Welcome to www.comprofessor.com a.k.a. Lynch Coaching: Media and Communication Prof's News and Views from Art Lynch. This blog exists to stimulate critical thinking, provide information on communication and media, stimulate discussion and share ideas. For additional media and other news see also sagactoronline.com. Thank you and tell your friends. - Art Lynch
Francis Drake, seen here in a painting by Marcus Gheeraerts the
Younger, became the first British explorer to make contact with Native
Oregon and California are locked in a dispute
over something that happened 433 years ago, when Sir Francis Drake
became the first British explorer to make contact with Native Americans.
happened on what is now the American West Coast. The question is where:
Oregon or California? The National Park Service is now poised to
officially recognize one state's claim.
was the prototypical swashbuckling British ship captain. It took him
three years to circumnavigate the world. In 1579, Drake spent five weeks
repairing his ship and interacting with West Coast tribes. Amateur
historian Garry Gitzen believes that happened near his house overlooking
Nehalem Bay on the northern Oregon coast.
shelves of Gitzen's basement library are lined not only with books
about Sir Francis Drake, but also with what he says is evidence the
British explorer dropped anchor near his home.
Gitzen points to a photo of an old survey marker chiseled into a rock.
"This is what he signed," Gitzen says. "You know, the only person who could do something like that was Francis Drake."
Gitzen is writing a book called Oregon's Stolen History.
In it, he refutes the generally accepted claim that Drake landed in
California, just north of what is now San Francisco. He says it matters
because it's the truth.
living a bunch of lies," he says. "Is that really what we want to do? I
don't think so. If that's the case, why don't we just keep saying the
sun is revolving around the Earth and the Earth is still flat?"
Von der Porten heads a society of history buffs in California's Bay
Area. As far as he's concerned, scholars settled the question long ago
of where Drake first encountered West Coast tribes — in California's
Drake's Bay. Most recently, he says the National Park Service put that
claim through not one, but two scholarly commissions to see if there
were any other alternative.
"The answer came back, as it always has, a resounding no," Von der Porten says.
is still another possibility, however, for Drake's landing: Whale Cove
in southern Oregon. That's where archaeologist Melissa Darby is
studying. Darby says that as a scientist, she doesn't trust anyone who's
100 percent sure of something that happened more than four centuries
"We don't know where he landed," Darby
says. "Just the evidence that there are so many arguments about it tells
me that it's not a done deal."
The Hunt Continues
now at least, the National Park Service has accepted the petition to
officially designate 17 locations around California's Drake's Bay as a
national landmark. But that's not quite the end of the story.
Park Service archeologist Erika Martin Seibert says the point of this
landmark is to recognize the first contact between the British and
"At this time current
scholarship supports this area as the landing sight of Drake's Bay,"
Seibert says. "But that doesn't mean we can't continue to look at other
Seibert says the reason people will
keep studying Drake's circumnavigation of the world is because it was
the "moonshot" of its time.
"He was a rock star. He did something that many people thought was impossible," she says.
that's needed now to turn Drake's Bay in California into a historic
landmark is a signature from U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.