LOS ANGELES (November 9, 2011) — Dr. Alan Garfinkel-Gold, AECOM senior cultural resources expert, has received the California Governor’s Historic Preservation Award for 2011 for the Kawaiisu Project. The Kawaiisu peoples have lived in the southern Sierra Nevada and western Mojave Desert of California for millennia. Gold and co-recipient Harold Williams, a prominent Kawaiisu Elder, received the award for their Handbook of the Kawaiisu, and the Kawaiisu Exhibit in the Tehachapi Museum.
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Gold and Williams authored this comprehensive history of the Kawaiisu peoples and their culture, in a five-year project funded by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Tehachapi Mountain Foundation, and wind energy developers. The Kawaiisu, who continue to reside in these areas, are undergoing a cultural revitalization in which their native language is being taught, and traditional native arts are being practiced after a hiatus of 80 years. The Kawaiisu are known worldwide for their remarkable basketry arts.
Gold is completing a documentary film — History Through Stone: The Story of Coso Prehistoric Rock Art (2012 release date) on the remarkable concentration of Native American rock drawings in Kawaiisu territory. The petroglyphs are the largest collection of rock art in the western hemisphere.
According to John M. Dionisio, AECOM chairman, and chief executive officer, “AECOM is proud to support Dr. Gold’s important cultural heritage and environmental resource work with native peoples. Our support for corporate social responsibility is a key element of our purpose to create, enhance, and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments, and an integral part of what we do around the world in communities where our employees live and work.”
A noted scholar and lecturer in California prehistory and aboriginal rock art, Dr. Gold has 30 years’ experience in cultural resource management, impact assessment, and prehistoric/historic archaeology associated with development projects in California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Gold’s environmental work with AECOM includes managing cultural resource assessments for renewable energy and transmission projects for compliance with National Historic Preservation Act and California Environmental Quality Act regulations, in conjunction with federal, state, and local government agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Transportation, national and state parks, cities and counties.
According to Gold, “Ensuring significant cultural resources are preserved and indigenous concerns are addressed during responsible development is part of a holistic approach that balances the interests of all stakeholders. This becomes increasingly important today with the larger footprints of solar, wind, geothermal and transmission projects.”
According to Joel Farrier, vice president, AECOM’s environmental practice in Orange, California, “We’re very proud of Dr. Gold’s achievement and pleased to have an eminent cultural resource expert on staff to ensure a balanced approach to development.”
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