We landed in sunny Southern California during a cold snap. It’s barely 70 degrees, brrrr. There are Dr Seuss cactus flowers, tall skinny palm trees, and warnings about sharks near the shoreline. We ain’t in Kansas or Virginia anymore.
But before I get to the Getty Villa and our ride up the Pacific Coast highway to Malibu, I must tell you about my day at the Native American Heard Museum in Phoenix.
First of all, I have always loved their culture. Naming a child after the wind before a storm; an organic respect for Mother Earth; a matriarchal society in every way. But having a docent take me through our abysmal treatment of these innocent people left me feeling bereft.
First contact was in 1530, when the Spanish came to the New World. Indians were used as slaves, and continued in that role when the Mexican government took over their territory in 1820. There are still 19 pueblos on the New Mexican and Colorado border that have survived throughout this first genocide.
The United States government later vanquishes Mexico and ruled our indigenous people until 1886, when Geronimo surrendered. And even while this great Apache Chief was hiding, evading capture, he stopped his tribe for four days to allow for a young girl’s coming of age ceremony.
Then we shipped the remaining Apache warriors in cattle cars to reservations in the East. And I thought the Germans had come up with this ingenious idea for a railroad. I was wrong.
Hopi make their dolls out of cottonwood root.
Zuni make the most intricate, beautiful jewelry.
Seeing the Rocker and Ms Cait brought me back to this time, to this place. To watching sea lions play, and learning what to do if confronted by a coyote – pretty much the same thing you do if you meet a bear in VA. And we strolled among the gardens, the sculpture of ancient Rome, and the empty but still hauntingly beautiful pools because of the drought
And I wondered. If Native American and Roman culture can survive all these years, will my Bitmoji?