Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Continuing up the hill, I followed a linear row...

...but it turned into a zigzag.

Then I looked at some mounds, the ones in my last post...
Then I noticed, back toward the power lines, some chestnut rails, on stones, but without the "thrown up against a zigzag rail fence stones" that are supposed to form zigzag rows...

Clearly someone wasn't following directions...

By the Highway, by the Power Lines

I never noticed this one before, by the highway where the power lines cross it...

Farther uphill, along the southside of the power lines...

(Nothing like a turtle emerging from the ground, eh?)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

End Stones

Something I see a lot is a large "End Stone," along many stone rows, very often where a linear dryland row gets close to water.

This is an end stone at the "easiest to get to party site," the row taken apart to build a fire circle into which people feel obligated to throw beer cans and smash bottles, chop down living trees - or carve words into them- strew garbage, toilet paper and otherwise vandalise a well known Sacred Site - on Town property.

North of the party site, along the stone row, people routinly drive ATVs over this ancient row....

This row connects the Falls to two large oak trees, more about these to come in a future post. I seem to remember measuring the larger oak tree as being 12ft in diameter at chest hieght about 15 years ago...

There's another popular party and trash site where another linear rows ends with another large End Stone...

There's a four foot long carapace stone right along side of the end stone, but again people rob the stones to build fire pits into which the bottles and cans are thrown...

So my Monday walk brought me farther upstream to a place I hadn't been back to in a long time, where I'd forgotten yet another End Stone. This one meets up with a zigzag row that borders the brook's east branch...

The linear row has a slight curve to the end stone, just after being linked to the zigzag row which is to the left in the photo...

I have a series of blurry photos because I forgot my reading glasses and can't see the screen on the camera...

But the big surprise was the beak motif on one of the "point stones" on the zigzag row.

Friday, March 21, 2008

East Hampton continued

Well, I did recieve some photos from East Hampton CT, sent to me from Paul and Diana Marsh.
The whole concept is very new to them, but they've had a sort of a "crash course" in the ideas of the Cultural Landscape from my suggestions to look at the Rock Piles photos and the specific links Peter keeps on the web page.

As a "stone structure seeker," I do see some things I would investigate further and have asked them for some more specific photos of certain things - including what appeared to be pedestled boulders of a testudinate nature that I first saw in local TV news footage, captured in blurriness below. Their photos follow with some "editorial comments/questions" by me...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Something I found interesting, podcasts of a radio show from Middletown CT that I got to from the main page of the site:

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2008
10-02-07 Oral Histories at Schaghticoke: Trudie Lamb Richmond
Download this episode (55 min)
Trudie Lamb Richmond delivers a talk titled, "Oral Histories at Schaghticoke: Shared Stories- Shared Histories-One People." Richmond is an esteemed elder of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, and is a renowned a storyteller who has performed at hundreds of festivals. From 1974-1986, she was Assistant Director of American Indians for Development in Meriden, CT, while serving on the Connecticut Indian Affairs Council. In 1987, Connecticut Governor William O'Neill appointed her to a task force on Native American issues. From 1988-1996, she was the Assistant Director for Public Programs, and then the Director of Education, at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, CT. In 2003, she became the Mashantucket Pequot Museum's Director of Public Programs. Original air-date: 10-02-07

Sunday, Jan 27, 2008
4-30-07 Native New England Under Seige
Download this episode (50 min)
Host J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Ph.D. (Kanaka Maoli) offersan overview of current political issues facing tribal nations in NewEngland and the role of the states in opposing their quest for sovereignrecognition. Original air date: 4-30-07

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

CT Indian Affairs Commission

Fwd: CT Indian Affairs Commission/HB 5141
Alyssa Mt. Pleasant was kind enough to take time from her busy life to put together a web site that contains information about the proposed commission. You may access it at

The bill language, copies of testimony and a link to Kehaulani's radio program about the bill are contained on the site.

Please take a moment to check out the site, read what's posted, listen to the radio interviews and then, contact your state reps & senators asking if they will co-sponsor the bill. Alyssa even included a link to Project Vote Smart, where you can enter your nine-digit zip code in order to find out who represents you in the CT General Assembly. (THIS IS JUST TOO EASY!!!)

The Environment Committee is expected to vote on the bill today. We were able to get flyers seeking a YES vote into their mailboxes yesterday thanks to Rep. Sharkey.

Also, forward the link above or this entire email to your friends and family. Ask them to support the bill by contacting their elected officials, too.

Download this episode (52 min)
Host J. Kehaulani Kauanui examines legislation currently before theConnecticut state Committee on Environment: HR 5141, an ActConcerning a Commission on Native American Indian Affairs.The state of Connecticut already has state commissions such asthe Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, the Latino andPuerto Rican Affairs Commission, and the African-American AffairsCommission. Dozens of states across the United States have NativeAmerican Affairs Commissions, and New England is no exception withthe Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission, the Vermont Commissionon Native American Affairs, and the Massachusetts Commission onIndian Affairs. Given that Connecticut is rapidly earning areputation for its anti-Indian hostility, many people suggest thata Commission could help turn the tide of fear, racism, and ignoranceregarding the state-recognized Native Nations and other NativeAmerican residents, including the increasingly diverse populationof Native Americans from tribes across the country moving herefor employment and educational opportunities. This episode willfeature a range of perspectives on the politics of this proposal ininterviews with L. Mixashawn Rozie (Mahicanu), Mikki Anganstata(Eastern Cherokee), Sherman Paul (Maliseet), Ruth Garby Torres(Schaghticoke Tribal Nation), Trudie Lamb Richmond (Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, and Cedric Woods (Lumbee).

My Country 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying

Buffy Sainte-Marie on Rainbow Quest with Pete Seeger

Now that your big eyes have finally opened
Now that you're wondering how must they feel
Meaning them that you've chased across America's movie screens
Now that you're wondering how can it be real
That the ones you've called colorful, noble and proud
In your school propaganda
They starve in their splendor
You've asked for my comment I simply will render

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying

Now that the longhouses breed superstition
You force us to send our toddlers away
To your schools where they're taught to despise their traditions
You forbid them their languages, then further say
That American history really began
When Columbus set sail out of Europe, then stress
That the nation of leeches that conquered this land
Are the biggest and bravest and boldest and best
And yet where in your history books is the tale
Of the genocide basic to this country's birth
Of the preachers who lied, how the Bill of Rights failed
How a nation of patriots returned to their earth
And where will it tell of the Liberty Bell
As it rang with a thud
Over Kinzua mud
And of brave Uncle Sam in Alaska this year

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying

Hear how the bargain was made for the West
With her shivering children in zero degrees
Blankets for your land, so the treaties attest
Oh well, blankets for land is a bargain indeed
And the blankets were those Uncle Sam had collected
From smallpox-diseased dying soldiers that day
And the tribes were wiped out and the history books censored
A hundred years of your statesmen have felt it's better this way
And yet a few of the conquered have somehow survived
Their blood runs the redder though genes have paled
From the Gran Canyon's caverns to craven sad hills
The wounded, the losers, the robbed sing their tale
From Los Angeles County to upstate New York
The white nation fattens while others grow lean
Oh the tricked and evicted they know what I mean
My country 'tis of thy people you're dying
The past it just crumbled, the future just threatens
Our life blood shut up in your chemical tanks
And now here you come, bill of sale in your hands
And surprise in your eyes that we're lacking in thanks
For the blessings of civilization you've brought us
The lessons you've taught us, the ruin you've wrought us
Oh see what our trust in America's brought us

My country 'tis of thy people you're dying

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Author: Charles C. Mann
Publisher: Knopf Publication date: 2005

"1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus is a 2005 non-fiction book by American author Charles C. Mann about the pre-Columbian Americas. The book argues that there is evidence accumulated over the last several decades suggesting that human populations in the Western Hemisphere - that is, the indigenous peoples of the Americas - were larger in number, had arrived earlier, were more sophisticated culturally, and controlled and shaped the natural landscape to a greater extent than had been previously thought.

An indicative map of the prominent political entities extant in the Western Hemisphere c. 1491 C.E., as presented in 1491.

Book summary:
"The past 140 years have seen scientific revolutions in many fields, including demography, climatology, epidemiology, economics, botany, genetics, image analysis, palynology, molecular biology, and soil science. As new evidence has accumulated, long-standing views about the pre-Columbian world have been challenged and reexamined. Although there is no consensus, and Mann acknowledges controversies, Mann asserts that the general trend among scientists is to acknowledge that
(a) the population levels were probably higher than traditionally believed among scientists and closer to the number estimated by "high counters"; (b) humans probably arrived in the Americas earlier than thought over the course of multiple waves of migration to the New World (not solely by the Bering land bridge over a relatively short period of time);

(c) The level of cultural advancement and settlement range was higher and broader than previously imagined; and
The New World was largely not a wilderness but an environment controlled by humans (mostly with fire).

These three main foci (origins/population, culture, environment) form the basis for three parts of the book.

Mann was inspired to write this book because he was taught in high school that "Indians came across the Bering Strait about 13,000 years ago, that they had so little impact on their environment that even after millennia of habitation the continents remain mostly wilderness." He examines what he terms "Holmberg's mistake", named for the anthropologist Allan R. Holmberg, who lived among the Siriono in the 1940s and came to the conclusion that they were the most "culturally backward peoples" in the world. Mann writes that Holmberg's theory was in fact a mistake, because smallpox and influenza devastated Siriono villages during the 1920s, and the Siriono were the "persecuted survivors of a recently shattered culture."

Part One: Numbers From Nowhere

Mann first tackles New England in the 1600s, and the idea that European technologies were superior to Indian technologies. Guns were a prime example, as they were seen by Indians as nothing more than "noisemakers," and they were difficult to aim. Famous colonist John Smith even noted that "the awful could not shoot as far as an arrow could fly." Indian technology was actually more impressive, such as the moccasin, which was far more comfortable and sturdy than the boots Europeans wore, and were actually preferred by most of them during that era because its padding offered a much more silent approach to warfare. Canoes are also a prime example that disproves the myth of superior technology of the Europeans. The canoes made by Indians were faster and more maneuverable than any small European boats...

...Mann concludes that Indians were a "keystone species," one that "affects the survival and abundance of many other species." By the time the Europeans arrived and settled in the Americas, the "boss" (Indians) had been almost completely eliminated. Disease ran rampant and killed off the Indians, disrupting their control of the environment. When Indians died, animal populations, such as that of the buffalo grew immensely. "Because they (Europeans) did not burn the land with the same skill and frequency as its previous occupants, the forests grew thicker." The world discovered by Christopher Columbus was “largely an inadvertent European creation.”
Mann concludes with the idea that we must look to the past to right the future. "Native Americans ran the continent as they saw fit. Modern nations must do the same. If they want to return as much of the landscape as possible to its state in 1491, they will have to create the world’s largest gardens."

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's Time to "Wake Up"

I went back to my second post ( of “Waking Up on Turtle Island” to “copy and paste” this quote in order to repost it once again.

“Native people’s histories and stories have been told by others – rather dispassionately at times and not always with accuracy. Something is missing when we cannot and do not know our true past. Something is terribly wrong when our past is not accurately recounted,” Trudie Lamb Richmond writes in Enduring Traditions; the Native Peoples of New England, edited by Laurie Weinstein.

And also to repost this from my very first post, explaining why this blog is called “Waking Up on Turtle Island:”
“It's been many years since I woke up to the fact that I live in a special place on Turtle Island.Not that I was actually asleep for a long period of time, but rather I gradually became aware that remnants of ancient stonework was all around me, dismissed as Colonial construction, but really (were actually) part(s of or, more accurately “remnants of,” that remain still to today) of a managed cultural landscape that may be hundreds or thousands of years old.”

To go back to sometime in the 1990s when I first met Trudie, I should add that she mentioned a book she had heard of called “Manitou,” that also suggested that there existed remnants of, as the full title of the book says, “The Sacred Landscape of New England’s Native Civilization.”
I ordered the book since I couldn’t find it in any libraries nearby and got it just in time to take with me on a family camping trip to Burlingame State Park in Rhode Island. It was a life changing experience to read that book in that place – and then to walk trails in the greater Charlestown area, following stone rows of all sorts. In particular I remember following one, inside the park itself, that was a spiral – a motif I’d seen before as petroglyphs and designs on Indian baskets.

The very first page I read in James Mavor and Byron Dix’s “Manitou” also led me to seek out a group they sent acknowledgements to, The New England Antiquities Research Association, or NEARA ( ), which is how I first met Peter Waksman (, who in turn introduced me to Norman Muller at a NEARA conference in Danbury CT.

I was very lucky to say the least to make all these associations.

I was also very relieved to find that other people were seeing the same things as I.

The sad part is that 17 years later for me (and much, much longer for others), the scientific community, for the most part, remains hostile to the idea that there still remains, on “Turtle Island,” an incredible amount of stonework that represents perhaps thousands and thousands of years of remnants of a Sacred Cultural Landscape, some of it hidden but also in plain sight along the scars of the present Cultural Landscape of the last five hundred years.

And I’ll add, “While more and more of it, through ignorance and prejudice, disappears every day.”

While there are some enlightened and courageous individuals doing ground breaking work to combat the bigotry of the scientific community, like Doctors Curtiss Hoffman and Lucianne Lavin for example, I think that the time has come for that community to “Wake Up On Turtle Island,” so to speak.

After all, the empirical evidence is literally “written in stone.”

Friday, March 07, 2008

East Hampton TV News "Capture" Attempt

I did try to capture some of the news video I saved - by using my camera.
It didn't work so well, but the last one (from the Channel 8 video about the East Hampton Developement in my last post) shows boulders that would certainly attract the attention of anyone who frequents RockPiles (and all it's related links)...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Development of rural land develops debate

I wish I could insert photos from this News Video:

Development debate - by News Channel 8's Jamie Muro

By News Channel 8's Jamie Muro
Posted March 5, 200811:00 PM

East Hampton (WTNH) _ A tranquil 24-acre piece of land on South Main Street in East Hampton -- surrounded by 18th century homes -- may change. With plans to build affordable condominiums, neighbors were out in force tonight at a public hearing -- against the proposal.
"We'd like to see the area retained the way it is, it's rural character," John Hines, of East Hampton, said.
Under a plan by Glastonbury's Pelletier Development, there would be 127 units called Belltown Place. Thirty percent of those homes would fall under the Affordable Appeals Act -- giving people with modest incomes the chance to buy a home. Neighbors say they have no issue with affordable housing. Instead, they worry about the density - and stress so many homes would put on the local wells.
"I don't see where they are going to get there water from," Paul Marsh says. "I know they say it comes from different places but I don't believe it. I'm on my third well."
Wednesday night, a team representing Joe Pelletier gave a detailed project analysis to the planning and zoning commission -- saying there is enough water -- no impact to surrounding wetlands -- and little traffic impact.
It will be at least a month before AP&Z vote - until then, Pelletier's group will continue to sell the benefits of affordable homes. His opposition asks for it to be in a more suitable location.

East Hampton Maps

The powerlines were the giveaway.
Does this swamp have a name?
Is there an even older map?

East Hampton search words


Map center of development site:
N 41° 33' 48'' W 72° 29' 36''
Who Were The Wangunk?
by Doris Sherrow, November 1999

The land where you live was probably farmed or fished or hunted by the Wangunk Indians three hundred years ago.
The picture of the Wangunk that emerges from the scraps of historical sources shows a strong, enterprising people, fully the intellectual equal of the invading English. Probably they lived much like the Mashantucket Pequot Museum's Pequot Village, in harmony with nature, constructively occupied with the many tasks necessary to their survival. They fished when the fish ran, hunted when the deer came, and harvested plants for myriad uses as food, medicine, clothing, or artifacts.
By the later 1600s, they were using the English calendar, and often signing deeds with an initial or symbol. At least three could write their names. In addition, their deeds are genuinely chatty with historical and genealogical detail: "I have been Lawfully Seized thereof Ever Since ye old Indian warr…" "until it comes to the Indian Corner tree by the Meeting House…" "from said Robbins it descended to my grandmother who was sd Robbins daughter and from her to my uncle James …"
Their reservation consisted of two pieces. The smaller piece was about 30 acres, flanking Indian Hill Avenue, and running down to the Connecticut River. The larger piece, about 250 acres, ran east from the rear property lines of the houses along Main Street between Summer and William streets, as far as where Center Cemetery is now. Tom Robbin, a Wangunk, described the two pieces in 1741 as "Indian land in the Woods" and "Indian Hill by the River."
On the northwest side of the Indian Hill piece was the "Hot House Lot." The "Hot House" was a hollow on the bank of the Connecticut River, near the end of Indian Hill Avenue. It would have been covered by animal skins, then heated by stones from the fire, in sauna fashion, perhaps for the cure of various diseases, perhaps for ritual, or even simple enjoyment. After sweating a while, the Indian would rush into the cold waters of the Connecticut to drive away the evil spirits, or maybe just to cool off.
Indian Hill was also a burial ground. As late as the 1870s, a tombstone stood there which read, "Here lies the body of John Onekous who died August the 30th 1722, aged 26 years." Skeletons were discovered there throughout the 1800s. One house, built in the mid-1800s, did not have a cellar for a century, because the builder encountered so many bones! A less-superstitious 20th century owner finally dug out the cellar and reinterred the bones elsewhere.
In 1728, Bartlett Street was extended east into the Wangunk reservation. The customary way to lay out a highway was to appoint a team of three farmers familiar with both surveying and with the land. The team of surveyors for this project were William Cornwell, who lived in the meadow on Glastonbury Turnpike, Nathaniel Savage who lived in a house which stood at or near 609 Main Street, and "Cuschoy in behalf of ye other Indians." The fact that an official from the Wangunks would be included strongly suggests that the Wangunks were considered quite capable by their neighbors.
They were probably involved in many community activities. A diary entry from 1702 notes an Indian named Sacient delivering a tombstone for Rebecca Minor to her family in Stonington-Portland's stone carver James Stanclift had hired him for that job.
More tales of the Wangunks come from the story of Rev. Richard Treat, who attempted to establish a school for Indian children in 1734. He got a dozen or so pupils in the four months of the school's existence, stopping after that time for lack of money or help. Deploring their ignorance of Scripture, Christian morality, and the English language, he noted with chagrin that he had to "appeal to their principles of morality and natural religion" in order to win his arguments. He failed to see the cultural strength implicit in that statement-obviously they had a system of morality which could be used to explain Judaeo-Christian principles!
Probably the Indians tolerated Treat and his stories as they would a child. On one occasion, as he was telling them of resurrection, one savage pointed jestingly to a dead pig waiting by the fire to be roasted, and inquired if it would rise from the dead. After much debate, Treat finally felt that he had verbally vanquished the Indian.
The summer after the attempted school, a tribal leader died, and there was a loud funeral ceremony for several days which Treat felt it was his duty to stop. He interfered persistently but the Indians fended him off until they had finished the ceremony. Then he was allowed to preach for a while and they went quietly home, leaving Treat thinking that he had shown them the error of their ways.

In My Chicken Yard

Most recent photos of the Rock Piles in my old chicken yard. The ones from yesterday with snow, today's without snow...
Older Chicken Yard Posts: