ON ASSIGNMENT: Cowboys & Indians
A few of my favorite images from recent New York Times assignments in the Rocky Mountains…from hydraulic fracking on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation near Glacier National Park to the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, WY.
The westerns edge of the Blackfeet Reservation is a place of great beauty, as the mountains of Glacier loom over the landscape…but it is also a vista slowly being tarnished by the introduction of hydraulic fracking for oil, today’s version of a gold rush. It is a complicated issue, pitting those who share a love of the land and Blackfeet traditions against those hoping to bring money and jobs to a place where unemployment is a shocking 70 percent.
The highlight of my trip to Blackfeet country was the opportunity to visit Chief Mountain, which borders Glacier and the reservation, just a few miles from the Canadian border. Chief Mountain is the most sacred place of all to the Blackfeet. In short, it is their church…where they go to practice their religion, to fast, to “sweat”, to give thanks, and to honor…much like their ancestors. Those people want nothing to do with fracking. They worry that fracking will ruin their sacred land.
The Blackfeet reservation is also a place of tremendous poverty, and one doesn’t have to drive far to see it. It is a place that seems far removed from the world most of us live in…isolated and unable to fix its problems. Many on the reservation believe fracking will solve many of their problems. Time will tell, but from my casual observations, I worry that won’t be the case.
For a better read, check out the story by NYT reporter Jack Healy.
Who knew? When I got the assignment for a review of the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, I had no idea what to expect. Wyoming is the least populated state in the US, and I couldn’t image anything more than a hokey tribute to Buffalo Bill. Boy was I wrong.
Calling the museum world class would be a stretch, but it’s definitely an educational joy to visit. Even got to catch a rodeo one evening.
Here’s what NYT critic Edward Rothstein had to say about it.