You are here: home   Issues   The War Next Door   Meditation in stone
Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Letters

Meditation in stone

Document Actions

Rock art is a unique cultural legacy in our region that deserves attention as we lose sites rapidly to vandalism. Unfortunately, the article "Ancient Conversations" misses this very important point (HCN, 2/01/10). It also left me with many questions about the seemingly Eurocentric interpretations of symbols.

Meaningful collaboration with Native Americans is past due, and I was excited to see this aspect of Carol Patterson's work. The Ute tree mythology reference was fascinating, thanks to Clifford Duncan's expertise. But I have many questions about Dr. Patterson's interpretation of symbols, which feels extremely Eurocentric, i.e., reading rock art like the pictures are words in a sentence giving directions. Why would people go to the trouble of pecking directions in stone? Many are pecked very deeply with much effort, and then re-pecked. If one were to give directions, why not write on the ground, or on hides, or use the sign language referred to? This interpretation feels very limiting -- it seems like these symbols are more complex than the simple directional interpretations given in this article.

The rock art I have seen feels like a response. All visual art can be viewed as a response, like music. Generally, it's not an instruction, or direction, but rather a response to the sacred, the unseen, the elusive fiber of spirit that keeps us grounded in this temporary mortal existence.

Laurie White
Loveland, Colorado

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. Idaho’s sewer system is the Snake River | As Big Ag flourishes, this massive waterway suffer...
  2. Closure of federal sheep facility would be a victory for grizzlies |
  3. The Latest: Wild Mexican wolf pups born in Sierra Madre | The species still struggles on both sides of the b...
  4. Recreation-related death toll soars this summer |
  5. Summer swimming in a Washington lake | A writer takes the plunge in frigid water.
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. Idaho’s sewer system is the Snake River | As Big Ag flourishes, this massive waterway suffer...
  3. A graceful gazelle becomes a pest | Inrroducing an African gazelle called the oryx for...
  4. Illegal immigrants take jobs from Americans | A native-born New Mexico Hispanic points out that ...
  5. Plains sense | Ten years after Frank and Deborah Popper first pro...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
More from Culture & Communities
Metamorphosis in Winnemucca Review of ‘The Days of Anna Madrigal’ by Armistead Maupin
An award, and a whole lot of visitors Cally Carswell wins a Society of Environmental Journalists award; visitors come to call.
George Harrison’s tree is killed by beetles, and more Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.
All Culture & Communities
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone