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There’s a stretch of mountain on the lower front side of Taos Ski Valley Inc. that now gives a nod to the Free Taos movement, which was carried forward by two friends who passed away within a day of each other last year.
This summer was a time of reckoning about race in every sector of American life, and many of us are scrambling to respond in appropriate ways - including the environmental movement I'm a part of.
We would like to forget, but the environmental movement has racist roots. One of the founders of the National Park Service was Madison Grant, whose eugenicist views inspired Hitler, and the conservation heroes John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt both routinely disparaged Native Americans.
"I was sitting in a prison, looking at the civil rights and the anti-war movement passing us by. I wanted to get out so bad to be a part of this movement. It was a new feeling out there, of a different kind of patriotism. Patriotism to human rights, to life instead of death. I wanted to be part of it. Just going to the police department en masse, there was like 200 of us. Just two weeks before that, we were scared to go by ourselves. We found strength in 200 of us, all Indian people, who had been beaten, mugged, arrested. Now here we were, we were going back to that same police department that arrested us and we were demanding action. It felt good to finally sense that there was power in unity, power in numbers." - Dennis Banks, American Indian Movement co-founder