Discussing the Complex Human History of Southeastern Utah - April 26

15 March 2018 Published in News

Come hear three local experts discuss the complex, fascinating history of Canyon Country


Thursday, April 26, 2018
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Small reception to follow

Speakers & Topics Include:

13,000 years of deep indigenous history in 20 minutes. Ready, set....
Jonathan Till, Curator of Collections, Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum

Human history in the Four Corners region spans at least 13000 years. Using the valley of Bluff, Utah as a geographic reference, Jonathan Till reflects on PaleoIndian mammoth hunters, Archaic period gatherers, early corn farmers, the first villagers, the leviathan monuments of Chaco, and finally the impressive Puebloan diaspora in the late 13th century.

Strangers’ Waltz: Mormon-Americans meet the Pueblo Anasazi.
Winson Hurst, local archeologist

People of different cultures can look at the same land and see very different landscapes. In the late AD 1200s, the ancestral Pueblo Indian people experienced a cultural revolution that resulted in complete depopulation of the San Juan River drainage, a region they had occupied for millennia and still bears the marks of their intensively ritualized relationship to the land. In 1880, Latter-day Saint pioneers of European heritage fought their way through the Colorado River wilderness and established the town of Bluff fifteen miles short of their planned Montezuma Creek destination. The Bluff location is marked and redolent with old Anasazi rituality, at the center of the Colorado Plateau and in the heart of the old San Juan Puebloan homeland. Although the two peoples had a lot in common, cultural differences clouded the Bluff people’s ability to understand, and often to even see, the ancient Puebloan ritual landscape that surrounded them. Fourteen decades later, Euroamerican cultural perceptions still interfere with our ability to see and understand the old Puebloan cultural landscape, even as we have begun to enshrine our own.

Land and Livestock—Cowboying in Canyon Country
Robert McPherson, retired Professor of History, Utah State University Eastern

There are few geographical regions in the West more difficult to run livestock than southeastern Utah. Mountain terrain in the summer and slick rock canyons in the winter challenged cowboys in caring for their herds while preparing them for market. A unique lifestyle grew from these trying conditions that provided stories galore and a close bond to the land. This presentation gives a glimpse of what life was like for the men who wrested a living from this often-stingy environment.


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