WHERE LIFE - AND TRAVEL - COME TOGETHER

WHERE LIFE - AND TRAVEL - COME TOGETHER

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Promises Made. Promises Broken.

Written by Karen.
It seems inevitable that the ability to negotiate peace between two distinct cultures now occupying the same space would fail.  There was never really an equal playing field.  And, as we saw while walking through the very well done reconstructed national historic site of Fort Laramie, Wyoming, the confluence of quickly changing - and nearly simultaneous - historical events of the Civil War and the overland emigration irrevocably changed the western landscape of the now United States.  

It would be a clash of world views: between a culture who valued land as something to be used and shared and a culture who valued land as something to be owned and controlled.  The differences in these belief systems helped lay the framework for the bloody battles that are now a part of American history.  

In 1849, the newly re-named Fort Laramie was purchased by the United States Army and for the next several decades served as a strategic military and supply post, as well as a vital communications link between the east and west coasts.  Fort Laramie played an important historical role as host to several treaty negotiations with the Northern Plains Indian Nations. One such negotiation resulted in the largest recorded gathering of Northern Plains Indians - over 10,000 - who showed up and stayed near Fort Laramie for the duration of the negotiations.  

But, as we walk around Fort Laramie, it becomes more and more apparent that despite the differing world views, it was the broken promises that sparked the inevitability of bloodshed. We heard and read historical accounts of partnerships, regard for the other, and the promise - and success - of the two cultures working together.  But, we also read about the historical failures of broken promises and the predictable tragic consequences.  

The pattern of promises made, promises broken, promises made, promises broken continued as the strategic importance of Fort Laramie diminished over time.  Eventually, Fort Laramie was abandoned and sold at public auction in 1874.  Most of the structures were dismantled for their scarce lumber, hard to come by in the western plains.  

Fort Laramie Monument.  This monument caught my eye and tickled my funny bone......I wonder who the few interested residents were?
A reconstruction of the army barracks

A reconstruction of the dining room


Reconstructed living quarters.  On the right side of this house was where the bachelor officers lived.  It was called "Old Bedlam" due to the level of noise that came from the quarters. 
Signatures of some of bachelor officers on their room wall in the "Old Bedlam"
"Old Bedlam"
Reconstructed store on the Fort Laramie premises
List of wares and associated prices
The original flagpole made of two trees combined together.  It looks like a mast on a ship.
The remains of the schoolhouse.  Wyoming's first public school opened at Fort Laramie in 1852 and provided education to all children, including those of civilians.  The marker nearby stated that finding competent instructors could be a challenge.  When civilian teachers couldn't be found, enlisted men were detailed to teach for .35 cents extra a day.  If those teachers tired of their assignment, they would get drunk in order to be removed.  One student, Guy V. Henry Jr., recalled that two of his teachers were captured deserters.  "Whatever they said was less spectacular than their appearance in heavy iron shackles."
The worn-down treads of interior stairs.  It reminded me of a Rorschach test image: a portrait of two people.

10 comments:

Jennifer Chase said...

Wow, interesting stuff! Isn't it amazing to walk around these areas from a time so long ago? Hope your guys are having a great time!

Anonymous said...

Another fine entry! Steve S

Observers of Life said...

Hi Jennifer!

It's pretty cool to walk through history! The trip is going well - loving the ability to travel slow and explore both the past and the present!

Karen.

Observers of Life said...

Hi Steve!

Thanks! You would love this area! :)

Karen.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen and Adam,
Thanks for making history come so alive! Again, I loved
reading your blog. Karen you definetly have a wonderful
gift. You should really publish your collections!
I'm so happy that I figured out how to post. I'd forgotten all that you showed when you were here.
Jack is getting better day by day.
Love you both,
Jack and Sabine

Anonymous said...

great real history,that we forget and lession that we have npot learned up to this day..dad

Observers of Life said...

Hi Jack and Sabine!

Thanks! :) We are both very happy to hear that Jack is doing better each day! Keep it up!

Love,
Karen.

Observers of Life said...

Hi Dad!

It's so true....if we don't learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it....

Love,
Karen.

Anonymous said...

Så interessant åfølge dere. Og Karen;du skriver så bra. !!
No ser eg fram til å se dere "live"
klem .Gunna

Observers of Life said...

Hei Gunna!

Tusen Takk! :) Vi ser frem til å se deg snart! Mye kjærlighet, mange klemmer....

Karen.