Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Huron Carol / Iesus Ahatonnia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"The "Huron Carol" (or "'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime") is a Canadian Christmas hymn (Canada's oldest Christmas song), written in 1643 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people; the song's original Huron title is "Jesous Ahatonhia" ("Jesus, he is born"). The song's melody is a traditional French folk song, "Une Jeune Pucelle" ("A Young Maid"). The well known English lyrics were written in 1926 by Jesse Edgar Middleton.
The English version of the hymn uses imagery familiar in the early 20th century, in place of the traditional Nativity story. This version diverts from Brebeuf's original song and Huron religious concepts. In the English version, Jesus is born in a "lodge of broken bark", and wrapped in a "robe of rabbit skin". He is surrounded by hunters instead of shepherds, and the Magi are portrayed as "chiefs from afar" that bring him "fox and beaver pelts" instead of the more familiar gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The hymn also uses a traditional Algonquian name, Gitchi Manitou, for God. The original lyrics are now sometimes modified to use imagery accessible to Christians who are not familiar with Native-Canadian cultures.
The song remains a common Christmas hymn in Canadian churches of many Christian denominations. Canadian singer Bruce Cockburn has also recorded a rendition of the song. It is also sung by Canadian musician Tom Jackson during his annual Huron Carole show.
In the United States, the song was included as "Jesous Ahatonia" on Burl Ives's 1952 album Christmas Day in the Morning and was later released as a Burl Ives single under the title "Indian Christmas Carol."

Na kesikewiku'sitek jipji'jk* majita'titek
It was in the moon of the wintertime when all the birds had fled
Kji-Niskam petkimasnika ansale'wilitka
That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angels
Kloqoejuitpa'q, Netuklijik nutua'tiji.
On a starlit night hunters heard
Se'sus eleke'wit, Se'sus pekisink, ewlite'lmin
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, In-ex-cel-sis-gloria

Ula nqanikuomk etli we'ju'ss mijua'ji'j
Within the lodge of bark the tender Babe was found
Tel-klu'sit euli tetpoqa'tasit apli'kmujuey
A ragged robe of rabbit skin enwrapped His beauty round
L'nu'k netuklijik nutua'tiji ansale'wiliji.
But as the hunter braves drew near the angel's song rang loud and high
Se'sus eleke'wit, Se'sus pekisink, eulite'lmin
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, In-ex-cel-sis-gloria

O' mijua'ji'jk nipuktukewe'k, O' Niskam wunijink
O children of the forrest free, O God's children
Maqmikek aq Wa'so'q tley ula mijua'ji'j
The Holy Child of Heaven and Earth
Pekisink kiskuk wjit kilow, pekisitoq wantaqo'ti.
Has come today for you has brought peace
Se'sus eleke'wit, Se'sus pekisink, eulite'lmin
Jesus the King is born, Jesus has come, In-ex-cel-sis-gloria

*The Mi'kmaw word "sisipk" is preferred by many to "jipji'jk" for "birds".

Translated by Mildred Milliea,
edited by Eskasoni Elder's Committee,
and sung by the Eskasoni Trio.
copyright © 2001

Add9 »The Huron Carol«
(in English)


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Had No Idea!

I learned something new today: "George Carlin (1796-1872) * visited * the Mandan in 1832 and kept papers * on his travels. [Images of his month long study 1 22 3*]"

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Schaghticoke Tribal Nation-SIGN PETITION for Justice

Please read the email from the Schaghticoke Tribe below. If you wish to sign the petition to help the Schaghticoke Tribe regain their well-earned federal recognition, please go to this link:


"...Created in 1742 on a 2000 acre parcel, the drastically reduced 400 acre tract extends from the eastern slopes of the mountain to the Housatonic (at the place beyond the mountains ) River. There was, in 1740, a mixed population of 600 "scattered" Connecticut Indians, mostly from the eastern side of the Housatonic River, who resettled at this Mohican hunting camp. Regularly joined by other Housatonic Indians, the camp was often large. From the river bank encampment below, the hunters watched as deer browsed on mountain vegetation above in plain view. The Indians of these valleys frequently burned the mountain woods to better spot game. Burnt forest lands brought forth lush, tender flora that attracted wildlife in abundance. From Schaghticoke, the hunters followed along the Weebutook River (beautiful hunting grounds), later known as Ten Mile River, and ascended the mountain in search of game, following the aged cliff trails that wound their way upward to the crest. These semi-cleared mountain tracts, like manna from Heaven, would later become planting fields for white settlers searching for farmland. They remain, even today, divided and marked by acres and acres of criss-crossed stone wall fences.
How did Schaghticoke, a seasonal hunting camp, become a permanent village, and then a reservation? It was a consequence of colonial attitudes, more than colonial settlement needs. The Connecticut English pressured the Indian population, even though many villages were entirely Christian, to move westward simply because they would not abide ANY Indians, or for that matter, ANY "foreigners" (German Moravians or French Jesuits) in their midst. They were fearful, it would seem, of anything non-English and non-Calvinist. Surrendering to the pressure, the tribes of the Connecticut River Valley began moving westward. In 1731, chief Gideon Mauwee and his people left their Naugatuck village on the east bank of the Housatonic and headed for the "hunting camp" at Schaghticoke. The settlement became a magnet, a refuge for Christian Indians who were being exiled from their homes all across the long river country..."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two Things from Litchfield Hills Archaeology Club

Sunday, November 9, 2007 @ 3:00 pm:
Professional Archaeologist Marc Banks, Ph.D. will present a slide-illustrated lecture on:
“An Inland Fishing Camp in the Farmington Valley: Excavation of the Indian Hill Site (11-2), Bloomfield , CT ”

Dr. Banks will discuss the importance of fish to Native Americans in southern New England. Important fishing sites within the region and various fishing methods will be reviewed. The Indian Hill site is situated adjacent to a fall line in the Farmington River and provided indigenous groups an opportunity to exploit large quantities of anadromous fish each spring. The focus of the excavation was a Late Archaic occupation radiocarbon dated to 5000 years ago.

Future presentations at the LHSC:
(my photo)
December 14: A rare lecture by Primitive Technologist Jeff Kalin, who will give a slide-illustrated presentation on “Talking Flakes”, and what they can reveal about Native American communities.
The Litchfield Hills Archaeology Club meets every second Sunday of the month at 3:00pm in the Research Building of the Institute for American Indian Studies, 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT when they are not at their summer dig. For information or directions call (860) 868-0518 or visit the Institute's web site at birdstone.org.

The public is welcome. For nonmembers there is a $5 fee per lecture.

Oldest Pottery in the New England
For those of you who have not been digging with us this summer, the Litchfield HIlls Archaeology Club unearthed a goodly number of artifacts from the Hopkins site overlooking Lake Waramaug this season.
Besides the dentate stamped and rocker dentate stamped pottery, we also have Vinette Interior Cordmarked -- the oldest pottery in the New England (ca. 3800-1700 years old), Orient, broad spear, narrow stemmed, and a Brewerton notched point. These point types date from c. 5000-1500 years ago. Plus we recovered a number of other tool types, utilized flakes, and the ubiquitous flakes and shatter of stone tool making. Primitive Technologist Jeff Kalin will be telling us what we can learn from them at our December meeting!

Sent: Monday, October 27, 2008 8:32 PM
Subject: Pictures from10-26-08
"HI. Just sending pics of the pottery found on Sunday. First two pics are front and back of the same pieces as are pics 3 & 4. It was great to discover the design on this piece. I believe Luci called it somethjng like Rocker Dentate. Please correct me if I am wrong."

That's really more than just two things, isn't it?

Monday, October 13, 2008


by Howard Zinn
[Howard Zinn is an author and lecturer. His most noted work, from which this selection is excerpted, is "A People's History of the United States.]

Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:
"They... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned.... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane.... They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."
These Arawaks of the Bahama Islands were much like Indians on the mainland, who were remarkable (European observers were to say again and again) for their hospitality, their belief in sharing. These traits did not stand out in the Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was by the religion of popes, the government of kings, the frenzy for money that marked Western civilization and its first messenger to the Americas, Christopher Columbus.
Columbus wrote:
"As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts." The information that Columbus wanted most was: Where is the gold?

The Indians, Columbus reported, "are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone...." He concluded his report by asking for a little help from their Majesties, and in return he would bring them from his next voyage "as much gold as they need . . . and as many slaves as they ask." He was full of religious talk: "Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities."
Because of Columbus's exaggerated report and promises, his second expedition was given seventeen ships and more than twelve hundred men. The aim was clear: slaves and gold. They went from island to island in the Caribbean, taking Indians as captives. But as word spread of the Europeans' intent they found more and more empty villages. On Haiti, they found that the sailors left behind at Fort Navidad had been killed in a battle with the Indians, after they had roamed the island in gangs looking for gold, taking women and children as slaves for sex and labor.
Now, from his base on Haiti, Columbus sent expedition after expedition into the interior. They found no gold fields, but had to fill up the ships returning to Spain with some kind of dividend. In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale by the archdeacon of the town, who reported that, although the slaves were "naked as the day they were born," they showed "no more embarrassment than animals." Columbus later wrote: "Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold."
But too many of the slaves died in captivity. And so Columbus, desperate to pay back dividends to those who had invested, had to make good his promise to fill the ships with gold. In the province of Cicao on Haiti, where he and his men imagined huge gold fields to exist, they ordered all persons fourteen years or older to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months. When they brought it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks. Indians found without a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death.
The Indians had been given an impossible task. The only gold around was bits of dust garnered from the streams. So they fled, were hunted down with dogs, and were killed.

Trying to put together an army of resistance, the Arawaks faced Spaniards who had armor, muskets, swords, horses. When the Spaniards took prisoners they hanged them or burned them to death. Among the Arawaks, mass suicides began, with cassava poison. Infants were killed to save them from the Spaniards. In two years, through murder, mutilation, or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead.
When it became clear that there was no gold left, the Indians were taken as slave labor on huge estates, known later as encomiendas. They were worked at a ferocious pace, and died by the thousands. By the year 1515, there were perhaps fifty thousand Indians left. By 1550, there were five hundred. A report of the year 1650 shows none of the original Arawaks or their descendants left on the island.
The chief source-and, on many matters the only source of information about what happened on the islands after Columbus came is Bartolome de las Casas, who, as a young priest, participated in the conquest of Cuba. For a time he owned a plantation on which Indian slaves worked, but he gave that up and became a vehement critic of Spanish cruelty. In Book Two of his History of the Indies, Las Casas (who at first urged replacing Indians by black slaves, thinking they were stronger and would survive, but later relented when he saw the effects on blacks) tells about the treatment of the Indians by the Spaniards. It is a unique account and deserves to be quoted at length: "Endless testimonies . . . prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives.... But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy; small wonder, then, if they tried to kill one of us now and then.... The admiral, it is true, was blind as those who came after him, and he was so anxious to please the King that he committed irreparable crimes against the Indians..."Las Casas tells how the Spaniards "grew more conceited every day" and after a while refused to walk any distance. They "rode the backs of Indians if they were in a hurry" or were carried on hammocks by Indians running in relays. "In this case they also had Indians carry large leaves to shade them from the sun and others to fan them with goose wings."
Total control led to total cruelty. The Spaniards "thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades." Las Casas tells how "two of these so-called Christians met two Indian boys one day, each carrying a parrot; they took the parrots and for fun beheaded the boys."
The Indians' attempts to defend themselves failed. And when they ran off into the hills they were found and killed. So, Las Casas reports. "they suffered and died in the mines and other labors in desperate silence, knowing not a soul in the world to whom they could tun for help." He describes their work in the mines:
"... mountains are stripped from top to bottom and bottom to top a thousand times; they dig, split rocks, move stones, and carry dirt on their backs to wash it in the rivers, while those who wash gold stay in the water all the time with their backs bent so constantly it breaks them; and when water invades the mines, the most arduous task of all is to dry the mines by scooping up pansful of water and throwing it up outside....
After each six or eight months' work in the mines, which was the time required of each crew to dig enough gold for melting, up to a third of the men died. While the men were sent many miles away to the mines, the wives remained to work the soil, forced into the excruciating job of digging and making thousands of hills for cassava plants.
Thus husbands and wives were together only once every eight or ten months and when they met they were so exhausted and depressed on both sides . . . they ceased to procreate. As for the newly born, they died early because their mothers, overworked and famished, had no milk to nurse them, and for this reason, while I was in Cuba, 7000 children died in three months. Some mothers even drowned their babies from sheer desperation.... In this way, husbands died in the mines, wives died at work, and children died from lack of milk . . . and in a short time this land which was so great, so powerful and fertile ... was depopulated.... My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature, and now I tremble as I write...."
When he arrived on Hispaniola in 1508, Las Casas says, "there were 60,000 people living on this island, including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over three million people had perished from war, slavery, and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this? I myself writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardly believe it...."
Thus began the history, five hundred years ago, of the European invasion of the Indian settlements in the Americas. That beginning, when you read Las Casas--even if his figures are exaggerations (were there 3 million Indians to begin with, as he says, or less than a million, as some historians have calculated, or 8 million as others now believe?) is conquest, slavery, death. When we read the history books given to children in the United States, it all starts with heroic adventure--there is no bloodshed-and Columbus Day is a celebration.
The treatment of heroes (Columbus) and their victims (the Arawaks) the quiet acceptance of conquest and murder in the name of progress-is only one aspect of a certain approach to history, in which the past is told from the point of view of governments, conquerors, diplomats, leaders. It is as if they, like Columbus, deserve universal acceptance, as if they-the Founding Fathers, Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy, the leading members of Congress, the famous Justices of the Supreme Court-represent the nation as a whole. The pretense is that there really is such a thing as "the United States," subject to occasional conflicts and quarrels, but fundamentally a community of people with common interests. It is as if there really is a "national interest" represented in the Constitution, in territorial expansion, in the laws passed by Congress, the decisions of the courts, the development of capitalism, the culture of education and the mass media.

Howard Zinn, "Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress," A People's History of the United States http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Zinn/Columbus_PeoplesHx.html.

Images from: http://americanindiansource.com/columbusday.html
(after a long search and finding only the typical “nice” pictures…)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Mortar Stone Turtle

My latest post can be found at: Return to the Mortar/Turtle (Part One) as part of Rock Piles, a site that gets more traffic than my little rest stop along the Information Highway...

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Walking up to the Falls, after being away for some Summer Camping (where one night we even all sang that old song called "Signs" from the early 70's that we were surprised the "Grandchildren Generation" knew the lyrics), my wife Roberta and I were happy to see how clean the area is. We've both been going up there for most of our lives, hauling trash out and wondering why people do stuff like litter and break bottles etc.
We noticed there were many New Signs everywhere, like the one above, and also these:

There's even a "You are Here" - that should read "You are NOT Here," because you aren't right there. We need some Boy or Girl Scouts to correct this...
Note that this standard list of Town Park rules mentions "no...nailing or attaching to any tree...any bill...or inscription whatsoever."

And here's one more sign, nailed on one of those Ancient Trees I wrote about as possible Treaty Trees or Peace Trees in an Older Post. (http://wakinguponturtleisland.blogspot.com/2008/04/tree-of-peace-and-treaty-trees.html)
That is Poison Ivy.
Maybe it protects this Tree that Native People planted 300-plus years ago.
I lost count of how many signs were nailed to trees up there.
Some people should follow their own rules; there are many reasons not to put a nail in a tree...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Shaky Videos

If my photography isn't that great, is it possible that my video is worse?
Could be me, could be the camera (or it could be both)...

The Thing about Waking Up On Turtle Island

"Friends of Hammonasset" Logo

Joshua Rock
Along the Cedar Island Trail
Maybe a recent Rock Pile - or not
A Turtle?

Glacier or Human Activity?

End of the trail - is that the weir in the distance?

West side of row disturbed by trail...

...and the east side, barely visible under the green of late summer.

Split boulder with a wedge stone?

Turtle face at Southern end of trail perhaps?

The thing about Waking Up On Turtle Island is that I can do it just about everywhere I go, not just where I wake up most mornings at home.

I can visit my mom and see those stones some people always call "walls," and see the "Indian Look" in them - find a pile of stone hand tools sitting on them or visit several preserves nearby and see more rows and boulders that have escaped "harvesting" or complete destruction by the bulldozers by either some sort of miracle or just plain coincidence - or both.

I've looked at rock piles and rows in Rhode Island, where I first read "Manitou" - picked up a nice flint projectile point one time, just waiting for me on the foot path nearby.

And I found it at Hammonasset just recently - find myself waiting to hear from a retired doctor (who seems to also Wake Up on Turtle Island) if I correctly spotted a tidal fish weir made of stone from a distance.
The photos above document a little walk I took on August 30, 2008...