53 "Defending One's Home"
Home is where the heart is.
Defending One’s Home
I am sitting here on a dead log from a fallen tree and looking out across a valley at one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever witnessed. Not even in magazines have I ever seen anything this amazing. To my left I can see a rumbling waterfall coming out of the mountains. At the base of the waterfall is a small lake surrounded by an array of wild flowers showing almost every color you could imagine. Behind the flowers grow the tallest, greenest pine trees I have ever seen. Down the center of the valley runs a river with a strong flow. From where I am sitting I can actually see trout feeding. Off to my right I can see the end of the valley and it opens to one of the richest pastures I have ever seen. I can see cattle grazing on that green grass.
As I look out across the vast beauty of this “Heaven on Earth”, off to my right I see movement. The movement seems to have appeared out of nowhere, but I do believe it came from the mouth of the valley. As I watch, I can make out the shapes of horses with riders. I watch as they cross the valley floor from the open mouth to the end with the waterfall. As they near the section where I am sitting, even though they are on the other side of the valley, I can see that they are Indians on the horses. I can count a total of 11 Indians and 14 horses, 3 of which are pack horses. I watch them as they travel all the way along the valley floor. When they got to the waterfall they seemed to disappear into thin air, almost as if they were ghosts.
This didn’t really surprise me because you don’t see very many Indians in this area any longer. The ones that are still in these mountains don’t associate with the local people. They stay to themselves in their own world somewhere in the mountains. They don’t deal with the “White Man” any more than they have to.
As I was watching these 11 travel across the valley in front of my eyes, almost as though I was in a time warp, it made me think about the way it was back 200 years or so ago, back when the Indians had the free range and the only thing they had to worry about were other Indians and wild animals. What a life that must have been.
Off on another track for a couple of paragraphs. There are the animals that I think of that get basically the same treatment the Indians got back in those days. I always think about animals that live in the wild and have their own way of living, animals such as mountain lions, wolves, coyotes and all other animals that live in the wild. They live their lives the only way they are used to living, by their law, “The Law of the Wild”. They hunt when, where and what they need. Unlike man, who hunt what they want as long as they aren’t being threatened.
Then “man” moves into their territory and all of a sudden they are “dangerous” animals that attack people and their pets. When all they are doing is living on their land, in their territory the way they have for their entire existence and these two legged animals come along and start killing them because they kill for food and their home.
This line of thought can be used in the same way when looking back at the Indians and the way they were treated. They were living on “their” land, hunting and surviving the way they were accustomed to from their beginning. Then along came the “white man” and starts forcing them from “their” land. The Indians reacted the same way anyone would when their livelyhood is being threatened. They react in the same way animals would and do. Just the same way we Americans would react if someone came here and tried to take our homeland away from us. This was land that actually belonged to the Indians before we came along.
Sure, there were men that tried to negotiate and handle things in a peaceful manner on both sides. But then there were men that felt killing was the way to handle business on both sides. “White men were actually the savages and the Indians just reacted the best way they knew how, savagely.
Back when I was in school, in the 50’s and 60’s, we were taught how great the white man was and how they killed the Indians to protect the white settlers. This was true to a point, but it was after Indians were killed, a lot of them for no reason.
Now that I am older I find that the way white man killed the Indians, in too many cases, was to slaughter them. When I hear this I look back at “why” the Indians reacted the way they did. It is called “self preservation”. White man called it savage and murderous the way the Indians would attack the whites.
When I think about what happened to the Indians, I put myself in their position, but in today’s world. If someone came here and tried to take our country, I would react the same way the Indians did.
I was born in this country as a Free American. I have lived my whole life as a Free American. I plan on dying in this country as a Free American. Whether it be of old age or actually die fighting for the freedoms that this country stands for and was founded on. So many Americans have died defending those freedoms. There are so many people ready to give up on those freedoms saying the “government” is taking them away, when in reality, the people are just giving them up.
© 2011 Greg Schweizer