Friday, November 30, 2018

Salmon Head Rock (Lyme CT)

"What would you name this rock formation? You can see it on the George and Rosemary Moore Trail/red trail in Jewett Preserve. The ribbon cutting for the opening of the trail is Sat. Dec 1 at 10am at the Mt Archer Woods parking lot. Click on the link below for more info:

Lyme Land Conservation Trust: "Thank you everyone for your great suggestions! We have decided to call the rock "Salmon Head Rock". Come to see it on the walk tomorrow after the opening ceremony. We will pass it on the 4 and 7 mile walks."

Medicine for Salmon
Except for those used in World Renewal rituals, only four spoken formulas for taking salmon have been documented, and (probably by coincidence) all four were collected from Yurok speakers shortly after 1900.

A formula from Stone of Weitchpec (Yurok) called upon a wo'gey who had spoken with Nepewo (The Great Head Salmon). He asked him for salmon and other things. Although he held a spear, he did not attempt to strike Nepewo, who listened and then went on his way. After that, the spirit-person always found salmon and killed them easily. The wo'gey who is called upon in this formula instructs the fisherman to "talk to his harpoon" (that is, speak the formula over it) and dictates various restrictions that the fisherman had to observe in order to preserve his luck (appendix 2, C-7).

― 164 ―
The second formula for salmon, collected from Billy Werk of Weitchpec, was used with a song. The narrative involved a story about Small Salmon (Tserhkr). He followed some other fish into a sweathouse, even though the owner told him that there was no room to lie down there. He found himself a place anyway and sang a certain song. This formula and song were to be used while the fisherman tied the webbing to the frame of his dipnet rather than after he had started fishing (appendix 2, C-8).

Another Yurok known as Lame Billy of Weitchpec had a formula for salmon involving Coyote, who pretended to be a Karok person traveling upriver. He disguised himself as an old man and persuaded some people to take him upstream in a boat. However, he got caught while passing by the fish dam at Kepel, because someone there accused him of being the one who had run off with his wife (appendix 2, C-5).

The last of these formulas was explained by Barney of Sregon (Yurok). This text calls upon Pigeon, who learned how to make a net by spying on White Duck. He copied how the net was attached to the frame and learned the names for various parts of the net. Later, he got caught watching and was beaten up. That is why his chest is so narrow now; they pushed him against the ground and injured him (appendix 2, C-11).

Nepewo (The Great Head Salmon)

Algonquin speakers followed the receding glaciers eastward. This story goes back to that time, when megafauna beavers grew to the size of modern bears:

Monday, November 26, 2018


Mountain Bikes
Way too fast for me
(I get scared on a Merry-Go-Round)
I can see a trail or two sometimes
Capture a still or two
From places like these and wonder...                                                                   

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Another Edge of another Cranberry Garden?

Many Thanks to Karen in Killingworth
for bringing the bog to my attention

     A little surprise (to me) on one of the cranberriest days of the year in modern America was finding out about a Cranberry Bog in Killingworth CT. A little bigger surprise was the fact that a controlled burn was done to improve or maintain the 'bog."

"On November 22, 2003, we tried something a bit unique for a land trust.  We organized a prescribed burn for sections of the Pond Meadow bog...Why burn the bog?  Well, part of our job as stewards of this area is to keep down the growth of woody vegetation and invasive plants that compete with the bog plants that make this habitat special.  In the past we have done this by mowing and hand-weeding.  A controlled burn could achieve the same results, possibly better, with less effort.

We chose three test areas to burn so we could see the impact this measure of maintenance would have. 

From the onset, our biggest concern lay more in the scenario of the bog not burning than in the fire getting out of control.  However, we were more than well covered to prevent the latter.  The day was sunny and dry, and we were optimistic.  But as it turned out, most of the area did not burn as vigorously as we had hoped.  The test area with the highest concentration of orchids did burn fairly well and we marked it off to gauge the effect next spring..."


So of course I'm going to wonder about Indigenous stonework, the Ceremonial Stone Landscape that just might be related to cranberries and a method of control for the Indigenous fires as well as possibly the control of water - and of course I'll have to compare it a Cranberry Garden I know of about 10 miles north of where I live.
I don't know if I'll ever get my feet wet in Killingworth (access is restricted), but maybe someone sometime might get a chance to. All I can do is locate the LiDar and wonder about what appears to suggest "stone walls" at the edge of the Pond Meadow Bog:

  I'd look for CSL stone features there, because elsewhere I've found, on the edge of a place called a Cranberry Swamp on the map:  There’s a lowest row of stones, it turns out, long unmaintained and sometimes hidden in tree debris or ferns as well as the sphagnum moss that is often found growing along with the cranberry. I walked along it a little, on the drier side mostly, looking for some of that Indigenous Iconography that whispers to me that this is a Native American stone feature, a stone border of one of the world’s largest gardens that is now known as New England, this one surrounding what I almost called a cranberry bog but is really a Cranberry Garden.
There are a few entrances into the swampy zone at the first terrace - breaks in the row of stones - that suggest what one might call a Serpent Gateway in the petroform fuel break that adds a layer of spiritual protection from fires (set by lightening shot from the eyes of Thunder Beings?) and fits well with the concept of a Sacred Indigenous Ceremonial Stone Landscape."

There's a good deal of white quartz and Quartzite in the rows of stones - "stone walls" that seem to suggest an enclosure, perhaps a fire proof barrier, around the swamp:
- but I also came across some larger triangular, often flat topped,
 white quartz boulders at some of the entrances. 
This is one:

Like many other similar boulders at similar places in similar rows of stones,
there is sometimes something suggestive of an eye present.
An overlaid Eastern Timber Rattlesnake eye,
brings the image "alive," just as creating this effigy brought it alive,
giving it the power to control Renewal Fires on either side:

After a stretch of stacked stones:
Another quartz boulder entrance: 
This last one very much resembles another along a stream that flows into Cranberry Swamp, much higher up on the hill above it:
Head twisted slightly to the side, I'll add some overlay just to make the Uktena-like Snake come to life at another break in another enclosure or Qusukqaniyutôk:

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Just Another Boulder Mortar (Watertown CT)

At the Bulldozer's Edge on the Hamburger Side of Town 

Above: “A Turtle Shaped Mortar” from Connecticut’s Indigenous Peoples (2013) by Dr. Lucianne Lavin. That is my photo from 9/2008. 

  It was just a little walk along a row of stones at the northeast corner of the parking lot:
Just past this, looking southeast:
Here: looking northwest:

Keyword "Grocery:"
Keyword "Senior:"
also "Straits:"

Boulder Mortars:

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Pootatuck Stonework On the Trail to the "Roaring Water" (Woodbury CT)

Native American Heritage Month, November 2018 - "a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness..." 

   Not many people are aware of Indigenous (Native American, Indian) Ceremonial Stone Landscapes or the fact that Ceremonial Stone Landscapes are recognized - and hopefully protected - on Federal Lands.
   Or at least, were.
   It was just a little over two years ago that a Ceremonial Stone Landscape was bulldozed at Standing Rock in North Dakota - and I'm not sure how many people are aware of that either.

   Not many people in my town would be aware that my photo above, taken at a local land trust property, is of a large artifact or feature of the Pootatuck Ceremonial Stone Landscape - or that some towns and Land Trusts also recognize - and preserve and protect - Ceremonial Stone Landscapes, working together with Tribal Historic Preservation Officers.
   I'm pretty sure most people in my town and many towns around here would tell me that it is actually an unremarkable and quite common feature, the iconic farmer's fence or stone wall, the smaller stones kept in place by the boulder at the gateway, just like one on their property, at their home or grandpa's farm.
   Or perhaps this one, about five miles north of the one on the Trail to the Roaring Waters:

There is a National Park Service training video that illustrates a Snake Stone Row or Serpent Effigy: “This is a serpent effigy - and the serpent effigies are quite often in dispute because the presumption is that they are stone walls. Most often, they are too low to pen anything in, but we identify them by other means. Usually they do have a head, such as the one you see here..."
- Doug Harris

The complete text and video can be seen here at the National Park Service website:

Back to the trail, that flat topped triangular boulder, the shape of the rattlesnake the Uktena is modeled after, imagining it as a Big Snake head, a body behind,
imagining eyes ...
    I would further qualify the “stone wall” as an Uktena Qusukqaniyutôk because the head is bent at an angle from the “body” of the “wall” or Qusukqaniyutôk ~ ‘stone row, enclosure’ (Harris and Robinson, 2015:140)

Anthropologist James Mooney:
"Those who know say the Uktena is a great snake, as large around as a tree trunk, with horns on its head, and a bright blazing crest like a diamond on its forehead, and scales glowing like sparks of fire. It has rings or spots of color along its whole length, and can not be wounded except by shooting in the seventh spot from the head, because under this spot are its heart and its life. The blazing diamond is called Ulun'suti -- "Transparent" -- and he who can win it may become the greatest wonder worker of the tribe..."

"According to Mooney (1900:458-459), the name Uktena is derived from akta, or eye, and implies being a “strong looker,” as everything is visible to it (i.e., it can see thoughts). From the same root is derived akta’tĭ, “to see into closely” which is also the Cherokee word for a magnifying lens and telescope. So the name Uktena implies that it sees thoughts and it does so in an accurate way; knowledge that comes in useful to predict enemy tactics (Jannie Loubser - E-mail communication July 21, 2015). " - Uktena "strong-looker"
Some images of the above, updated in 2021:

 The Uktena knows your intentions, as you enter the place he guards with his encircling body. The Uktena can help control wildfires set by lightening from the Thunderbird's eyes. Stone Uktena can act as fuel breaks for purposely set controlled Indigenous fires:
Clockwise around the enclosure:
Zigzag Rows of Stones border riparian zones:

More Serpent Gateways