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September 23, 2006 [ More archived home pages here ]

Bicentennial Completion Of The Lewis And Clark Expedition

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Today's song is Shape Of Things by the Yardbirds, released in 1966.

Two hundred years ago today, the Lewis And Clark Expedition ended in success. It started on May 14, 1804. That journey opened up the minds of so many resulting in the opening up the Western lands of this continent.

Many Native Americans suffered in the decades that followed. If it had not been for several Native American Nations helping the explorers during the trip, the explorers would never have survived. In particular, without the help of Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark would have failed in their mission. Many Americans tend to forget all the good things Native Americans did when helping the immigrants that came here. It's our conception to think Americans were always right in what they did to Native American Nations in return, but it was rare that what happened was right.

What we can remember is that for a time those Americans in the Expedition and Native Americans lived together without destroying each other's culture. That mutual respect and compassion they shared is something I hope they felt proud about back then.

I've been to several places along the trail of that Expedition. It's a connection of sorts to see the natural forest and portions of the landscape that hasn't changed by the hand of modern man. That's how I felt when I was in those places. It was not quite the same as walking in the footsteps of those from the Expedition, but it's close as I could get.

We don't have the ability to right the wrongs of the past. History can help attempt to give us some lessons going forward. Part of my day today will be to say a collective prayer for those that worked and lived together on that Expedition two centuries ago regardless of which Nation, culture, or tribe they were a part of back then.

Time doesn't diminish their contributions to those that followed, including to a certain degree the impact they had on me.


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