The Lost History of Yellowstone

Yellowstone

There is a persistent myth that this timeless national park of the United States was not touched by humans but this piece is going to shed more light on the forgotten history of Yellowstone. After a total sum of 14 summers doing excavation in the mighty Yellowstone National Park, Doug MacDonald had come up with an easy principle. He summarized that wherever one decides to fix a tent, there are always artifacts. He stated this while holding an obsidian object dated to 3,000 years that he discovered alongside his teammates. 

A good number of the Native American tribes called the Yellowstone River the Elk River and by standing on a rise close to it, one can get an excellent view of the scenery. The ending of June comes with some light snowfall and one can see several bison grazing confidently on the other side of the river. 

The huge and persistent about this national park is that it was untouched by human beings. But the fact is that Native Americans were already hunters and gatherers in the area for at least 11,000 years. They were kicked out by the federal government following the establishment of the park. The authorities had to draft in soldiers to ensure that the Native Americans were kept out but the message to the public was that the Native American tribes were never on the site in the first place as they were scared of the geysers. 

Scientists like MacDonald have been able to come up with a very accurate historical rendering of the area. This they have been able to do by drawing on the previous works of archaeologists, archival records, and oral traditions as narrated by the Native American tribes. By weaving together everything, the scientists can come up with a detailed account of the past human settlements at Yellowstone, especially in the prehistoric era. The essence of the research work is to let the visitors in the modern era know that hunters and gatherers were a very significant part of the history of the park for thousands of years. 

The National Park Service had just started making remarkable efforts in the past thirty years to let everyone know the real truth concerning the history of the Native Americans and the prehistoric times of the Yellowstone area. But even at that, the myth of the untouched wilderness is still promoted as visitors can see in the brochure given at the entrance of the park. They are told that seeing the animals there is just like seeing the world before the coming of humans. Some consider this to be nothing but an active form of marketing and that is because human beings have been in Yellowstone from the time of the mastodons and mammoths. 

Some have also argued that the marketing techniques are nothing but rude slaps on the faces of the Native people. This is because they are silent on the deliberate dispossession of the area and the accompanying violence. These aspects of the history have been expunged and newcomers will not have any idea of the ancestors in the area. 

The first set of people who did the exploration of the massive geothermal Yellowstone plateau – the first to catch a glimpse of the fascinating Old Faithful and other amazing features beheld the Obsidian Cliff as a very important discovery and it became a major magnet. That was a time when there was massive and swift melting of huge glaciers that had taken over the landscape, making Yellowstone a particularly difficult place to visit. The winters then were longer and a lot harsher than what obtains now while the summers were very wet and soggy alongside the flooded valleys, fast-flowing rivers, and aggressive mosquitoes everywhere. This is a part of the history of Yellowstone that many have never heard of. 

Was it worth reading? Let us know.