We’re in the Chihuahuan desert/Davis Mountains and everywhere you look you can imagine this as the home of the Native American population. Today we visited Fort Davis which was an outpost for our military’s operation against the Apache and Comanche Indian population in West Texas. American expansion into the Western frontier put us at odds with the Indian population that called this desert and these mountains home. We’re staying at the Indian lodge in the Davis Mountains State Park.
Sometimes it’s a bit hard to imagine ourselves as reaping the benefit of past military conquests, but it’s going on daily. That’s certainly not the kind of thing to bring up on vacation, is it? This is beautiful country and the sky is always blue, but I do feel guilty. Of course, admitting I feel guilty doesn’t do any good for anyone but me. So, even this admission of guilt is self-serving. This setting and this time to myself makes me wonder how you get past the idea that your country has made mistakes. I wonder how you get to the point where you can feel comfortable with your place in the world when you’re exploiting what doesn’t belong to you.
One of my favorite books on the Comanche empire is Empire of the Summer Moon. It’d be an interesting fantasy to try to sit down and imagine what Texas would’ve been like had the Comanche’s won the war for the West. Are there any books that do that? I’ve never done any alternate history reading, but I might read something on that. I think that’d be a worthwhile meditation for us to engage in. Maybe we could repair some of the past damage by trying to do the Comanche culture the honor of understanding. Maybe we could open our eyes to the cultural differences and meld some of the Comanche heritage into our culture.