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How to stimulate your own powers of foresight. Consider the following thought provokers. Ask yourself, in these categories what are the brand new trends and forces? Which are the ones growing in importance? Which current forces are loosing their steam? Which have peaked or are reversing themselves? Which are the "wildcards" about to disrupt us in the future? POLITICAL AND TECHNICAL thought for food: Electronics, Materials, Energy, Fossil, Nuclear, Alternative, Other, Manufacturing (techniques), Agriculture, Machinery and Equipment, Distribution, Transportation (Urban, Mass, Personal, Surface, Sea, Subsurface, Space), Communication (Printed, Spoken, Interactive, Media), Computers (Information, Knowledge, Storage & Retrieval, Design, Network Resources), Post-Cold War, Third World, Conflict (Local, Regional, Global), Arms Limitation, Undeclared Wars, Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Governments (More/Less Power and Larger or Smaller Scale), Taxes, Isms: Nationalism, Regionalism, Protectionism, Populism, Cartels, Multinational Corporations, Balance of Trade, Third Party Payments, Regulations (OSHA, etc.) Environmental Impact, U.S. Prestige Abroad. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Food for thought: Labor Movements, Unemployment / Employment Cycles, Recession, Employment Patterns, Work Hours / Schedules, Fringe Benefits, Management Approaches, Accounting Policies, Productivity, Energy Costs, Balance of Payments, Inflation, Taxes, Rates of Real Growth, Distribution of Wealth, Capital Availability and Costs, Reliability of Forecasts, Raw Materials, Availability and Costs, Global versus National Economy, Market versus Planned Economies, Generations: Y, X, Boomers, Elderly, Urban vs. Rural Lifestyles, Affluent vs. Poor, Neighborhoods and Communities, Planned or Organic Growth. Got Knowledge?

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The Journal of 2020 Foresight
Tuesday, December 07, 2004  

Presidential Politics and Shifting Perspectives in the Rockies and Sierra Nevadas

Chapter Three: The Outpost

By Steve Howard, CKO
The Knowledge Labs

Table of Contents
Chapter One: Basecamp
Chapter Two: The Ridge
Chapter Three: The Outpost
Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

“One of the goals of the expedition was to inform the Indians encountered that they were now under the domain of the United States - the children of the great white father (Thomas Jefferson at the time) in Washington. It would be years before U.S. hegemony would be extended over the West and these tribes, but Lewis and Clark marked the beginning of that eventual fate, and it can rightly be said that the expedition in many ways marked the beginning of the end for them.“

James J. Holmberg

SONORA PASS, CALIFORNIA. We climb up and over the second highest crossing of the range, over 9600 feet, on the oldest of the “Trans-Sierra emigrant trails to California. A Sonora Mono Toll Road plaque describes the “melancholy evidence of last season's disasters… on all sides lay old axle trees and wheels …” reported by “Grizzly” Adams in 1854 when he took wagons for the first time over the trail first traversed by “the Bartleson-Bidwell party with mules, horse and oxen” thirteen years earlier in 1841, and nearly three decades after the discovery of the South Pass.

Journal of 2020 Foresight: Around the time the pass opened to emigrants carting all their belongings through the pass in wagons, the unseemly side of Presidential politics reared its ugly head. His campaign exaggerated some of John Fremont's exploits. While he deserved a lot of the credit for opening up the West for American settlement, he went too far when he claimed credit for discovering a way through the imposing Rocky Mountains.

Pathfinder: Credit for discovering the South Pass in 1812 belonged to Wilson Hunt, instead. Fremont, three decades later on a mission to map California with Kit Carson filled in some of the missing topological dots, but Hunt clearly beat him to its discovery.

Eagle: Don't forget that Americans weren't to first “outsiders” to roam throughout the region.

Explorer: Right, in fact the early American hunter heroes expanded the western boundary from the Ohio River valley to the Missouri Territory in much the same way as the early Europeans had from 1650 to 1800.

Pathfinder: For roughly 150 years --leading up to Boone's departure from Kentucky to St. Charles, the American backwoodsmen pushed into the Louisiana and Indian Territories - already explored by French and Spanish.

Explorer: Check these out. From 1513 to 1776, this map shows how the Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, English, and French staked claims to what today is the United States.

Eagle: And, from the opposite perspective, these two maps show first, where tribes east of the Mississippi River lived before and during American colonization.

J2020F: I can see where my sister and I collected arrowheads and where I found my tomahawk head - scrolling down the grey and violet separated border dividing Iowa and Missouri from Illinois, to the Missouri River - right where the border crosses the river and you can read “Gasconade R” right below the “T” in “Tamaroa”.

Eagle: And second, a less sophisticated map of where native American tribes populated regions of the entire country before Manifest Destiny gained momentum in the 1860s.

J2020F: Looking at these maps, I struck by how we Americans just pushed the native people off their land - as if the territories were empty. And, how their names remained as landmarks - or even as towns - while the humans were forced onto worthless reservations.

Explorer: Unfortunately, yes. The first generation exploits from 1800 to 1820 focused on routes connecting the rivers to trapping areas and eventually opening and documenting overland trails fueled by trade and hunting game - living within nature, ever vigilant to the weather, the wild animals, and the original people.

Pathfinder: Historically, we get an inkling of the trouble brewing -- a dramatic shift, really-- from the open arms hospitality offered to Lewis & Clark in 1804 and 1805 to the Missouri Trading Company's very real concerns for the welfare of one of its partners - Andrew Henry in 1811, especially after John Coulter's naked, hair-raising story circulated among his peers.

J2020F: Two journals document the competition between the two fur companies as they ascended the Missouri River only a few weeks or months apart in 1811 - Brackenridge's and Irving's book.

Eagle: What strikes me as I read both accounts is how the same adventure unfolds, but it's seen from their two different perspectives.

Explorer: I agree. Brackenridge adds cultural and social observations about the tribes his expedition encounters, while only touching lightly on the feud between members of Hunt's Astoria expedition and Manuel Lisa from the Missouri Fur Company.

J2020F: By all the accounts that we've seen Brackenridge delivers Manuel Lisa's letter inquiring about Henry's whereabouts, and a proposal to join forces to protect both expeditions against the growing Sioux threat.

Explorer: In fact, Hunt's party encounters a Sioux war party shortly after leaving a Ponca village, before Lisa and Hunt's meeting deteriorates into a threat of a duel, which is averted when Brackenridge negotiates a settlement of sorts.

Pathfinder: As they venture up river to Henry's Fork we see both companies form a tentative, but vitally necessary alliance for protection.They hunt buffalo with specially trained horses, and strike a bargain. Lisa buys Hunt's boats for some horses.

Explorer: Brackenridge splits back to St. Louis while Lisa waits for Mr. Henry at the agreed upon rendezvous. Hunt's expedition presses on without enough horses towards the Black Hills, the Rockies and almost certain death.

J2020F: But as Irving writes, Hunt manages to make the Black Hills and Big Horn country and journeys on through the Wind River Mountains to the Columbia River.

Eagle: I like the sound of that - the Wind River and a view of the same South Pass that Mark Twain stage-coached through.

J2020F: Very funny. But, the next passage wasn't so funny. Hunt comes across Henry's abandoned Outpost. “The weary travelers gladly took possession of the deserted log huts,” Irving writes, as Henry had indeed deserted it in the spring and had “fallen in with Mr. Lisa, at the Arickara village on the Missouri, some time after the separation of Mr. Hunt and his party.”

Pathfinder: Eventually Hunt arrives in Astoria, having traveled some 3500 miles from St. Louis, and sets up a Basecamp.

Explorer: And, begins to explore the surrounding region.

Eagle: Near the end of Irving's book, we read how John Astor's business model - the trading post, permanently fixed in one location (location, location, location) worked for a time, but its success was cut prematurely short by the War of 1812.

Pathfinder: Bad luck for the Astorians. Good luck for the future emigrants and stagecoach humorists.

Explorer: Excuse me?

Pathfinder: Well, on his return trip to St. Louis, Hunt's party took a detour to avoid a confrontation with the angry tribes in the region. The result? The discovery of the South Pass that made it possible for wagon trains of settlers to follow new overland trails through the Rockies to Nevada, California and Oregon.

J2020F: But, that was only half of the equation. Next they had to make it through the Sierra Nevadas - something that proved to be impractical until Jeb and Joe wondered through the area, roughly a decade later.

Got Knowledge?
Copyright ©2002 - 2006 Aarnaes Howard Associates. All rights reserved worldwide.

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