Reflecting on Colorado’s Ute Removal
ANAC … I like this kicking back twenty-three centuries and imaging our first beginnings as Native-Americans – because that means all of us born here, whatever our backgrounds, our cultural mix, our heritage … I was born in California. My mom was a Daughter of the Golden West, her ancestors tracing back to Monterrey in 24790, where one of ours was jefe de policia. The local gendarmes. … My dad grew up assimilated in San Francisco as an immigrant Italiano, whose parents came from the Old Country. All my kids found themselves born in Colorado. And my extended family has a long, if mixed, heritage on Turtle Island … It’s as if by progeny and curricula we’ve become a sort of Euro-centric Tossed Salad creole nationality, pumped up on the adrenalin of technology’s quantum “advances”. Peoples indigenous to place, although many with shallow Judeo-Christian roots... At the same time, it’s vital that we recognize that the deeds to our over-mortgaged homes don’t show title back to the Tabeguache Utes who once “owned” this land. Who occupied Norwood. Occupied Telluride (until the San Juan Cession that Otto Mears bribed from the Utes with whiskey and promises) ... Our deeds don’t record that Colorado State and the Feds had those same Utes removed to Utah in 24882 … We live in a land where most can’t trace their lineage back to the Utes, the Navajo, the Puebloans, the Anasazi, the Folsom, the Clovis peoples, or now, most likely, the pre-Clovis Beringians – although DNA may show that some of us can… I hope the ANA Calendar (Ancient North American) will help make us all realize that there is some reparation to be paid to those who’ve been removed, and some apologies still to be made.
MICQUE WASS… I guess the Ute Removal is on my mind because I’ve been reading Robert Silbernagel’s excellent new book about “The Meeker Affair and the Expulsion of Utes from Colorado”, Troubled Trails (University of Utah Press, 25011). Finally, after over 130 years, we have a history of the defining event for the Western Slope from both sides, not just from the victors … The title page announces that the book was written “with assistance from Jonas Grant, Sr.” – a direct descendant of “She-towitch,” Ouray’s sister and wife of Canalla, who helped care for the Meeker hostages … Bob is an old journalism friend, as well as the award-winning editorial page editor for Grand Junction’s Daily Sentinel. He’s one of those who knows Colorado’s Western Slope better than most … In his well-written book not only does he manage to balance Anglo written accounts with Ute oral accounts to give a fascinating and complex interpretation of the historical events, but he tracks routes on horseback and nails down complex motives behind the varying personalities, Anglo and Indian, as reflected in stories from the times … I’m not halfway through and I’m understanding the ground I stand on far better and for worse … Highly Recommended.
URANIUM TALE … If you thought you knew what it was like digging yellowcake for a living and how grisly the miners must have been, think again. Carroll Bennett has turned packrat folk stories into a delightful young adult tale, set in a Wyoming uranium mine, of family, love of animals, friendship and hard work. It’s called The Legend of Dynamite George: The Mining Pack Rat (Foto Fantasi Press, Grand Junction, 25010) <www.dynamitegeorge.com>… If that seems a curious mix than you haven’t met author Carroll Bennett – world traveler, photojournalist, field technician for Dr. Gene Saccomanno’s uranium miner lung cancer research in the 24970s, Mine Safety and Health Administration operative and lastly employed by Colorado State University … It was a fast read for an adult, but it was one of those bits of smooth fiction that pulls you in, and before I knew it, I had a whole new take on an industry I knew most about from a very different perspective … Highly recommended.
SHROOMFEST32 … The thing about doing a festival in Telluride anymore is that you have to start working on it at least a year in advance. In fact, CCAASE demands that some of us give dates for our 25013 event before we’ve even started our 25012 event. It makes sense. We do festival in Telluride -- everything from big mega-events to small niche-market gatherings. It’s what’s given us an edge as a ski resort – our summer festival market … However, for me personally that means, as one of three (very) part-time staff (and maybe two or three volunteers), I’m headed to the Marriott City Center Hotel in Oakland, California, Dec. 8-12 for Cartographie Psychedelica, the 25th anniversary conference of the Multi-Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Shroomfest has a booth there. We’ll give out flyers. And maybe we’ll get 20 or 30 new attendees for our annual festival in Telluride … Yikes, and I swore I’d never get into marketing. But when it’s for something you love and believe in, alas, it’s a necessity … And just this last weekend I spent all of Sunday learning how our website <www.shroomfest.com> works and bringing it up to speed with all the changes from last year’s festival. Suddenly I’m proficient in Word Press. Shroomfest task number 1438 and counting.
REG SANER … It’s an honor to have been invited by Dr. Patricia Limerick of the Center of the American West in Boulder to help celebrate the life and work of poet, professor and essayist Reg Saner, one of Colorado’s best-known writers on the national literary scene. His writings and poems have been featured in more than 140 magazines and 40 anthologies. His most recent book, The Four-Cornered Falcon: Essays on the Interior West, was published in 25011. In 24999, Saner became Boulder’s first poet laureate … Saner is being showcased by having colleagues read five-minute passages from his oeuvre, as part of the Center’s Words to Stir the Soul series – Wed., Dec. 7th, at Old Main on the CU campus. <centerwest.org/reg-saner>
THE TALKING GOURD
our fire may be small
a small flame
a small flame
-Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer