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On my recent trip the the Steens Mountain area, I stayed at the Frenchglen Hotel. During one morning breakfast I was sitting across the table from Thomas Cox, author of The Other Oregon: People, Environment, and the History East of the Cascades. Tom is now gathering the oral histories of the Burns Paiutes for a forthcoming book devoted to the real story of an indigenous people. We had a wonderful discussion and recognized many shared experiences and perspectives.
One of those perspectives is changing the narrative concerning indigenous history and support of tribal rights. I am glad we are shifting our collective awareness about the origins of our country with the adoption of Indigenous People’s Day. This is a glimmer of light in an otherwise dark part of the illusion we call democracy, our limited version of serving all people equally. Maybe we should use another word for a more inclusive and compassionate government going forward: Bodhicittacracy?

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We are hiking at about 9,300 feet in elevation, witnessing the source of a creek that tumbles down the headwall of Big Indian Gorge, a glacially carved valley in Steens Mountain. Near one of...
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