Posted by graywacke on April 27, 2010
First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (now pretty much an every-other-day blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.
Dan – Gee, just as I’m about to at least catch a whiff of 150, along comes a long-time WB OSer . . . AZ; 76/70; 5/10; 11; 151.3.
Here’s my landing map, showing proximity to Parker and the Colorado R (and California):
Here’s a broader view.
Obviously, I landed in the Colorado R watershed (151st hit). Here’s my GE shot, showing a desert landscape:
Here’s a broader GE shot, showing the irrigated Colorado River valley:
Here’s a Street View shot. My landing is about three miles away:
So, what about Parker? Here’s a 1942 shot of the town:
Founded in 1908, the town was named for Ely Parker, the first Native American commissioner of Indian Affairs for the U.S. government.
From Wiki, about Ely:
Ely Parker was quite an interesting fellow. From a PBS website:
Ely Parker was born in 1828, during a jouncing, 30-mile buckboard ride as his parents sped home to their Tonawanda Reservation in western New York. Elizabeth and William Parker called their new son Ha-sa-no-an-da, translated from Seneca as “Leading Name.” They would raise him within in the traditions of the once-dominant League of the Haudenosaunee (also known as Six Nations or Iroquois).
But the 18th and 19th centuries brought rapid change that would define Ha-sa-no-an-da’s early years. As white settlements pressed in on Tonawanda, Elizabeth Parker sent her son to a Baptist Mission school where he could get a mainstream education. There, Ha-sa-no-an-da gained a new identity; he adopted the first name of the school’s minister and began calling himself Ely Parker.
Back to Wiki:
Parker was commissioned a lieutenant colonel during the American Civil War, where he served as adjutant to General Ulysses S. Grant. Later in his career Parker rose to the rank of Brevet Brigadier General. President Grant appointed him Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the first Native American to hold that post.
Parker was present when Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse in April 1865. He helped draft the surrender documents, which are in his handwriting. At the time of surrender, General Lee mistook Parker for a black man, but apologized saying, “I am glad to see one real American here.” Parker was said to respond, “We are all Americans, sir.”
Back to the PBS website:
As his political power increased in the nation’s capital, so did criticism from the Tonawanda Senecas. They accused him of neglect, and his 1867 marriage to a white socialite named Minnie Orton Sackett did little to bridge a widening cultural chasm. Ely Parker was in metamorphosis; he was rejecting Haudenosaunee tradition and aligning himself with white America.
Parker’s attitudinal shift became part of national policy in 1869 when President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him Commissioner of Indian Affairs. He was the first American Indian to hold that office, and became the administrator of the Peace Policy that was a hallmark of Grant’s administration. Parker’s support for military force was controversial, but within a year the Indian Wars were reduced to sporadic outbreaks.
Despite early successes, Parker’s term as Commissioner was brief, his fall from grace orchestrated by a political foe who accused him of misconduct. An 1871 Congressional committee cleared him of all charges of fraud, but the Commissioner was stripped of his powers. In August 1871 Parker resigned his post, leaving politics and Washington forever.
Ely and Minnie moved on to Fairfield, Connecticut, where they started a new life in a story-book setting. Parker became a businessman, with daily commutes to New York City where he made fortunes on Wall Street. But within five years, the fortunes he made were lost. 1876 found the former Indian Commissioner at loose ends, with few doors of opportunity left open.
With his Wall Street fortunes lost, Ely Parker simply moved on. He tried to reenter engineering, but found his skills were out of date. “The profession ran away from me,” Parker wrote. “Young men were wanted for their activity, and the old men were discarded.”
In 1876, Parker finally found a steady job as a desk clerk with the New York City Police Department. It was his final career, one with little responsibility and very modest pay. When Minnie Parker gave birth to the couple’s only child, Maud, in 1878, Ely became a devoted father.
Then another woman entered Parker’s life: a poet and student of the Haudenosaunee named Harriet Maxwell Converse. Their friendship revived Parker’s interest in his traditional culture. He began to question his life’s path, and to assess the price of walking in two worlds. Although he regretted many of his actions, his spirit was rekindled.
Parker spent his last years on earth battling kidney disease, diabetes, and a serious of strokes. In 1895, he went to bed early and died in his sleep.
In 1897 his body was re-interred in Seneca homelands in western New York, next to the grave of the Seneca orator Red Jacket.
Moving right along . . . although not mentioned above, I landed in the watershed of the Bouse Wash, which is named after the town of Bouse. Near Bouse is an interesting Indian artifact, the Bouse Intaglio.
Here’s a picture of the intaglio and the photographer’s caption below (from El Kite’s photostream on Flickr). Note that the photographer took this photo using a kite:
Ancient geoglyph known as the Bouse Fisherman, in the desert north/east of Quartzite, Arizona, USA. The fisherman figure is inverted, that’s just how it was shot. The figure appears to be standing in water, spearing fish, under the sun. Nobody’s really sure who made this or why, but it’s assumed to be about 1,000 years old. It was “discovered” – along with several other larger geoglyphs on the California side – 80 years ago by a pilot flying over the Colorado River. See full-size Doberman Pinscher in upper-left of the shot for scale. I used a kite to fly the camera.
Here’s another picture of the intaglio:
And this, an artist’s rendition of the same:
I was curious about the word “intaglio.” From Wiki:
Intaglio refers to a number of techniques in art, applied to many different materials, which all have in common that the image is created by cutting, carving or engraving into a flat surface, as opposed to a relief, where the image is what is left when the background has been cut away to leave the image above the background.
Here’s quite the shot of a lightening bolt (with the photographer’s caption below):
A very early morning strong thunderstorm that hit Parker, AZ around 2:30am in the morning Aug 30th 2008. Incredible lightning over the Colorado River. Took these photos from my dock on the Parker Strip in Parker, AZ Uploaded by: riverratmike
Here’s a picture of the Colorado R near Parker:
And this, from quite near my landing spot, this picture by Mandy Cardone:
I’ll close with this lovely shot by Eric Sande of a sunset over the Colorado at Parker:
That’ll do it. . .
© 2010 A Landing A Day