Archive for April, 2010

Ghost 66 Link

April 29, 2010

Here is the new link for our Ghost 66 tour

This is a Google Earth KMZ file. You will have to have Google Earth to read it.

Download Google Earth.

Follow the instructions and watch.

Cultural Ethics

April 26, 2010

Hello readers.

I have been thinking a lot about the Turkey question. My partner and I had a lively discussion on the ethics of challenging cultural practice. I will open the debate with an extreme example and we will look at it from a couple of different angles to seek an opinion on the matter. Let us imagine that there is a primitive civilization living in underground caves on Mars. We establish communication with them and begin flying space tourists there to meet these odd creatures. We will assume that they are intelligent and have an ability to communicate/translate. Suppose that as we investigate their cultural traditions and practices, that we find they regularly molest their children. Should we A). Respect their traditional practices and go on? Or, B). Attempt to alter their behavior based on our own cultural ethics? My practical point is based on two examples from the Mid-East. One, is an experience I had in Kuwait where three Muslim women stepped out of line at an ice cream shop when two G.I.s and myself approached the counter. We politely told them “no, you were here first.” The denied our request and sat at a table to the side. The male server said that we were men and should go first. I believe he made a comment that they were women and had no job to do and they could wait- or something to that effect. We disagreed and restated our request. One of my co-workers insisted that he serve them first or we would leave. I don’t remember exactly how it went. Later, I asked myself if we should have just went with their local practice and not caused a situation in a host country. But, at the same time, I would feel like I was not living up to my human potential by participating in a system that treated women as second class individuals. My other example is in the collection of writings in Tourists and Tourism regarding men in Turkey’s “city of love” participating in flagrant cocksmanship with female tourists. It is not legal for the local women to frequent the clubs because of religious and cultural reasons. However, the men find it perfectly ok to romance the females visiting their country. Does that make it allowable? Does cultural practice, here being men have more freedoms than women, trump individual rights? This could be applied in places such as Bangkok as well. I watched the movie Camera, Camera with classmate Austin last week, and they touched on the sex trade in Laos. It was mostly rich Western travelers creating a market for underage sex workers. The country is dirt poor. Many women participate in this behavior hoping to become a lover of the traveler and be rescued from their situation. Should we tell them to forgo prostitution and just starve to death? Or should we shut up and support them? The question of human rights goes much farther than tourism. Economies deal with trade-offs all of the time for survival but I will not get into child-labor laws and the like at this time. I still have not created a full opinion on global rights and would love to hear your opinions on the matter. Thanks for your time!


Pueblo: Acoma, and Laguna

April 20, 2010

Good day, friends!

I would like to point out some differences between two American Indian tribes in dealing with “outsiders.” Jill D. Sweet writes in her essay in Sharon Bohn Gmelch’s book Tourists and Tourism about her research of the Pueblo people as being secretive and protecting their culture from outsiders. In research from Katie Flower and myself, we spent some time on the Laguna reservation in New Mexico, and the Yavapai in Northern Arizona. The Acoma, neighbors of the Laguna have two very different situations that do not depend on the amount of “control” or “secrecy” that is kept by the tribe. The Acoma live on atop a mesa. This is geographically a preferred and defensible position that Sun Tzu would approve. The Laguna, however, adjoin a national park that happens to be a gently sloping chain of hills on their Eastern border, a high lake on the Southern edge and Interstate 40 through the middle of their Reservation. Obviously, a valley nation was at a much higher risk of outsiders traveling through their property as opposed to the Acoma, safely up on the mesa.

As with the Acoma, it also matters how a group deals with the travelers. In Arizona, the Yavapai began trading early with the Westward wagon trains establishing trade and growing with the nation. (To this day, they still maintain the Southern half of the Grand Canyon). Instead, of secrecy, they used bureaucracy constantly negotiating with the Federal government to maintain control over the Canyonlands, including hunting, fishing, land use and perimeter control.

In agreement with Jill Sweet, the Pueblo tribes had an advantage when dealing with “others” as they were experienced from dealing with the Spanish, nomadic tribes, missionaries, and explorers long before mass tourism set in. The Laguna are a modern exception possibly because the location that had protected them in pre-modern times, is eating away at their territory with modern transportation. It seems also that the Laguna could not, or did not defend their tribe as well as some of their neighbors during the Western Expansion from 1650-1900.

Thanks for listening! Write back with comments/ insights/ or critiques.


Editing Paper

April 16, 2010

Welcome, friends. I wish that I could re-visit our research trip. As I have began writing at length, I keep uncovering more and more information. We stopped near Jerome Missouri to locate a few sites that we had read about. We originally were searching for John’s Modern Cabins. We later decided to look for a segment of the trail of tears after speaking with some local residents. Bad weather was one it’s way and we were in one of the most dissected areas of the original road. We first stumbled across an original path of 66 at the trail of tears near Devil’s Elbow, Missouri. Upon later research, we verified the site. After passing half a dozen cabins strung through the woods, we finally found a row of small cabins that we thought might have been John’s. We decided that it was not after referencing some pictures. Upon further investigation we found a hive of stone rooms connected with flowing springs. We left a bronze site marker as well as taking some video and photographs. It was a beautiful site being taken back by nature with each season. We also found the city of Jerome, though we were trying to get across the river to Arlington. The Route 66 bridge has been dismantled and we spent another hour circling until we finally found an old road that led under the interstate to the ghost town. All that remained were four buildings. The rest of the nine-block town had been turned into R.V. sites. We then, took our original direction (that we missed two hours prior) and found the road that led to John’s. It was an interesting site. I am trying to serve it justice as I edit my paper. It is on a section of “lucky” road. I have been using that term to describe sections of the route that were bypassed in the fifties allowing them to avoid the construction of Interstates 40 and 44. This site had a house on the road and some state sheds. At the North-East end, MoDOT tests it’s lane painter as is recorded by the hundreds of yellow and white painted stripes on the road. As we found John’s Cabins lightening strobed in the west. As we began documentation of the 150 year old cabins, rain began to pour. We finished up and headed west as the wipers attempted in vain to clear the windshield. Upon later study, we realized that our original stop at the property founding the wood cabins and stone sleeping rooms was actually a private trail of tears memorial created by an outsider artist in the middle of the last century. Originally, the site was just a stone wall. The owner claimed that ghosts were knocking on his door nightly. Upon consulting a Cherokee tribesman that visited his property, he accepted advice to build stairs over the wall so that the spirits can travel the trail freely. The man claimed that the knocking stopped immediately after installing the staircase. For the next twenty years he constructed and maintained a series of fountains, gates, paths, rooms, cabins and a general store. Since his death in the mid-Eighties, the property has been returning to it’s original state.

Thoughts on Natives and Boundaries

April 6, 2010

Good day, friends. After our research trip out West, I cannot get out of my mind the idea of land rights. We spoke with some natives and one in particular, Phillip, discussed for thirty minutes, the stories of contemporary property battles between the Native Americans and National Americans. It amazes me that in a day of precisely drawn GPS located boundaries, that we can still dispute land in North America. As if the behaviors of our past treatment to Native people were not bad enough, we still attempt to use, old mapping excuses, easements, and rights of way to further take land from the original “owners.” Phillip told us of an American Indian that had been leading protests against the National Park Service’s attempt to assimilate an “easement” between a native road and the park boundary. Apparently, the Natives lived on property adjacent to the boundary of the Park and created an access road on their property. A few years ago, the surveyors came through and claimed that the road was the boundary and that the “Indian Property” was actually an easement for the park. The opponent, organized tribe members to publicly dispute the fact that the U.S. Was stealing more of their land. He began retracing the Fed surveyors, pulling ground stakes and property signs as he went. Eventually, his burned body and vehicle were found in the lake bordering the two sites. The investigation turned up no possible murderers.
The other amazing fact, at least to me, is the fact that many of the tribes still do not recognize themselves as “Americans.” Especially the Navajo, who refer to the North-East quadrant of Arizona as the Navajo Nation. After speaking with the locals, it seems that Interstate highways crossing their land is just an inconvenience. They have their own roads, as well as their own schools, services, and penal systems. I was astounded at the amount of autonomy still present in the Native communities.
One last thought on location, more specifically, re-location: Originally, the U.S. Government had decided in the late 1820’s that they had taken enough land and would begin honoring treaties. As some of the Southern States became irate of the fact that Natives were gaining rights, (to include slave ownership), they rose up and fervently expressed their discontent with the Federal Government. In fear of starting a civil war, John Quincy Adams, withdrew federal troups from the South and proceeded with the re-location of 46,000 Natives (only 70% which made it alive to their new homes).Get your kicks in Western Missouri and Eastern Oklahoma!


April 2, 2010

Just checking in to tell you that we have made it back from our research trip out West. It was at a breakneck pace but we survived and learned many things along the way. We are having problems with Google updating our markers but will be working that out soon. Keep checking back and I post exerpts of my paper on here as well. I will also tell amazing stories like how the Santa Fe railroad caused a tourist craze in Hawaii. Later,