A segment on Glacier National Park begins with a Blackfeet Indian legend:
"The mountains have been my last refuge. Chief Mountain is my head. Now my head is cut off."
The Blackfeet story
Another article tells us what the PBS website doesn't:
Book, exhibit highlight human stories in Glacier Park centennial
By Dan Elliott
Some of the park's stories are ugly. In 1895, under pressure from miners hoping to find copper and gold, the federal government pressed the Blackfeet into selling the government thousands of acres, land that would later become the east side of the park.
"They forced a sale upon us," said Jack Gladstone, a Blackfeet Indian singer/songwriter who specializes in Native American myth, legend and history.
But the land grab had a silver lining, he said. Had the area remained under Indian control, it might have been "sliced and diced and sold off" when federal law allowed tribal members to sell their individual land allotments. Instead, when no valuable minerals were found, it was kept intact.
"What was in the short-term a curse and really a debacle turned into probably about as good as it could have been because of the enhanced protection afforded by Glacier as a national park, a national treasure," he said.
What PBS considers important
To its credit, The Empire of Grandeur notes the Indian origins of Acadia, McKinley (Denali), and Grand Canyon National Parks. But only the following notes made it onto the PBS website:
The Railways, the National Parks and the "See America First" Campaign
When World War I broke out in 1914, closing off overseas travel, the railroads saw their chance to promote "See America First" as never before. As a publicity stunt, the Great Northern arranged for a group of Blackfeet Indians to tour the East, performing war dances. They attracted huge crowds and wherever they went, the press referred to them as "the Indians of Glacier National Park."
For Albright, it was love at first sight. He was so impressed with the "towering rock walls, splashed with brilliant hues of tans and reds interspersed with whites," that he wanted it to be expanded into a national park. He felt that the name Mukuntuweap, from a Paiute word for "canyon" was too hard to remember; he suggested that it be changed to Zion, the name the local Mormons used for it. Albright's enthusiasm persuaded President Wilson and at the end of 1919, Congress created Zion National Park.
For photographs of my visit to Zion, see Colorado Trip Pix--Day 1 and Colorado Trip Pix--Day 2. For more on the series, see Review of Burns's National Parks and Burns on Our National Parks.
Below: "Blackfeet Indians on promotional tour for Glacier National Park, 1924."