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I have read with interest the many letters and felt by proxy the animosity between the parties involved regarding the housing problems faced by those living in Meeker.
My wife and I lived in Meeker for several years and for the most part we love the town, Meeker is a beautiful place to live and raise a family. We rented three homes from three different landlords; I thought the first two definitely qualified as slumlords five or six years ago. I can only imagine how they qualify now.
When we finally decided to move to Rangely we found a very pleasant surprise waiting for us — the people. They are so much more friendly, open and accepting than those we had just left. Imagine our surprise in finding such a gold mine in a grungy, dusty little town with one stoplight.
When my co-workers found that I had moved from Meeker to Rangely they asked “why on earth would you move from such a beautiful place to such a dumpy little town?” My response is Meeker is like an outhouse, “you can paint it up and and plant bushes and flower and trees to make it look pretty, but when you open the doors and look inside it’s still an outhouse.” Don’t believe me? Look around. Especially at yourselves and the way you deal with one another. I know I will be flamed for this letter. But I still have friends in Meeker who know how I feel and still respect me for my opinions but I also know that your gossiping old hens will tear me up for stating fact. So here’s to ya. Enjoy yourselves.
Ms. Pollard misses the point. Smoking River Powwow is not a substitute for mandated Tribal consultation; it is a supplement to this required consultation, to the lives of citizens of the White River Valley, and hopefully, to the lives of citizens of Ft. Duchesne. It is an invitation to what we hope will be an ongoing and growing dialogue between our two communities; an invitation to a difficult and rewarding dance between our cultures.
The powwow may continue, or it may evolve into something else entirely. We envision a youth camp that returns Ute youth and elders to the Flat Tops Wilderness. We hope that local citizens will become comfortable enough to visit Ft. Duchesne for the spring Bear Dance. We want the interaction to continue all year long.
It is true that I have spent a considerable amount of time at the Forest Service working to help organize the powwow. It is also true that if I weren’t working on the powwow, I would be waiting for the phone to ring. Someone has to cover the front desk so that the rest of the Forest Service staff can tend to protecting the lands and laws they’ve been given the privilege of overseeing: that someone would be me.
So, I at the “clerical” level, have been handed a gift in being able to work to create Smoking River Powwow. I do not have a doctorate, and my degree in international relations is two decades old, but I believe if the Ute Nation has survived its exile, it will certainly survive me.
Please, let this letter be an olive branch and an invitation to all with an interest to join us in the dance and in the vision that Smoking River Powwow is meant to be.
Smoking River Powwow
White River National Forest