I read Carla Coates’ lovely, poetic letter about enjoying the foothills undisturbed by the noise (and I'll add pollution) of motorized vehicles that are encroaching on what used to be natural, peaceful land. And, oh, the irony! How the less-new newcomers complain about the latest newcomers destroying their home.
My ancestors, too, were European, and undoubtedly cut down trees and built houses on what they imagined to be unused land, and took all the resources they felt entitled to. But I can imagine a Shoshone family (or Ute or others indigenous to this land) traveling the yearly circuit of their home as they had done for centuries.
I see them hunting deer and rabbits, harvesting fish and seeds and berries, knowing where and when to find the resources they needed to live and build a life in this beautiful, vast homeland that nourished and sustained them.
Then, one year, in returning round again to an important part of their home, the indigenous family found newcomers, invaders who built houses to stand wherever they wanted, and took the land's resources. They claimed the Shoshone's home for their own, and threatened and killed the people for trying to harvest their own food and materials, even hunted them like animals across their own sagebrush.
It destroyed families, lives, a centuries-old way of life. Did the settlers think about what it's like to walk the paths through valley and mountain, intimately understanding the bounty each place had to offer, the beauty and peace? Could they see the value in what the Shoshone valued? Could they see the value of the people whose home they had taken?
Stephanie Asplund, Layton