– Tareneh Manning

Tareneh Manning

Fayetteville-ish, Arkansas

“Welcome to the Gun and Garden life,” she says with a smile and eye roll. She knows all too well, when it comes to men, that National Lampoon antics always have been, and always will be, a part of life’s adventures. (Did you note that bit of Ozark sexism? She meant it. Why the blankety blank blank is a duck boat parked in front of the house)?

It was my intention to share something a little different than a historical or natural photo of the Ozarks. Something a little more relevant to Ozark life today but rooted in our history. I was hoping that a current snapshot of my life would convey, through the power of analogy, how life in the early 2000’s has developed for many Ozark families with ancestoral bloodlines from predominantly Irish immigrants and Native Americans that made their way here generations ago. While both groups came to the Ozarks because of hardships which in no small way include severe discrimination, they collected here either through forced migratory discrimination or as policy promoted incentivized migration to escape discrimination and build a sustainable lives. In the part of the Ozarks where I live, historical evidence surrounds me that expresses these people had strong wills, strong minds, and industrious hands that created a foundation for a culturally complex and rich region of the world. Education, commerce, art, science, technology, love of nature, and community spirit thrive throughout the plateau and hills of Northwest Arkansas. Love it or hate it, their work tenacity, persistence, ingenuity, creativity, and openness to helping their neighbors succeed  has taken root and cultivated a dynamic region where the “pursuit of happiness” can be pursued and achieved for their descendants and anyone else that is called to the land of the Ozarks.