Saturday, June 20, 2009

West of Rock Hill Rd. 2

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Just west of Rock Hill Rd.

Frank Speck

Frank Speck (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia):
“Frank Gouldsmith Speck (November 8, 1881 – February 6, 1950) was an American anthropologist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in the Algonquian and Iroquoian peoples among the Eastern Woodland Native Americans of the United States and First Nations peoples of eastern boreal Canada… Born in Brooklyn, Speck was sickly as a child. His parents sent him at age seven to live with a family friend, Fidelia Fielding, in Mohegan, Connecticut in hopes that the rural environment would improve his health. She was a widow and Native American, the last speaker of her New England tribal language. While living with her, Speck acquired "his interests in literature, natural history and Native American linguistics."[1]
When Speck became one of the first students of anthropologist Franz Boas at Columbia University, he found his direction for life study in anthropological linguistics while earning an M.A.[2] He then completed a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Speck was unique among many anthropologists of his generation in choosing to study American Indians rather than people of more distant lands. Because of the changes that had taken place in the 19th century and drastic declines in population, Speck found his work was in part a "salvage operation" to try to capture ethnological material at a time of great stress for the peoples. He started studying Native Americans in Connecticut and the Northeast.[3]
During his fieldwork with the Iroquois, Speck became close to members of the Seneca Nation, who adopted him in honor of their relationship. He was given the name Gahehdagowa ('Great Porcupine') when he was adopted into the Turtle clan of the Seneca people…”
(Wiki also says, "From the 1920s through the 1940s, Speck also studied the Cherokee in the Southeast United States and Oklahoma…) See: Ceremonial songs of the Creek and Yuchi Indians - Google Books Result by Frank Gouldsmith Speck, J. D. Sapir - 1911 - Indians of North America - 89 pages "TURTLE HUNTING MEDICINE. A cold in the lungs, accompanied by coughing and, rather strangely, by sores on the limbs and neck as described by ..."

And some "Turtle Talk" from the "Delaware Big House Ceremony"

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Two Turtles Again

The white quartz headed Turtle
Is perhaps the Mother Earth itself,
Her age, her purity and power,
Is reflected in the choice of stone.

The World was created upon her back,
With Beaver’s help, of course,
Beaver’s scratches creating the design
Upon the 13 plates, the 13 moons,
On the Grandmother Turtle’s back.

The tree of life that grew
On the mud Beaver brought up on his tail
Is where the First People came from,
Root and Branch, Man and Woman,
The First Clan, the Turtle Clan,
To Whom All Are Related…

The male Turtle,
The one with a stone chosen to show
His neck extended, to bite,
Perhaps to leave a scar,
Shown by the flat plate-like stone,
Shall forever climb upon the back
Of the Great Mother
To make the world over once again,
In the Spring when the Earth
Puts forth the First Flowers.

By the Mother’s head
Is another stone
Where People perhaps placed
A shell to burn their tobacco,
And offer their prayers to
The Great Turtle and Life
Longevity, Fertility,
And all the rest the Great Turtle
Calls us to be mindful of…

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Box Turtle Mating

I still see this photo as two turtles and I've outlined them, the male in red (like their eyes), the female in black for no good reason at all...
Note the male turtle's extended neck, in the stone, as well as this photo below...

Image from:

"Mating takes place throughout the spring and summer...Box turtle males can be very aggressive with their mating. When the male mounts the female he often will try to bite her head and front legs..."
"Reproduction: There is some variation between the courtship rituals of the subspecies. The courtship of both T.c.carolina and T.c.major is divided into three phases: a circling, biting, shoving phase; a preliminary mounting phase; and a copulatory phase...(T)he actual copulation is the same in all subspecies, with the male standing somewhat upright, leaning the concave part of his plastron against the back of the female's carapace. It is in this balanced position that the male fertilizes the female with his penis. Males sometimes fall backwards after copulation, and if they can't right themselves they die of starvation..."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Sleeping Giant

      From THE ICE AGE IN CONNECTICUT as summarized by J. Gregory McHone:
"As the ice melted farther to the north, Glacial Lake Hitchcock was formed behind a dam made by a large delta of sand and gravel in the present town of Rocky Hill...Lake Hitchcock did not drain down today's Connecticut River south of Rocky Hill, but instead detoured to the west down the present central valley toward New Haven..."

Head of the Sleeping Giant as seen from the Farmington Canal Walkway.

"Pocumtuck (Pocumtuc) was the name of a now extinct tribe of Native Americans who lived in the area prior to 1800. According to stories ascribed to the tribe, Pocumtuck Ridge and Sugarloaf Mountain were the remains of a giant beaver killed by the giant spirit Hobomock (the same spirit who diverted the course of the Connecticut River in central Connecticut and was cursed to sleep forever as the Sleeping Giant mountain formation[5]). The Pocumtucks allegedly believed that the beaver lived in an enormous lake that once occupied the Connecticut River Valley:
"The Great Beaver, whose pond flowed over the whole basin of Mt. Tom, made havoc among the fish and when these failed he would come ashore and devour Indians. A pow-wow was held and Hobomock raised, who came to their relief. With a great stake in hand, he waded the river until he found the beaver, and so hotly chased him that he sought to escape by digging into the ground. Hobomock saw his plan and his whereabouts, and with his great stake jammed the beaver's head off. The earth over the beaver's head we call Sugarloaf, his body [Pocumtuck Ridge] lies just to the north of it."[6]

A number of different versions of this story exist,[7] all of them similar. There may be some scientific truth to the account. The lake described in the tale is very reminiscent of the post-glacial Lake Hitchcock which occupied the Connecticut River Valley from Burke, Vermont to New Britain, Connecticut 15,000 years ago.[8] Around this time, a giant beaver species (Castoroides ohioensis) thrived from the post-glacial front to as far south as Florida. The animals were as large as black bears, weighed up to 450 lbs., and had teeth the size of bananas.[9] A similar legend about the killing of a giant beaver by a helper-spirit and the subsequent transformation of the corpse into a landform occurs among the native Mi'kmaq people of Nova Scotia (see Glooscap).[10]"

"According to Native Americans of the Quinnipiac Tribe, the giant stone spirit Hobbomock (or Hobomock), a prominent wicked figure in many stories (see Pocumtuck Ridge and Quinnipiac), became enraged about the mistreatment of his people and stamped his foot down in anger, diverting the course of the Connecticut River (where the river suddenly swings east in Middletown, Connecticut after several hundred miles of running due south). To prevent him from wreaking such havoc in the future, the good spirit Keitan cast a spell on Hobbomock to sleep forever as the prominent man-like form of the Sleeping Giant.[7]

The Quinnipiac and other Algonquians lived in dwellings known as wigwams (elliptical houses with sapling frames covered with bark, mats, skins, or sod) and quinnekommuk (long houses that were rectangular and two or three times as long as their width, covered with similar coverings). Quiripi/Quinnipiac long houses averaged thirty to one hundred feet long, by twenty feet wide, and about fifteen feet high. The bigger dwellings were Sachem’s houses, which often had five or six fire pits in one dwelling (because they often had their extended family living with them). Religious Society (Wampano or “Men of the Dawn,” Powwauwoag, Medarennawawg, and others) had the biggest long houses for ceremonial purposes.
The Long Water Land people were well-known for their elm bark canoes (light and fast for easy portage), and 20-foot (6 m) to 40-foot (12 m) dugout canoes, used for trade and war.

They reckoned the passing of time by a lunar calendar and an 8-part ceremonial cycle, using various lithic and earth features as observatories to determine the phases of the sun, moon, and stars for planting, harvest, and ceremonies. [8]"