spotted elk

On December 28th, 1890, Maj. Samuel M. Whitside's battalion of the 7th Calvary intercepted the Lakota. Ill with pneumonia, Unpan Glešká (“Spotted Elk”) and his band surrendered peacefully before being taken into custody by the 7th Calvary and escorted to a campsite near Wounded Knee Creek, in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

The night before the massacre, Col. James W. Forsyth arrived at Wounded Knee Creek and ordered his men to position four Hotchkiss cannons around the area in which the Lakota had been forced to camp.

On the morning of 29 December 1890, Forsyth’s soldiers entered the camp and demanded that the Lakota give up their weapons. In the ensuing confrontation, a firearm was discharged. It was later believed to have been by a deaf man, Black Coyote, who presumably did not hear the command to put down his rifle. A large gun fight quickly ensued. The US forces killed over 153 Lakota, mostly non-combatants (women and children); Spotted Elk was among those slain.

This is the treatment Indigenous peoples of this continent faced through atrocities committed by the United States army, politicians, settlers, pioneers, and with approval by the president of the U.S. These are the effects of colonization and genocide that predate any history book and committed in the name of Manifest Destiny, religious freedom, democracy, and independence. 

NEVER FORGET WOUNDED KNEE.
NEVER FORGET THE TRAIL OF TEARS.
NEVER FORGET THE LONG WALK OF THE NAVAJO
NEVER FORGET THAT WE ARE SURVIVORS AND WE ARE MANY.

NEVER FORGET WE ARE STILL PASSIONATE, INTELLIGENT, RESILIENT, AND READY TO TAKE CARE OF THE LAND, WATER, SKY & EARTH WHEN WESTERN CIVILIZATION AND CAPITALISM HAS BEEN RIPPED ASUNDER.

R.I.S.E.:
RADICAL
INDIGENOUS
SURVIVANCE &
EMPOWERMENT

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Group portrait of the Native American (Sioux) delegation that traveled to Washington D. C. to negotiate Indian rights. Identification on back reads: “TOP ROW, 1. Zaphier, 2. Hump, 3. High Pipe, 4. Fast Thunder, 5. Rev. Chas. Cook, 6. P. T. Johnson, MIDDLE ROW, 1. He Dog, 2. F. D. Lewis, 3. Spotted Horse, 4. American Horse, 5. Maj. Geo. Sword, 6. Lewis Shangreau, 7. Bat Pouriea, BOTTOM ROW, 1. High Hawk, 2. Fire Lighting, 3. Little Wound, 4. Two-Strikes, 5. Young Man Afraid Of His Horse, 6. Spotted Elk, 7. Big Road."  - 1891               

Not Alone: "Imagine you mourning over the death of Thranduil’s Elk"

olore-malle

You had begged and begged your superiors to allow you to accompany the Elvenking to aid the people of Laketown, but they had denied you.

They’d said, “Of what use would you be to his majesty? Besides, you’ve got work to do, here.” But it was not Thranduil who you wished to assist.

Ever since you could remember, you had helped to care for all of the animals that dwelt in Thranduil’s kingdom. You got along with them far better than anyone else; you’d always been a bit odd, for an elf, and you often felt alone. The animals always welcomed you, though, and soon you looked to them as family. Needless to say, it always pained you when one was given the supposed honor of being picked to join the elven army.

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The remains of the camp of Hunkpapa and Miniconjou Lakota, a few weeks after the Wounded Knee Massacre. In the wake of Sitting Bull’s arrest and death, Chief Big Foot (Spotted Elk) left the Cheyenne River Reservation with a group of men, women and children, planning to move to the Pine Ridge Reservation. Lacking permission, the US 7th Cavalry was dispatched to bring them back.

Soon caught, the 350 or so men, women, and children were surrounded, and on the morning of Dec. 29th, 1890, the cavalrymen entered the camp to disarm them. Debate exists on what the exact spark was, but regardless, a shot was fired, and quickly resulted in a full-blown firefight. The handful of male warriors was no match for the 500 strong cavalry detachment and could offer only token resistance while the soldiers fired indiscriminately, killing men, women, and children. The battle was quick and bloody, and at least 150 of the Indians lay dead, although estimates go up to twice that. In contract, 25 US soldiers had been slain in the action. It would be the last major “action” of the Plains Wars.

Far from hiding what had happened though, the fight at Wounded Knee was praised as a worthy battle, and no less than twenty Medals of Honor were awarded, an excessive number even given the lower criteria of the time. It wouldn’t be for many decades that the “Battle” would be remembered for the massacre that it was, although the Medals of Honor remain a bitter point of contention with American Indian activists.

(Library of Congress)

Old Tracks

I hadn’t been able to leave the Mini-Farm for several weeks. I didn’t realize how terribly the lack of adventure affected me until we were finally on the road again, both dogs piled into the back of the pickup with all our camping gear and a day’s worth of food. 

Our destination was new territory - a trail which wasn’t even a real ‘trail’ at all, but rather, an abandoned section of railroad cutting through the heart of Salmonberry wilderness in the Oregon Coast mountain range just outside the tiny community of Timber. 

My partner and I chose to hike five miles in and five miles out - which isn’t ambitious by and means, but with all our gear and two dogs to look after, we had our work cut out for us. I was cramping badly with menstrual pains, my brand new pack wouldn’t properly adjust, and an unfortunate bear mace leakage at the beginning of the hike left my nose and eyes burning terribly for the duration. 

It seemed that everything that could go wrong did go wrong. But I really didn’t mind. I was pleased to be out in the forest again, just me, my partner, and my two dogbeasts, in an area where seeing another hiker was actually something of a shock and surprise, given the remote nature of the trail. 


We passed through old tunnels, crossed over intricate trestle bridges, and set up camp for the night beside the Salmonberry river at a spot we dubbed “Elk Swamp” - so-named because the skeletal remains of an old elk were prominently displayed in the dark, earthy waters of a marsh nearby. Cabal and Jude, my canine companions, made good use of the bones as play-things while my partner and I set up our tent. 

Despite the days’ rocky start, nothing compared to the struggle we encountered in trying to start a fire. Days of on-and-off rainfall had soaked all the wood in the region, and it took several tries before we finally got enough substantial coals to cook our evening meal. 

I fed the dogs and tied them to their posts outside the tent - Cabal at far sentry, Jude at close guard - before calling it a night. Despite being wintertime in the cold, wet mountains of the Pacific Northwest, my sleeping bag and my partner’s body heat kept me warm and comfortable, at least long enough to catch a few hours of sleep. I woke intermittently throughout the night, feeling the bear mace burning my skin -  but found it surprisingly easy to fall back asleep again each time after waking. 

At 3:30 AM, Cabal sounded the alarm. I poked my head out of the tent with a flashlight in hand, but saw nothing worth fretting over. I gave my pup the command for silence and once more surrendered to the gravity of slumber. 

As the sun rose, my partner awoke to take the dogs on a jaunt of his own while I slept in. The trio returned an hour later with a collection of quartz and agate to show for their journey. 

We had a brief breakfast - no fire, this time - and packed up the camp, then headed back up the trail, traversing landslides, treacherous sections of washed-out track, and downed trees, knocked over in a recent violent windstorm. 

By the time we reached our starting point, all four of us were completely exhausted. Cabal and Jude leapt eagerly into the truck bed as my partner and I stashed away our packs, happy to be rid of them, and drove back out of the woods to rejoin civilization. 

Despite the hardships of what should have been a simple and uneventful adventure, I’m incredibly pleased that we made the journey. This was one of the last trips I planned to take with just Cabal and Jude - soon, we’ll add the new puppy to our pack, and things won’t be the same. Spending time with my boys - Danny included - was wholly worth the aches and pains. And in a way, they made it even better. 

Rocky Mountain gothic

You travel to a neighboring town in the middle of the day. The wind whistles in the streets. The town has green trees and flowering bushes. Birds sing. You spot a herd of elk. You have not seen another car in hours. There are no people anywhere. Every door is locked.

The bears that wander into town are tranquilized and set free. The strangers that wander into town are not.

There is an aspen tree in your neighbor’s yard that was not there last week. A fully grown aspen tree. The markings in the bark resemble a face. The newspapers have piled up in the driveway. It is time to move again.

You and a group of friends are walking down the street when a screaming cyclist flies down the bike path. The screaming stops as he rounds the corner. You are the only one who saw him.

There is a dispensary across the street from your work. You only ever see people enter. No one leaves the dispensary.

A poster on the crosswalk pole reads: “Missing dog. Responds to Spot. Please call if found.” There is no number or any other information listed. The creature pictured on the poster is not a dog. The poster has been on the pole for weeks and, despite last night’s rain shower, shows no signs of weather damage. You quickly cross the street.

3

The Encampment River Area in Wyoming offers recreation opportunities for the entire family – from camping and hiking to horseback riding to fishing and floating. You may even spot mule deer, elk and bighorn sheep during your trip.

Stay at one of the eight developed campsites and then explore this beautiful area.  The campground provides access to the Encampment River Trail which parallels the Encampment River along its entire length – from the campground through the Encampment River Canyon Wilderness Study Area into the Medicine Bow National Forest. The Encampment River Canyon WSA consists of 4,547 acres of undeveloped lands that have retained their natural conditions; the Encampment River Trail is closed to motorized use.

The Encampment River Canyon WSA is characterized by deep canyons and high rocky ridges where the remnants of historic prospecting and mining activity can still be found with two old cabins, numerous prospect pits, tunnels and a wooden pipeline.

It’s a perfect #mypubliclandsroadtrip that mixes nature, history and great family fun.  (BLM Wyoming photos)

today's wikipedia article

External image

i’ve been looking up a lot of old pictures of native americans–so many emotions in these images.  i think we are woefully under-educated about the history of america’s indigenous peoples.  

my grandfather collects old photographs like these, he has always been intrigued by the idea that we are most likely part abenaki indian (according to the little plastic card issued to me when i was 9, i’m 1/16th…and i belong to a band.)  i can never get definitive information about my family history, but we seem to have just…appeared out of vermont’s northeast kingdom.  my grandfather believes his dad was half abenaki, and his dark hair and eyes in the one picture we have makes it entirely plausible, i suppose.  

anyhow, it doesn’t take a shared heritage to appreciate the sad beauty of today’s link.  this is a story of desperation and a beautiful, quiet perseverance in the face of change.  it also shows the cruellest, basest levels in human nature.   please, read this.  i want you to!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_dance

Castiel and Dean had been friends growing up. Dean, the son of the wolf’s tribe leader and Castiel, the son of the Deer’s tribe leader. Their friendship had been purly political but Castiel honestly enjoyed Dean’s company. The deers in his tribe were skittish and frail and hard to play with. Dean was the highlight of Castiel childhood.

But their tibes grew distant and they stopped playing with eachother. Cas hadn’t seen Dean in years. He grew up from his spots to a powerful elk with mighty horns. He battled for his spot as leader and won. He was in charge of the Deer and needed to regain allies once again. 

His first stop was the wolves. They had provided protection and the deer provided food. Castiel left his tribe and ventured into the wolves den alone. Inside was a long forgotten face.

“Dean?” theresareckoninacomin

My favorite plant, is moss…..

Now, I know that sounds vague. But I live in the PNW (Oregon) and moss is everywhere. It is a comfort for me.

It’s green, soft, wet, vibrant, full of life. It smells like earth and water and air and its so fresh and revitalizing. It comes in so many forms, shapes, colors, textures. It can be used in so many ways.

When I am in a place that has no moss, or the dry brittle lichen, I get anxious. I don’t like not having it around. Like when I went to Nebraska and there were few trees and not a lot of moss or ferns. It was very scary for me.

I remember this one time I was out hiking and my Dad spotted some elk and wanted to go up on a ridge to get a better view. I sat at the bottom and waited. When he came back down he started acting weird and insisted we hike back to the car because I didn’t look good and he was worried I was getting heat stroke. On the way back we ran out of water and the sun was in the sky so that there was no real shade on the trail. So he was panicking looking down the embankment wondering if he could get to the creek to soak his bandana for me. We got to a shadey spot on the trail, still too far from the water, and he started looking for a path down. I glance over and see this boulder covered in thick green fluffy moss. I shout to my dad I have an idea and scooped up the moss and pressed it to my forehead. it was wet and cool and soft. It kept me cooled down so we could make it back to the car and now when I am overheating out in the woods I just press my head to some moss for a bit and I feel better. (now though I usually leave it on the rock or wherever it is)

I also love to nap in patches on it and feel it tickle the bottom of my feet.

Bottom line, moss is great and is one of my favorite plants.

(the photo was taken by me of some moss near a friends house, bonus little succulents growing with it!)