Friday, June 14, 2013

Wisdom Sits in Places

Sacred Stone Row, Woodbury CT
       "Basso’s (1996) ethnographic account of the connection that the Western Apache share with their landscape exemplifies how many Native communities view the landscape. Basso shows how stories and ancestral accounts are indivisibly connected to the land through analyzing how these places remind the community about past lessons learned. 
One of his informants stated:

      “How long will you walk this trail of wisdom? Well, you will go to many places. You must look at them closely. You must remember all of them. Your relatives will talk to you about them. You must remember everything they tell you. You must think about it, and keep on thinking about it, and keep on thinking about it. You must do this because no one can help you but yourself. If you do this, your mind will become smooth. It will become steady and resilient. You will stay away from trouble. You will walk a long way and live a long time.

Sacred Falls, Woodbury CT

     Wisdom sits in places. It’s like water that never dries up. You need to drink water to stay alive, don’t you? Well, you also need to drink from places. You must remember everything about them. You must learn their names. You must remember what happened at them long ago. You must think about it and keep on thinking about it. Then your mind will become smoother and smoother. Then you will see danger before it happens. You will walk a long way and live along time. You will be wise. People will respect you (Basso 1996:127).”

Cultural Landscapes in Conflict: Addressing the Interests and Landscape Perceptions of Native Americans, the National Park Service, and the American Public in National Parks” 
by Emily Anne Eide

“Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache” By Keith H. Basso


  1. I obtained a copy of Wisdom Sits In Places awhile ago and am looking forward to absorbing it. I think I am subconsciously holding off on reading it, as the anticipation increases; shades of "...Wait for it."

  2. Thanks for the updated link Rich!