In response to Trinity Tanner’s “Zinke Did Not Meet with Tribal Members” letter of 8-9-2017, I feel compelled to respond to the statement made in the letter that “…the Moapa Band of Paiutes has an indisputable cultural heritage stake, certainly more than any Mormon settlers or their descendants…” regarding Gold Butte.
Since when is history a competition? There is no ‘winner take all’; there is no hierarchy of culture, there is no ranking of whose historic ties are the best, the most important, the only ones that matter.
I am not trying to create confrontation and I sincerely respect and appreciate your culture and history. But it just seems that there is room for all of us to celebrate and pass on our cultures to others.
Historically, people tend to live in the same areas; areas that provided water, shelter, and food. Because of those basic needs, often layers of history and culture are found in the same spot. The true American melting-pot vision is an acknowledgment and appreciation of ALL cultures without suppression of any.
The other issue that I need to set straight is the erroneous conclusion that all non-tribal history in this area is ‘Mormon’. Religion is a tiny subset of our local history and culture. Many people settled here who were not Mormon. Whether intentional or not, dividing our culture is wrong, as is claiming ownership through one culture at the expense of all others.
The uniqueness of a place that we all hold dear is the rich intricacies of many cultures woven throughout time and place. It is not yours or mine, it is ours.