Sunday, August 30, 2015


   I invite people all the time to look at long lines of stones, see this or that turtle or bear or diamond shaped rhomboidal stone in it – even what looks like human faces. And here at the end of the line, which may really be the beginning of the line of stones, to observe what looks like a snake – or a Great Serpent. Sometimes I draw eyes on them, just to emphasize the idea – even though sometimes I don’t have to because I’ve caught the light just right or some other human’s hands have done so already.

    I urge people to follow those lines they see – the stone ones on the ground, I mean.
    I urge people to read about the Indigenous Peoples of the Western Hemisphere and the Landscapes they created and maintained, the artwork they created in a wide variety of media, the Traditional Knowledge they passed on over many generations.

    People, some of whom show me photos of some very interesting things – stone things, I mean – keep inviting me lately to look at “Lines.” Very Long Lines, I mean, Lines that cross states and countries and oceans, and I’m not quite sure what they mean to say. Sometimes I suspect that I think I know where they get these ideas.
   Sometimes I suspect pseudoscience books and all those Chariots of the God’s sort of writers who drag in all sorts of mostly “white people” – sometimes influenced by people from other planets, but lately I mostly suspect Cable TV – and Netflix and Hulu Plus and all those other applications you can use to view these programs on your computer or fancy-pants phone.

    The single episode of America Unearthed that I watched comes to mind, where someone started a line on a google earth map at something once called Mystery Hill in New Hampshire, now labelled America’s Stonehenge and linked it up to Stonehenge in England and somehow or other linked it to the (suspected location of the) Ancient Library of Alexandria, proving somehow that white people built all three on purpose - because they are all on the same "line."
     I’ve got a better research project in mind; let’s put all those places that have been investigated by Wolter and draw a line to his off-shore bank account…


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mother Earth

western minds want to think Mother Earth is striking back
 in retaliation with what certain humans are doing to her.

i think if we continuously see Mother Earth as an enemy
                                                            and talk enemy language
 as if she were conducting a war with the humans
                                                                 then all is lost.

Mother Earth only tries to balance the stupidity.

Tiokasin Ghosthorse
August 27, 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cueva de la Serpiente (Baja California, Mexico)

    “At Cueva de la Serpiente, can be found the most extraordinary composition in the Great Mural area. This 26-foot-long panel panel, apparently painted by one artist. No other site displays fanciful creatures like these deer-headed serpents, nor do others show large groups of interrelated figures like those clustering around the sinuous body of the snake-monster on the right. As if to heighten the mystery of this unique conception, the smaller figures do closely resemble the work of Painters at other sites. The photograph of the area between the serpents shows the rough surface on which this great work was rendered - and attests to the fidelity of Joanne Crosby's recreation of the entire panel.”
Sam Hicks leads Erle Stanley Gardner to the
Cave of the Serpent, Sierra San Francisco.
(Erle Stanley Gardner was an American lawyer and author. Though best known for the Perry Mason series of detective stories, he wrote numerous other novels and shorter pieces... Wikipedia)

In a research paper 'Cueva de la Serpiente: Interpretive Analysis of an Archaic Great Mural Rock Art Panel' by Roberto Martínez, Larissa Mendoza and Ramón Viñas (2012) the authors explain that snakes are very uncommon in the Great Mural imagery, which makes the case of the two a horned snakes with fish-like tails that preside the panel at Cueva de la Serpiente practically unique.

They offer several interpretations of this Great Mural rock art panel, found in Arroyo del Parral within the San Francisco Sierra. The panel composition, thematic, colour pallet, and site orientation, as well as ethnographical analogy and the contextual examination, are all important indicators for such interpretations. The motifs shown on the site's rock art are associated with concepts that refer to creation myths; death and the cyclical renewal of life and the seasons. The central figure of the horned serpent is present throughout the American continent and prevails in the worldview of several native cultures.
They conclude that the horned serpent is associated to water, abundance and fecundity. The two facing snakes at Cueva de la Serpiente seem to symbolize the opposition of youth - the early rain season and its wealth of resources in life - and old age - dry and sterile. Many Native American world views are based on duality and binary oppositions, which seem to constitute the panel's subject: the wet season generates life and, the dry season, death. Moreover, human and animal life is created, transformed and renewed. In this way, the equinox serpent of light and shadow might reflect the marking of a moment, when the dry season ends and new life begins. The horned serpents in the panel of Cueva de la Serpiente refer us to the seasonal transition from abundance to scarcity, as well as to the individual's personal transition through life, and the process of renewal and the creation of new life.

Two deer-headed serpents give Cueva de la Serpiente its name. The right-hand one is complete, with deer-like ears and antlers, long banded body, bifurcated tail. Only the head of the left one is preserved; the body was painted on a section of rock that fell away. The 26-foot-long mural also has more than 50 doll-like human and animal figures. (Photograph by Harry W. Crosby, courtesy Sunbelt Publications).

Harry W. Crosby discovering the Great Murals of an Unknown People
    ‘The Cochimi were the aboriginal inhabitants of the central and northern parts of the Baja California peninsula. Two other ethnic groups occupied the peninsula further south; the Guaycura and the Peric. Archaeological research suggests that the peninsula was inhabited up to 10,000 years ago….
The Unknown Painters of the Baja California Great Murals
    “The Cochimi were hunter-gatherers, leading a prehistoric existence without agriculture or metallurgy. Pottery was used and there is evidence of wooden drums or tablas. Ceremonies and shamanic practices were held. Perhaps their greatest cultural legacy is the cave paintings; the Great Murals of Baja California have been attributed to the Cochimi, although on-going research aims to confirm this assertion.
     It is hypothesized that the rock art was produced in the context of shamanic rituals. Indeed, the paintings are a significant statement of the cultural sophistication of a prehistoric people whose material culture was relatively minimal [Schaafsma 1997]…”

"The Cochimi Indians fished and lived off the land at the Wall as much as 15,000 years ago and the evidence is widespread. Around the sleeping rings and midden piles, we found bones, arrowheads and flakes left over from tool making."

The first recorded stone structure on Baja: "The woman took him to the stone corral that was her home (page 30)."

Assorted Serpents

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Possible Serpent Gateways, Signal Hill Madison CT

At the top of the hill:
2015 above, 2014 and blurry below, maybe a slit eye denoting Dreaming...
Down by the Salt Marsh (2015):
(Altered by new Trail behind it, perhaps this gap was intentional, just off the original Indian Shoreline Path...)

(Single stone/shell and head of Diamondback Terrapin?)

Looking the other way, out to where you might find, among other things, Diamondback Terrapins:

After a respectful tobacco sacrifice, of course:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Can you dig it?

"The Hammonasset River was a main digging ground for the Hammonassett people…"

Old Native American fish trap West Beach
       Tim Visel writes: “In the late 1970’s, the State of Connecticut sought to expand parking at the West Beach bath houses. To do this, they excavated an area behind the beachfront, and I watched as hundreds of old poles 4 to 6 inches in diameter, were exposed. At the time, I thought I was seeing the remains of a colonial bridge, but now realize that it was an old Native American fish trap that had been preserved in the acid muck of the previous tidal environment. I recall the state park had to send many of its large green dump trucks to carry all the poles from the site. Mr. Miller once told me of a fish trap in the area, but always thought it was Sound side, not in a salt pond behind the beach. The practice of trapping fish in such a tidal breach/salt pond was common by Native Americans. Fish would enter such a salt pond on the incoming tide and be trapped by a big brush fyke trap net. Salt ponds were actually preferred for such “vee fykes” were common to catch alewife, flounder and eels. Many have been found in Maine where the “V” stone wall configuration can be seen on aerial photographs. At the time, I first thought that the original salt pond was being created or restored. My enthusiasm waned as fill was trucked from the site, which yielded a silt-like gray to black sand with many clam and oyster shells, only to be replaced with crushed stone. It was very evident that this area was tidal and even the excavation itself soon filled with seawater, and it became more of a dredging operation that an excavation one. My disappointment yielded a letter to the Army Corps about several projects in 1979 and the need to rebuild, not fill in such salt ponds…


Evidence does indicate the presence of Native American coastal fishing village(s) 1,500 to 2,000 feet offshore of the current high tide line. The 1960’s hydraulic dredge operation pumped hundreds of artifacts ashore with the fill. If estimates are correct, since the colonial period, Hammonasset Beach has eroded an average of 2 feet/yearly (from 1900 to 1955, 200 feet; since 1955, around 100 feet). The age of the offshore site is suspected to be around 900 to 1100 AD placing it in the proximity of its current offshore location…”

More from T Visel:
    "Hammonasset" means, "where we dig holes in the ground" and refers to the place where a settlement of eastern woodland Indians farmed along the Hammonasset River. They subsisted on corn, beans, and squash, and by fishing and hunting. The first colonists arrived in 1639. Property changed hands frequently between Native Americans and the first colonists.
     In 1898 the Winchester Repeating Arms Company bought Hammonasset and used it as a testing site for their new rifle. Their Lee Straight Pull rifle was mounted on a horse drawn stone boat, from which it was fired into targets on the beach.

    On July 18, 1920, Hammonasset Beach State Park was opened to the public. The first season attracted over 75,000 visitors. The park's reputation drew tourists from across the continent as well as the state.
    During World War II the park was closed to the public and loaned to the federal government as an army reservation. Meigs Point functioned as an aircraft range. Planes flew over Clinton Harbor, fired at the range and then flew out over Long Island Sound.
    The stone breakwater at the Meigs Point end of the park was built in 1955. The stones were brought in by truck from quarries in northern New England.
     Today, over one million people come annually to enjoy Hammonasset Beach State Park.

The word Hammonasset means, “where we dig holes in the ground.” Located on Long Island Sound in Madison, the State of Connecticut flagship state park that bears this name was once a sacred place for Native Americans to hunt and fish…

There has been much recent discussion among archaeologists in Connecticut on the chances of finding a predisturbed or moderately disturbed (reused) coastal weir – for eels or alewife.  Many feel the best chance of discovering them is during the stream walk surveys, especially when a 17th/18th century period ice pond is drained on the headwaters of a tidal stream.  The Cove River site in West Haven is thought to support such Native American fisheries and much information is already on file.  Other areas are certain to exist. 
 The “Vee” wall stone alewife traps are easily distinguishable from their location often between two slow moving stream sections that are relatively narrow.  That leaves about a half mile (depends upon slope) between tidal waters and headwaters which was usually a “kettle pond” or deep ponds created as the last ice sheet retreated north about 10,000 years ago.  Alewife needed to reach salt ponds, coastal features that frequently contained “short runs” and “kettle ponds” spring fed are those more often associated as “short runs.”  Alewife would also return into main “stream” larger rivers that would break off into smaller streams, the so called “long runs” each spring as they returned to spawning habitat.  Often these small traps simply look like stone walls built in the stream bed resembling a “vee” apex pointed downstream.  They gathered stream flows to fill it is thought a series of graduated pools allowing fish to ascend into a trap. 

A similar stream survey of Alewife Cove New London/Waterford (the name does give away its former significance) found that the easterly side contained tons of winter street sand and below a layer of approximately six feet of sand lie buried quahogs.  Interviews with area residents (The Alewife Cove Watcher program 1985) indicated that hard-shell clamming occurred here in the 1920s but by 1985 tons of winter street sand had washed into this region of Alewife Cove.

[1] 1 According to Emil Miller, former park resident, the location of the Grand Pavilion was largely decided by the trolley rail line into the park; straight to the beach was the least costly route. Personal Communication T. Visel, 1968 circa.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Six Faces of Traditional Ecological Knowledge

The Six Faces of Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Challenges and Opportunities for Canadian Co-Management Arrangements

The First Nations of Canada have been active over the past three decades in negotiating natural resources co-management arrangements that would give them greater involvement in decision-making processes that are closer to their values and worldviews. These values and worldviews are part of the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) that First Nations possess about the land; to reach agreements to the satisfaction of First Nations, appropriate ways to involve TEK in decision-making processes must be designed. Through a review of the literature on TEK, I identified six “faces” of TEK, i.e., factual observations, management systems, past and current land uses, ethics and values, culture and identity, and cosmology, as well as the particular challenges and opportunities that each face poses to the co-management of natural resources.
  • The Faces of Traditional Ecological Knowledge
    • First face: factual observations, classifications, and system dynamics: This type of empirical knowledge consists of a set of generalized observations conducted over a long period of time and reinforced by accounts of other TEK holders (Usher 2000). It is therefore personal knowledge, but it is enriched and validated through social life. It has been pointed out that it is linked to survival, i.e., it is an “appropriate” ecological knowledge (Berkes 1988), but that it can also emerge out of sheer curiosity (Johnson 1992b).
    • Second face: management systems: As mentioned earlier and discussed extensively in the literature, TEK largely serves the purpose of subsistence. Therefore, a major theme of research on TEK is that of resource management systems and how they are adapted to local environments.
    • Third face: factual knowledge regarding past and current uses of the environment:  This third face of TEK highlights the time dimension of traditional knowledge while locating it precisely in space. It is knowledge of the past and current uses of the environment that is transmitted through oral history (Neis et al. 1999, Usher 2000, Peters 2003). It refers to the knowledge of historical patterns of land use and settlement, occupancy, and harvest levels (Duerden and Kuhn 1998, Wenzel 1999, Usher 2000). It also concerns the location of medicinal plants and cultural and historical sites (Mailhot 1993, Lewis and Sheppard 2005). Part of this dimension of TEK is life stories that are transmitted over generations through narratives that give a sense of family and community (Johnson 1992b, Cruikshank 1998, Callaway 2004).
    • Fourth face: ethics and values: This face is the expression of values concerning correct attitudes, often identified as values of respect, to adopt toward nonhuman animals, the environment in general, and between humans -  For instance, the Haida people of British Columbia have long opposed recreational bear hunting, which is considered disrespectful toward the animal (Council of the Haida Nation 2004). Since 1995, when the Council of the Haida Nation issued a formal request to ban recreational bear hunting on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), the Haida have tried to encourage local outfitters to stop offering hunting opportunities to tourists and to provide bear-watching opportunities as an alternative ( This initiative has had limited effect because bear hunting still continues on Haida Gwaii, with the exception of Gwaii Haanas, which is a National Park located in the southern part of the archipelago (Burles et al. 2004, Process Management Team 2006).
    • Fifth face: traditional ecological knowledge as a vector for cultural identity: This face of TEK understands the stories, values, and social relations that reside in places as contributing to the survival, reproduction, and evolution of aboriginal cultures and identities. It stresses the restorative benefits of cultural landscapes as places for spiritual renewal (Lewis and Sheppard 2005).
    • Sixth face: cosmology: This dimension has been said to be akin to religion (e.g., Howard and Widdowson 1996, 1997). Others (e.g., Berkes and Henley 1997, Stevenson 1997) have counterargued that TEK is more of a philosophy than an ideology -  The concept of the cultural landscape is by no means new (Johnston et al. 2000…“To understand the northern landscape requires an understanding of the related cosmologies” (Buggey 2004:19). These are places that embody traditional narratives and spiritual meaning, as well as economic use (Buggey 2004). They are providers of both physical and spiritual reference and sustenance, as Lewis and Sheppard (2005) have noted. Consequently, propositions have been made (e.g., Karjala and Dewhurst 2003, Lewis and Sheppard 2005) to integrate aboriginal concerns at an earlier stage in land-use planning by projecting into the future what the land would look like under different management scenarios and by attempting to find scenarios that would match to a greater extent the idea of what the landscape should look like according to those who live there...