Category Archives: Native American

Mongolian Yahooan Wildfire Treasures

Okala

Now that Yahoo’s decided to protect us by making us agree to let them read, store, and use all of our emails any way they want to there’s not much point going over there.  Except to find out whether the sky’s going to drop some moisture.  But when a person finishes looking at drawings of clouds on maps it’s difficult not to peek at what’s going on in Mongolia, or Bongobongoland.

For what it’s worth, things appear to be okay in Mongolia.

But there’s a huge fire or two raging in upstate New Mexico.  As nearly as I can figure the Jemez Mountains might be getting another round of flames.  They mentioned Valle Caldera and some ancient sites threatened, which might mean it’s threatening the western end of Frijole Canyon upstream from Bandera National Somethingorother. 

That old guy in Santa Fe, wossname, Fenn, who hid a box worth some money if he’s to be believed, probably has those mountains crawling with people who believe him.  From Santa Fe north to Alaska.  The ones who know it’s in Colorado and New Mexico should be able to accidently start a few fires for their troubles.

If I find the time I might swing up that way and pluck the box right out from under them just to keep the townies out of the mountains for their own good.  I was going to have Jeanne’s kids swing by where it’s hidden and snag it when they go that way this summer, but it’s looking as though they mightn’t make the trip.

I can’t swear to it, but I’m fearful I’ve drifted a bit from my original intent with this post, whatever that might have been.

Learning handy skills while defending the US

1stcav2

When I joined the US Army in 1961 it had a lot of attractions for a young man of 17.  First off, it didn’t involve going to work in a moly mine in Questa, New Mexico.  Secondly, it was the Berlin Crisis of 1961 and I naturally hoped I’d get an opportunity to kill me some young Russians to defend this country.  Thirdly, the recruiter promised they’d teach me some skills I’d find useful in civilian life.

Eventually I learned that moly mine mightn’t have been a bad idea.  Never got to kill me any Russians, neither.  Never defended this country worth nuthun.  And thirdly, the only skill I learned that might have helped me as a civilian was how to kill a man by hitting him in the face with an entrenching tool.  A lot of years have passed since then, but I’m still hoping to put that entrenching tool thing to use.

Fact is, that like the US troops who served in WWI, the Spanish American War, the Mexican War, and all the US Army who fought the Apache, the Comanche, the Cheyenne along with dozens of other tribes, we were not ‘defending’ this country.  Until WWII a person would have to go back to the Civil War and include the soldiers fighting for the Confederacy to locate someone defending his country.

Well, I suppose you could say the Mexican soldiers who fought against the US in the Mexican War were defending their country.  And the Apache was defending his, and so on.

But those serving in the US Army were doing something else, entirely.

Care to guess what it was?

Where Were You When The World Ended?

When the world ended

The End Of The World by Archibald MacLeish

Quite unexpectedly, as Vasserot
The armless ambidextrian was lighting
A match between his great and second toe,
And Ralph the lion was engaged in biting
The neck of Madame Sossman while the drum
Pointed, and Teeny was about to cough
In waltz-time swinging Jocko by the thumb
Quite unexpectedly to top blew off:

And there, there overhead, there, there hung over
Those thousands of white faces, those dazed eyes,
There in the starless dark, the poise, the hover,
There with vast wings across the cancelled skies,
There in the sudden blackness the black pall
Of nothing, nothing, nothing — nothing at all.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.   I’m the more profoundly enlightened, severely evolved creature who used to be Old Jules before the Mayan calendar ended.

As for the Mayan calendar, I think we have to assume the ancient Mayans were referring to Greenwich time, midnight.  I can’t see any way around it.  It all had to begin somewhere and I think the ancient Mayans were sufficiently wise to begin it in a place where everyone in the future would be able to agree when it happened.

For the cats and me, that was Big Lake, Texas.  A city park there with dozens of RV connections and three free overnight connections, according to information online.  But when the Mayan calendar ended I happened to be walking on the pavement near a dim sign I’ll paraphrase as saying, “Welcome to Big Lake overnight RV connections.  $15 per night, enjoy, stay as long as you wish and come back often.”

Big Lake Park hookups

As the Coincidence Coordinators would have it, I’d been there a couple of hours, trying out a new harness and leash I’d bought in the Walmart store in Midland, Texas, on each of the cats.  I’d noticed I was the target of repeated scrutiny by a Big Lake City Police officer driving slowly by, me smiling and half-waving as he went by.  Him not smiling, not waving.

Big Lake Park

Then, cats all battened back down into the RV, I took a longer walk and found myself more informed about the Post Mayan calendar calendar and surviving the coming times with the least possible bullshit for all concerned.

So the cats and I celebrated the birth of the new era by topping off the gas tank and heading off down the road where the glow of headlights might shine on someplace free to sleep off the emerging shock of sudden evolution.

Ended up in a Rest Area somewhere between Ozona and Snora around 10:00 pm the Day the World Ended.

I’ve some retrospectives about the people and places of the previous several days, but I’m shooting this off just to suggest if you’re ever looking for a place to spend a hassle-free night parked free with cats purring on your chest, stay out of Big Lake, Texas.

But I’ve digressed.  About that photo at the top:

Very few white men have ever witnessed what honest-to-goodness, eat-it-down-to-the-rocks over-grazing looks like unless they’ve visited the Navajo Reservation in the four-corners area of New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. 

Or Texas.

The New Old Jules

The Boy Captives – J. Marvin Hunter – Book Review

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming for a read.  I bought this tome in a thrift store in Kerrville before I knew it’s the hottest piece of literature to be had in TimeWarpVille [Junction], Texas. 

I suppose that qualifies me to brag I have a nose for cool, an instinct for hot, to boast that I was also country when country wasn’t cool, same as the song said. 

Over in TimeWarpVille every business in town has a stack of these with a $10+ pricetag.  And customers standing in line to buy soft drinks, potato chips, deer corn, and steel fenceposts will each answer verbal quiz questions about it, when asked. 

They likes it.  They likes it real good.  They know the family heirs to the publishing history.  This I know to be true because I asked and was answered.

I’m reasonably comfortable some of the other parts of this non-fiction book are also true.  There’s a fair amount of documentation and affidavits from people alive at the time of the incidents certifying various parts of the story they had personal knowledge about.

I’d guess the older brother, Clinton’s part of the tale he’d possibly be able to pass a polygraph on 75-80%.  Maybe higher.  Most of the details he gives don’t conflict with anything clearly different and known under more verifiable circumstances elsewhere.

Brother Jeff’s part of the tale, however, has a somewhat different air about it, to my suspicious mind.  I ain’t going to say he wasn’t traded to the Apache, not going to say he wasn’t adopted by Geronimo.  But if I had to stake any money on the truth or fiction of it I’d put my large bills on most of his story being lost in the dust of history because it ain’t on these pages.

Not that it matters.  Fact is, the book is a hoot, an interesting read, a flashback to a time when Brother Comanche still rode southeast under a Comanche moon, killing, taking captives, stealing horses.   Good descriptions from a couple of kids of settlers before their capture about their lives, the family.

And both brothers succeed in spinning yarns Marvin Hunter could put on a printed page well enough to keep the reader turning them, not putting the book aside for something with more potential for holding the mind in place.

You Texas readers would almost certainly enjoy this tome, thinks I.

Old Jules

Pieces of the Past

When Keith and I were in the fifth grade one of our classmates at Central Grade School , a girl named Ruth Durett, came to school with an ornate, silver-handled dagger she’d dug up in her back yard.  It was known that Coronado had camped a while in the vicinity of Portales, and in those days Portales people had a lot of interest in Spaniards and conquistadors. 

Ruth’s dagger became an object of envy, conjecture and debate.  Billy ‘the kid’ Bonney had also hidden from the law and raised cattle for a while at Portales Springs.  Some thought the dagger might have belonged to him.

Eastern New Mexico University was right there on the edge of town.  Ruth’s parents evidently thought someone out there might be helpful identifying the age, at least, of the artifact.  Took it out there and left it for examination.  Vanished into thin air, that dagger.

The people who came here a while, lived their daily adventures and died couldn’t resist scattering their belongings all over the countryside.  Nobody paid a lot of attention to them for a longish while, but sometime during the 19th Century a fascination became an obsession with many.  Acquiring them by any means whatever became the rule of thumb, on the one hand, preserving them if they couldn’t be conveniently stolen, on the other.  The British Museum’s an example of stolen ones that eventually made their way into preservation.  Same with other museums.

And naturally there are legions of academians, anthropologists, who’ve developed protocols and rituals of method for stealing them in approved ways, vilifying anyone who loots the sites without the proper credentials.  Nowadays they have the law on their side.  Probably today, ENMU would have found a light-of-day legitimate means of stealing Ruth’s dagger.

Even so, it’s not always easy to resist picking off pieces of the past.  I described in an earlier entry how Mel inadvertently tried to carry Oola’s skull home with him.  Exploring Alley Oop’s Home Circa 1947 and how something similar got Squirelly Armijo into all manner of difficulties.  ‘Squirrelly’ Armijo Survives his own Funeral

Maybe something in all that explains the popularity of Gale’s ‘Hanging Tree’ belt buckles.  A number of years ago Gale managed to acquire a mesquite tree they’d cut down somewhere with a history of having criminals hanged from the branches.  Naturally he brought it home and over the years made belt buckles, all manner of jewelry items from it to sell at art and craft shows.

Not everyone wants a hanging tree belt buckle, but a lot of people do.  I’ve never been able to quite wrap my mind around why.  For me, having my belly button rubbing against a piece of wood that was part of a long series of dangling partici-whatchallits just doesn’t have a lot of appeal.  But I hold my pants up with galluses, anyway.  Rarely wear a belt.

As for artifacts, I was never attracted to run off with Oola’s skull, either.  Though I do wear this arrow head I figure offed my old prospector on the mountain hanging on a thong around my neck.  [Recapping the Lost Gold Mine Search]

Old Jules

Massacre Canyon – Long After the Dust Settled

Hi readers.  I might have once thought I knew what a massacre was, but time’s eroded my perspective.  During the mid-1990s I made the toughest backpacking trip of my life to spend 8-9 days in there to try for a better understanding of the subject.

Here’s the basic story of the events leading to it being named, “Massacre Canyon”:

http://www.livestockweekly.com/papers/97/07/03/3bowser.html

RETIRED GENERAL Michael Cody served in a somewhat more modern army than the men he and others honored recently at Massacre Canyon in New Mexico, but Cody’s army still traces its history to the men who helped open the West. A student of the era and the area, Cody has an affinity for and an understanding of the men who fought on both sides of the conflict more than a century ago.

Massacre In Las Animas Canyon
Led To End Of Apache Victorio

By David Bowser

HILLSBORO, N.M. — Indian legend maintains that rain at a funeral means the gods are weeping over the death of a great man.

Black clouds boil up over the Black Range Mountains as Michael Cody, a retired U.S. Army general, addresses a gathering along Animas Creek. Soldiers and spectators traveled to this clearing to dedicate a headstone honoring those who fought in Massacre Canyon more than a century ago. Three Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded in that clash Sept. 18, 1879, between the buffalo soldiers of the Ninth U.S. Cavalry and the Apache warriors of Victorio.

“The Battle of Las Animas Canyon did not begin on the 18th of September, 1879,” says Cody, who is working on several books concerning the era. “It had its beginning long before then.”

Until 1872, the Tchine, the Red Paint People of the Apache, made their home around Ojo Caliente in New Mexico.

Prior to 1872, there was a reservation at Ojo Caliente for the Tchine. By 1872, miners and ranchers had come, and the Apache were moved.

They were shifted from reservation to reservation until 1876, when Victorio and the rest of the Tchine left the reservation and went to Ojo Caliente. That winter, they surrendered and were taken to the Mescalero reservation near present-day Ruidoso. They stayed until August, 1878.

“Unable to stand it any longer, Victorio and his segundo, Nana, a 73 year-old man, took the entire Tchine nation, almost 600 people, and left the Mescalero reservation to go home to Ojo Caliente,” Cody says.

The Ninth United States Cavalry, the most decorated unit in the history of the United States Army, was responsible for the area. They were headquartered at Fort Bayard under Col. Edward Hatch.

“When Victorio left the reservation, he headed for Ojo Caliente,” Cody says. “When he got there, he found E Company of the Ninth United States Cavalry. It took Victorio about 10 minutes to turn E Company from cavalry to infantry. He killed about 11 people, eight troopers and three civilians, took 68 horses and mules, and headed out.”

Victorio moved south toward Silver City, New Mexico.

“He hit a couple of small ranchitos to get food, to get some ammunition,” Cody says. “Somewhere between Silver City and Kingston, he ran into a militia group made up of miners.”

Victorio’s band killed about 10 men, took another 50 horses and went down the Animas. Victorio had not lost a man.

Two of the 15 graves in this clearing are those of Navajo scouts who rode with the Ninth Cavalry.

“They were from the Sixth Cavalry, but detached to the Ninth,” Cody explains. “They picked up Victorio’s trail and the entire Ninth United States Cavalry went to the field.”

Second Lt. Robert Temple Emmet was on court martial duty in Santa Fe, N.M., when word came of the attack at Ojo Caliente. Emmet traveled 48 hours by stagecoach to Fort Bayard to rejoin his troops following Victorio down the Animas.

“There are several versions of what happened next,” Cody says. “The stories according to the Apache and in army records does not differ much.”

The First Battalion, commanded by Capt. Byron Dawson with Lt. Mathias Day and a Lt. H. Wright, came upon either an Indian woman down by the creek or a couple of Apache warriors who fired shots at the approaching soldiers.

Ignoring the Navajo scouts’ warnings not to follow, the cavalry chased the Indian woman — or the two warriors — across this clearing about a quarter mile and into what has become known as Massacre Canyon.

The canyon entrance is about 30 yards wide with spires of rock on either side. The trail makes an S-curve through the canyon with a rock outcropping that is about 16 yards wide and three yards deep.

“It’s flat as an arrow,” Cody says. “It’s a perfect place to put about 20 guys with rifles.”

The First Battalion, 25 men from Companies A and B of the Ninth Cavalry and perhaps 50 from Company E, remounted and came through the entrance in single file. With the 75 men well inside the canyon, Victorio opened fire.

Sixty-one Tchine lay along the ridgeline. There were 60 warriors and one woman, Nahdoste, the sister of Geronimo and Nana’s wife.

In the first volley of fire, 32 horses fell. The First Battalion was trapped.

The Second Battalion under the command of Capt. Charles Beyer with First Lt. William H. Hugo and Second Lt. Emmet heard the gunfire and came down the Animas.

As they approached Massacre Canyon, Victorio lifted his fire, let them get close, then opened up again. Victorio now had four companies of cavalry pinned down.

“All this started at 9 a.m. on 18 September 1879,” Cody says. “Victorio followed a classic method of warfare: kill the horses first, then kill the troopers at your leisure — a perfectly executed ambush.”

Late in the afternoon, Lt. Day with a small detachment attempted to break to the head of the canyon to climb up the steep slope and come back along the ridgeline to roll Victorio’s flank.

“As he got on the ridgeline,” Cody says, “the Apache held their fire until he was totally exposed, then opened fire on his flank. Day and his detachment were pinned down.”

Hugo and Emmet with a detachment outside the canyon attempted the same maneuver on Victorio’s other flank. They tried to come up a little canyon on the other side of the ridgeline, climb the massive slope and roll the Apache flank.

“The Apache let him in, then opened fire on his flank,” Cody says.

Now Hugo and Emmet were pinned down.

“By late in the afternoon, it was time to get out of there,” Cody says. “Troops on the valley floor were down to two or three rounds of ammunition per man. The order was given to withdraw. Lt. Day at the head of the canyon refused to obey. He had a man, one of his troopers, wounded on the ridgeline above him, and rather than obey the order, he climbed onto that ridgeline under fire to rescue his trooper. For this the commander of troops threatened him with court martial for refusal to obey his order to withdraw.”

Hugo and Emmet were also given the order to withdraw. They fired three volleys in an attempt to get the Apaches’ attention so the people on the valley floor could get out. It worked, but Emmet also refused to obey the order to withdraw.

“Five of his troopers, buffalo soldiers, were exposed on the ridgeline above him,” Cody says. “Rather than obey the order to withdraw, he climbed the ridgeline to get above those five, drawing fire, then laying down a base of fire so his men could escape. For this Lt. Robert Emmet was threatened with a court martial for refusal to obey an order.”

On the valley floor, Pvt. Freeland was wounded in the first volley. By late afternoon, he was in bad shape. He had taken a bullet through his thigh, breaking the bone.

First Sgt. John Denny, lying on the ridgeline about a quarter mile away, ran through the exposed rock-strewn area to pick up Pvt. Freeland, got him on his shoulders and ran back 400 yards, all under direct fire.

Day, Emmet and Denny were each awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their actions.

The field commander, Lt. Col. Nathan A.M. Dudley, who threatened both lieutenants with court martial for not withdrawing, was relieved by Major Albert P. Morrow.

Morrow and the Ninth Cavalry, working with the Tenth Cavalry, continued to chase Victorio.

“The 10th Cavalry blocked the water holes,” Cody says. “The Ninth followed the Apache. The Ninth kept the pressure on the Apache until October 1880 at Tres Cabrillos, when Col. Juaquin Terrazas of the Mexican cavalry got into the act.”

The Mexican government granted permission for the U.S. Army to follow Victorio into Mexico. Morrow’s scouts pinned Victorio down at Tres Cabrillos. Victorio had women, elders and children, and many wounded. They were out of food and ammunition. Morrow informed Col. Terrazas of his intention to surround Victorio and ask for his surrender.

At that, Terrazas withdrew the Mexican government’s permission for the U.S. Army to operate south of the border, insisting that Morrow return to the United States. The Ninth Cavalry wheeled and went back to U.S. soil.

Terrazas surrounded Victorio’s band and slaughtered them.

“It was an abject massacre,” Cody says. “He slaughtered them. He took about 100 women and younger children — not the real little ones — those they eviserated and smashed their skulls. The ones that were old enough, they kept for slaves.”

But Nana, now 75 years old, was out with Nahdoste and 14 warriors gathering provisions. Author Max Evans, whose book on Nana is to be published next year, claims that an Apache medicine woman, Lozen, was also with Nana. According to Evans, Lozen could sense approaching danger. If she had been with Victorio, Evans reasons, the band would have escaped.

“When they got back, they found this slaughter,” Cody says. “That was the beginning of the Nana vengence campaign.”

Every raid that Nana led from then on, he took no prisoners. Nana and his warriors burned and destroyed. Finally, they caught Col. Terrazas.

Nana and his band finally came in.

“When Nana did surrender, he was 76 years old,” Cody says. “They took him to the reservation in Oklahoma and he died there, but he died as an unrepentent hater of the Mexican people. It’s understandable. Honorable men fight for dishonorable causes, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they are honorable. Nana was an extraordinary, historic figure.”

The services here were the result of seven years of work by Gene Ballinger, a historian and author; Cody and a number of others representing such groups as the Medal of Honor Society, The Buffalo Soldiers Society and other parties interested in preserving New Mexico history.

Twice during the services here on the F Cross Ranch of Jimmy Bason, rain splattered the soldiers and civilians gathered along the Animas.

That evening as most of the participants and spectators sat in their motel rooms in Truth or Consequences or at the S Bar X bar in Hillsboro, the clouds opened up in this rugged, arid land, washing the long-ago battlefield with a heavy mourning rain.

As you can see, it’s not easy to escape a lot of theatrical hand wringing and rhetorical horse manure carried along as baggage when it comes from some retired Army scud with the name Cody worn as a pair of crutches.  A dozen-or-two decades establishes fairly well what those soldiers died for in that canyon.

Even though there’s a USFS road [maintained by US taxpayer funding] leading in from the East, access to the site is denied by the owners of the giant ranch.  For you, me, and any Mescalero Apaches who’d like to see where their ancestors taught the US Army a few basics about ambush.

The only way in involves backpacking down from the Mimbres Divide.  Tough tough tough tough.

But worth every minute of it.  Every drop of sweat it takes to get there.

A person can still examine the pockmarks on the watermelon-sized rocks those soldiers were trying to squinch themselves down behind.  Can still pan spent, deformed rounds out of the canyon bottom.  See the inside of the mind of Victorio, where he placed his men, the landmark selected to commence firing when the troops passed it.

In those days guys like Cody and Gene Ballinger were already doing a lot of posturing and flag waving about the 12 unmarked graves on the plateau you can see in the picture toward the center.  Cody, Ballinger et al didn’t have to pack in.  The rancher to the East allowed them access by the Forest Road.

So during my eight days in there part of the way I passed the time was digging down a couple of feet below the surface various places in the canyon, plateau, and further up Animas Canyon, carefully gathering and placing rocks.  Creating enough other unmarked graves to make it difficult for them to go in and rob artifacts out of the actual graves.  Which I believed then and now, they were in the process of doing.

Old Jules

The Ruin Skull – A Long Day Ago

No one remembers anyone
Who remembers anyone
Who remembers
Why she died
But there she is
Wealthy woman young
Good teeth,
No slave.

Those killers
Didn’t kill the slaves
Took them away squat beneath
The loot the weight of
What they carried off
As they did before for her,
Before emancipation
To slave for someone else.

Arroyo cut through ruin
Showed her to the wind and sky
And me a thousand years
After noise and smoke
And screams
Stone hatchet broke the head
Flames brought down the roof
Around her,
Her and her kin
Charred corn
Still on cob
Beside her skull.

She died and partly burned
A long forgotten civil war
Between someone
And someone else
No one remembers
Over something
Neither wind nor sun
Nor these charred bones
Remember.

Old Jules
Copyright©NineLives Press

Vacating the Premises – A Vanishing Act

The mountain I used to prospect for several years is covered with ruins wherever there is water.  Big ruins.   I used to sit on one near my camp and try to imagine what it must have been like.

One summer solstice afternoon I was sitting on the cliff boundary of the ruin watching the sunset.  In the basin below there’s a volcanic knob out toward the center of the plains.   I’d discovered a single kiva on top of it years before and puzzled over it vaguely.  What was that kiva doing there, miles away from the big houses?

But because that day happened to be solstice, I suddenly noticed when the sun went down, it vanished directly behind the point of that Kiva knob!  Yon damned Mogollons used it to mark summer solstice!

A place like that fires the imagination, and I spent a lot of time thinking of those people who lived in that ruin. Some of these groups had evidently been in the same locations for 300-400 years, and suddenly their government leaders decided they had to leave.  Politicians, or priests, or both, deciding what was best for them.

One day they  just left.  I’ve always thought it was because of that grim civil war nobody knows anything about that happened among them around the time these ruins were abandoned.  Bashing in the heads of anyone who didn’t agree to migrating.

They probably watched and even hosted strings of these travellers along the trail until their own turn came.

What a thing it must have been to be one of them on that last day, saying good bye to the place your great-grand-dad, your granddad, your dad, and everyone else as far back as anyone could remember, including you were all born, lived, and mostly died.

Everyone voluntarily packed a few belongings, a medicine bag and blanket or two, a stone hatchet and a few scrapers, and left, leaving corn in the bin for those coming behind.  Abandoned pots lying around all over the place measured the things they couldn’t carry.

Sometimes sitting on that mountain early in the morning it sort of overwhelmed me, the pain and sorrow in those villagers.  Probably they all left in the morning one day, after a while of maybe being notified it was their turn.  A few weeks of  planning.  What to take?  What to leave behind.

Finally they probably finished the last minute packing the night before.  At dawn they made a line down the basin heading south, looking back over their shoulders as long as they could, feeling so sad.  Knowing they’d never go home again, wondering about the place they were going.

Remembering how it was playing on the mountain with their grandads when they were  kids, remembering the special, secret places kids always have.  Just looking and yearning to stay, and already missing that long home where their ancestors had roamed for 2000 years.

They’d have tried to keep it in sight as long as they could, each one stopping to wipe the trail dust off his face, pretending to catch his breaths.  But yearning back at the old home place, piercing the heat waves with their eyes, straining to see it one last time, maybe crying, certainly crying inside.  The kids probably screeching enough to cover everyone elses grief.

As they trekked south they were joined by other groups from the neighboring villages.  The dust rose on the trail making a plume, a cloud around them.  They examined these strangers who were now trail mates and wondered who they were.

Some, they probably soon discovered had a mother-in-law, or uncle who came from their village.  They got to know one another better there on that hot, sad, lonesome trail away from all they they’d ever known, and they shared the hardships of the journey together for a long time.

Today, it’s just piles of rock, potsherds, holes left by scholars and other diggers for spoils.  The land still falls off across Johnson Basin, sun going down over that volcanic nub that once measured the time to plant.  Cow men ride their motorized hosses across the old trails, cows stomp around looking for grass, making the pottery fragments even smaller.

But sometimes late at night when the wind howls down the mountain a man might hear, or think he hears an echo of the chants, the drums, the night mumbles and whispers of lovers, the ghosts of lovers.  Pulls the bag tighter around his ears and wonders.

Old Jules

 

Today on Ask Old Jules:  What is Forgiveness?

An Addendum About My Personal View of Mormons

I didn’t say this in the post because I didn’t think it needed saying, but I think it might.

I’ve got nothing bad to say about Mormons.  I’ve never been ill-treated by them, cheated by them, lied to by them so far as I know.  The ones I’ve met have generally been solid, hard-working, honest people.  Seemingly more so compared to the impression I’ve been left with in my seven decades of experience with the remainder of the population.  Christians, Gentile, Jew, atheist, Muslim and agnostic.  Even Buddhists, Taoists, Hindu, and the herd of New Age Gurus.  Even Hopi Elders and Ambiguous Native American Shamans.

My interest in Mormons came to being with the gradual realization that the parties involved in the lost gold mine I searched for so many years were predominantly Mormons.  It was a factor left entirely out of the legend as it came out of the 19th Century and it required years of research to uncover that fact.  The cousin of one of the central characters was evidently the second wife of Brigham Young.  Family names of the lost gold mine participants also show up among people involved in Mountain Meadows.

The timing on the lost gold mine incident and that of the Mountain Meadows massacre originally drew my interest.

What Mormons believe about polygamy, same-sex marriages, almost anything at all has no bearing on my impression and generally benevolent attitude toward them as a whole.  In areas where we disagree I’m willing to forgive them for being wrongheaded, same as I try to forgive everyone else who disagrees with me.  Otherwise I’d be forever having to keep score of who was right in this world, and who is wrong.  It just ain’t worth the effort even those relatively few areas where I can’t restrain myself from having an opinion.

Old Jules

Seems the advantages of being out of sight and out of mind for most of the population aren’t necessarily advantages when the out-of-sight geography includes something a multi-national corporation wants. All those city folks needing to keep the air conditioners turned down to 70 and to be able to light up the hair dryers every morning probably never ask themselves where the electricity popped out of the ground and hopped into the wires they plug things into.

One more bug on the windshield of civilization.  Old Jules

 

Beyond the Mesas

[The following letter was written by former Hopi Tribe chairman Benjamin H. Nuvamsa from Shungopavi.  He presented the letter to the Hopi Tribal Council on Friday January 13, 2012]

January 13, 2012
Hopi Tribal Council
Hopi – Tewa Senom

It is time we have a serious discussion about coal mining on our reservation, our water rights and our environment.  For far too long, we have pushed these issues aside, not willing to talk about how these issues impact our lives.  We must talk about how the Peabody Western Coal Company and Navajo Generating Station are affecting our lives.  Since the mid 1960’s, Peabody Coal has been mining our coal, pumping our precious Navajo Aquifer water and paying us pennies on the dollar in return.  Navajo Generating Station is emitting dangerous and harmful particulates into the air we breathe.  Our coal resources are being depleted.  Our Navajo Aquifer has been damaged…

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