July 12, 2007

Colorado trip pix (Day 3)

Arches National Park--June 29, 2007

Indian lore:

  • Paleo-Indians lived at Arches some 10,000 years ago.

  • Later the Fremont and Ancestral Puebloan cultures overlapped at Arches.

  • As the Arches NPS site notes, "The first reliable date within Arches is an interesting one. Denis Julien, a French-American trapper with a habit of chiseling his name and the date onto rocks throughout the Southwest, left an inscription in this area: Denis Julien, June 9, 1844."

  • More to the point, Julien foolishly inscribed his name over ancient petroglyphs. Today we'd arrest him for vandalism.

  • Because Arches lay at the boundary of two cultures, I gather it was mainly uninhabited. I was expecting to hear some Indian legends about the arches (you know, "Coyote froze a rainbow into an arch so it would never disappear"), but no.

  • Indians used the springs at Glenwood Springs, Colorado, where we stopped briefly. As one website notes, "Long before the white man came to this area, the hot springs were well known to Indian tribes for their healing aspects. The tribe in possession of the 'Yampah' Hot Springs possessed the 'big' medicine of that time (Yampah meaning 'big medicine' in Indian language).

    "The Ute Indians took advantage of the caves' curative powers for hundreds of summers before white men 'discovered' the area in the mid-1800s. The original Ute cave was on the south side of the river and was used until 1887, when it was sealed over by the railroad."
  • 1 comment:

    writerfella said...

    Writerfella here --
    The Ute cave being sealed up by the railroad fairly well is symbolic of how the Natives' fates were sealed by the avalanches of EuroMan. In the Kiowa Complex in Carnegie, OK, are ten paintings that connect modern Kiowans with their ancestors, each coming forward from the mythic past until the last one. And that one shows the land all settled, with the forests cut, the land fenced and plowed with crops, highways and lines of power poles heading for an empty horizon, and with a single airplane high in the sky. In a small inset upper left is a dream-like cloud that shows tiny Kiowan Tonh-Konh-Gaw (Black Leggins) warriors dancing amid their symbolic tipis. And the thrust of it all is that the land still is here and the Native people still are here, but they forever are to be held separated and apart...
    All Best
    Russ Bates