We can never know, beyond reasonable doubt, who the first european to make contact–in their own territory–with the Plains Indians was, of course, but Elizabeth Fenn, in her excellent book Encounters at the Heart of the World, makes an interesting case for a frenchman named Louis Armand de Lom d’Arce Lahontan, who left a travelogue of his travels from the tip of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, across modern Wisconsin and Iowa, through Nebraska into the present day Dakotas in 1688–89.
Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Rick Schwertfeger of Austin Texas. Rick is an outdoorsman, a historian and a contributor at FrontierPartisans.com. This article is inspired by Running Iron Report’s Craig Rullman, and his righteous, passionate initiative to become native to the lands and animals of his Figure 8 Ranch. As an outdoorsman who has lived […]
The Mandan, as a nation of people, were hit by numerous waves of smallpox and cholera, whooping cough, measles, and pivotally, epidemics of Norwegian rats that came in on riverboats. At first, the Mandan and Hidatsa, who had never seen a brown rat, were entranced and even happy to have the rats, because they ate the deer mice that had long plagued their earthen lodges.
Last week I went to Port Townsend, Washington, for some “executive training,” since I’ve taken on full management responsibilities at the paper where I work — the revenue side as well as the content side. During our session, each of the participants was invited to make a one sentence statement about what makes us tick. I did not miss […]
• Chemical atrocity. The Syrian government allegedly unleashed another chemical attack on its own people last weekend. Russia is warning of “most serious consequences” if the U.S. strikes Syria over the attack. Get the feeling that we’re walking along the crumbling edges of an abyss? From the New York Times: BEIRUT, Lebanon — Dozens of […]
It is no small endeavor to race from sea-level to the mountains, throw on a heavy pack, and start climbing without a minute of real preparation or training–it’s probably stupid, in fact– but purpose is a powerful engine. I had studied the topos, conferred with Don, an accomplished mountaineer, and set my sights on a peak in the 10,000 foot range above the valley. The map is never the territory, of course, so I wasn’t under any illusions about the challenge. I expected, and wanted, a brutal climb as the necessary price of admission.
I like big things: Big mountains; vast swaths of desert; endless forests lorded over by towering, majestic trees. Big steaks. Big-bored blackpowder rifles that make a big boom and a tremendous cloud of white smoke. A big, steaming mug of coffee on a chilly morning. Big books. But big human organizations suck. A great many of modern civilization’s discontents […]
It occurred to me, as I performed a kind of kabuki dance with the ponderously heavy and awkward bag containing our spike tent, grotesquely dragging it from one corner of the shop to another, that the vows of silence adopted by various religious orders are increasingly understandable
“…When fixing items is actively discouraged by manufacturers, repair becomes a political act.” — Stuart Ward, repair café volunteer My grandfather made his own electric lawn mower out of a pair of scrap metal blades and a washing machine motor that he pulled out of one of the machines at an apartment complex he owned, and repaired. […]
No matter how a man alone ain’t got no bloody fucking chance. — Ernest Hemingway, To Have And Have Not On March 1, 2017, I did something dumb. Call it an error of judgment. The winter had been hellacious: Unusually cold and one heavy snowstorm after another. We were measuring the stuff in feet, not inches. […]
Living in one place for any length of time supplies a kind of general knowledge, but that tepid way of knowing is often vague to the point of uselessness. I may be able to see and identify, for instance, the particular song of a western meadowlark, and I may thrill at the extraordinary memories it calls forth from my youth on the Great Basin desert, but other than the sound it makes and the emotionally pleasing memories stirred up in my brain, what do I really know about western meadowlarks?
The social and economic fabric of the 21st Century world is a highly complex, interconnected web. And all complex systems are fragile. Best to keep in mind that we’re ALL no more than a few days or weeks of disruption from the world of Max Rockatansky. Those charged with holding the lid on the cauldron can testify […]