Saturday, April 25, 2009

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Manitou is a term used to designate the spirits among many Algonquian groups. It refers to the concept of one aspect of the interconnection and balance of nature/life, similar to the East Asian concept of qi (In traditional Chinese culture, qi ( / ; Pinyin qì, Wade-Giles ch'i Jyutping hei; Korean gi; Japanese ki; Vietnamese khí; pronounced IPA: [tɕʰi˥˩] in Standard Mandarin) is an active principle forming part of any living thing.
It is frequently translated as "energy flow," and is often compared to Western notions of energeia or élan vital (vitalism) as well as the yogic notion of prana. The literal translation is "air," "breath," or "gas" (compare the original meaning of Latin spiritus "breathing"; or the Common Greek πνεῦμα, meaning "air," "breath," or "spirit"; and the Sanskrit term prana, "breath" ); in simpler terms it can refer to a spirit. This spirit is seen as a (contactable) person as well as a concept. Everything has its own manitou—every plant, every stone, even machines. In the shamanistic traditions the manitous (or manidoog or manidoowag) are connected to achieve a desired effect, like plant manitous for healing or the buffalo manitou for a good hunt. In the Anishinaabeg tradition manidoowag are one aspect of the Great Connection. Related terms used by the Anishinaabeg are manidoowish for small animal manidoowag and manidoons for insects; both terms mean "little spirit." In other Algonquian languages such as Iynu the word manituw originally referred to underwater creatures to whom hunters offered tobacco in order to appease them when traveling through their territories.
The name of the Canadian province of Manitoba, named for Lake Manitoba in the province, derives from the place name manitou-wapow, "strait of the Manitou" in Cree or Ojibwe, referring to The Narrows at the centre of the lake.[1] Also Manitoulin Island means "spirit island."

Image source: - "a small rock squatting on the shore of Kokomis Island (aka Granny Island), now private land, in the center of this stretch. Early in this century, members of the local First Nation left food, flowers or tobacco at its base whenever they passed, and never lingered long or dared to camp on the island..."

Inyanhoksila (Stone Boy)

"Upon striking the ground a high stone wall arose,

enclosing the hut and all who were inside."

Myths and Legends of the Sioux
By Marie L. McLaughlin

"When Stone boy left on his trip that morning, before the return of his uncles, he was determined to ascertain what might be the meaning of so many buffalo so near the home of himself and uncles. He approached several bunches of young buffalo, but upon seeing him approaching they would scamper over the hills. Thus he wandered from bunch to bunch,scattering them all. Finally he grew tired of their cowardice and started for home. When he had come to within a half mile or so of home, he saw an old shaggy buffalo standing by a large boulder, rubbing on it first one horn and then the other. On coming up close to him, the boy saw that the bull was so old he could hardly see, and his horns so blunt that he could have rubbed them for a year on that boulder and not sharpened them so as to hurt anyone...

"What are you doing here, grandfather?" asked the boy.

"I am sharpening my horns for the war," said the bull.

"What war?" asked the boy.

"Haven't you heard," said the old bull, who was so near sighted he did not recognize Stone boy. "The chief's twins were killed by Stone boy,who ran them over a cut bank purposely, and the chief has ordered all of his buffalo to gather here, and when they arrive we are going to kill Stone boy and his mother and his uncles."

"Is that so? When is the war to commence?"

"In five days from now we will march upon the uncles and trample and gore them all to death." "Well, grandfather, I thank you for your information, and in return will do you a favor that will save you so much hard work on your blunt horns."

So saying he drew a long arrow from his quiver and strung his bow, attached the arrow to the string and drew the arrow half way back. The old bull, not seeing what was going on, and half expecting some kind of assistance in his horn sharpening process, stood perfectly still. Thus spoke Stone boy: "Grandfather, you are too old to join in a war now, and besides if you got mixed up in that big war party you might step in a hole or stumble and fall and be trampled to death. That would be a horrible death, so Iwill save you all that suffering by just giving you this." At this word he pulled the arrow back to the flint head and let it fly. True to his aim, the arrow went in behind the old bull's foreleg, and with such force was it sent that it went clear through the bull and stuck into a tree two hundred feet away. Walking over to the tree, he pulled out his arrow. Coolly straightening his arrow between his teeth and sighting it for accuracy, he shoved it back into the quiver with its brothers, exclaiming: "I guess, grandpa,you won't need to sharpen your horns for Stone boy and his uncles."

Upon his arrival home he told his uncles to get to work building three stockades with ditches between and make the ditches wide and deep so they will hold plenty of buffalo. "The fourth fence I will build myself," he said.

The brothers got to work early and worked until very late at night. They built three corrals and dug three ditches around the hut, and it took them three days to complete the work. Stone boy hadn't done a thing towards building his fence yet, and there were only two days more left before the charge of the buffalo would commence. Still the boy didn't seem to bother himself about the fence. Instead he had his mother continually cutting arrow sticks, and as fast as she could bring them he would shape them, feather and head them. So by the time his uncles had their fences and corrals finished he had a thousand arrows finished for each of his uncles. The last two days they had to wait, the uncles joined him and they finished several thousand more arrows. The evening before the fifth day he told his uncles to put up four posts, so theycould use them as seats from which to shoot. While they were doing this, Stone boy went out to scout and see how things looked. At daylight he came hurriedly in saying, "You had better get to the first corral; they are coming."

"You haven't built your fence, nephew."

Whereupon Stone boy said: "I will build it in time; don't worry, uncle."

The dust on the hillsides rose as great clouds of smoke from a forest fire. Soon the leaders of the charge came in sight, and upon seeing the timber stockade, they gave forth a great snort or roar that fairly shook the earth. Thousands upon thousands of madbuffalo charged upon the little fort. The leaders hit the first stockade and it soon gave way. The maddened buffalo pushed forward by the thousands behind them; plunged forward, only to fall into the first ditch and be trampled to death by those behind them. The brothers were not slow in using their arrows, and many a noble beast went down before their deadly aim with a little flint pointed arrow buried deep in his heart.The second stockade stood their charge a little longer than did the first, but finally this gave way, and the leaders pushed on through,only to fall into the second ditch and meet a similar fate to thosein the first. The brothers commenced to look anxiously towards their nephew, as there was only one more stockade left, and the second ditch was nearly bridged over with dead buffalo, with the now thrice maddened buffalo attacking the last stockade more furiously than before, as they could see the little hut through the openings in the corral.

"Come in, uncles," shouted Stone boy.

They obeyed him, and stepping to the center, he said: "Watch me build my fence."

Suiting the words, he took from his belt an arrow with a white stone fastened to the point and fastening it to his bow, he shot it high in the air. Straight up into the air it went, for two or three thousand feet, then seemed to stop suddenly and turned with point down and descended as swiftly as it had ascended.

Upon striking the ground, a high stone wall arose, enclosing the hut and all who were inside. Just then the buffalo broke the last stockade only to fill the last ditch up again. In vain did the leaders butt the stone wall. They hurt themselves, broke their horns and mashed their snouts, but could not even scar the wall..."

(And this seemsto be abouta chamber, possibly:Text not available
Page 106 (Story begins on page 104 actually)

Myths and Legends of the Sioux
By Marie L. McLaughlin
Published by Bismarck Tribune Co., 1916
Original from Harvard University
Digitized Nov 22, 2005
200 pages

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sloane Inspired 1556 Drawing

Well, it's a start anyway; there's just so much more to the Big Picture.
Sloane's focus in his drawings was Flash Floods. The Native scheme I think I see includes that trapping of rainfall also. I've witnessed a 100 year flood where the zigzag rows centered the water's energy and minimized flooding, and actually revealed many rows that had been hidden. The tree cover along bordered streams kept the water cool and healthy. And looking back through my notes and sketchpads, I find I've made many a drawing of some details, so I'll just add them on to this...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Eric Sloane and Stones; Fences and Walls

I picked up a new used copy of one of my favorite books that had gone missing. You could call Eric Sloane one of my heroes - his books and drawings taught me a lot about reading the landscape I loved to wander in as a child, especially along an old abandoned road called the "Stone Path" highway. Some 40 years after reading the book for the first time, I respectfully disagree with this hero of mine about some stone "fences," but that's okay. He does define the typical ones so well while it's the atypical I'm looking at, the stone rows that don't fit his descriptions, the ones that perhaps go back much further in time...

These drawings below do tell a story, but the landscape is much older than that. Sloane, somewhere or other in his writings, admitted he knew very little about Indians (while living in Kent, CT - not far from the Schagthicoke Reservation - his house now a Museum, if I'm not mistaken). The 'pristine wilderness' and 'virgin forests' are really myths; it was called Turtle Island by the civilization that actively maintained the landscape, created the abundance of resources that seemed like wonders to the early Europeans.
Many modern writers suggest that the land was more of a widowed landscape in the wake of the epidemics that wiped out up to 90% of the Native American Population, descriptions of Indians and their way of life and impact on the landscape more like describing the behavior of survivors after a Holocaust rather than an accurate description of a Civilization that modified the Landscape with little negative impact rather than - well, what we have and what we face in the future, as the ice caps melt, laws passed to make the amount of mercury in the fish more acceptable and phrases like "clean coal technologies" or 'safe nuclear power' pop up in what passes for news stories bursting out of strange electric powered boxes of all sorts and sizes - as if repeating something often enough will make it true...

I think I'll post this and then do some drawings 0f a landscape as I imagine it looked back in 1556- in other words, make an escape back into the past...

Friday, April 17, 2009

"Bears" a Resemblance

Left: In a swamp bordered by zigzag stone row remnants on top of a hill.

Below: on a linear row.

And this is in a swamp bordered by remnants of zigzag stone rows,

at the bottom of that same hill...


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Very Large Mound 2

The western, lower edge of the mound; you could say the mound is built behind this boulder...
Moving clockwise:
My favorite stone: