Thursday, April 24, 2008


Over the years I've been looking at what I believe to be Native American stonework that survives beneath the modern scars created by the series of waves of immigrants to Turtle Island, I have to remember my friend Wendell's constant reminder to me not to forget that "Everything is connected."

You might call that an "ecological point of view."

You might call that a "web of life, that we are but a single strand of."

I see that in the remnants of stone work, as I walk on Turtle Island.
Those stone rows may separate certain areas of land, perhaps resource zones or ceremonial ground, but they also connect each place to the other.
I know that you aren't supposed to use "negative evidence" as you study something, but I've done it to recreate missing pieces of antique furniture, to fake in worn off spots in paintings, and to make educated guesses as to what features existed in this old house my family lives in and use my hands, head, and heart to artistically recreate them.
I do that with stonework too, as I drive along the asphalt scars of roads and highways, catching glimpses of the "Indian Look" of stone rows or rock piles, as I walk along the trails or go off the path to where the most beautiful things are to be found.
It was all connected, I believe.
And "What's been lost and is now missing," I keep wondering.
And "What can I do to prevent further loss," is constantly on my mind, as is "How can I (or "we," since I find I'm not as alone as I thought about this stuff) help bring the truth into the light, end this bigotry and feeling of superiority, to recognise that a higher culture may be one that is Connected and doesn't scar a landscape - or planet?"
So I use my imagination (and a wiser man than I once said, "Imagination is more important than information.") to reconstruct the missing rows that allowed controlled burning, not just right here but a couple miles away and a couple hundred miles away, all over the ancient Algonquian Confederacy, a densly populated and "rich in resources for the taking" land as described by the first European "discoverers," who brought with them diseases, rats and pigs, and worst of all perhaps, their "Unconnectedness."
It's a given that stones were taken from the ancient rows and used to build the more modern foundations and stone fences we call "stone walls." Balanced stones were tumbled or made immobile, boulders split for mill stones or perhaps just to destroy a "pagan idol," and rock piles dissassembled to rob grave sites for goods and skeletons or just knocked apart for absolutely no good reason at all.

My paternal great grandfather was a part time stone mason and probably used lots of those stones (unknowingly) to build many a "stone wall" to help feed his family. The photo above, taken from: is the most famous of them, he being remembered not by name but as one of a two "Italians" on a crew of six men who built them.) Just this past Sunday I was at a wedding shower, at a house that was once part of the family farm (the first place in Woodbury to have electricity when one of my grandmother's many brothers made some sort of generator), noticing "dressed up" (rebuilt) zigzag stone rows and other ancient ones untouched, glimpses of boulders and possible rock piles in the little bits of woods that still remain, not far from an ancient fishing place where my grandmother probably talked with "Woodbury Indians" who were long ago thought to be extinct as a People, camping there on weekends or days off from their jobs in nearby Waterbury.
Listen for the sounds of internal combustion engines and you'll probably find some bulldozer or ATV doing it still.

I'm slowly trying to read all the many things on The Algonquian Confederacy of the Quinnipiac Tribal Council website I found yesterday and today read something about "Connectedness." It's worth a read and you can find it here:
As Ruth Thunderhorse writes in her article: "Born through countless millenia of living as an integral part of the total Creation, this connectedness gives a depth of spirituality and an understanding of the meaning and purpose of life that had no equal among those who live only to use and exploit the Creation, the land, the rocks, the atoms, the wildlife, the water, the air, the stars, and even each other for their own selfish ambitions..."
(The image used above is from a Wikipedia page about Charles Mann's "1491":
The caption to it reads: "An indicative map of the prominent political entities extant in the Western Hemisphere c. 1491 C.E., as presented in 1491.")

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