Today is inauguration day in America. We will remember this day for a very long time. I can’t help but think it will be remembered as a day of national disaster, but only time will tell. I commemorate the occasion with a photoblog called American Graveyard.

I don’t know exactly why, but I’ve visited many cemeteries. I’ve taken thousands of photos and done many grave rubbings. Many of the most interesting graveyards I’ve visited are in the Western United States. They are peaceful, often beautiful places, filled with great history and perspective.

Jeannette Pickering Rankin

Jeannette Pickering Rankin was a social reformer, feminist, Suffragist, pacifist, and the first woman to hold national office in the United States. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916 by the state of Montana as a member of the Republican Party. She is buried in the Missoula County Cemetery in Missoula, Montana.

Tomorrow is the Women’s March on Washington. Most of the women in my family will be there. Be loud and fearless!

Custer's Grave

From Crow Country, Montana, this is the grave of George Armstrong Custer, who died along with 16 other officers and 242 soldiers in the 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, June 25 & 26, 1876. Custer led 1,200 men of the 7th Cavalry into the region in violation of numerous treaties after gold was discovered in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

In 2016, a massive protest took place on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline that threatened the Missouri River, the Mississippi River and Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. It is very likely this protest will resume once the protections extended by the Obama Administration are dismantled by Donald Trump.

Ludlow Monument

This monument commemorates the massacre of over 2 dozen striking coal miners in the coal fields of Southern Colorado. On April 20, 1914, Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel & Iron Company camp thugs opened fire on a tent colony of about 1,200 striking miners and their families. The Ludlow Massacre stands as a sad reminder of the inhumanity people have been willing to express in the name of higher profits.

Sacagewa Cemetery

This is the cemetery in the hills of the Wind River Indian Reservation near Fort Washakie, Wyoming that commemorates a possible burial place of Sacagawea. The cemetery stands out as a vibrant patch of color (from the many plastic flowers) on a windswept red and green landscape.

S. Takemoto Broken Headstone

Finally, this is the broken headstone of an immigrant, S. Takemoto, born in Japan in 1852, and who died and was buried in Missoula County Cemetery in 1915. Almost all Americans are immigrants, whether we admit it or not. Oceans, mountains, rivers, walls and certainly armed defenders have all been relied on to express unwelcome. None has ever worked for very long. People migrate.

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