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. Rancher vs BLM: a 20-year standoff ends with tense roundup |
  2. Photos of a standoff | Armed militia members join a Nevada rancher to pro...
  3. After the standoff, what's next for Bundy and BLM? |
  4. The energy haves and have-nots | Will rooftop solar owners get off the grid — and...
  5. Why homes are lost to wildfire | This Forest Service expert says it's as much a soc...
  1. Why homes are lost to wildfire | This Forest Service expert says it's as much a soc...
  2. Photos of a standoff | Armed militia members join a Nevada rancher to pro...
  3. The energy haves and have-nots | Will rooftop solar owners get off the grid — and...
  4. Will the Colorado River reach the Gulf of California once more? | Photographs of last month's historic water pulses....
  5. Locals resist a Bakkenization of the Beartooths | South-central Montanans oppose new drilling, forew...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
More from Culture & Communities
Visiting the frosties of the Lost Sierra The wonders of the classic roadside stands that still dish out soft-serve ice cream.
International Car Forest of the Last Church For a strange trip, check out Nevada’s otherworldly Stonehenge of wildly painted abandoned vehicles.
Adventure travel vs. conservation A conversation with outdoor entrepreneur Bill Bryan.
All Culture & Communities
 
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone