We hope that you’ll take some time to discover the many facets of Primitive State. This (cyber)space serves as both a portfolio for some of our work, and a blog that explores our many interests. We don’t adhere to the typical high traffic dictums for blogs and websites, choosing instead to be true to ourselves—if you enjoy something you find here, that’s a bonus!
Given the breadth of topics herein, we’re confident you’ll discover reasons to subscribe to our RSS feed and even more reasons to share our address with your friends. Take your time, explore, leave a comment or two, and let us know what you think!
Angus has been a writer since childhood. For the past two decades, he has engaged his Muse to help make the world a better place, particularly for the native wildlife of the West. From 1994 – 2009, Angus worked professionally to advance the restoration of native carnivores to the American West—a passion he still pursues in a volunteer capacity. A native of Idaho, he has also worked on environmental justice issues with and for indigenous peoples in Canada and the American Southwest. Presently, he is using his talents to help improve product quality and regulatory compliance at a global medical device company. In his spare time, Angus and his wife, Rags, can be found chasing bears and wolves in the wilds of Montana and Wyoming, or hanging out with their friends at one of the Front Range’s ubiquitous house concerts.
When not tending to her full-time career as an executive assistant, Rags spends her time photographing the native wildlife and landscapes of the American West. Those same animals and vistas also inspire her significant (primarily private) body of poetry. Like her husband, Angus, she is deeply committed to ensuring that much of the American West again embodies the true meaning of “wild.”
Hailing originally from the Amish uplands of Pennsylvania, Rags has ventured far to quench her desire for mastery of a variety of ancient arts, including historic needlework, hand-binding books, art-journaling and playing a vintage banjo—clawhammer style—for her own enjoyment. Her appreciation for these highly skilled, beautiful art forms is typical of the intricately textured way she sees the world. Rags brings this rich experience to bear in myriad ways—a perfect complement to Angus’s love of the written word.
Issues That We Care About
The next generation of humanity stands at once to inherit a wealth of technological innovation while being impoverished by pollution and the loss of biodiversity. It need not be that way, but we each must take stock of how we can hand the next generation a better world.
Below appears a sampling of the issues that we care about here at Primitive State and links to organizations that are working toward changing the course of these issues. Also, be sure to check out our Terra Ethica section for an ongoing examination of these and other issues facing planet Earth.
“Biological diversity is of fundamental importance to the functioning of all natural and human-engineered ecosystems, and by extension to the ecosystem services that nature provides free of charge to human society. Living organisms play central roles in the cycles of major elements (carbon, nitrogen, and so on) and water in the environment, and diversity specifically is important in that these cycles require numerous interacting species.” From: The Encyclopedia of Earth.
Angus worked from 1994 to 2009 help preserve one small, but very important, part of the biodiversity puzzle: Gray wolves in the American West. There are still many challenges facing America’s wolves, and several organizations are working hard to protect wolves and other pieces of the biodiversity puzzle, including: Western Watersheds Project, Center for Biological Diversity and Earth Justice. Also, our friend, Dr. Ralph Maughan, runs an excellent blog covering many issues related to wolves and other carnivores and wild places in the American West; check it out at:http://wolves.wordpress.com.
Native American Rights
It seems that every powerful empire has climbed to its pinnacle on the backs of some continent’s aboriginal culture–and America is no exception. The story of North America’s native peoples after 1492 is one of one broken promise after another, of biological and cultural warfare—and of strength and perseverance in the face of it all.
For many Americans, this history is unknown or fuzzy at-best. Yet, ignorance is no excuse. When Angus learned of the plight of the Navajo elders fighting relocation from their tribal lands on Big Mountain, he put his life on hold for a little while to go tend sheep for Roberta Blackgoat. Roberta was a force to be dealt with, and while Angus tended her sheep and her hogan, Roberta traveled to Geneva to help the United Nations draft a charter dealing with aboriginal rights.
If you’d like to learn more about the plight of North America First Nations, check out the following:
A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn.
Diné CARE, an organization dedicated to fighting for the environmental rights of the Navajo people in the American Southwest.
One Spirit, an organization dedicated to assist the Lakota people preserve and revitalize the Lakota culture and language, and to help the Lakota attain self-sufficiency again.