Many people from around the world have either heard of Yellowstone or have even been lucky enough to visit this spectacular place. It is well known that this place has a lot of history attached to it; namely the first National Park in the USA and the site of magnificent geysers that have been forming for millions of years.
Each year the Yellowstone National Park attracts over 3 million people to its ground, but little of these visitors actually know the history of the Yellowstone area before it became a world famous landmark.
Long before tourism and white settlers came to Yellowstone, Native American Tribes were living and hunting within the area for more than 11,000 years. Some historic account indicate that the Native Americans were afraid of the area because of the natural geological occurrences, such as the geysers.
However, a number of Native American Tribes, the Nez Perce, Shoshoni, Bennock, Blackfeet and Crow to name a few, record through their verbal ancestral history that the Yellowstone area was frequently used. It was also recorded that the Native American were not afraid of the geysers, but used them to cook foods and soften bighorn ship horns so they could use them to make bows.
All these Tribes had well-worn transportation routes they would frequently follow to easily move camp throughout the area. For example, the Bennock people frequently used the northern trail running across the top of the Yellowstone area, today known as the Bennock Trail. Additionally, it was also known that many other Tribes would use the trails that would be around many of the geyser basins, again dispelling the myth that native American were afraid of the area. Tribes would spend thousands of years hunting for food, bringing up their families, practicing their traditions; all within the safety of their home lands, of what we now call Yellowstone National Park.
However, this was not to last, for as little as 200 years ago the first Europeans hit the Yellowstone and within a generation the area was declared a National Park. This meant a displacement of thousands of people from their land and a disconnection from their tribal roots and cultural heritage which had close ties to the Yellowstone. Many Native American Nations were moved onto Reservations and forbidden to hunt, live or practice traditional ways within the Park.
Some may argue that it was for the good of a nation, and the preservation of the Yellowstone National Park had provided people worldwide with a place they can see nature in all its light. However, the destruction of many cultural everyday life practices that were unique to Yellowstone have been lost over time, and number Native American Nations that once called this place home were forced to reinvent themselves.
In addition, what may seem to be a Native American issue, has greater, more far reaching significance in our modern day world. For in 2010, a number of oil and gas companies were given permission to drill on National Park lands. Yellowstone is in their sights (I am told that it has already started), and one can only imagine the destruction of pristine water ways and the fall of the delicate balance of wildlife and survival.
Pilamayan (thank you) and have a great day