If wild places cannot be preserved in our National Parks, they will not be preserved anywhere.
Let the wild be wild.
Let the sky jumpers, white water adrenalinists and mechanized snow spoilers play in their own back yards and leave this wild place to itself.
"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." Aldo Leopold
This excellent article underscores the different world views of the players in this continuing controversy.
On the one hand, federal government agencies view this as land to be managed, based on physical objects found in and on the earth. They require proof and documented evidence to apply regulations regarding Native land claims. They have no avenue to include cultural evidence of land use that does not leave a physical record.
On the other hand, the Blackfeet perceive this land as a continuum, the place where they have lived, worshipped, hunted and played for centuries. The objects are only the signs that they are here. It is the land that is important, the land where their ancestors lived and are buried. Their connection to the land is through their ancestors graves.
Saying, "We have always lived here," does not necessarily mean: "This patch of dirt right here under my feet." "Here" is the earth in which the ancestors are buried. The relationship with that earth continues unbroken to the present. Though a particular group may have moved from place to place through historic time, they have always been "Here."
Missoula News/Independent Publishing |
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