John (Fire) Lame Deer’s essay about the 1970 occupation of Mount Rushmore highlights a monumental clash between two visions of sacred land.
Though a product of colonial violence, Frank Waters’ Book of the Hopi offers an alternate vision and a critique of our ultimately self-destructive assumptions, values, and modes of living.
An ancient pictograph in a place called Tsegi, what is now Canyon de Chelly National Monument, shows people chasing animals over a hill or maybe a rainbow.
The Bear River Massacre occurred in the same month as Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation; killing Indians had a strategic purpose in the war to end slavery.
Mountain man Joe Meek’s first summer of fur trapping in 1829, which put him among the earliest of non-indigenous people to enter Yellowstone.
Recent posts about Custer’s defeat at the Little Bighorn; western mountain Indians traveling to St. Louis in 1831 to ask for religion; and religion in Yellowstone National Park. ♨
A Piegan hunting party took the Jesuit missionary Francis Kuppens to Yellowstone in 1866. Awestruck by the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, amazed by the steaming fountains of geysers erupting skyward and the brilliant colors of scalding hot springs, the young Black Robe understood the glory of a God who had created such a magical and mysterious land of wonders. ♨
The legend of the first Thanksgiving presents a beneficent, benign colonialism made possible by the hospitality and generosity of Indians not a bit bothered by these zealous sycophants come to claim the native homelands. Of course, the story we tell ourselves does not bother with how this all looked from the perspective of the Wampanoag people. ♨
Christopher Columbus has become more symbol than historical person. The dreams that his memory inspires as well as the tragedies that resulted from his voyages remain part of our national tale.
Can we move away from the master narratives of white privilege in our parks? Can we begin thinking of our park system as places of reconciliation? Can they become spaces for listening to what the myriad voices—human, natural, spiritual—have to teach us? Can we move from narratives of conquest to queries of connectiveness?