Old Missoula

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Catlin, John B: Part 4 - The Missoulian, and A Prelude to An Indian War

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Indian Life - 1855

First, imagine their life if you can - dealing with the rapacious whites and belligerent intruders, all the while attending to the basics of survival in a hostile environment – sickness and diseases; starvation, injuries, predators and pests - the vagaries of nature – fire, floods, earthquakes, and the forever-unpredictable climate. Effective long range planning, as we know it, would have been unusual and almost impossible. Better to plan a more serious, critically basic problem - simply what can we eat today. Not tomorrow, but right now - today. Reacting quickly to the environment was essential. The immediate consequences of your actions had meaning only as they threatened you or your family’s lives. Brutality was a fact of life - as was the breathtaking beauty of an evening sky or the quiet of a morning dawn on the shore of a mountain lake. Bravery could save your life. Hesitancy could cause you to lose it. Fighting was lauded and victories were celebrated, just as they are now. A quest for guidance did not include a retreat to a first class resort with a cadre of professional counselors. It had to happen quickly or not at all. Alliances were important. Peace was a luxury. A life you’ll never have. Imagine it - if you can.





Last Updated on Monday, 25 July 2011 04:41