarce water, and rapid urban growth, are increasingly tenuous, but nature has “not put all of her eggs in one basket.” The long presence of diverse indigenous cultures in this unforgiving environment, despite centuries of sustained suppression, and the controversial arrival of immigrant newcomers still hopeful for the “American Dream,” may have lessons for the rest of us, in terms of sustainability and an engaged anthropology. This article illustrates what “engaged anthropology” can look like at a local level, and chronicles the unforeseen twists and turns of a diverse career as an applied anthropologist in a state desperately in need of an anthropological perspective.