Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A different perspective on American history

August 11, 2008

We came to the three tribes’ lands to visit their Tamastlikt Cultural Institute. The state-of-the art facility includes an interactive museum that tells history from the Native American’s point of view. It covers the circle of seasons the Native people based their lives upon, lodging, the introduction of horses to their way of life and the changes horses brought, wars, treaties, boarding schools and the change trains brought to the area. A fantastic presentation of another perspective on American history.

Only 30 miles away or so is Whitman Mission National Memorial. The site memorializes the massacre of missionaries by Cayuse tribesmen. Information presented there show the Whitmans knew they were in hostile territory – the Native people had seen such an influx of Euro-Americans, the taking of their lands, the introduction of diseases that were decimating their people that they feared for their nation’s future. But the Whitmans stayed to continue their missionary work and continue providing a resting spot and repair station for those traveling the trail. In 1847, the last year the Oregon Trail passed this mission, some 5,000 people traveled through the Cayuse territory leaving their detritus and disease behind.

I think it’s been great for all of us to be able to see multiple perspectives on American history throughout this trip. It’s certainly been educational for me.

Tonight’s stop – Wallace Wildlife Refuge, Blue Lake Campground south of Pomeroy, WA. We headed for Lewis & Clark State Park, but the host there warned of rampant ticks falling from trees, bushes and the grasses there. And while there was a river (we could hear it) there was no access. The only other service this camp provided for $17 a night were showers – at an additional fee.

Instead, we found our way toward the National Forest, but stopped short here at Blue Lake Campground. The lake is a hike from here. We’ll take it when the girls get up. Very peaceful, in the trees, saw wild turkeys last night, on the lookout for Bighorn Sheep this morning.

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