GET /read/following/

Get a list of posts from the blogs a user follows.

Resource Information

   
Method GET
URL https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1.1/read/following/
Requires authentication? Yes

Query Parameters

Parameter Type Description
http_envelope (bool)
false:
(default)
true:
Some environments (like in-browser JavaScript or Flash) block or divert responses with a non-200 HTTP status code. Setting this parameter will force the HTTP status code to always be 200. The JSON response is wrapped in an "envelope" containing the "real" HTTP status code and headers.
pretty (bool)
false:
(default)
true:
Output pretty JSON
meta (string) Optional. Loads data from the endpoints found in the 'meta' part of the response. Comma-separated list. Example: meta=site,likes
fields (string) Optional. Returns specified fields only. Comma-separated list. Example: fields=ID,title
callback (string) An optional JSONP callback function.
number (int) The number of posts to return. Limit: 40. Default: 10.
page (int) Return the Nth 1-indexed page of posts.
order (string)
DESC:
(default) Return posts in descending order. For dates, that means newest to oldest.
ASC:
Return posts in ascending order. For dates, that means oldest to newest.
after (iso 8601 datetime) Return posts dated after the specified datetime.
before (iso 8601 datetime) Return posts dated before the specified datetime.

Response Parameters

Parameter Type Description
ID (int) The post ID.
site_ID (int) The site ID.
author (object) The author of the post.
date (iso 8601 datetime) The post's creation time.
modified (iso 8601 datetime) The post's most recent update time.
title (html) context dependent.
URL (url) The full permalink URL to the post.
short_URL (url) The wp.me short URL.
content (html) context dependent.
excerpt (html) context dependent.
slug (string) The name (slug) for the post, used in URLs.
guid (string) The GUID for the post.
status (string)
publish:
The post is published.
draft:
The post is saved as a draft.
pending:
The post is pending editorial approval.
private:
The post is published privately
future:
The post is scheduled for future publishing.
trash:
The post is in the trash.
auto-draft:
The post is a placeholder for a new post.
sticky (bool) Is the post sticky?
password (string) The plaintext password protecting the post, or, more likely, the empty string if the post is not password protected.
parent (object|false) A reference to the post's parent, if it has one.
type (string) The post's post_type. Post types besides post, page and revision need to be whitelisted using the rest_api_allowed_post_types filter.
comments_open (bool) Is the post open for comments?
pings_open (bool) Is the post open for pingbacks, trackbacks?
likes_enabled (bool) Is the post open to likes?
sharing_enabled (bool) Should sharing buttons show on this post?
comment_count (int) The number of comments for this post.
like_count (int) The number of likes for this post.
i_like (bool) Does the current user like this post?
is_reblogged (bool) Did the current user reblog this post?
is_following (bool) Is the current user following this blog?
global_ID (string) A unique WordPress.com-wide representation of a post.
featured_image (url) The URL to the featured image for this post if it has one.
post_thumbnail (object) The attachment object for the featured image if it has one.
format (string)
standard:
Standard
aside:
Aside
chat:
Chat
gallery:
Gallery
link:
Link
image:
Image
quote:
Quote
status:
Status
video:
Video
audio:
Audio
geo (object|false)
menu_order (int) (Pages Only) The order pages should appear in.
publicize_URLs (array) Array of Twitter and Facebook URLs published by this post.
tags (object) Hash of tags (keyed by tag name) applied to the post.
categories (object) Hash of categories (keyed by category name) applied to the post.
attachments (object) Hash of post attachments (keyed by attachment ID).
metadata (array) Array of post metadata keys and values. All unprotected meta keys are available by default for read requests. Both unprotected and protected meta keys are available for authenticated requests with access. Protected meta keys can be made available with the rest_api_allowed_public_metadata filter.
meta (object) API result meta data
current_user_can (object) List of permissions. Note, deprecated in favor of `capabilities`
capabilities (object) List of post-specific permissions for the user; publish_post, edit_post, delete_post
date_range (object) date range covered by current results.
number (int) The number of posts brought back by current query.
posts (array) An array of post objects.

Resource Errors

These are the possible errors returned by this endpoint.

HTTP Code Error Identifier Error Message
403 unauthorized User cannot view taxonomy
403 unauthorized User cannot view post
403 authorization_required An active access token must be used to query information about the current user.
403 unauthorized User cannot edit taxonomy
400 invalid_post Invalid post
400 invalid_context Invalid API CONTEXT
403 unauthorized User cannot edit post
404 unknown_post Unknown post

Example

curl \
 -H 'authorization: Bearer YOUR_API_TOKEN' \
 'https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/read/following/?number=2'
<?php
$options  = array (
  'http' => 
  array (
    'ignore_errors' => true,
    'header' => 
    array (
      0 => 'authorization: Bearer YOUR_API_TOKEN',
    ),
  ),
);

$context  = stream_context_create( $options );
$response = file_get_contents(
	'https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/read/following/?number=2',
	false,
	$context
);
$response = json_decode( $response );
?>

Response

{
    "date_range": {
        "before": "2016-07-26T12:07:11-04:00",
        "after": "2016-07-26T12:07:11-04:00"
    },
    "number": 1,
    "posts": [
        {
            "ID": 37252,
            "site_ID": 70135762,
            "author": {
                "ID": 68029756,
                "login": "longreadseditors",
                "email": false,
                "name": "Longreads",
                "first_name": "Longreads",
                "last_name": "",
                "nice_name": "longreadseditors",
                "URL": "",
                "avatar_URL": "https:\/\/1.gravatar.com\/avatar\/77c994c441138efdb7338403caac1014?s=96&d=identicon&r=G",
                "profile_URL": "http:\/\/en.gravatar.com\/longreadseditors",
                "site_ID": 70135762
            },
            "date": "2016-07-26T12:07:11-04:00",
            "modified": "2016-07-26T12:19:04-04:00",
            "title": "The Miseducation of John Muir",
            "URL": "http:\/\/blog.longreads.com\/2016\/07\/26\/the-miseducation-of-john-muir\/",
            "short_URL": "http:\/\/wp.me\/p4KhvY-9GQ",
            "content": "<p style=\"text-align:center;\"><em><a href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/justinnobel\">Justin Nobel<\/a> | <a href=\"http:\/\/www.atlasobscura.com\/\">Atlas Obscura<\/a> | July 2016 | 14 minutes (3,431 words)<\/em><\/p>\n<div class=\"publisher-intro\"><a href=\"http:\/\/www.atlasobscura.com\/\"><img class=\"publisher-intro-cover\" style=\"height:56px;\" src=\"https:\/\/longreadsblog.files.wordpress.com\/2016\/05\/atlas-obscura-logo.png\" alt=\"Atlas Obscura\" \/><\/a><span class=\"publisher-intro-text\">Our latest Exclusive is a new story by Justin Nobel, co-funded by Longreads Members and published by <a href=\"http:\/\/www.atlasobscura.com\/\">Atlas Obscura<\/a>.<\/span><\/div>\n<p>It\u2019s quite possible that America\u2019s future was changed on the evening of March 6, 1867, in a factory that manufactured carriage parts in the booming railroad city of Indianapolis.<\/p>\n<p>The large workroom, typically smoky and bustling with workers, was near empty. Factory manager John Muir\u2019s task was simple: The machine\u2019s drive belts, which looped around the vast room like the unspooled guts of a primordial beast, needed to be retightened so the following morning they\u2019d run more efficiently. Muir had already made a name for himself as an impressive backwoods inventor. His \u201cearly rising machine\u201d was an intricate alarm clock that tipped the sleeper onto the floor. His \u201cwood kindling starting machine\u201d used an alarm clock to trigger the release of a drop sulfuric acid onto a spoonful of chemicals, generating a flame, igniting the kindling. For the carriage factory, this unique mind was a boon. Muir had already improved wheel design and cut fuel costs.<\/p>\n<p>In the darkening workroom he grasped a file and grinded it between the tightly-woven threads of the leather belt. The file slipped, sprang up pointy end first, and sank deep into the white of Muir\u2019s right eye. Out dripped about a third of a teaspoon of ocular fluid. \u201cMy right eye is gone!\u201d he howled back at his boarding house, \u201cclosed forever on God\u2019s beauty.\u201d In fact, thanks to a mysterious immune response known as sympathetic blindness, his left eye was gone too. The promising young machinist was blind. <\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">* * *<\/p>\n<div data-shortcode=\"caption\" id=\"attachment_37263\" style=\"width: 310px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img src=\"https:\/\/longreadsblog.files.wordpress.com\/2016\/07\/4677190148_36b284b10b_b.jpg?w=300&h=200\" alt=\"Yosemite National Park. (Photo: Esther Lee\/CC BY 2.0)\" width=\"300\" height=\"200\" class=\"size-medium wp-image-37263\" \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><span class=\"credit\">Yosemite National Park. (Photo: <a href=\"https:\/\/www.flickr.com\/photos\/47096398@N08\/4677190148\/\">Esther Lee\/CC BY 2.0<\/a>)<\/span><\/p><\/div>\n<p>Now, of course, we remember John Muir quite differently. If you can measure America\u2019s regard for someone by how many things get named in their honor, John Muir may be one of the country\u2019s greatest heroes. He has at least one high school, 21 elementary schools, six middle schools and one college named after him, as well as a glacier, a mountain, a woods, a cabin, an inlet, a highway, a library, a motel, a medical center, a tea room and a minor planet.<\/p>\n<p>He has been called \u201cThe Father of our National Parks,\u201d a \u201cWilderness Prophet,\u201d and if you visit a National Park this summer you may indeed have Muir to thank. His writing and activism are credited with inspiring Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Mount Rainier, among other national parks. This August, the National Park Service celebrates its centennial\u2014Yellowstone was established by Congress in 1872, but it wasn\u2019t until August 25, 1916, that President Woodrow Wilson, in an effort to put America\u2019s sprawling park system under one department, signed an act creating the National Park Service. Galas are planned and Muir is featured prominently\u2014his visage will be cast into gold, on a $5 coin alongside President Teddy Roosevelt.<\/p>\n<p>His brand, as they say, is strong. But do we really know this man? Over the past few years, Americans have confronted the country’s past with vigor, removing problematic early leaders and symbols like Confederate flags from monuments and money and street signs. College and government institutions are regularly fielding calls to remove more. It might be time to reassess Muir\u2019s legacy, as we tend to see only the pictures of the explorer in later life, greeting presidents amid the jaw-dropping splendor of America\u2019s West. Largely absent from the official record is his early journey through Appalachia and the Deep South, one that helped shape his future adventures and worldview. A close reading reveals some ugly truths about the paternity of American park systems.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">* * *<\/p>\n<div data-shortcode=\"caption\" id=\"attachment_37258\" style=\"width: 1034px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img class=\"size-large wp-image-37258\" src=\"https:\/\/longreadsblog.files.wordpress.com\/2016\/07\/1024px-john_muir_birthplace.jpg?w=1024&h=1024\" alt=\"Dunbar, Scotland. Muir was born in the house on the left; later, his father bought the bigger building on the right to be the family home. (Photo: Public Domain)\"   \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><span class=\"credit\">Dunbar, Scotland. Muir was born in the house on the left; later, his father bought the bigger building on the right to be the family home. (Photo: <a href=\"https:\/\/en.wikipedia.org\/wiki\/John_Muir#\/media\/File:John_Muir_birthplace.jpg\">Public Domain<\/a>)<\/span><\/p><\/div>\n<p>Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland, the third child of a zealot Christian father and a mother who enjoyed flowers, poetry, and walking alone in the countryside\u2014her husband eventually forbid this unchaste activity. Muir\u2019s childhood was strikingly brutal for a contemplative future tree-hugger. He built a homemade gun and fired it at seagulls, he asked the town butcher for a pig\u2019s bladder and then played football with it, and he was a prolific schoolyard fighter. Then, in 1849, at the age of 11, he moved to America.<\/p>\n<p>Upon settling with his family in rural Wisconsin, young Muir was immediately put to work, preparing the land for farming. Days were often 16 to 17 hours long; grinding scythes, tending cattle, harvesting corn, potatoes and wheat. Single-handedly digging a 90-foot well through solid sandstone with nothing but a mason\u2019s chisel, 18-year-old Muir nearly died of <em>choke-damp<\/em>\u2014a condition common in mines, when oxygen levels drop too low for sustaining human life. Still, there was time on the occasional holiday, and a few hours on Sunday, for romping through the woods to gorge on dewberries, hickory nuts and wild apples, or riding his horse Nob, who he fed live field mice, or hunting deer, muskrats, Canadian geese and even a loon. \u201cThe bonnie things, but they were made to be killed,\u201d his father told him, \u201cand sent for us to eat as the quails were sent to God\u2019s chosen people, the Israelites, when they were starving in the desert ayont the Red Sea.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>Later, as his new homeland was being torn apart by civil war, young Muir escaped his tyrannical father and slipped into the woods. Near Niagara Falls he fended off a pack of wolves, and in the frozen swamps of Ontario, according to letters written to friends and family, he discovered an orchid so beautiful he cried. But by 1866 he had settled back down, earning his job at the Indianapolis carriage parts factory.<\/p>\n<p>Just months before the accident, Muir had enthusiastically written to his brother Daniel: \u201cI really have some talent for invention, and I just think that I will turn all my attention that way at once.\u201d But blighted and bedridden, Muir realized he was on the wrong life track. It was not the machines he missed most, but his beloved plants. A month later, his vision miraculously returned. Muir was like a man resurrected. \u201cI have risen from the grave,\u201d he wrote in a letter.<\/p>\n<div data-shortcode=\"caption\" id=\"attachment_37259\" style=\"width: 320px\" class=\"wp-caption alignright\"><img class=\"wp-image-37259\" src=\"https:\/\/longreadsblog.files.wordpress.com\/2016\/07\/thousandmile00muirrich_0041.jpg?w=310&h=497\" alt=\"A map of Muir's 1867 journey, from his book A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf. (Photo: Internet Archive\/Public Domain)\" width=\"310\" height=\"497\" \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><span class=\"credit\">A map of Muir’s 1867 journey, from his book A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf. (Photo: <a href=\"https:\/\/archive.org\/stream\/thousandmile00muirrich#page\/n40\/mode\/1up\">Internet Archive\/Public Domain<\/a>)<\/span><\/p><\/div>\n<p>Goodbye now to the world of machines, he would follow his plant heart after all. Inspired by 18th century adventurers like Mungo Park, who journeyed deep into Africa, and Alexander von Humboldt, who trekked across South America, Muir burned for a botanical adventure. Although he wanted to see the Amazon, his first trip would be the American South. He packed books and a plant press into a rucksack and on September 1, 1867, at the age of 29, starting at the Indiana\/Kentucky border, Muir embarked on a 1,000-mile walk to the Gulf of Mexico. At the time, it was a bit like walking across Iraq. Some 250,000 Southern men had been killed in the Civil War, certain Tennessee towns lost nearly an entire male generation, and much of Appalachia remained thick with bandits. Yet Muir, with twinkling eyes, a scratchy beard and just one change of underwear, lit a course straight through the territory.<\/p>\n<p>It is here, in Tennessee, where Muir, who went on to become a respected mountaineer, climbed \u201cthe first real mountains that my foot ever touched or eyes beheld.\u201d Further along, in Georgia, while camped in Savannah\u2019s Spanish-moss draped Bonaventure Cemetery, Muir realized death was not the hellfire his father claimed it to be, but \u201cstingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.\u201d And in the swamps of Florida, Muir spied his first palmetto, and wondered whether or not plants had souls. You can see it forming, Muir\u2019s aesthetic, nature not just as a wellspring of vitality, but a forgotten religion, where plants, animals, and even frost crystals and bacteria are an extension of god.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cMany scholars feel that Muir\u2019s baptism happened in California,\u201d says Muir historian James Hunt, whose 2012 book <em>Restless Fires<\/em> examines Muir\u2019s thousand-mile walk. \u201cThat\u2019s just not true, it happened by walking through the South.\u201d<\/p>\n<div data-shortcode=\"caption\" id=\"attachment_37257\" style=\"width: 1034px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img class=\"size-large wp-image-37257\" src=\"https:\/\/longreadsblog.files.wordpress.com\/2016\/07\/thousandmile00muirrich_0121.jpg?w=1024&h=748\" alt=\"One of the site's of Muir's walk, the Bonaventure Cemetery Savannah. (Photo: Internet Archive\/Public Domain)\"   \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><span class=\"credit\">One of the site’s of Muir’s walk, the Bonaventure Cemetery Savannah. (Photo: <a href=\"https:\/\/archive.org\/stream\/thousandmile00muirrich#page\/n120\/mode\/1up\">Internet Archive\/Public Domain<\/a>)<\/span><\/p><\/div>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">* * *<\/p>\n<p>Ranger Travis Bow wears a tan uniform with a gun on his hip and a Muir-like beard. But before leading the way to the remote canyon where he imagines the derailment happened, Bow, who grew up on the Cumberland Plateau, a swath of steep forested ridges and sandstone cliffs in northeastern Tennessee points out that Muir wasn\u2019t too enamored with the local populous. Muir describes neighboring Jamestown as, \u201cpoor, rickety, thrice-dead\u2026 an incredibly dreary place.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>From a man whose pen breathed so much beauty, vulgar descriptions like this seem ill-fitting. Yet they characterize a part of Muir that gets little attention. While he revered the plants discovered on his walk to the Gulf, he rejected many of the humans.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cMuir dismissed people he thought were technologically backwards,\u201d says Hunt. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, Muir was a technophile, \u201cvery much oriented towards the values of the Industrial Revolution,\u201d says Hunt.<\/p>\n<p>After all, Muir was an inventor. His mind\u2019s gears turned towards efficiency and progress, a preoccupation shared by the nation. In a rabid quest for farmland and minerals, America had forgotten about the plants. Muir was there to remind them. \u201cIn the wake of industrialization,\u201d says Hunt, \u201cthere is a moral purpose for wilderness.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>Bow leads the way up wooden steps and onto a rocky finger of land that juts over a steep cliff like the prow of a ship. A gnarled bonsai-like tree arches delicately into the void, a Virginia pine, perhaps twice as old as the country. That night stars spill across the sky. Jupiter, Saturn and Mars are visible too, blazing like hot coals. Pickett State Park, recently named a \u201cDark Sky Park\u201d by the International Dark-Sky Association is the darkest spot in Tennessee. The distinction, says Bow, once belonged to the Smokey Mountains, protected since 1940 as a National Park. But in recent decades, cities neighboring the park, like Asheville and Knoxville, have grown, and tarnished the once dark skies. National Parks were put aside for the people, and the people have come. This in turn has changed the wilderness experience.<\/p>\n<div data-shortcode=\"caption\" id=\"attachment_37264\" style=\"width: 310px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img src=\"https:\/\/longreadsblog.files.wordpress.com\/2016\/07\/69153989_b2253970df_b.jpg?w=300&h=225\" alt=\"Death Valley National Park, where the Timbisha community resides. (Photo: Ken Lund\/desaturated\/CC BY-SA 2.0)\" width=\"300\" height=\"225\" class=\"size-medium wp-image-37264\" \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><span class=\"credit\">Death Valley National Park, where the Timbisha community resides. (Photo: <a href=\"https:\/\/www.flickr.com\/photos\/kenlund\/69153989\/\">Ken Lund\/desaturated\/CC BY-SA 2.0<\/a>)<\/span><\/p><\/div>\n<p>Muir much preferred sleeping beneath the stars than under a roof. <em>\u201cOnly by going alone in silence,\u201d he wrote, \u201cwithout baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness.\u201d Yet, <\/em>Yosemite\u2019s Majestic Hotel\u2014formerly the Ahwahnee\u2014has a solarium, valet parking, and rooms, according to one luxury hotel website, \u201caccented with original Native American designs.\u201d Less than five miles from the rim of the Grand Canyon is a chalet-style hotel with an indoor pool and spa. The Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Resort, in Death Valley National Park, the hottest place on earth, has an 18-hole golf course, spring-fed swimming pools and a stately dining room that serves steak, rabbit and omelets.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cI\u2019ve thought many times,\u201d says cultural critic Stefany Anne Golberg, via email, \u201cthat Muir\u2019s project was almost too successful.\u201d<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">* * *<\/p>\n<p>Whether or not Muir truly got lost in Pogue Creek Canyon, he made it out, climbed through the rugged mountains of southeastern Tennessee and eventually crossed the Hiwassee River, in North Carolina. The \u201cvery rough\u201d channel and \u201cleafy banks\u201d impressed him. It was here, in the Smokey Mountains that in 1838 the Cherokee Indians were evicted from their homes in the dead of winter by white settlers\u2019 hungry for their land and gold\u2014even though a U.S. treaty and a U.S. Supreme Court decision guaranteed their land rights\u2014and forced to walk more than a third of the way across the continent to Oklahoma, a march that would kill 4,000 people and come to be known as the Trail of Tears.<\/p>\n<div data-shortcode=\"caption\" id=\"attachment_37261\" style=\"width: 310px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img src=\"https:\/\/longreadsblog.files.wordpress.com\/2016\/07\/village_creek_state_park_wynne_ar_53.jpg?w=300&h=225\" alt=\"In the Village Creek State Park in Arkansas,  a portion of the Trail of Tears remains. (Photo: Thomas R Machnitzki\/desaturated\/CC BY 3.0)\" width=\"300\" height=\"225\" class=\"size-medium wp-image-37261\" \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><span class=\"credit\">In the Village Creek State Park in Arkansas,  a portion of the Trail of Tears remains. (Photo: <a href=\"https:\/\/commons.wikimedia.org\/wiki\/File:Village_Creek_State_Park_Wynne_AR_53.jpg\">Thomas R Machnitzki\/desaturated\/CC BY 3.0)<\/a><\/span><\/p><\/div>\n<p>Muir, apparently, was ignorant of this history. He described the Cherokee homes he found as, \u201cthe uncouth transitionist \u2026wigwams of savages.\u201d He described the homes of the very settlers who may well have drove them out as, \u201cdecked with flowers and vines, clean within and without, and stamped with the comforts of culture and refinement.\u201d For a man who supposedly walked with eyes wide open, this is a profound moment of blindness.<\/p>\n<p>Today, the wigwams are gone, but the Cherokee aren\u2019t, and on a recent June afternoon Sonny Ledford sits sharpening axes under a shade tree in front of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. It\u2019s a beautiful spot, hidden among deeply forested mountains, and has been occupied by Ledford\u2019s tribe and their antecedents for more than 11,000 years. Ledford wears a pair of bear claw necklaces. Lightning-shaped tattoos streak his arms. His head is shaved, except for a ponytail of hair that sprouts like a plant from the middle of his skull. And as the hot June Smokey Mountain sun beats through the leaves, beams glint off his metal axes, and flash in the rapt eyes of the small crowd gathered around.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cEveryone out there is lost,\u201d says Ledford, gazing past the mountains, toward the exurbs, the interstates, burger joints, malls, John Muir middle schools. \u201cYou go to college to sit in some class for four years so you can get some piece of paper that gets you some general manager position so you can do some job you hate, just so you can be fired for a reason you don\u2019t even understand\u2026forget that,\u201d says Ledford. \u201cI don\u2019t need some piece of paper to tell me who I am, I have this,\u201d and he holds up a sacred turtle rattle.<\/p>\n<p>When asked what John Muir means to him, Ledford, after first having to be told who the man was, scoffs at the question. \u201cMy people commonly walked from here to Florida,\u201d he says. \u201cThe difference is, we were all touched with that desire to be in nature, we just did it. And we didn\u2019t glorify this one man.\u201d Native American tribes, Ledford wants us to understand, were full of John Muirs, and between Spanish explorers, Christian missionaries and American settlers, a countless many John Muirs were killed. For Americans to idolize a figure who suddenly believed what his people had always believed was the ultimate irony. \u201cWe\u2019ve accomplished so much that we don\u2019t get recognition for,\u201d sighs Ledford. \u201cIt has always been like that.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>Ledford is not alone. \u201cThis isn\u2019t something that we are really jumping up and down about,\u201d says a battle-worn Barbara Durham, historic preservation officer for Death Valley\u2019s Timbisha tribe, when asked what John Muir and the National Park Service\u2019s upcoming centennial meant to her. Durham\u2019s community is located just downhill from the sumptuous Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Resort. The Timbisha are the only Native American tribe that officially resides within the bounds of a National Park, a privilege the tribe fought long and hard to guarantee\u2014at one point park policy was to knock their earthen homes down with powerful hoses then take over the land. In 2000, just before leaving office, President Bill Clinton signed the Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act, formally recognizing the Timbisha tribe\u2019s right to exist. But relationships remain tenuous. Durham says National Park Service officials recently asked her to talk at an upcoming centennial event. She refused. \u201cIt is their celebration,\u201d says Durham, \u201cnot my celebration.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>This is the dark side of the Muir mythology, and one that was highlighted on his Southern journey. The man who thought of nature as a cathedral, and regarded, \u201cwhales and elephants, dancing, humming gnats,\u201d and even \u201cinvisibly small mischievous microbes\u201d as divine, regarded Native Americans as subhuman. Later, in California, he called them: \u201cdirty,\u201d \u201cgarrulous as jays,\u201d \u201csuperstitious,\u201d \u201clazy.\u201d Such denigration is particularly surprising, as Muir\u2019s spiritual embrace of nature could have been taken right out of a Native American mind. \u201cFrankly, I think that is where he missed the boat big time,\u201d says Hunt. \u201cHe totally missed the beauty and knowledge that Native American culture could offer, and what that could add to his own world view.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>Was Muir so caught up in American Manifest Destiny that he refused to notice what came before? Was he so caught up with plants that he failed to notice who first tended them? Was he still under the influence of his parochial father, who once said, in a debate with a Wisconsin neighbor, \u201cit could never have been the intention of God to allow Indians to rove and hunt over so fertile a country and hold it forever in unproductive wildness while Scotch and Irish and English farmers could put it to so much better use.\u201d Or, was Muir\u2019s aversion to Native Americans merely a product of his dislike for people he saw as technologically backwards? The distinction might not even matter.<\/p>\n<div data-shortcode=\"caption\" id=\"attachment_37262\" style=\"width: 310px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><img src=\"https:\/\/longreadsblog.files.wordpress.com\/2016\/07\/22152914041_c64b845d9d_h.jpg?w=300&h=196\" alt=\"A photograph from c. 1920 of a Cherokee home in North Carolina. (Photo: State Archives of North Carolina\/Public Domain)\" width=\"300\" height=\"196\" class=\"size-medium wp-image-37262\" \/><p class=\"wp-caption-text\"><span class=\"credit\">A photograph from c. 1920 of a Cherokee home in North Carolina. (Photo: <a href=\"https:\/\/www.flickr.com\/photos\/north-carolina-state-archives\/22152914041\/\">State Archives of North Carolina\/Public Domain)<\/a><\/span><\/p><\/div>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">* * *<\/p>\n<p>On October 15, 1867, John Muir arrived in Florida via a steamship from Savannah, allowing him to bypass the Georgia coast\u2014an \u201cunwalkable piece of forest.\u201d He immediately bought some bread, and darted into the woods, but the vegetation was so impenetrable that Muir could barely step off the path to inspect it. \u201cOftentimes,\u201d he wrote, \u201cI was tangled in a labyrinth of armed vines like a fly in a spider-web.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>Later, after a difficult night sleeping on a soggy hillock and out of bread, Muir spotted a shanty occupied by a logging party. \u201cThey were the wildest of all the white savages I met,\u201d he wrote. Nevertheless, they shared with him a meal of yellow pork and hominy. Still, Muir remained skeptical of Florida\u2019s swampy citizens. They were too poor, too dirty, too primitive.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cHe really despised dirty peoples,\u201d explains Harold Wood, an educator with the Sierra Club, the environmental organization Muir founded in 1892. \u201cHe couldn\u2019t understand why people were dirty when bears and deer were not dirty.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>Outside of Gainesville, Muir came across the \u201cmost primitive of all the domestic establishments I have yet seen.\u201d A couple was seated around a fire, in the ashes Muir noticed a \u201cblack lump of something\u201d\u2014it turned out to be a young boy. \u201cBirds make nests and nearly all beasts make some kind of bed for their young,\u201d wrote Muir, \u201cbut these negroes [sic] allow their younglings to lie nestless and naked in the dirt.\u201d The following day the dirt parade continued, as Muir came to a hut, weary and hungry. \u201cI saw only the man and his wife,\u201d he wrote. \u201cBoth were suffering from malarial fever, and were very dirty\u2026the most diseased and incurable dirt that I ever saw, evidently desperately chronic and hereditary.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>Those are hateful words, though not the sum total of Muir’s perspective. In other writings about his trip through the South, he sympathizes with African-Americans he meets, and bemoans the bigoted mindset he encounters amongst whites. His views on humanity, though, reflect deep ambivalence, and in nature, he seems to see a blank slate, a chance to write his own story upon the land.<\/p>\n<p>The problem for Muir, for the National Park Service, for all of us, is that America was never a blank slate. And we know now Muir\u2019s story was wrong. As new research by ecologists like Kat Anderson, of University of California Davis, shows, Native Americans in California, including those in Yosemite Valley, intentionally used fire to open land, increase pasturage, prevent even larger more catastrophic fires, and promote biodiversity. Muir\u2019s sacred Yosemite was not a garden tended by God, as he wrote so passionately about, it was a garden tended by Native people.<\/p>\n<p>Muir\u2019s blurry human vision is something Native writers and historians have been grappling with for some time. \u201cWe do not know why Muir was blind regarding the original people in all of the beautiful National Park locations he waxed about so eloquently,\u201d wrote Native author Roy Cook. \u201cIndian people are the true conscience of the American character.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>It is also true that Muir\u2019s views did change over time. He was 29 on his walk to the Gulf, and not much older when he first entered California. Later in his life, he traveled to Alaska. Muir lived among various tribes, including the Chukchis and Thlinkit. \u201cHe grew to respect and honor their beliefs, actions, and life styles,\u201d wrote scholar Richard Fleck, in a 1978 article in the journal, <em>American Indian Quarterly<\/em>. \u201cHe, too, would evolve and change from his somewhat ambivalent stance toward various Indian cultures to a positive admiration.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>As we sweat through summer, and laud this American hero anew and even cast him in gold, it is indeed important to remember his nature writing and his nature story. But it is equally important to remember, as we celebrate the creation of the National Park system and all of the beauty contained wherein, that a powerful story has already been written upon this land. It is sometimes the thing hiding in plain sight.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">* * *<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\"><em>This story was co-published and funded by\u00a0<a href=\"http:\/\/www.atlasobscura.com\/\">Atlas Obscura<\/a> and <a href=\"https:\/\/longreads.com\/membership\/signup\/\">Longreads Members<\/a>.\u00a0<\/em><\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\"><em>Editor: <a href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/harmancipants\">Reyhan Harmanci<\/em><\/a><\/p>\n",
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