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The Religious Roots of America’s Love for Camping

October 17, 2017

Summer 1868 passed as an unremarkable season at Saranac Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The weather was fine, the scenery delightful, and the usual array of 200 to 300 recreational hunters and anglers passed through the small settlement on their way into the wild lands beyond. The summers of 1869 and 1870, however, were an altogether different story. The weather was more or less the same, and the scenery continued to entrance, but instead of a handful of sportsmen came a multitude of men and women from points east and south to enjoy America’s newest recreation—camping. Almost to a person, they had been inspired by what today, at the beginning of the 21st century, we recognize as the watershed book in the history of American camping: the first comprehensive “how-to-camp” guidebook, Adventures in the Wilderness; or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks, which had been written in April 1869 by a young minister named William H.H. Murray. Promoting a powerful combination …

Read the rest of geographer and historian Terence Young’s fascinating piece here: The Religious Roots of America’s Love for Camping | Essay | Zócalo Public Square


California, fires, and history

October 16, 2017

Historian Steve Pyne offers some helpful historical perspective on California and wildfires. Read his astute essay on the subject here at History News Network:

Siouxland and the Sioux

October 9, 2017

“So what’s the story of the Sioux?” she asks me. The question comes whistling out of the blue, or so it seems, and catches me off guard. “What do you mean?” I say. “I mean, I see the name all over the place—Sioux Falls, Sioux Center, Sioux City, Sioux County…so where are they? I don’t see many …

Read more of Brian Keepers’ post, and my comments on it, here at The Twelve: The Question She Asked Me – THE TWELVE

A Walk in Willa Cather’s Prairie

September 26, 2017

Buffalo Doug

Alex Ross provides a wonderful report-essay in the New Yorker on Willa Cather and the new National Willa Cather Center: A Walk in Willa Cather’s Prairie | The New Yorker

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Tribes Defy Storm & Bureaucracy to Deliver Name Change Declaration to Yellowstone

September 19, 2017


YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – “I stand in strong solidarity with you and my indigenous brothers and sisters in your demands to change the names in Yellowstone from war criminals to humane and freedom-loving people!” Dr. Cornel West informed Chief Stan Grier, a message sent for tribal leaders on the eve of their unity protest in Yellowstone. That Harvard professor Dr. West, once described by President Obama as “a genius, a public intellectual, a preacher, an oracle” and “the most exciting black American scholar ever” by critics, has publicly supported Tribal Nations’ efforts to change the names of proponents and exponents of indigenous genocide in Yellowstone, suggests the traction and profile the issue is gaining.

Read the rest of the story here at Native News Online: Backed by Civil Rights “Genius” Dr. Cornel West, Tribes Defy Storm, Bureaucracy & Deliver Name Change Declaration to Yellowstone – Native News Online

Why do white writers keep making films about Indian Country?

September 16, 2017

Buffalo Doug

Try as they might, two new films–Neither Wolf nor Dog and Wind River–can’t escape old tropes. So argues Jason Asenap in a review at High Country News here: Why do white writers keep making films about Indian Country? — High Country News

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How Old West Theme Parks Misrepresent Our Collective Cultural History

September 13, 2017

Buffalo Doug

At the Pacific Standard, Amanda Tewes astutely examines the Ghost Town, California version of the “Old West.” As the nation debates monuments and public memory, it’s important to understand how other cultural sites help people learn (false) history. Read her piece here: How Old West Theme Parks Misrepresent Our Collective Cultural History – Pacific Standard

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