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?
On a quiet country road in Logan County, Ohio, a humble marker notes the site of tragic encounter, the place of massacre and displacement, the trailhead of one people’s Trail of Tears. Passersby hardly notice the isolated and mostly forgotten forested hill, once the location of a Shawnee village that, according to a news report from the Ohio Historical Society, …
The ancestors painted their ghosts on this rock wall, marching through a dream beneath the twin suns fleeing the robed one who came to crucify an older way of believing.
History remembers Jesuit priest Pierre-Jean De Smet primarily as the missionary who brought Catholicism west to the northern Rocky Mountain region of the United States. His first entry into the region where he would have his most lasting impact came on a reconnaissance tour in the summer of 1840. ♨