Diane Josephy Peavey

Land & Culture: In the American West and the Middle East

In this presentation we will look at the cultural connection between people who live on the land and their histories and landscapes. True for American Indians and for many western ranchers and farmers, the discussion will reach across the ocean to look at this same phenomenon among the families who have lived and farmed for generations in the lands of Palestine. Through slides and interviews, we will hear of the frustrations of farmers and shepherds from the Israeli border communities of Qalqiliya and Jayyous to the lonely hillsides south of Hebron. These people have faced disruptions throughout the 52-year plus occupation, but none as severe as the construction of the “Security Wall” as the Israelis call the largely-completed 760-mile concrete wall or barbed and electrified chain link fence. This barrier was to follow the 1967 “green line” land boundary between Israelis and Palestinians but instead cuts deeply inside Palestinian lands to protect illegal settlements built around local Arab villages. As it does, it isolates families from their crops and grazing lands. Now through their cultural awareness of who they are and their determination to hang on to the land of their ancestors, they share a similar tenacity with American Indians and ranchers and farmers in the American West.