A New West

 

After reading Alex Carr Johnson’s piece (“Now that you’ve gone West, young man,” September 2020), I wonder, “What now?” What does it mean — to Johnson and similarly enlightened people — to understand that you live on land unfairly taken and that you are not entitled to? To me, a Native person, I worry that this translates not into meaningful action to support reconciliation efforts but to only that initial realization.

What we need, in my opinion, are non-Native voices to firmly support tribal rights to help create a fair and just West. Why do tribes with senior rights not have decreed water rights when everyone else on the river does? Why are tribes left out of land-management decisions that affect sacred places and sacred resources? Let’s use this moment of insight that Johnson offers to demand justice for tribal people and their homelands.

This, then, leads to a statement Betsy Marston makes in her interview that I take issue with, that the recent coverage of Native issues is taking away from the public-lands coverage and is turning away some HCN readers. My response: If they don’t like it, let them leave. A New West is the West we need and what we need to see represented in this magazine.

Daniel Cordalis
Arcata, California (but really Durango, Colorado)

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