Oral Histories

This week we listened, or read, oral histories about the Rappahannock river shed area. We heard from three people, who each have a unique perspective and relationship on the river and its meaning.

Chief Anne Richardson brought the perspective of her tribe, the Rappanhannock tribe. She discusses the physical and spiritual importance of the river to her tribe and their traditions. Not only did she discuss the history between the river and her tribe, but current importance as well. I was not expecting there to be a current connection between the tribe. Having her perspective on the conservation issues gave me insight into the historical importance of the river.

The next oral history is John Tippett. He served as the executive director of Friends of the Rappanhannock for 15 years. I found his perspective interesting because he looked at the importance of the river in its entirety and from a legal role. Listening this surprised me because I did not realize how much goes into each conservation effort or fracking. Tippet’s logistic side helped me realize how much of a struggle each step with conservation can be.

Lastly, James Pitts Sr. gave his oral history of growing up around the Rappanhannock river. His stories included personal anecdotes and how the river has changed in his lifetime. I found this interesting because it brought life to the river. Unlike the other two people, Pitts is not a representative of a tribe or organization, just an average person. This helped me think of the river as affecting all people not just large parties.

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