I mentioned, in a speaking engagement a week ago, that new history consistently replaces older history. Things that happened in the past few years seem bigger than they are and replace significant events from the past. That is one of the reasons that new history affords more words to social history, and less to major events from the past.
|On the grounds of Fort Laramie|
Once one of the most famous forts in the west,
now, but a few words in a textbook at best
History textbooks are usually the biggest, heaviest book a high school student will see, but history continues to get newer. Not many years ago it took an entire year for a history class to go from early colonization to the Civil War, that same class today will go to WW1 or WW2 in that same year. The second year of American history might today start in the 1950s and the Korean War. History is ever-evolving tossing out what becomes less important for the newer more relevant events of the modern world.
|New dig site at Sunrise|
Even in a small state like Wyoming history can be forgotten. One case in point would be the ancient Sheep Eaters tribe. We know very little about them but even what we know is not passed on in many books. I hear some lamenting about Europe, and how their history is so much older than ours. What? It may be different, but older, I would beg to differ. Aboriginal or prehistoric quarries are found in many places around where I live in southeast Wyoming, the Spanish Diggings, Hell Gap, and Sunrise are among the best known.
|Sitting on a pile of worked rock at the Spanish Diggings|
All of it worked with stone tools
Seems hard as I grow older seeing social media and the internet telling us what is important and what is not. A wise man, my dad, once told me that the older we get, the less willing we are to accept what is new. History continues to change, and I only wish we could save more from the past for future generations to learn from.
I used to tell my students that history is simple – stories passed on from generation to generation. Looking back at events from the past. Whether we learn from it or not is up to us.