Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Smoking Guns

So I’m reading this:
By Kent G. Lightfoot, Rob Q. Cuthrell, Chuck J. Striplen, and Mark G. Hylkema

    I get to page 2 and I see, much to my delight, since I often interpret many supposed “colonial stone fences,” commonly called “stone walls,” to actually be fuel breaks that Indigenous used to control those prescribed burns, very much tied into cycles of renewal and Sacred Ceremony on a Sacred Landscape:
   “…In particular, the strategic use of fire is argued to be an important management tool once used to construct productive anthropogenic landscapes in many regions of North America (e.g., Boyd 1999; Hammett 1991, 1992; Lewis 1993; Patterson and Sassaman 1988; Stewart 2002). Fowler and Lepofsky refer collectively to the various activities and knowledge employed to enhance the abundance, diversity, and/or availability of local resources as “traditional resource and environmental management” (TREM [2011:286]). This article considers management practices, particularly anthropogenic burning, used by hunter-gatherers to enhance the productivity of non-domesticated plants and animals (e.g., Smith 2011).”
    And I happily read on until I bump into this sentence (and giggle – it’s a pun, right?):
    “Landscape management practices employed by hunter-gatherers are often subtle and not prone to leave smoking guns in the archaeological record (Page 6).”

     So, I’m very happy to see the “research program in central California is being undertaken in close collaboration with members of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, who have a keen interest in enhancing the health and vigor of indigenous plants and animals that are still providing sources of traditional food, medicine, basket making, and dance regalia. Recently, the tribe secured an agreement with the California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) designating Quiroste Valley (so named for the site’s aboriginal community) as a “State Cultural Preserve” in the Año Nuevo State Reserve.”
    At the same time that I’m ready to dive into the inevitable Google Search to find more, I think about the places I’ve been here on this coast where there might be some smoking guns that aren’t so subtle, that quarter million miles of stones that are an icon of the New England landscape that are actually very much misunderstood due to a cultural bias, politely called “ethnic erasure,” against the acceptance of the idea that Indigenous People used stone to create anthropogenic landscapes over in this corner of Turtle Island.
    How happy I’d be to work in collaboration with the most likely descendants of the Indigenous People who created some of the things I see, these Stone Features of this Sacred Landscape of Turtle Island. Kind of like a Connecticut version of this poem by Gary Snyder:

"Ah to be alive
on a mid-September morn
fording a stream
barefoot, pants rolled up,
holding boots, pack on,
sunshine, ice in the shallows,
northern rockies.

Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
cold nose dripping
singing inside
creek music, heart music,
smell of sun on gravel.

I pledge allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the soil
of Turtle Island,
and to the beings who thereon dwell
one ecosystem
in diversity
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all.

No comments:

Post a Comment