Press Release

Respecting and preserving cultural resources is extremely important to Alan Garfinkel-Gold, Ph.D. As a senior cultural resources expert for AECOM, he recently received the California Governor’s Historic Preservation Award for 2011 for the Kawaiisu Project.

Gold and co-recipient Harold Williams, a prominent Kawaiisu Elder, received the award for theirHandbook of the Kawaiisu, and the Kawaiisu Exhibit in the Tehachapi Museum.

Garfinkel-Gold and Williams authored this comprehensive history of the Kawaiisu peoples and their culture. The Kawaiisu, who continue to reside in the southern Sierra Nevada and western Mojave Desert of California, 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.

“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,” says Garfinkel-Gold. “This becomes increasingly important today with the larger footprints of solar, wind, geothermal and transmission projects.”  

Garfinkel-Gold is completing a documentary film — History Through Stone: The Story of Coso Prehistoric Rock Art — 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. 

“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,” said Joel Farrier, vice president in our Orange, California, office.

Established in 1986, the Governor’s Historic Preservation Awards are presented annually under the sponsorship of the State Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) and California State Parks. The purpose is to recognize meaningful achievements in historic preservation through increased public awareness, appreciation, and support for historic preservation throughout the state.