Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Haley Reading Group: "The Devil Is in the Details"

[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2017)]

In his article “The Devil Is in the Details,” Christopher Solomon describes the fight for claim over wilderness land in Utah. He explains that the fight for land is not just in ownership but also for “natural gas, oil, and potash” (167).

Contacted by Utah Congressman Rob Bishop, Solomon travels to Utah to witness Bishop bargain between environmentalists, Native Americans, energy companies and corporations for the land (169). This article displays the difficulty is dispensing land and ownership with various parties involved with severe consequences to the earth at stake.

What was one of the major challenges mentioned in the article that caught your attention? Why did that particular challenge stand out to you? Cite page numbers where necessary.

54 comments:

Devin Ellis-Martin said...

In my opinion, I believe the biggest hurdle in this article was that of getting Congressman Bishop's bargain to be agreed upon. The deal would have "could protect the largest amount of wilderness acreage in a generation". I believe it is of the upmost importance to keep our natural lands and resources safe. With threats like climate change, and simply using up our finite resources, we must protect and be cautious with the things we still have left.

-Devin Ellis-Martin

Asher said...

The biggest challenged that stood out to me in this article was that "in pursuit of land conservation, critics charge, environmental groups frequently horse-trade inappropriately with the public's land..etc" (174). Wilderness specialists and academics have fears that the approach of collaboration to help breakdown logjams to protected parts of the map, may be setting dangerous precedents. There needs to be some type of deal and balance between nature and the demands of people.

- Asher Denkyirah

Trevon Bosley said...

I think the biggest challenge that stuck out to me was on the side of the conservationists. When the article stated," conservationists could potentially protect the largest amount of wilderness acreage in a generation." Although this sounds like a great deal you have to still keep in mind by taking this deal just how much land you are giving up for non-environmental friendly projects. I think that is truly a challenge for any person to accept.

Kyla Tinsley said...

The major challenge that I noted in the article was the "Native American issue (180)." Historically, Native Americans have been mutilated and betrayed by those taking their lands, and thus the amount of faith they would have in this grand-bargain benefitting them is understandably little to none. Thus, little to no progress may be done in order to aid them, which can create a whole new set of problems if those bargaining find themselves overstepping the Native Americans's boundaries.

-Kyla T.

Youssef Hassan said...

The issue that i thought was most challenging was the Native American problem on page 180. Since half the county residents are Native Americans, there needs to be a lot of trust in order to fully come up with a plan. Also this is a tough issue because one of the most important things to do is to try and have all parties participate.

J'kolbe K. said...

the challenge that stood out the most to me is the fight for management of Utahs "wilderness." On page 169 the author quotes congressman Bishop who states, "When trying to control land from a four-, five hour flight away, the people always screw up." I believe that this land would be best utilized and tended to by locals with the desire to truly preserve it.

mackenzie Cohoon said...

The biggest challenge that stood out to me in the article was people and their unwillingness/inability to compromise. The article states that when you "add a highly polarized congress that won't pass anything even remotely controversial and you've got a formula for inaction"(174). Time and time again humans prove that we are our own biggest obstacle, yet we can never seem to learn from our mistakes.

-Mackenzie cohoon

Sierra Taylor said...

On page 180, the author mentions the "Native American issue". Lyman says. "It's a trust thing. I don't blame any Navajo personally who doesn't trust the white community, the federal community, the county." I mean, how can you? Native Americans have gotten the short end of the stick for so long. They've been booted out of their land ever since the U.S. was formed. Regaining trust would be a substantial feat.

Zuriah Harkins said...

The challenge that stood out to me the most was trying to get the environmentalists and the state legislators to compromise. This caught my attention because both sides brought up some very solid points. For example, on page 170, Solomon stated that 13 million acres were lost to some kind of development in only 50 years. One point that the state legislators brought up was that undeveloped land can lead to underfunded schools (173). Even thought that may or may not be true, I can see why it is a concern of the legislators.

-Zuriah H.

Aleeya Barrolle said...

The major challenge mentioned in the article that caught my attention was "Lyman was convicted of leading an illegal ATV excursion into Recapture Canyon, an area that had been partly closed to protect ancient Native American ruins (178). This challenge stood out to me because Lyman was disrupting the land of the Native American people.

-Aleeya B.

Brandon Nichols said...

A major challenge that the article tackled was collaboration deal-making. It sort of goes against what the pro-nature people want, which is no benefits from companies. Sometimes, money has to be spent in order to stop other companies from purchasing the land. It's a sad win-lose situation that will never get solved, as companies do not care about the environment. (174)

-Brandon N

Jasmin Smoot said...

The author touches briefly on the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) on page 170 and their efforts to stop development on state and federal land. The organization filed many lawsuits, but it that hasn't stopped work on those lands (i.e. roads, drilling, etc.). The fact that things have to go that far to protect the wilderness and still fail is ridiculous. You would think people would want to preserve some parts of the world.

Ronald Akpan said...

One major challenge that resonated to me the most was the issue with Native Americans not trusting the white community. One quote that stood out to me the most is "Because of a general lack of outreach, but also by their own choosing, only a few Native Americans participated in the county's grand-bargain planning" (180). This refers to Native Americans being restricted to the access of their own native land in San Juan county and how this restriction explains their lack of trust with the white community.

Donovan Washington said...

One major challenge from the article that stood out to me is the Native American Issue on page 180. This stood out to me because it is not often that we read about the navajo community trusting any non Native American community when it come to land management. I agree with the text when it states, "I don't blame any Navajo personally who doesn't trust the white community, the federal community, the country" (Solomon 180).

Crystal R. said...

One challenge that stuck out to me was the fact that Bishop was hurrying to mend the conflicts with the use of western land but his time was running short. The article said, "The Obama administration has given him room to cobble together a deal with conservationists, ranchers, Native Americans, energy companies, and others...," (169). He needed to come to some kind of deal with them on the use of land before the president would form a new national monument. It just goes to show how tirelessly one can work at something he/she is so passionate about.

Crystal R.

Crystal R. said...

One challenge that stuck out to me was the fact that Bishop was hurrying to mend the conflicts with the use of western land but his time was running short. The article said, "The Obama administration has given him room to cobble together a deal with conservationists, ranchers, Native Americans, energy companies, and others...," (169). He needed to come to some kind of deal with them on the use of land before the president would form a new national monument. It just goes to show how tirelessly one can work at something he/she is so passionate about.

Crystal R.

Kelsey McNeil said...

I think that the most important issue was on page 177 where there is a quote that says "And we want to protect them as soon as possible, because if you wait 10 years of 15 years or 20 years, that place may not be protectable..." (177). I found that one of the most important points or reasons because it just shows how the Earth is constantly changing and evolving. With all the changes that are going on things could be totally different or totally gone and there are things that we must try to protect. It's important that we help and do what we can now before it is too late and that is what this quote seemed to be meaning as well.

Kelsey McNeil

Jeremiah Terrell said...


The challenge that caught my attention was that collaborations don't have to follow the National Environmental Policy Act that allows interested parties to participate and mandates the consideration of the best available science(176). This caught my attention because this could potentially negatively affect the environment.

Anonymous said...

One challenge that stood out to me was the lack of trust between the navajo and white people. On page 180 the text says, "...only a few Native Americans participated in the county's grand-bargain planning." This stood out to me because it shows how difficult coming up with a plan can be if everyone isn't in agreement.

-Jada Baker

Jordan R. said...

The correlation between Native Americans and the struggle for land is kind of explained on page 180, "Because of a general lack of outreach, but also by their own choosing, only a few Native Americans participated in the county's grand-bargain planning". This is significant, because I don't know why the Native Americans would have any interest in how people who colonized their county now want to plan for "grand-bargain".

Brandy Collier said...

A challenge that caught my attention was, "environmental groups frequently horse-trade inappropriately with the public's lands..." (174). This stood out to me because this causes land preservation to move backward instead of forward with conserving land because the intention of saving the land is being fully fulfilled.

-Brandy Collier

A. Robinson said...

In my opinion, the issue that caught my attention most was the Native American issue in page 180. This issue stood out to me because this is not the first time I have heard or read about the wrongs done to Native Americans. Especially when it comes to land. I instantly thought of the issue of the oil pipeline wanting to be built in North Dakota on sacred Native American land. Give that there are a great amount of Native Americans in the county, they should definitely be taken into consideration when it comes to the land.

Ivyanne B said...

In this article there are a lot of issues that are addressed. One that really caught my eye is when they talked about the Native American issue (180). Native Americans never had it easy with the white people. White people always treated them as a lesser person and tortured them, and took their land, because of all this a lot of Native Americans find it hard to trust the whites. When ever you are trying to solve a problem you need everyone to cooperate. If the Native Americans can't trust white people then the issue will never get solved.
-Ivyanne B.

Unknown said...

I think one of the worst things to happen to a law such as this that has taken so many years and so many bills to create is to slowly make changes in opposition to that law. Like it is stated on page 177, these changes that are happening may be small ones, however, these are also just stepping stones to bigger and more impactful bills that are destined to come. First, it is the person who gets to cattle with a motorized vehicle, then the battle has once again risen.
Kaelyn B

Erica King said...

The part that stood out to me the most was when it stated “conservationists could potentially protect the largest amount of wilderness acreage in a generation”, I think that could be a good idea but at the same time that is a lot of land to be given up.

TOMIKA COLLINS said...

What caught my eyes was the fact that Native Americans do not trust the white community. The reason behind it is “Because of a general lack of outreach, but also by their own choosing, only a few Native Americans participated in the county's grand-bargain planning" (180). Native Americans were given restrictions on their own native land in San Juan County by someone who was not a Native American whatsoever. I can definitely see why they did not trust the white community.

Anonymous said...

Native Americans are actually a pretty small minority when taking national population into account. I find amazing how much our government has screwed over such once great people in so little time. First wiping them out with slavery practices that were harsher than the Africans, then breaking every promise of sovereignty we ever gave them. Native Americans make up about 1% of or national demographic, yet are the most likely race to be the victim of a crime. Now our government acts with the gullible "right" to distribute their own land back to them. What is challenging for members of our government is holding up its end of the deal when it comes to things not immediately beneficial to it.

"It was hopeful for Bishop to think that after so much work, the proverbial win-win was still within reach. Now that seemed more unlikely than ever. The Native Americans had been alienated." (wherever that is in the book..)

This was an expected development considering history.

-Ash

Joshua Jones said...

Pages 180-181 gives an interesting take on the effects of big government on the natives. The Antiquities Act basically provides the government with the power to go over everyone's heads and the natives must spend hundreds of hours trying to help lobby and prevent the govnernment's choices. For example, when the conservationists wanted protection for the native land but "...under the county's proposal, this would be an energy zone," on the top of page 181. I think this stood out to me because it takes a lot of talking to handle the lives of people and I believe that those in higher power forget that their decisions actually affect real, breathing individuals.

-Joshua J.

Adejoke Adanri said...

The one major challenges that stood out came from page 180 "I don't blame any Navajo personally who doesn't trust the white community, the federal community, the country”. Its clear why the Native American’s would have trouble allowing the Federal community to have access to their land when it had been taken from them and disrespected so many times in the past.

Kenisha Townsend said...

One main challenge that stood out to me was how very few Native Americans participated in the county's grand-bargaining because of a lack of trust (p.180). If one were to look back in history, Native Americans had land taken from them by whites. It was a place they called home, and white Americans took it from them and claimed it as their own. Therefore, it comes as no surprise they aren't very willing to trust the county or white Americans even in present day. This stood out to me because many fail to realize historical events do still affect the lives of many today. One may forgive, but never will they forget.

Nia Piggott said...

One of the challenges that caught my attention in this particular article was negative relationships amongst the Natives and the white community. On page 180 it states " I don't blame any Navajo personally who doesn't trust the white community, the federal community, the county." This caught my attention because an agreement would not be able to occur with the lack of trust.

JaLeah McKinney said...

When the text talked about congress and controversial issues leading to inaction (174), I believe that was a message that applies to not only the situations in text but many present day current events as well. To be able to compromise, look at instances from different perspectives, and rid of ignorance are very important traits to have and utilizing these would be effective in not only relation to this text (coming to a solution for ownership of the land) but many other problems as well.

Alliyah M. said...

One point that caught my attention was on page 174. Solomon stated that in the attempt to assure land preservation, environmental groups would often trade poorly with public lands -"shutting out dissent, undercutting their conservation mission, and even eroding bedrock environmental laws."

I found it shocking that environment groups weren't more careful of how they would negotiate land as these trades can greatly affect our environment. The fact that they willingly got rid of certain environmental laws and didn't try to negotiate properly with others is surprising since there main goal is to improve the quality of our environment in any way, so getting rid of those laws seems to go against that goal and will be detrimental to our environment.

Jasmyn Kloster said...

In his article “The Devil Is in the Details,” Christopher Solomon delves into something I had never heard of before. I knew people once had to negotiate for land, but I was not aware it was still going on today. One issue that stood out to me the most was the quote on page 177 that stares, "And we want to protect them as soon as possible, because if you wait 10 years of 15 years or 20 years, that place may not be protectable..." (177). This was something that stood out to me because protecting the Earth is so important. This statement can be tied directly to climate change and people polluting the Earth if the land isn’t used in a safe way. Now more than ever it is important to protect all the land we can from being destroyed, while we also work on putting the land back together that has already been destroyed.

Jazsmine Towner said...

One of the major challenges of this article was the distrust issue with Native Americans (180). Given the history of colonialism and the attempted genocide of Native Americans, I understand why the people of the community did not trust the white Americans to keep up their end of the bargain. In my opinion, the challenge is not convincing the Native people to trust them but showing and earning the trust of the Native Americans and making sure that they were treated fairly and with care.
-Jazsmine Towner

Adejoke Adanri said...

The one major challenges that stood out came from page 180 "I don't blame any Navajo personally who doesn't trust the white community, the federal community, the country”. Its clear why the Native American’s would have trouble allowing the Federal community to have access to their land when it had been taken from them and disrespected so many times in the past.

gabby said...

The most important factor that stood out the most to me occurred on page 80. The quote read,"Because of a general lack of outreach, but also by their own choosing, only a few Native Americans participated in the county's grand-bargain planning”. I think that this is extremely important because it shows the governments lack of effort to really help Native Americans with their rights and benefits within the United States. It kind of makes me think that the government doesn’t want to continually protect and preserve Native American land.

De'Abrion Joyner said...

An issue that I think is a major challenge in this whole dispute is a point made by Bishop on page 169. “When you try to control the land from a four-, five-hour flight away, the people always screw up”. This quote speaks for itself to me and it stands out in the grand scheme of things. I believe that it has to be hard for people who don’t see and interact with the land or even have ties other than business to the land, to make important decisions regarding it.


De'Abrion Joyner

Anonymous said...

The biggest issue that caught my attention in the article was the fact that “only a few Native Americans participated in the countrys grand bargain planning” (180). This was significant for me because even though the white man had taken over, it was important that the Native Americans, even if it was a very small group of them, had a say in their land. Raillane K.

Samontriona Perkins said...

One of the major challenges mentioned in the article that caught my attention was on page 180 when Lyman stated he did not blame the Natives for believing that the white and federal community is untrustworthy. This is because history seems to keep repeating itself. If someone has taken things from you many times in the past, there would be trust issues associated with that person. As stated on page 180 only a few of the Native Americans participated in the grand-bargain planning. From this, I feel that the federal community and government itself has not tried to earn their trust.

Aliyah Johnson said...

This was an interesting reading.One challenge that caught my attention is when it says Land conservation in the U.S. is harder today than ever. The easiest places to protect have already been taken care of"(173). I did not know that certain land masses were easier to handle due to the elevation and the claims that other stake holders have on them.
--Aliyah Johnson

Michael Dade said...

I thought the biggest hurdle had to be the problems with Native Americans on page 180. Because of the high demographic of them, making sure that everyone can agree on specific terms can be quite the hassle. Not to mention there's a lot of history between Native Americans and the reclaiming of land, so the whole situation can be seen as a touchy subject.

Kendall Clark said...

One particular challenge that caught my attention was the mention of the Antiquities Act, which gives the president the authority to preserve a landscape by naming it a national landmark without consulting congress (180). I think this stood out to me because I was unaware of this law prior to the reading and I wouldn’t have considered it a dealbreaker for the plans. I also found it interesting that they mentioned the trust issues between Native Americans and “the white community, the federal community, the country” (180). It was interesting to read that so much of the county’s land was reservation land and yet there was a general lack of outreach to the Native Americans regarding the planning.

Stella Nguepnang said...

Some major challenges mentioned in the article that caught my attention were how few Native Americans were a part of the country's "grand planning," and how the Native Americans were treated by the white people.
How few Native Americans participated affected descendants and the effects can be shown today with how few of the population of the US are Native Americans. Also, someone mentions how they wouldn't be surprised if Native Americans lacked trust for white people. This highlights how they were treated harshly and that still impacts them today. It reminds me how much history affects the world we live in today, which seems like common sense, but really is something that is often overlooked. We are writing history right now, and what we write is changing and affecting the future.

Anonymous said...

One major challenge mentioned in the article that caught my attention is when the native Americans was the lack of trust in the grand bargain planning. In the article it reads " Because of a general lack of outreach, but also by they own choosing only a few Native Americans participated in the country's grand bargain planning. 'Its a trust thing," Lyman acknowledges.(180)" This goes to show that the Native Americans dont trust the whites based on their past relationships and broken deals.

-Thomas Moses

alishiana Ivy said...

The song of ice as well as the other article relating to climate change most intrigued me because this topic is something i am passionate about. It really confuses me when people act like climate change is a myth when we have all the facts and statistics proving that it exists. I am also concerned because if we don't all get on board and help improve the earth, we too could go extinct.

alishiana Ivy said...

Out of all the challenges stated in this article the one that stood out to me the most was the issue of native americans with their trust. Everyone knows that in the past native americans put their trust in the colonizers and it completely backfired. Even now there is a big controvery where the “Trail of Tears” are being taken out of history books because it is too “uncomfortable” for students.

Maya Searcy said...

The most important issue to me was on page 177 where it says "And we want to protect them as soon as possible, because if you wait 10 years of 15 years or 20 years, that place may not be protectable..." this stood out to me because it shows how quickly the earth changes and how quickly damage can be done. It really emphasizes that need to act now because they might not get the chance again to save the land. The issue shows how quickly they most act and the going back and forth with negotiations is wasting important time.

Lyric Barnes said...

“Then there’s the Native American issue”(180). This issue stuck out to me as the most important because they’re a race and culture he’s calling an issue. It’s shocking because it’s their land they were here in America first but they’re being called an issue.
Lyric B.

Alexis Acoff said...

I think one concept that was a major problem was the "Native American Issue". First of all, its a problem that that's how the author describes it. But most importantly, its crazy to think about the history of Native Americans and how they are now somewhat confined to acres of land in a random state. I don't blame Native Americans for not having trust in this country and the white community either.

Cheniya A. said...

I think the most important issue in the reading was "The Native American Issue" (Soloman 180). The way the author described those people was alarming. Not only did it show the author's lack of cultural competence, but the lack of self awareness as he dehumanizes a marginalized group of people.
Moreover, given the history of Native Americans in this country, it is no surprise that they would not trust people who are trying to invade what little land they were left with after an entire genocide.

Kamela Cross said...

As I was reading this article, the question at the bottom of page 169 stood out to me the most. To sacrifice everything on is trying to save, it makes the sacrifice in vain. It makes the decision Bishop has to make all the much harder. I don't think I could make the decision lightly but it would definitely not be big corporations.

Shaina Falkner said...

The Native American issue from page 180 stood out to me the most. Lyman writes, "It's a trust thing. I don't blame any Navajo personally who doesn't trust the white community, the federal community, the county." Being a black minority myself, their struggle with the white community is relatable. Native Americans weren't treated well in U.S. history and because of those experiences, it can be difficult to even want to unite with the white community.

Jonathan Sanchez said...

The challenge that stuck out to me was the challenge of Native Americans not complying with the government. This stuck out to me because the issue isn't that the natives , but rather their history with our country. From my knowledge, Native traditions have a lot to do with ancestors and if their ancestors were disrespected and outright almost brought to genocide, I'm sure they would not have trust for the ones who inflicted such pain on the Natives' ancestors.

Jonathan S.