Resilience is a vast and diverse concept, and a basic aspect of our societies’ ability to persevere and evolve through challenge and devastation. Without resilience, humankind would cease to persist in the face of adversity. Without resilience, nature’s growth would not ebb and flow through the seasons, through droughts, through fires.
Resilience is a toughness that resides in each of us. This is particularly true of those of us who call the American West home. Through adaptability, creativity, and strength, the diverse peoples of the American West have demonstrated resilience for thousands of years. They have recovered, or are in the process of recovering, from traumatic experiences ranging from genocide and injustice to pandemics, racism, and violence. While healing from these experiences takes time, it is resilience that makes the diverse peoples of the American West who they are.
We called on students in the American West to share with us their understandings of, and visions of resilience in the American West. These students have pondered what resilience has looked like in the past, what it looks like today, and what kinds of resilience they have experienced in their own lives.
Photographs of artwork done by Las Fotos Project