Legendary Skies Enterprises featured in Sierra Club’s online magazine
One of the blessings we retain is the fact that we still reside in our ancient traditional homelands. Even though our tribal land base has been reduced to crumbs, we know who we are, and we know where we come from. Despite being absent from so many discussions about issues of land use and management in this state, we know that we are all living in Paiute Country, here and now. Our job is to remind people of that—to teach them where they are and to let them know that our people have been here, have not gone anywhere, and will always be here. Our roots run deep within these lands and waters. We are the original stewards here. The spirits know us well.
Mono Lake, Mt. Whitney, Bristlecone Pines, Yosemite National Park, and Death Valley are one-of-a-kind natural landscapes made by the Creator of all things. In this day and age, they are also international tourist destinations. These are places our people knew well for untold generations. We still seek these sites for solace and serenity when needed. In these modern times, we come from near and far to feel our homelands beneath our feet, and to experience the fragrances and sounds that the seasonal winds carry to our senses. Ancestral memory seems to come alive in these places. These lands are the root of our connection here. It is impossible to quantify, and hard to explain to outsiders. This is why our grandfathers could not fathom the concept of owning and selling the earth and waters. It does not mesh with our world view, our notion of living a good life.
As time has passed, our people have adapted to American society. In some cases, we’ve adapted amazingly well, and in other cases, not well at all. In the realms of health and of economics, we are struggling. We have minimal economic development. Housing and employment are great needs within our community. But, we have hope. Our language is returning to the tongues of our youngest, and our dances and songs are being shared more and more. Our spirits are waking up and telling us we have to stand strong. If we cannot take back what is rightfully ours, at least we can reclaim it in our way. We can rename our places and remember our old stories, and get back on our trails and continue onward. In the new tourist economy, we can lead the industry rather than watch from the outside. After all, the many adventurers who frequent the Sierras are climbing upon our ancestors. They are camping among our spirits. They are looking to the same sky we have gazed upon, where we have sent prayers to the grandfathers, time and time again.
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Written by K. Hohag