UP BEAR CREEK | Walter Echo-Hawk Slated for Keynote
by Art Goodtimes
Sep 21, 2013 | 2380 views | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print

HEADWATERS 24 … Starts Friday evening in Gunnison … I missed one a few years back, but I’ve been to nearly all these fascinating gatherings of Western Slope (mostly) liberal intellectuals and a scan of students at Western State Colorado University … For years my Mountain Gazette comrade-in-ink George Sibley founded and ran the conference. He’s since handed it off to Prof. John, who’s done a marvelous job of keeping the liberal torch aloft, asking hard questions, seeking deep answers … This year’s theme is Home/Land Security in the Headwaters – a region that stretches across the south central sweep of Colorado’s Southern Rockies. The keynote speaker will be Native-American Rights Attorney Walter Echo-Hawk, who (I expect) will give us an earful about how the Utes were stripped of their home and land unjustly, and how safe should we feel or be without reconciliation of that original frontier injustice?

 

JOHN HAUSDOERFFER … “Two weeks after last year's Headwaters Conference, I traveled to the foot-wide headwaters of the Ganges River above Gangotri Glacier in the Indian Himalayas. Hindu legends tell of this spot as the cradle of creation, where the Milky Way (the Sky Ganges) fell to earth to sustain humanity. Looking up at 21,467 foot Shivling Peak, shaped like Lord Shiva’s head, looking at the glacier descending from peak to river to fuel a civilization, I understood why the Hindu people see this place as sacred. It is the basis of their cultural, economic, ecological, and spiritual security … But how secure are the sacred ecological underpinnings of human civilization? On this same trek, my guide showed me where the glacier was ten years ago -- at least one hundred yards lower than its current location due to climate disruption. I met scientists planning for "an India without a Ganges." On my return (with a layover in New York one night before Hurricane Sandy flooded Manhattan and a Colorado return to snowless November peaks) I wondered what it would mean to build a secure home here --min the Headwaters … What kind of security can we build into the land, to sustain the homes and homelands of the Headwaters? How can we find secure ways of feeding each other, of heating our homes? How might a more secure home/land in the Headwaters support security in places like the Indian Himalayas, which emit fewer pollutants but suffer the worst consequences of global carbon pollution? These are the questions of this year’s Headwaters Conference: Home/Land Security … As always, the Headwaters Conference will look with hope to the solutions and partnerships necessary to building food, energy, cultural, economic, and ecological security in the face of environmental disturbance. Our usual array of influential writers, community leaders, scientists, scholars, poets, builders, ranchers, cooks, farmers, musicians, teachers, activists, students, and citizens will lead this conversation … We hope you can join us!”

 

“POLITICIAN” … Funny how this word has become such a shibboleth. Something no one wants to own up to. Like “liberal” or (goddess forbid) “radical” … These days American citizens seem to want to run away from those who choose to serve repeatedly in elected office. Certainly we can name individuals who have done so poorly. Who’ve jumped into the pocket of big money. Who’ve been motivated by personal profit. Who’ve acted dismissive of the public interest … But I find most elected to public office, especially on the local level, aren’t like that. Just the opposite. I have the highest regard for people like Elaine Fischer, Joan May, Bill Masters, Jan Stout, Glider Bob, Anne Brady, Chris Myers, Stu Fraser, and many more in this community and around the state. I may not find myself in agreement with them on particular issues, but I think of them as dedicated public servants who put public interest ahead of self-interest, the public good ahead of their own personal biases … I think it’s time we re-define “politician” in our public usage and see it as much a term of honor as one of opprobrium. Time we embrace the role of citizen politicians in making our democracy work … In the end, it’s not the word that’s the problem. What matters are the actions of the person behind the label.

 

UTE WEEKEND … Ute emissary Roland McCook is heading up the Montrose Indian Nations Powwow at the Fairgrounds Friendship Hall on Second Street Sept. 20-22. I’m hoping to attend Sunday, after Headwaters. But if you’re in Montrose over that weekend, stop in and visit the region’s annual gathering of the first peoples… For more info contact Marsha at 720-289-8945 or nuche@bresnan.net

 

500 YEAR RAINS … As if we really knew the periodicity of flood events in the mountains … Settlers of European extractions have only lived in this county for the past 131 years. That was when Col. Ranald MacKenzie moved the Uncompahgre Utes at gunpoint out of the Western Slope and over into Utah … And our country is only 232 years old (depending on when you believe our nation began) … But regardless of how often floods like this happen, it’s been a sad week for many a family on the front range. The videos and photos have been heart-rending.

 

THE TALKING GOURD

 

Cloud Acre

 

Moon setting,

breath of frost.

 

Buried in our sleeping bags

Little Gorio and me

on the trampoline.

 

A dream stirs him

the heavens quiver.

 

Early dawn light.

I peek from my ruff of frost.

Lone Cone catches the sun.

 

Shedding my sleeping bag,

I shake flakes of frost

into the sunlit dawn

dancing jewels turn

to drops of dew.

 

Desiring tea

to warm my belly

I place a kettle on the stove.

 

I’m the only one awake.

 

Gorio still fast asleep

on the trampoline,

Art snoring lightly

in his bedroom cave,

Sara safe amongst

blankets and stuffed bears.

 

Out the window

sprinklers in the hay meadow

come to life

arcing rainbows in the sun.

 

-Michael Adams

Lafayette

 

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