19 Jun Let’s Chat About History
Thank you for opening up my blog. My name is Pia Cano and I am originally from Santa Ana, California.
I currently attend college at Clark University where I study Race and Ethnic Studies with minors in Art History and Global Environmental Studies. At my summer internship with the Olmsted Center, I am their cultural landscape preservation planning assistant (I know, it’s quite a long title!). I should also mention that my internship includes both remote work and a few fieldwork opportunities.
Preparing for a week-long trip that would take me north to upstate New York, my first couple weeks with the Olmsted Center included training on how to conduct cultural landscape inventories and learning more about the history of Saratoga National Historical Park. To me, understanding the vast ocean of history that exists at Saratoga NHP brings meaningful context to the land that is presently protected.
As one of my firsts tasks, I began reading the historic resource study of the site. Opening up the document, I felt slightly intimidated to start this extensive historical report. However, as I began to read, I became invested in the story of Saratoga and also developed a great appreciation for the scholarship completed in this study. This historical park is protected due to its relevance in the story of the American Revolution. The park marks when the British Empire surrendered to American troops. Unraveling more insights about this park, I came to understand Saratoga as a historically-rich place of cross-cultural relationships and tensions. Although we now consider this area New York, it acted as a borderland for multiple nations during the colonial period. Events involving the Iroquois Confederacy, New France, the Algonquians, the British, and even the Dutch, tied these political actors into a complex web of alliances and conflict. All of which can be traced down to interpersonal relationships. The reason I have been so interested in this historical study is that it sheds light into the ways colonial powers were reliant and indebted to Indigenous sovereign nations whose expertise and power were more influential than the majority of history books like us to believe. In this way, I think the historical study sidesteps stereotypical narratives that erase important aspects of ethnographic history.
Now that I have given you a tiny glimpse into my thoughts on this historical report, I hope you’ll read along in my next blog where I will describe my visit to Saratoga!
I’m excited to share with you more about cultural landscape surveying and how this process is critical to protecting sites such as this national park. And of course, I’ll continue to dive more into historical events and figures at Saratoga and how we can read the land to understand their impacts.
~ Pia Cano