Monday, February 23, 2015

"Stone walls" on a formerly-fire-tended Cultural Landscape?

     Is there any reason Indigenous People might have a need to build the stonework we have been taught to think of as "stone walls" (and associated piles of "stone cleared from agricultural fields")?  
      What role(s) could Indigenous made and maintained rows of stone serve on a Pre-contact Indigenous Fire Tended Cultural Landscape?
      Would any pragmatic function of Indigenous stonework be considered a “dire need,” such as a need for fuel breaks in a crowded corner of Turtle Island?
      Knowing Indigenous People here did not separate the Spiritual world from "the land we eat from,"can patterns of stacking along with inclusions of possible effigies be observed in the stonework that is similar to designs found in other Indigenous artwork, infusing the Spiritual attributes, the Manitou, of various magical beings such the Great Serpent or Great Turtle (or the animals who also live and "eat" there - bears, deer and birds etc.) into the object itself, things like ceramic pottery, other rock art, beading and so much more?
More here: Stone walls on a formerly-fire-tended Cultural Landscape?


Tommy Hudson said...

Wow, that is a lot to think about and I have thought about it all day since I read your post this morning. Kind of like having a song stuck in your head.
Indians certainly burned the forest, that much we know. These stone constructions are impervious to fire, wind, and rain. I think that is why they are made of stone. They are permanent, and I think the Indians were building them not just as contemporary representations of their belief system, but also as permanent examples far into the future. We have them with us today because they were meant to be here. A very powerful statement, from them to us.
I have become interested in the Manitou, or omnipresent life force that we know little about down here in the South, but I believe is similar to our "spirit filled world" that recognizes a life force in all things. I'm getting off topic.

Tommy Hudson said...

I like the idea of a spirit infused in the object itself. I think it makes perfect sense from the Indian perspective. You can imagine a shaman explaining these things to a new initiate and becoming animated and infusing the initiate with all the lore associated with a stone construction. Maybe a "coming of age" experience, or vision quest, both of which were common practice among all Indian groups. A new person returns to the village, a new believer, and another voice for the stone icon far up on the ridge, which in turn, is a testament to the new believer's faith. One begats the other. The same self confirming belief system mechanism that has always been used, and is used today. Bedtime.