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,

On the Road

March 27, 2010

We are on the Road! We just placed one of our markers at a rest area in McClean county, IL. There were other markers nearby including a patinated series of figure silhouettes of the family that built one of the first “hard roads” in Illinois near a syrup farm called Funks Grove. Isaac Funk arrived in the area in 1824 and began the road to simplify travel to nearby Bloomington. His grandson later built the first automobile in the area to drive on his family’s road. As America began connecting the named roads in the twenties, This stretch was one of the oldest sections of the infamous “mother” road. We labeled marker number 4 with Katie’s wordpress address. You can find our location on Google Earth. https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/jesandberg/66%20Ghosts.kmz

Our last reading was very interesting in the sense of history and perceived culture. We have been dealing with that a lot in our discussions about our journey. Every time we ask someone about Route 66, they respond with the diddie from the song or they ask us if we are driving an old car. I believe that this is related to America’s perception of Hawaii. People think palm trees, beaches, Lu’uas, and Hula girls. We lazily assign images to subjects and constantly recall these symbols as opposed to learning more about the person, place, event, etc. I think of Dog the bounty hunter. That could have been L.A., Vegas, Detroit or Atlanta but it was Hawaii. A much different Hawaii than most people thought. It was one of drugs, strip malls, trailer parks and a complete list of all things that most Americans do not consider when they think of Hawaii.

We have also compared our path to its uses. To dispel this myth that Route 66 was created in the mid- twentieth century so that guys with nice hair could put the top down and sing to the oldies, we have been working on a more complete history. Route 66 became the mother road for two main reasons. First, was the fact that small cities were becoming connected with permanent roads. America had a lot of River corridors in the East to provide transportation at the time. Second, the Western half of the States still relied on wagon trails to get to the West Coast. Natives were sent westward to their new homes on these paths in the 19th Century as well as the goldrushers. The trails were used for cattle drives to Saint Louis and Kansas City up into the 20th Century. Rails and business began to cater to all of these travelers creating the need for a continual paved road West and was prioritized through the WPA. From these two reasons, other factors assisted in the actual location and use of the highway. Local politicians fought, wrangled and gerrymandered the route continuously for nearly fifty years adjusting it through different cities and sometimes entirely different corridors.

Like Hawaiian tourism, The history that created the reality was later stripped of its local issues and referred to only by its symbols. We do not always have control over image but must always remind ourselves and others to get past the advertising and search for something more in our travels. Learn about the people and the culture. Find out why a certain place came to be important. Check back often. We will be covering a lot of ground this week!



66 Ghosts

March 25, 2010

Click here to follow us on Google Earth! https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/jesandberg/66%20Ghosts.kmz

On Hawaii

March 19, 2010

Welcome. Last week’s discussion was interesting. It was like a roller coaster ride at times going from highly energetic to a slow creep. It seems that people sometimes become disinterested when the subject is not about their particular chapter or personal interests. Maybe it would help to stick to our “chapter” markers more without digression. Or, possibly, trying to limit our input to shorter thoughts that can be discussed quicker as opposed to one person talking for 3-5 minutes. Not sure.

A quick update on 66 Ghosts: Katie and I have finished our wax model for our site markers. This weekend we will begin pouring waxes (about 30) and affixing individual identification numbers to them. Next Tuesday we will burnout and pour all of our bronze on Thursday. Late Thursday/ early Friday, we will Tig weld our spikes on and hit the road! We have our tent & bags, gas money and our reading list. If anyone is thinking about traveling in this way I found a site with some good links: http://gobudgettravel.com/usa/kerouac-2000-roadtrip-usa-on-a-budget I have also been reading about Death Cab for Cutie doing a trip following Keroac and writing an album. Here is a link on NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113748932

On to Hawaii and the Hula dance. I have a few thoughts after having a couple of days to digest the conversation.

A.) I believe that the book kept the focus on the spectator. Every reference of hula and the Luau was focused toward the consumer. I think that there is room for other views. I read on Alternative Hawaii http://www.alternative-hawaii.com/hacul/hula.htm that the Hawaiian people had actually let their dance slip form mainstream as well as the missionaries. I also believe that it is not just the missionaries faults for stripping their cultural practices with an offer to Heaven. Not to confuse anyone, I believe that missionaries should keep their asses home and quit f@#*ing up everyones cultures trying to spread their religions and ideals.

B.) My other concern is the cultural impact of the militaries during World War II on the Pacific Rim. It seems like such a contrast of the quaint tropical island with ships anchored off shore and runways being put down on clearings. I have thought about this before looking through my fathers pictures (WWII) from Guam, Bora Bora, Phillipines, Etc. I remembered seeing images of topless locals sitting at picnic tables with the G.I.s  eating fruit with palm trees and a USO stage in the background. I would like to imagine how their lifes changed seeing these massive ships come to their islands.

C.) Finally, I also wonder if cultural change is always good or bad. I think that maybe it just happens. It would be wrong to totally withhold from exchanging knowledge with indigenous  peoples hoping to ensure that there lives go on unchanged. I guess that maybe we need to do more talking and less pillaging so that we can truly learn from others. We should take it slow and neither nation build or ostracize.

66 ghosts

March 14, 2010

It has been an undertaking searching for well written material relating to our research trip. The positive side to this is that it gives the freedom to conduct research in one’s own manner. Though I am far away from writing a book, it is the same feeling that once you run out of research on the subject of concern that you should begin your own.

We have been meeting with our professors lately and began to find the strengths of our research trip. I still have some concerns on content, but the beneficial ones are adding substance now. Our largest breakthrough is re-labeling our trip as a “path.” After we arrived at this nomenuclature, we were able to focus our content as it relates to the experience of the act of travel as opposed to destination based travel. Lennon & Foley cite how [dark] tourism is closely related to the size of the population as in Auschwitz. This problem is highly exaggerated in our project as many of the towns along the path that we chose scrape for any tourists that they get. When people do visit, the seem to get this nostalgic view of the American west during the modern time where people jumped in their internal combustion lead sleds, folded the top down and rushed across the desert.

            Now to the dark side: When the United States began the forced migration of the native people west, they moved from one shanty town to another working their way west. As travel expanded westward designated wagon routes started being named. By the turn of the last century, the “new” Americans decided to connect these major routes to simplify travel in the Southwestern States. Old dirt trails, were paved and  linked finally being designated as U.S. 66. The rest is revisionist history as we came to celebrate this segment of time concerning this path. It was far more romantic than it’s previous history and it re-enforced freedom and nationalism along a path that was big and fast. Even the “attractions” that we have been researching mirror this as the roadside is filled with fiberglass statues of men, machine, and animal. Even a lot of the decorations on these attractions are riddled with symbols of the native past.

            Our next big decision, was to create our own markers of what we deem important along this infamous path. We have begun designing Bronze trail markers, sequentially numbered to mark the sites that we find worthy. Arrogant? Maybe. At least we will be providing something that allows for critical review. Maybe Jamaica Kincaid would agree with this procedure. But, our route is not all about saving the memory of a certain era be it native population or post-war poets. We are searching for our own impressions of the path.

            We began with a working title of Site-Marker-Site based on MacCannell’s writings. This has remained a strong base of our trip and has reinforced itself through our various mutations. Despite the relevance of our initial title, we have been using the term “66 ghosts” lately when referring to the project. Ghosts of the indigenous, ghosts of the various routes during it’s 60 years, including the towns and people along it’s way.

            Finally, we have decided to map our path. It became obvious when we started our video documentation that US 66 was very ambiguous. Everyone you ask says it is there. We know from our initial travel and mapping research that parts of it remain. But when asked, AAA states that there is no road designated 66 other than a resurrected stretch of highway in Northern Arizona. “We can give you maps of the states it went through!” she said cheerfully. It may be obvious, but the idea of a map is to show a person routes and locations. This is when the idea of “Ghosts” entered our discussions. So, we decided to create our own path and map it. We have downloaded Google Earth and are learning to set it up for our needs. We are linking our blogs and my personal website to Google Earth so that people can track our route. When we find a place worthy of a bronze marker, we will spike it into the ground and document it’s ID number with a peg on Google Earth. Where as Bronze used to mean forever, we are making pieces that could be located and stolen. Only the virtual world and memory will contain our original path.

Goliaths and Ghosts

March 5, 2010

This week I will investigate a vague idea of site based on the question that I posed for the discussion Tuesday. My question was regarding the idea of how cultural sites get out of hand to the point that they are a bastardized destination. I believe this may happen for reasons due to capitalism and opportunity.
Capitalism is easy. Joe and Nelda collect gas pumps. They have the sickness of a collectors addiction and keep purchasing more and more vintage gas pumps. To justify their condition, they attach cultural value to their motivations and claim they are preserving history. After erecting a pole barn to store their collection, they begin letting people in. Soon, they call it a museum. It begins with a donation box while they wet their feet. Soon, their son comes to visit after finishing his business degree and decides to do some marketing. They make pamphlets, advertise the “world’s largest collection of vintage gas pumps,” add phrases like “a stroll down memory lane” and open a gift shop. Soon they are providing for antique car shows, writing press releases for everyone from the “local” section of the newspaper to the travel channel.
Some sites make it, some don’t. In the extreme, you have places like Las Vegas that began with nothing and somehow turned it into a top destination where people come to pour their money into the system. I am sure there are complete dissertations written just on the Vegas model. I firmly believe that Joe and Nelda want their Vegas as well. If people will keep coming and giving someone money for visiting their site, most people will keep accepting the income. Not every site has the choice. Sites that grow exponentially are reliant on factors of infrastructure . There are, of course, places in contemporary times that actually make an attempt to manage tourism, but if given the option, I believe that most people manage tourism as a response to the requirements and wishes of the patrons spending money as opposed to a proactive system.
I will be documenting support for this theory next month during me and Katie’s trip to Los Angeles via Route 66. Previous knowledge shows that this will be a prime area to study the opportunity side of sites as the route is no longer in existence as one continual road. Some parts of the route have been totally dislocated from the greater infrastructure and some have been replaced by newer routes that funneled traffic and allowed those areas to survive and grow. I will provide Collinsville, IL as a sample of the latter. As Route 66 was being decommissioned, the Interstate system constructed the all new I-70 across the south edge of town. This luck of fate allowed the small mainstreet community a chance to catch all of the traffic funneling into and out of the St. Louis metropolitan area. Many of the old “sites” somehow survived such as the Annual Ketchup Fest (which takes place under the world’s largest ketchup bottle) and the Horseradish festival which draws a huge crowd in the Metro East area as Collinsville is the horseradish capital of the world.
I am familiar with approximately 150 miles of the former US 66 and already have hundreds of examples where people have attempted, some more successful than others, to create destinations. Looking at the many US 66 travel guides, there is no doubt that we will find hundreds of other sites that either grew to more than they deserve [subjective opinion of the author] or withered to a ghost of a side show. Actually, the focus of our collaborative piece is the idea of seeking out the ghosts of US 66. We want to find the places that were not as lucky as Collinsville, St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, Pasadena, Hollywood, and Santa Monica.
Please share any comments. Always ready to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for listening!


Week 6 Curatorial Systems

February 27, 2010

Welcome back, friends!
Today we will be stretching everyone’s Western developed brains to consider practices of organization. We are very tied to science in our systems of organization. We use Latin names and speak of groups, families, etc. I will be using some ideas from the book Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads. I am not an expert in museum studies, however one of my best friends is well versed in this area. We have always followed each other’s studies have regular critical discussions often. She loaned me the SAPH text in 2006 and my thoughts have been more abstract ever since. Slicing through the first layer of the book is the organization of subjects as viewed through different societies. We may think that eagles are related to hawks, which are related to falcons, which are related to smaller predatory birds. The Native Americans believed that eagles were related to the sky, which was related to the mountain top, which was related to snow. Who was right? Most westerners say that we use a scientific taxonomic system so ours is the right way. But can you negate the system that the Natives used? Not logically. Science, which is very useful and tied heavily into post enlightened thought, can only support theories proposed to its system. It cannot disprove organizational matters that do not operate in such a way. We have been seeing growth in non-scientific systems in the last century or two through curation. We have seen paintings organized to share specific thoughts and concerns. Museums have been trying various methods over time. We used to use the Wunderkunst idea of display including scenic objects similar to the Native Americans similar to a window in time. We now have curated exhibitions that display 19th Century metal work including opulent vessels displayed with slave shackles.
To fully grasp the idea of organization, we must look back to wunderkunst, wunderkumen, oddities, and cabinets of curiosities. SAPH does well in this area. Royalty loved to collect tokens to remind them of their travels or conquers and display them in their court for others to be impressed by. With science being new, kings, czars and collectors developed their own systems for display. Many small street side museums in Europe still organize in this way. America has it’s share of small private museums as well as oddities like Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
So, can the academic world live with various competing ideologies of organization? Maybe the answer lies in “heritage.” I think that there is a progression of density that is present in all museums. Everything rises to it’s own level. I believe that originally, the original culture dictates the method and content of a display. During time, others may try to adjust this system in the name of modernity, science, even religion. Each factor changes the focus of the display until it finally comes to rest at it’s final level. This happens because any museum can only generate so much income based on what it is they have to display. Here is the point where I get bold and go on a limb: I think that those museums that rise to the top do become tainted from the original design of an object or culture. The more enterprising the museum, the less the display relates to it’s original culture. I will provide two extreme examples for consideration: The Britany Spears Museum (regaling in all of it’s brown paneling and stained ceiling tiles) and the International Village at the Illinois’ State Fair. Consider what each of these places attempt to provide. Consider the budget of the pop star’s hometown museum with that of the Illinois state fair. Finally consider the truth that each provide about their intended subject. Comments are welcome.
Thanks for listening!