Peak Perspectives: No ‘Natives’ Or ‘Townies’ Here

November 26, 2020

Hey you with the green Colorado “Native” sticker — scape it off. It’s not cool.

Where you were born is a geographical fact that has nothing to do with who you are or what you can contribute. You might as well rock a bumper sticker with your birth hospital on it.

In the land of the pioneers, place of birth doesn’t impress anybody.

It’s what you do while you’re here. Our congressman’s from Kansas. John Elway’s originally from Washington state. And William J. Palmer – our founding father – born in Delaware and raised in Pennsylvania.

What matters is passion for the place, for Pikes Peak. Do you care for Colorado? Are you proud to call yourself a Manitoid, even if it sounds like a certain kind of health concern?

Of course, “Native” probably rose in response to the opposite slur: “townies.” I first heard it when I went to a “townie” bar owned by a guy with a glass eye that looked everywhere but at you.

“Townies” doesn’t represent the lifelong locals I’ve met here. My daughter’s kindergarten teacher, our mechanic, the neighbors and small-business owners — all are great people. They’re not “townies.”

Newcomers bring energy, investment, and a sense of public duty (often through military service). Established residents bring experience, equity, and a deep sense of community.

Our common denominator is every night we choose to lay our heads on pillows here. And when we do, we dream of a better life in the shadow of Pikes Peak, for however long we’re blessed to be here.

Be good, be well, be the one who listens when someone needs a kind ear. Until next week, no matter what, climb on.


Peak Perspectives is a weekly segment written and voiced by Matt Cavanaugh, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and a resident of Manitou Springs, where he lives with his wife and two young children. Through his writing, Cavanaugh explores life in the Pikes Peak region, including the gradients and subtleties of our lives in the shadow of America's Mountain. 

You can find more work by Cavanaugh here.

KRCC's Abigail Beckman manages the "Peak Perspectives" series. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of KRCC or Colorado Public Radio.

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