Haunted by Waters
A Journey through Race and Place in the American West
Publication Year: 2007
Even though race influenced how Americans envisioned, represented, and shaped the American West, discussions of its history devalue the experiences of racial and ethnic minorities. In this lyrical history of marginalized peoples in Idaho, Robert T. Hayashi views the West from a different perspective by detailing the ways in which they shaped the western landscape and its meaning.
As an easterner, researcher, angler, and third-generation Japanese American traveling across the contemporary Idaho landscape—where his grandfather died during internment during World War II—Hayashi reconstructs a landscape that lured emigrants of all races at the same time its ruling forces were developing cultured processes that excluded nonwhites. Throughout each convincing and compelling chapter, he searches for the stories of dispossessed minorities as patiently as he searches for trout.
Using a wide range of materials that include memoirs, oral interviews, poetry, legal cases, letters, government documents, and even road signs, Hayashi illustrates how Thomas Jefferson’s vision of an agrarian, all-white, and democratic West affected the Gem State’s Nez Perce, Chinese, Shoshone, Mormon, and particularly Japanese residents. Starting at the site of the Corps of Discovery’s journey into Idaho, he details the ideological, aesthetic, and material manifestations of these intertwined notions of race and place. As he ?y-?shes Idaho’s fabled rivers and visits its historical sites and museums, Hayashi reads the contemporary landscape in light of this evolution.
Published by: University of Iowa Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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We are all haunted by waters—and by water. I suspect that the abundance and relative purity of this simple but almost universal compound helps explain why. Not that we encounter water in potable form in our daily experience. Far from it. The by now nearly ubiquitous little plastic vade mecums of spring water or filtered water or god-knows-what that have become our...
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This project was born in serendipity and continued to offer me unexpected rewards as I worked on it over the last several years. It led me down many dusty gravel roads in Idaho, to archives across the country, and into relationships that were its greatest rewards. I wish to thank my mentors: Judith Davidov, whose unwavering support allowed me always to write with my ear; Joe Skerrett for his pithy insights...
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In 2001, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names changed the name of a small mountain just outside of Pocatello, Idaho, from Chink’s Peak to Chinese Peak. For three years, local Idaho groups had lobbied for the change, led by the Japanese American Citizens League Pocatello-Blackfoot chapter, which received the support of a broad coalition that included the Organization...
Chapter 1: The Innocence of our Intentions
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We had only an e-mail message—a protestation in response to my friend’s query about information on flyfishing in Montana. It came from some professor at Idaho State: “Take out a map. Look at the Continental Divide west of Montana. Notice how ALL the rivers flow west into Idaho! I don’t understand it. Why would you go to Montana with everyone else?” Indeed. I...
Chapter 2: Matching the Hatch
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“You’ll need some Pinks.” I followed him past the table of fly rods laid out like some museum display of rare artifacts to a large wooden table of drawers and cubbyholes filled with thousands of flies of fur, feather, and thread. He pointed to a series of small plastic cubbyholes. Above them was written “South Fork.” I picked one up. It was small, and it was, indeed...
Chapter 3: O Pioneers
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Just outside of Twin Falls, I passed by a field that exploded in splotches of yellow along its edges. The fencerows and roadside were lined by tall flowers, the common sunflower. Off in the distance was a gap in the earth, where the Snake River winds through this dry plateau. Twin Falls derives its name from the nearby waterfalls that have since disappeared with the...
Chapter 4: Haunted by Waters
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As I moved along the interstate at eighty-five miles per hour, the Snake River Plain glided by my window, a view of Idaho that, I imagined, a majority of today’s travelers share, because like the early pioneers who passed along this same corridor, they head elsewhere. Or maybe they make the short excursion north to trendy Sun Valley, the nation’s first destination...
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Page Count: 214
Publication Year: 2007