Listeria – Heartbreaking Historic Sites

22 May

The May 2014 issue of True West contains a great article about historic sites in the American West. It is titled “16 Historical Destinations That Will Make You Weep”, but that title is misleading. Yes, there is a list of sites that will bring a tear to your eye and a break in your heart. However, there are two other lists that, to me, are just as emotional.

In this outbreak of Listeria, I will describe the sites that I have visited in the weeping category.

16 Historical Destinations That Will Make You Weep

1. Great Plains of North Dakota: The Near-Extinction of the American Bison – The destruction of these beasts is one of the great tragedies of United States history. I tend to focus on the plight of humans rather than animals, but, in this instance, they are intertwined. The massive loss of bisons helped bring the loss of every aspect of life for the Native Americans of the Plains. North Dakota is not the only place this is felt. It can be felt throughout the middle of the continent.Montana 2012 and Other Stuff 302

2. Acoma Pueblo: Acoma Pueblo Battle and Massacre, Acoma, New Mexico – If not for required meetings I could have been at Acoma this week. The article focuses on the conflict between the Pueblo and the Spanish, a conflict that remains in the hearts and minds of the people. However, the sadness continues. Every year, we take students to Acoma and always stop to see Norma Jean, a lady who sells pottery along the side of the street. Last year, we learned that her husband had cancer. When Trader Dave called to check on her, he learned that her husband had died and his family had kicked her out of the house. She owns a house on the mesa and moved there. However, on the mesa there is no electricity or running water.SONY DSC

5. The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas: The War of Texas Independence – In Texas, this site takes on mythic and almost religious importance. I have not visited the site in years, but I remember that it was disappointing. It sits among downtown buildings and has been whittled away through the years. I figured if something was this important, then it would have been taken care of better.

7. Battle of Little Big Horn, Montana – I have written about this site many times and will not repeat myself. However, it is my favorite historic site and a place where the emotions of both sides of the conflict can be felt.Montana 2012 and Other Stuff 126

11. Canyon de Chelly, Arizona – This is a sad and beautiful place to visit, but the surroundings affected me more. Driving through the Navajo Nation to get to the canyon takes you through complete poverty. If anyone wants to see the effect that United States expansion had on Native Americans, then they need to drive through this land. To get through the canyon, you must be guided by a Navajo whose family owns land within its walls. The tour is informative but talking to the guide about reservation life is the real education.

West 2010 214

The next couple of posts will describe places I have visited on the other two lists.

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8 Responses to “Listeria – Heartbreaking Historic Sites”

  1. Andrew Petcher May 22, 2014 at 19:33 #

    I’m not really qualified to offer an opinion on American history but I would add Mese Verde to your list because of the damage done to the site by treasure hunters shortly after it was discovered. I visited the National Park in 1995.

    • Rick May 22, 2014 at 19:44 #

      Mesa Verde is a great site. I need to write a post about the time I visited. The park ranger messed up all of the information.

      • Marilyn Armstrong May 22, 2014 at 20:15 #

        Navajo is beautiful and also sad. But there is little history of Native Americans that is not laced with tears.

      • Rick May 22, 2014 at 20:51 #

        It’s been a tough 500 years.

  2. returntothe80s May 23, 2014 at 00:50 #

    I love this. I’m looking forward to the next couple of posts. I have never been to any of these places, so thanks for bringing them to us. That’s a shame about The Alamo. Have you been to Gettysburg? I wonder how that compares to Little Big Horn.

    • Rick May 23, 2014 at 01:20 #

      I have not been to Gettysburg but am going in July. I will be interested to see if the two battlefields compare. Gettysburg was so big and had so much death that it must be overwhelming. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  3. satanicpanic May 23, 2014 at 03:29 #

    In the next couple years I’m planning on making a trip around the USA- I’m going to add a couple of sites from here to my list. I read your post on Little Big Horn, I’d never thought of visiting it, but now I feel like I should. Also, you remind me I should read up on the history of the places i want to go before I visit.

    • Rick May 23, 2014 at 13:21 #

      There are a lot of other things near Little Big Horn. Devil’s Tower. Mount Rushmore. Crazy Horse Mountain. The Badlands. Oh yeah, Yellowstone is not far away.

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