Many my age remember the packed station wagon headed West to explore the National Parks. We were impressed by their beauty and the way the National Park Service tried to help us understand the wildlife and ecosystems. But, I now recognize the much of the our enjoyment has come at the expense of the Tribes who preceded most of us by 20,000 years or so by some estimates. Their understanding of the wildlife and ecosystems was a matter of survival and was passed down as part of spiritual and cultural heritage that saw people as co-inhabitants and actual partners in this miracle of life. Many of the Parks were founded on Tribal lands as a way to by pass previous treaties and deprive Tribes of settlement and hunting rights in the name of conservation. Some of this has been corrected but there is a long way to go. Returning the lands to be managed by those who know and love the land the most could go a long way in healing the soul of America, teaching us to a way of living with the land instead of just on it. The Department of the Interior has pioneered co-management agreement with 4 National Parks, one of which is Canyon de Chelly in our area. This is a small step in the right direction and am in the process of trying to find a way to help support this process expanding to other parks through this series of original paintings and prints.
The above digital painting is prototype design for the painting, prints and posters. We will see where this all goes... Thanks for support of my art and life mission of exploring the "withness" that should bind us all together in love and respect.