Virtually all of these wars, Nichols shows, grew out of small-scale local conflicts, suggesting that interracial violence preceded any formal declaration of war. American pioneers hated and feared Indians and wanted their land. Indian villages were armed camps, and their young men sought recognition for bravery and prowess in hunting and fighting. Neither the U.S. government nor tribal leaders could prevent raids, thievery, and violence when the two groups met.
In addition to U.S. territorial expansion and the belligerence of racist pioneers, Nichols cites a variety of factors that led to individual wars: cultural differences, border disputes, conflicts between and within tribes, the actions of white traders and local politicians, the government’s failure to prevent or punish anti-Indian violence, and Native determination to retain their lands, traditional culture, and tribal independence.
The conflicts examined here, Nichols argues, need to be considered as wars of U.S. aggression, a central feature of that nation’s expansion across the continent that brought newcomers into areas occupied by highly militarized Native communities ready and able to defend themselves and attack their enemies.
In Scorched Earth, Barker, an environmental reporter who was on the ground and in the smoke during the 1988 fires, shows us that many of today's arguments over fire and the nature of public land began to take shape soon after the Civil War. As Barker explains, how the government responded to early fires in Yellowstone and to private investors in the region led ultimately to the protection of 600 million acres of public lands in the United States. Barker uses his considerable narrative talents to bring to life a fascinating, but often neglected, piece of American history. Scorched Earth lays a new foundation for examining current fire and environmental policies in America and the world.
Our story begins when the West was yet to be won, with a colorful cast of characters: a civil war general and his soldiers, America's first investment banker, railroad men, naturalists, and fire-fighters-all of whom left their mark on Yellowstone. As the truth behind the creation of America's first national park is revealed, we discover the remarkable role the U.S. Army played in protecting Yellowstone and shaping public lands in the West. And we see the developing efforts of conservation's great figures as they struggled to preserve our heritage. With vivid descriptions of the famous fires that have raged in Yellowstone, the heroes who have tried to protect it, and the strategies that evolved as a result, Barker draws us into the very heart of a debate over our attempts to control nature and people.
This entertaining and timely book challenges the traditional views both of those who arrogantly seek full control of nature and those who naively believe we can leave it unaltered. And it demonstrates how much of our broader environmental history was shaped in the lands of Yellowstone.
Although the Park Service recently has placed some emphasis on protecting samples of North America’s ecosystems, the earliest national parks were viewed as natural museums—monuments to national grandeur that would edify visitors. Not only were these early parks to preserve monumental and unique natural attractions, but they also had to be of no use to mining, lumbering, agriculture, and other “productive” industries. Natural Museums examines the notions of park monumentalism, “worthlessness,” and national significance, as well as the parks’ roles as wilderness preserves and recreational centers.
National Parks – ‘America’s Best Idea’ – were from the first seen as sacred sites embodying the God-given specialness of American people and American land, and from the first they were also marked as tourist attractions. The inherent tensions between these two realities ensured the parks would be stages where the country’s conflicting values would be performed and contested. As pilgrimage sites embody the values and beliefs of those who are drawn to them, so Americans could travel to these sacred places to honor, experience, and be restored by the powers that had created the American land and the American enterprise.
This book explores the importance of the discourse of nature in American culture, arguing that the attributes and symbolic power that had first been associated with the ‘new world’ and then the ‘frontier’ were embodied in the National Parks. Author Ross-Bryant focuses on National Parks as pilgrimage sites around which a discourse of nature developed and argues the centrality of religion in understanding the dynamics of both the language and the ritual manifestations related to National Parks. Beyond the specific contribution to a richer analysis of the National Parks and their role in understanding nature and religion in the U.S., this volume contributes to the emerging field of ‘religion and the environment,’ larger issues in the study of religion (e.g. cultural events and the spatial element in meaning-making), and the study of non-institutional religion.
•* Celebrates the dedicated men and women of our National Park Service (NPS) who have safeguarded the nation’s natural legacy for 100 years
•* 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service
•* 125 images including many archival photos
Anyone who has stood beneath a redwood, neck craned to see its top rising far above; or who has heard ghostly whispers of residents long-past among the burnt-red cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde; or who has climbed the stairs to gaze out from the Statue of Liberty’s crown, would agree that our National Park system is a source of pride and wonder.
But 100 years ago, creating a bureau to administer America’s vast and diverse parks was a concept requiring great debate and persuasion. The story of the National Park Service is the story of people who fought for the protection of the places that have helped to define our national identity, those places we now hold dear—from the blue hazy mist that hangs over Great Smokey Mountains National Park to the spouting geysers of Yellowstone to the thick, steamy waterways of the Everglades. The NPS founders were the architects of our family vacations, the inventors of icons with worldwide appeal. They battled “progress,” which often masked greed and ignorance, and their story continues with those who molded and grew the NPS through a flu pandemic, the Great Depression, World Wars, and beyond.
Prophets and Moguls, Rangers and Rogues, Bison and Bears is the engaging and accessible story of the NPS that brings to life its history and characters. The result of extensive research, dozens of interviews with Park Service employees, and the author’s own experiences at park units she visited all over the country, it’s a highly readable history that connects the dots of past to present and will remind readers of the vast array of public assets administered by the NPS—resources which offer something for everyone and also need every citizen’s support.