Most of us who are sons and daughters of the pioneers who helped to settle the Southwest remain proud of the traditions they established.
Often when we are discussing the pioneers, people have the notion we are talking about the settlers who came into our area after the Homestead Act permitted ownership of small portions of land.
Actually, many of us refer to the Native Americans who hunted in this land first and who settled along the rivers to establish their living quarters. We are also referring to the Spanish people who landed in our Southwest to begin another form of settlements and who started many of our lasting traditions, particularly those having to do with a different form of government and a different culture. Much was being accomplished in the Southwest long before much was happening on the East Coast.
After the War for Independence and the establishment of the early colonies, another culture and governing body came into being, giving us a remarkable Constitution and the beginnings of a democratic government. After numerous struggles, upheavals, and wars, we began to settle into becoming The United States of America and to combine the many traditions of all types of settlers and cultures, helping us to become a part of all we see.
We may not always agree with each other, but we have that privilege as well as the privilege to speak freely. We sometimes need to be reminded that our overall society is a polite one that must respect each other if we are to get along. We should not try to take advantage of those freedoms for which so many lives have been lost to protect.
If we but think, we know we were taught at home, in school, and in church to respect each other and to speak freely only if we weren’t violating someone else’s rights. We tend to forget the manners we were taught all too often and speak without thinking. When we do so, we are usually hurting ourselves more than we are hurting others, but we know as humans we naturally tend to err at times. So long as we are aware of the times during which we are erring, we can usually regain a modicum of respect and composure by admitting our shortcomings.
Some of us also tend to feel just a little more important than we really are by putting ourselves above others and thinking we have the power to run their lives and tend to their business. At such times, we need to be reined in and have a few facts explained to us.
We need to be reminded of our heritage and of the fact that we are among our equals wherever we go in our country. We don’t need to think we are more equal than others or that we should try to change the traditions from which our country has evolved.
This woman from lma has to go to the canyons on occasion to be reminded to the real values I was taught and of the wonderful heritage of which I so often write. I even have to rein myself in because I tend to get a little excited when things are failing apart around me.
I was most definitely taught to avoid violence, but there are times when I’d really like to take another person or two with me to those pastures above the canyons so we could have a quiet talk while I added one or two bruises to their shins.
Yes, I’ll try to retain control and remember our heritage, and I would certainly like to invite anyone else who is interested to do likewise.