My reflections on civilization and the price we’ve paid for its benefits.


It hardly bears mentioning that there’s an appeal to wild, undiluted freedom. In our American culture, we remain fascinated with the idea (however often romanticized/over-simplified) of the American Indian. The “noble savage” of countless Western films and symbol of cultures we tragically destroyed, our idea of the Plains Indian has survived 100 years of forgetful history and even the modern attempt of many indigenous people to assert their real identity and cultural heritage (“Indian” represents a wide range of cultures and customs, after all, most of whom had very little in common with war-bonneted Cheyenne-style horseman many of us imagine). Even as I write these words, I can see on the wall of this coffee-house/brewpub a large, modern, strikingly bold painting of a Plains chief head in profile, massive feathered headdress on display. On our way here, we passed a dealership of the resurgent Indian brand of motorcycles. The settled…

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