In with Indigenous Peoples Day

OCTOBER 4-8 … There’s been quite a movement around the country to replace Columbus Day. As Euro- Americans we identify with the discovery of the new world. But for indigenous peoples of the Americas it was the start of one of the world’s largest genocides … That’s a word we hear used for the Jewish slaughter and maybe a few other catastrophic mass murders in history – Rwanda, Serbia, Armenia. But it’s one we rarely own up to, in this country … Nevertheless, genocide is the appropriate term for how New World settlers often behaved towards indigenous people in the era of manifest destiny. Massacres were common. Need proof? Try reading Benjamin Madley’s An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 (Yale University Press, 2016), or David E. Stannard’s American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World (Oxford University Press, 1996), or Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the World (Beacon Press, 2014) … As Indigenous legal scholar Walter Echo-Hawk said at a historical conference in Boulder several years ago, “America will never be at peace until it makes reconciliation with native peoples in this country” … We in San Miguel County have been wrestling with that concept for the last 20 years, ever since we changed the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples day. I mean, even aside from what happened after he arrived, Columbus was not an heroic figure. Read this historical account if you’re not already acquainted with his many sins … christopher-columbus-murderer-tyrant-scoundrel … So, for the past three years, on the Indigenous Peoples Day weekend, San Miguel County has been holding a group of talks and presentations to educate people on the real history of our country, to help us get to know our indigenous neighbors, and to heal the wounds of the past … This year former Ute Indian Tribal Chair Roland McCook of Montrose will speak on current issues in Indian country. Curandera and poet Eutimia Cruz Montoya of Denver will hold a healing workshop to try and help us work through our histories. She will also do a reading of her wild poetry Sunday evening. Archaeologist Glade Hadden will speak of Delta County’s Eagle Rockshelter and the 130 centuries of near continuous indigenous habitation of the Western Slope. Regina Lopez- Whiteskunk will hold two roundtable discussions to answer any and all questions about reservation life. Telluride local Joe Pacal will talk about his 18 years working on the Navajo reservation, and New York City urban Indigenous leader Rick Chavolla will talk about his dream of an all-Nation Indigenous Cultural Center … For more info, visit the Facebook community page Indigenous Peoples Day– San Miguel County, or the Indigenous Peoples icon at

SALZMAN AWARD … For the last 10 years, the Telluride Institute has been offering a Salzman Award for the person who has contributed most significantly to the Telluride Mushroom Festival. It’s one of the oldest and largest mycological gatherings in the country — where all aspects of mushrooms are discussed, from toxins and medicines to entheogens and forest remediation … The first award went to Dr. Emanuel Salzman and his wife Joanne of Denver, who founded what began as a medical conference in Aspen and ended up a full-blown fest in “The Town Without A Bellyache” … This year the Salzman Award Committee unanimously chose to give the honor to Giuliana Furci, founder of Fundacion Fungi in Santiago, Chile, and a regular lecturer in Telluride for the last three years … One of the reasons cited for sending the award out of the country is the gradual internationalization of the Telluride event – drawing participants from Chile, Brazil, Canada and Norway … The award itself consists of a wooden sculpture of a mushroom donated annually by Curt Haney of San Francisco and a metal stand engraved with the award name and year by Lisa Issenberg of Kiitellä in Ridgway.

LINCOFF AWARD … With the passing of festival mycologist and founder Gary Lincoff, the Telluride Institute is making its first Lincoff Award for significant contributions to American mycology … Not surprisingly, Paul Stamets was named the winner. Few researchers have made such a big impact on the study of mushrooms and the promotion of mycology. Paul long ago recognized mycology as an extremely important biological field, as well as a research opportunity for developing new myco-tools for healing the planet. And those of us who’ve been attending the festival for the last 30-plus years have been lucky enough to be witnesses to the growth in knowledge and insight that Paul has brought to his work.

NUCHE NEWS … The Southern Ute Drum of Ignacio did a beautiful obituary for Sage Remington. We met at Western State Colorado University’s Headwaters conference years ago. I was impressed. He was an activist and a leader. Participated in American Indian protest actions at Alcatraz, Ft. Lawton, Pyramid Lake, Pitt River and Frank’s Landing … As the Drum eulogized, “He marched with Cesar Chavez during the migrant worker protests and with Harvey Milk for gay rights. Throughout his life he served on local and national boards bringing the unique Ute perspective to those tables of strategic planning … His many friends throughout the activist universe mourn the passing of a warrior of the Indians of All Tribes.” As do many of us non-Indians – a warrior for us all.

SENIOR BENNIES … I just finished working off my county property taxes by doing landscaping work — cutting, weeding, mulching – down at the Downvalley Park. I was taking advantage of San Miguel County Senior Workoff Program, one of those programs I helped set up when I was commissioner. It’s a great deal for us retirees on fixed incomes who don’t mind doing a little physical labor for minimum wage … And it’s a double delight. Because, in Colorado, seniors who’ve lived in their homes for 10 years or more (in other words, not investment speculators) get half off their property taxes from the get-go. In some lean years (thanks to the combined effect of the Gallagher Act and TABOR, the mis-named Taxpayer Bill of Rights) the state legislature has rescinded that senior residency benefit. But currently under Hickenlooper it’s still in effect … If you don’t know about either program, try asking your county assessor. Not all counties offer the Senior Work-off Program. I’m sure glad San Miguel County does.

N A T H A N CARSON … This brilliant but troubled young man — who wrote incisive poetry among many other creative endeavors — took his own life recently. Wendy Videlock of Palisade has a lovely eulogy on her website, https://nutshellwendy. blogspot. com … Nathan was a mercurial soul. Those of us who met him miss him.

Art Goodtimes writes from San Miguel County, Colo.


It’s strange,
The way that people pick puppies.

In a cardboard box
Off to the side of the road
On a whim
Instantly forming a bond that lasts
I have tried to do the same

With people.

Nathan Carson
1979-2018 [CE]

From Art Goodtimes.