Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Curt Hoffman Talk - Wednesday night Zoom

Oct 21 7 PM EST Curt is talking in Acton: 


Passcode: 716028

Saturday, October 17, 2020

What did the Indians know?

Since first learning about ceremonial stone structures I have wondered, as have others, how much of the specific ceremonies is remembered by today's Native Americans? Mavor concluded that there was a bit of residual knowledge, kept by some families; but nothing that would inform our understanding of what we find in the woods. Personally, I concluded, based on how many fresh rock piles appear (almost none) and their adherence to familiar patterns (incomplete, at best) that Mavor was essentially correct. I listened carefully, during an "expert panel on rock piles" at a NEARA meeting, when the president of USET, over the speaker phone, thanked Doug for teaching the member tribes about rock piles. He said: "We did not know about these things and you showed us the way". That seemed definitive.

In fact, the Native Americans - notably Doug Harris -  like to imply they always knew about rock piles. "The cat is out of the bag", Doug used to say when asked why these ideas were being discussed for the first time now, rather than at any time in the past. This always leaves me concerned that I am stepping on the toes of people who really know about rock piles because they are the originators of them. It is a huge opportunity to make a fool of myself.

Yet, I am given pause seeing a picture of the Narragansett medicine man standing on a stone mound and walking across it casually. An act of disrespect.

In any case, I just noticed a bit of logic that escaped me earlier.  If Doug Harris already knew about rock piles, then why would he take multiple walks with me? If he already knew about rock piles then why did the USET resolution appear (Resolution 2003:022) , identifying eight towns, only after I gave Doug the names of those towns? Had the main purpose of the USET resolution been the political aspect of working with New England towns, then Doug, who is an extremely busy person, would have gone to the towns first and not bothered taking walks with me.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Medawlinno Footprints (Henniker NH)


     Sherry L. Gould writes: "These footprints are in Henniker NH where the Abenaki believe foot prints were left here by Medawlinno. People with extremely powerful medicine, like Passaconaway, could press their feet into solid earth.

     There is no oral tradition of what person may have left these prints in the rocks in Henniker that we have found yet. Just our traditions of what kind of person was able to do it, and traditions of Passaconaway's abilities..."


Ed Lenik writes:

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Indian Idol (Woodbury CT)

   “It is no less than an Indian idol or charm, artistically cut from piece of rock, which appears to have been originally a piece of petrified walnut wood. It was found in 1860, on the lot near F. Minor's, before mentioned as the place where the most perfect specimens have been found. It was discovered while hoeing corn. It evidently represents some animal, but it is difficult to divine what. It has pretty well form ed head and body, with large, round ears, and holes for the insertion of four legs, but the latter are missing. It looks as much like the representative of an enormous lizard, as anything. It can hardly represent the Great Spirit. It is not of sufficiently attractive conception for that. It may, therefore, be presumed to be the likeness of Hobbamoko, or their Spirit of Evil, whom they feared, and worshipped more assiduously than the Good Spirit, whom they supposed lived quite at his ease, caring little for the actions or affairs of his red children, after having given them their corn, beans and squash, and taught them the mode of their cultivation. Some of these relics our artist has endeavored to make plain to the mind's eye."

"And Nonnewaug, too, at the appointed time, slept with his fathers, and the small remnant of his people buried him in the beautiful plain at the foot of the musical falls that are called by his name, where his fathers' people had been buried before him, true to their instinct of selecting the most beautiful places by the river side, by the silvery cascade, or in the verdant plain. An apple tree was planted at the head of his grave, which still stands there, the faithful guardian of the ashes that repose beneath its grateful shade. It is venerable tree, some 150 years old, but docs not bear the marks of so great an age, though there are several decayed places in it, so perfectly shown in the accompanying cut of the grave and tree, taken by the artist on the spot during the last summer. When the writer first visited it, twenty years ago, there was large hillock, or mound, raised over the grave, which remained, distinguishing the sachem's, by its size, from the other graves around him, till few years ago, when the present owner of the field committed the sacrilege of plowing it down, saying he was not going to have such an old "hummock in his field," much to the regret of every true antiquarian, and lover of ancient things. The mound thus destroyed was some ten feet long, six feet wide, and four feet high, having been gradually formed, in the same way, as in the case of Pomperaug's grave."

HISTORY OF ANCIENT WOODBURY  (Wm. Cothren Vol. II  page 884-5)


Wednesday, September 09, 2020