Wednesday, 19 May 204
Pix Of The Day: The Wisdom Of Being Doubtful
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Pipe Spring, Arizona, USA. WHAT: historic settler site.
MAP: Kaibab (PDF format). Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
We headed over the state line into Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon. En route we visited Pipe Spring, a place where for us some alternative perspectives on European settlement fell into place. We have always held a somewhat grudging admiration for the self proclaimed 'pioneering' of the early Mormon (LDS) settlers; grudging because we are aware of the dangers inherent in any agenda held by those holding cast iron certainties inspired by religious fervor. The work of Bertrand Russell, a man with an acute understanding of paradox, is peppered with observations on wisdom, of which this is one of our favorites:
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."The European settlers who displaced the Kaibab Paiute people from the area around Pipe Spring to claim 'ownership' of the land (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often known as the LDS, or Mormon Church, was prominent among this group, though neither the first nor the last) are probably responsible for the eventual destruction of the grasslands through over grazing. Deprived of the life giving waters from the spring, the Kaibab Paiute population fell to only 75 persons.
Today the tribe numbers 240 persons, and the Pipe Springs National Monument is a cooperative venture among the interested parties. We retain our grudging admiration for the efforts and perseverance of the incomers: however, alternative perspectives were unavoidable in a place like Pipe Spring. After our visit we read, on the NPS [National Park Service] web site, the notes for 'Pipe Spring: Cultures at a Crossroads', which express the author's policy:
Although the word 'pioneer' has long been used when describing the exploration and settlement activities of Euroamericans, the author has refrained from using the term in this report, except in quotations. 'Pioneer' is defined in one dictionary as "one who ventures into unknown or unclaimed territory to settle." Contemporary historians, anthropologists, and Native Americans argue that the Americas were neither unknown nor uninhabited, and that the use of this term perpetuates a myth and is offensive to some. For this reason, the author has chosen to use the less culturally-laden word, 'settler.' After careful consideration, so have we.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)