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ReWilding the West

1 Jul

Remembering a Tucson Radical

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

Most of the heroes of the Wild West, the rootin’ tootin’ movie cowboys, sheriffs, miners, ranchers, saloon owners and cavalry generals, had a real knack for replacing all the wild land they got a hold of with profiteering schemes. These are the folks that actually killed the Wild West, bought it up, fenced it in, murdered and incarcerated many of its indigenous people, destroyed its communities with alcoholism, stripped its land, averted and drained its waters, blasted its mountains, decimated its wildlife, made extinct its wolves and jaguars and generally can be thanked for the Bone-Dry SuburbanTame West of today. I’m saying, as far as wild goes, these boys paved the way for the wild-ass time you are having right now working your service job slinging coffee to hipsters.

No, the real heroes of the Wild West would have to actually fight to keep the place wild. They’d want to burn the banks and the miner camps, fend off the encroachment of a domesticating middle-class culture and take pot shots at the troops from the Dragoons. They might even take a bullet for a mountain lion.

Not too long ago we had just such a fellow out here in Tucson, and seeing as its his birthday on July 3rd it might be nice to remember this real Wild West hero for some of the amazing and crazy shit he did to fight for what wild we got left out there,and inside of ourselves as well.

Rod Coronado, who is turning 47 this year, is a Yaqui Pascua Indian, a writer and poet, a father, lover of nature and animals, felon and eco-anarchist. He’s the kind of guy that could tell you all about the native flowers growing out of the cracks in the sidewalk and how to make rudimentary bombs, though he’s done with the latter these days. Akin to the wily, earth loving and dangerous characters in Edward Abbey’s novel The Monkeywrench Gang, [and remember, Abbey was also a Tucson local] Coronado was a real outlaw for the wild, not a violent human in terms of hurting people, but also not afraid to utterly destroy any non-sentient instrument of oppression.

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