Just a brief thought about how the southwest desert attracts the utopian visionaries and weirdos of Americas. Perhaps it is a strange residue of Manifest Destiny that allows Americans to perceive the West as the canvas for the projection of all their hopes and dreams. The acid soaked preacher man Bill and the earthship folks made me think of this. What a strange inversion of eden what with the often dry and unrelenting sun pierced landscape. Yet this seems to be a paradise of simplicity for many souls wandering through America trying to salvage some sense of humanity.
Also started thinking about the frequency of U.F.O. sightings in New Mexico. And the sometime connection between U.F.O.s and aliens being part of the deep spiritual knowledge of southwestern tribes (see the X-files episodes with a Navajo elder.) I always thought it sort of funny that the threat of yet another invader (this one from space and not Europe) would be first sensed on a deep level by Natives.
It all seems to relate the ultimate alterity of the landscape. How many times I have heard people describe the Southwest as alien or like another planet. Native peoples then often get conflated with the land (and with Bill conflated with a closeness to god) thus becoming the symbol all that is alien from civilized whiteness and the key to escape through appropriation. And in the case of the the X-files Natives being conflated with alien landscapes leads to a closeness with actual aliens.
Sev mentioned that the hippies at New Buffalo claimed not to be trying to play indian. To me it seems the ‘indianess’ of their pursuits were sub-consciously evoked through their efforts to live in an alien landscape associated with raw primitiveness and visions of utopia and salvation for the white man (think perhaps of Dancing with Wolves).
Still thinking about the harmful and otherwise effects of such logics…..