VOICES FROM THE URN: an Examination of the Graveyard Sites of Downtown Tucson


by Paul Weir

The Tucson All Souls Procession assumes its rightful place as a communal remembrance of the Ancestors here in the heart of one of the oldest inhabited sites in North America . Tucson in particular is an area where the dead outnumber the living, even in terms of today’s population figures. Many are unaware that the very land on which our All Souls Procession Grand Finale takes place is ancient, hallowed burial ground, as is much of Dunbar Springs and downtown Tucson (including the future Pima County Courthouse site).

To the left is an archaeological map of the 2-3 layers of grave sites sitting just below the surface at the Franklin St. Docks, Solar Culture, and most of the ADOT Warehouse District as well as Dunbar Springs. Any disruption of the current surfaces lower than a few feet will close down those sites from our use and from use for development until they are excavated properly.


For so long have we danced, grieved and
cried upon this charnel ground
In that time we have had to meet each other and
each other’s relatives at the crossroads to the other worlds
This ancient cultural collision
The satire though-
of digging up the bodies that have laid for so long- to create a facade of
what was once there so that there is no more mystery
There are no more bones left in our lands
Try to erase our memory-
Progress marches thru
Yes! Yes! Build a road!
When there is no more gas for the cars we don’t drive anymore
We will swing from these pylons
We will dance and meet on this land again

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