Thursday, December 14, 2017

Part of the Great Mystery

A friend (of Abenaki ancestry) once wrote to me: "There is no need to question the land, the place where one finds oneself. The answers are all freely available - Creation is always speaking and being. Rather, always question oneself. Am I listening? Can I see? Am I present? Who else is here? Am I fulfilling my responsibilities as a part of the Great Mystery or have I (again) separated myself?”
"To both see and observe: Therein lies the secret." ~ Sherlock Stones
Three White Quartz Triangular Boulders at Gaps in Stone Walls
Three  White Headed Serpents at Three Different Gateways, First up above the stream that flows into the Cranberry Garden, the other two at the first terrace...


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Yurok Forest History (1994)

Chapter 2: Culture and Landscape

    "The cultural framework of Yurok life is deeply intertwined with sustainable management of the environment. Before European contact the Yurok forest was managed to meet spiritual as well as material needs. The relationship was a dynamic one: the Yurok used various tools to maintain and develop their forest, and at the same time they let the environment guide them in determining where to live and in other aspects of life. Much of this information is embodied in Yurok spiritual tradition. Although they have lost control over much of the management and use of their indigenous territory, Yurok culture and lifeways remain connected to the forest.

     Waterman’s Yurok Geography (1920) extensively documents the spiritual and economic meaning of many sites and landscapes along the river. A variety of reports to the Forest Service have documented aspects of Yurok ethnography and resource use. This chapter draws on these reports, published accounts, and interviews to highlight aspects of the relationship between the forest and the tribe...
Figure 2-2. Sweathouse and cemetery on tribal lands

... Waterman commented in 1909 that many boulders in the river were known by their proper name to every Yurok, and sites were often named with names meaning “downstream-from-a-particular-rock” or “upstreamfrom-a-particular rock.” Yurok Forest History 1994 pg. 44

Of special relevance to forest management is the use of trails. 

     Waterman states:
      Trails are “like people,” that is, they are sentient, and must be treated with urbanity. If you step out of a trail and in again, and fail to preserve decorum, the trail becomes resentful. Along each important trail there are “resting-places.” Few of these show on my maps, because I did not travel the trails myself, but hundreds of such places are to be found. People when traveling kept on in a business-like way until they came to these resting places. There they took off their packs and had a good breathing spell. If they did differently they were likely to have bad luck....Here and there in the Yurok country are large trees into which parties of travelers shot arrows, as an offering for good luck on the trail (1920).
     Some of the major trails are indicated on Waterman’s maps (1920). Yurok Forest History 1994 pg. 45
... A major preoccupation of forest management...was reflected by passage of the Act of September 20, 1922 (42 Stat. 857) which mandated that the Secretary of the Interior protect timber on public lands, National Parks, National Forests, Indian Reservations, or other lands under the jurisdiction of the Department from the depredations of fire, insects, and beetles. Suppressing fire in the region was not an easy task due to inaccessibility, limited funds, and the belief by many, especially the Yurok, that fire was a good thing (Roberts, 1983)..." Page 33


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Great Oak Horned Serpent

"Redrawn" with Rattlesnake Eye, Deer Antlers and an Ulun'suti 
added to the original:
Without the Ulun'suti:
A dark eye or is there a missing stone eye??
Is the big white stone (at the seventh scale/marking) the heart??
Stone scales, markings, body undulating in height...

Monday, December 11, 2017

Snow on a Stone Serpent by the Stream

    So I'm leaving the school, the venue for the Ceremonial Stone Landscape, back in October, about to walk to the parking lot when I suddenly remember that I meant to: "Ask Doug Harris if he thinks it's disrespectful to overlay eyes and horns onto photos."
    So I do, prefacing the question with the thought that these additions make the Stone Feature come alive and that I'm doing so, sort of "hitting people over the head with them to get my message across."
     I add that if he finds it's disrespectful, unhelpful, that I won't do so anymore - I won't add the eyes and horns and post them up here anymore, take down all the old overlays...
Above: Great Serpent Overlays
Below: the original photos that still include the Ulun'suti,  


James Mooney "Where The Uktena Stays:"

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Monument Mountain and a Mohican Sacred Place

Mohicans Past & Present: a Study of Cultural Survival 
Lucianne Lavin, Ph.D. 
February, 2011 
"Abstract: Study of artifacts collected from Stockbridge Mohicans living in Wisconsin between 1929 and 1937 and associated documents show that although they had been Christianized, victimized and precariously depopulated through European diseases, poverty and warfare over the past 300 years, the Mohicans remained a tribal community throughout the historical period. They achieved this through adherence to core cultural and spiritual traditions and strong leadership that focused tribal members on several key survival strategies, which allowed the Mohican people to remain together physically and politically. Their story is one of courage and persistence in the face of seemingly unbeatable odds."
(Excerpts pertaining to Ceremonial Stone Landscape:)

Excerpt from:

Friday, December 01, 2017


wâunon- ‘honor’ + qussuk ‘stone’ = wâunonaqussuk – ‘honoring stone’
"...a long, low boulder with many small, round stones on top." 

(Wawanaquas- sik, ‘place of many honoring stones,’- Nochpeem Mahikkaneuw/Wappinger, Ruttenber 1992b:373).

Wawanaquasick, stone-heaps on the north line, "here the Indians have laid several heaps of stones together by an ancient custom among them ;" (Page 19)
   “JOSEPH VAN GELDER – That he is Forty Eight Years of Age  He understood the Indian language  that he knows a place called Wawanaquasick  it lies between Claverack and Sheffield one Breakfast Travel from the River to wawanaquasick.  it lies about 9 or 10 Miles East from the River – has seen it often has traveled.  It lies upon the East part of a Hill  has heard of it high thiry Year ago from old Indians who told him it was wawanaquasick and Said it was an old Place they had there, a great many years ago – Old Nannahaken and old Skannout old Panneyote who were Ancient Indians told him so.  Old Skannout was quite grey with Years – Nanahacken about 70 Years then, and old Skannout appeared older then Ampawekine called Sankenakeke who was the Sachem of the Mohickens also told him of it.  He was then better than Sixty Years of Age, they were all of the Mowhickens Tribe  the Indians told him it was an offering Place of their old fore fathers and a boundary between the tribes Mohickens and the River Indians  the Eastern Tribes was called Mohigens and lived at Stockbridge he is sure – the Indians told him Wawanaquasick was a boundary between the Mohicken and the River Indians  they used to join together when they went to war...”
Wawanaquasick ~ Location in Town of Livingston, Columbia Co., N.Y.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Qussuk/Quassuk or Stone

|Qussuk|, { A Rock}. |pl. Qussukquanash|.   
             |Hussun|, { A Stone}. |pl. Hussunash|.
     "Hussunash" is that bit of language I've been looking for, as in "Sacred Stones" or Manitou Hussunash. Qussuk is so much easier for me to remember and say, visible reminders here and there of this Algonquin word - just don't ask me how to spell or say the plural just yet. But I did hear a plea to be respectful and quit calling these stones by names applied to stone features of other cultures, all those cairns and dolmens that belong on that Sacred Landscape.

wâunon, ‘honor’ + qussuk, ‘stone’ = Wâunonaqussuk: ‘honoring stone’

(Natick Nipmuc wâunonukhauónat – ‘to flatter,’ Trumbull 1903:202, verb stem wâunon- ‘honor’ + qussuk ‘stone’ = wâunonaqussuk – ‘honoring stone’ + quanash pl., also Narragansett wunnaumwâuonck – ‘faithfulness, truthfulness,’ wunna, ‘good,’ wáunen, ‘honor,’ + onk, abstract suffix, O’Brien 2005:37, Wawanaquas- sik, ‘place of many honoring stones,’- Nochpeem Mahikkaneuw/Wappinger, Ruttenber 1992b:373). From

   “To the high, woodlands called Wawanaquasik...
 “To a place called by the Indians Wawanaqussek, where the heapes of stone lye...upon which the Indians throw another as they pass by, from an ancient custom, among them.” 
 The heap of stones here was “on the south side of the path leading to Wayachtanok,” and other paths diverged, showing that the place was a place of meeting... 
    “To the high woodland,” in the description of 1649, is marked on the map of survey of 1715, “Foot of the hill,” apparently, a particular point, the place of which was identified by the head of the creek, the marsh and the heap of stones. The name may have described this point or promontory, or it may have referred to the place of meeting near the head of the creek, or to the end of the marsh, but it is claimed that it was the name of the heap of stones, and that it is from Mide,  or Miyée, “Together"—Mawena, “Meeting,” “Assembly"—frequently met in local names and accepted as meaning, “Where paths or streams or boundaries come together;” and Qussuk, “stone”—“Where the stones are assembled or brought together,” “A stone heap."
   This reading is of doubtful correctness. Dr. Trumbull wrote that Qussuk," meaning “stone,” is “rarely, perhaps never” met as a substantival in local names, and an instance is yet to be cited where it is so used.” It is a legitimate word in some connections, however, Eliot writing it as a noun in Möhshe-qussuk, “A flinty rock,” in the singular number. If used here it did not describe “a heap of stones,” but a certain rock. On the map of survey of the patent, in 1798, the second station is marked “Manor Rock,” and the third, “Wawanaquassick,” is located I23 chains and 34 links (a fraction over one and one-half miles) north of Manor Rock, as the corner of an angle. In the survey of 1715, the first station is “the foot of the hill”—“the high woodland”—which seems to have been the Mawan-uhquðOsik" of the text. To avoid all question the heap of stones seems to have been included in the boundary. It now lies in an angle in the line between the townships of Claverack and Taghkanic, Columbia County, and is by far the most interesting feature of the locative—a veritable footprint of a perished race. 
   Similar heaps were met by early European travelers in other parts of the country. Rev. Gideon Hawley, writing in 1758, described one which he met in Schohare Valley, and adds that the largest one that he ever saw was “on the mountain between Stockbridge and Great Barrington.” Mass. (Doc. Hist. N. Y., iii, Io99.) The significance of the “ancient custom” of casting a stone to these heaps has not been handed down. Rev. Mr. Sergeant wrote, in 1734, that though the Indians “each threw a stone”as they passed, they had entirely lost the knowledge of the reason for doing so,” and an inquiry by Rev. Hawley, in 1758, was not attended by a better result.* The heaps were usually met at resting places on the path and the custom of throwing the stone a sign-language indicating that one of the tribe had passed and which way he was going, but further than the explanation that the casting of the stone was “an ancient custom,” nothing may be claimed with any authority. A very ancient custom, indeed, when its signification had been forgotten...” from "Proceedings of the New York State Historical Association," Volumes 5-6

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Stone Wall Talk Hosted by Matt Bua

Nov. 19, 2017

There's a back story to this photo - and I HHH'd when I saw it (HHH is like LOL but you go "Heh-heh-heh" instead of just laughing like a regular ordinary normal person). Matt Bua's original photo triggered a little spark in my brain and taught me a little lesson that I'm forever grateful to him for.
I suddenly saw that these stones very much resembled a coiled rattlesnake if the large round stone were interpreted as an eye, the smaller stones snake scales:
The stones "came alive," especially when an actual rattlesnake eye is overlay-ed onto Matt's origin photo. Suddenly a Great Serpent is looking right at you: 
I told the story here almost a year ago:
Adapted from:
and duplicated here: