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Posts Tagged ‘designed landscapes’

BY JENNIFER REUT

 

FROM THE JUNE 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

This spring, the Atlantic published an essay by David Treuer, the Ojibwe author of the highly lauded cultural history The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present. In “Return the National Parks to the Tribes,” Treuer puts his argument out front, and for the next 8,000 words, he doesn’t mince.

Treuer takes readers through an excoriating and sure-footed record of the national parks as sites of violence and dispossession, stopping only briefly to let readers take in Katy Grannan’s exquisite portraits of contemporary Native American people and their landscapes. The essay frontloads the murderous history of how tribes had been removed from their ancestral homelands in places that became Yellowstone and Glacier national parks and then starved out when they could no longer return to hunt or fish.

The narrative serves as a bracing jolt to set up the case that the national parks should be returned to Native Americans, who are owed these lands, and best suited to manage them in a responsible way. In the hands of tribes, the parks would be protected from the political badminton that sites like Bears Ears National Monument, and their people, have endured. With the maintenance backlog and reduction in park staff even as attendance has increased multifold, the National Park Service appears increasingly ill-equipped to steward the parks through climate change and into the next century. (more…)

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