Haachen'ar ("Hunter")

A New Cynegetics

A Core Process of Chance

"The game of comity of life and death, which the hunter/gatherers entered in the great savannas, accepting the nature of nature, was altered by agrarian thought: from a core process of chance to one of manipulation, from reading one’s state of grace in terms of the success of the hunt to bartering for it, from finding to making, from sacrament received to negotiations with human-like deities."

—Shepard, “Coming Home to the Pleistocene”

"The Language of Birds" from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and co. Nod to the Northern Cardinal and my "friend" the Northern Mockingbird, especially. Part of the Language of the Prophets, ala Ohlone-Costanoan-Esselen poet Deborah Miranda.

An Acoustical Event World

"The depth and power of perceptual habits that shape people’s lives are described by anthropologist Walter Ong, who distinguishes between an ‘acoustical event world’ and the modern ‘hypervisual culture.’ He describes the former as giving primordial design to experience, in which the sound world is more fundamental than the mind’s eye. The phonetic alphabet, pictorial space, and euclidean geometry are not just ideas and formulas; they are representations supporting a linear view of the world that in turn shapes our experience of the nonlinear natural world and its creatures. Information based on the reflection of light from surfaces—instead of on messages emanating from the inner life of organisms as is implicit with sound—alters our sense of a living world into a surface world with life sucked out of it.”

—Shepard, “Coming Home to the Pleistocene”

"Green Porno," episode "Snail," from Isabella Rossellini via the Sundance channel. Wonderfully weird, she gets it. I’ll post more, but this was my first. And you never forget your first.

Early Modern Humans in Southern Italy

"While central Europe has an abundance of evidence of the activities of our early modern ancestors, the Aurignacians, opinion until very recently has been that sites in southern Italy as old as 40,000 BP represented earlier Neanderthal populations and that Aurignacians did not penetrate until 30,000-35,000 BP into southern Italy."

“Grizzly Bear” (2012) by Temecula-born artist Adam Munoa. Move beyond mysticism—something Huunar taught me. Remember where you are to remember who you are. Be a good Indigenist and worship the Higher Powers: Grizzly Bear the Sun, Golden Eagle the Sky, Mule Deer the Earth, Western Rattlesnake the Moon, Gray Whale the Sea, Red-Legged Frog the Underworld, Jimson Weed the dream of it all. Make prayers to those seven old ones that hold up the World. Anything else is narcissism. Counting breaths won’t heal the bay. When people ask my religion, I say “hunter-gatherer hedonism,” “venatic vitalism,” or “being a good Cheniichngich.”

“Grizzly Bear” (2012) by Temecula-born artist Adam Munoa. Move beyond mysticism—something Huunar taught me. Remember where you are to remember who you are. Be a good Indigenist and worship the Higher Powers: Grizzly Bear the Sun, Golden Eagle the Sky, Mule Deer the Earth, Western Rattlesnake the Moon, Gray Whale the Sea, Red-Legged Frog the Underworld, Jimson Weed the dream of it all. Make prayers to those seven old ones that hold up the World. Anything else is narcissism. Counting breaths won’t heal the bay. When people ask my religion, I say “hunter-gatherer hedonism,” “venatic vitalism,” or “being a good Cheniichngich.”

Eco-labels and Land Use

"Throughout New England were names telling where plants could be gathered, shellfish collected, mammals hunted, and fish caught. Abessah, in Bar Harbor, Maine, was the ‘clam bake place.’ Wabaquasset, in Providence, Rhode Island, was where Indian women could find ‘flags or rushes for making mats.’ Azoiquoneset, also in the Narragansett Bay area, was the ‘the small island where we get pitch,’ used to make torches for hunting sturgeon at night. The purpose of such names was to turn the landscape into a map which, if studied carefully, literally gave a village’s inhabitants the information they needed to sustain themselves. Place-names were used to keep track of beaver dams, the rapids in rivers, oyster banks, egg-gathering spots, cranberry bogs, canoe-repairing places, and so on. Some were explicitly seasonal in their references, just as the Indian use of them was. Seconchqut Village in Dukes County, Massachusetts, was ‘the late spring or summer place.’ The Eackhonk River in Rhode Island was named to mark ‘the end of the fishing place,’ meaning the inland limit of the spring spawning runs. Unlike the English, who most frequently created arbitrary place-names which either recalled localities in their homeland or gave a place the name of its owner, the Indians used ecological labels to describe how the land could be used."

—Cronon, “Changes in the Land”

"The Boy Who Stole Your Heart" by swell guy and songwriter, Scott Reynolds, formerly of pop-punk powerhouse ALL. Here his portrait of small-town adolescent pining, part of any human ontogeny. I know foragers don’t sweat premarital sex but some, like the Australians, also seem to consider young women taboo to young men during time of initiation or "ceremony."

On the Job Training

"Although in former years there was some verbal instruction of youths by older men, there seems to have been a greater emphasis upon practical ‘on the job’ training. This sort of training still persists today. The young hunter accompanies older men on their hunting trips and learns by observing them. If he succeeds in duplicating their actions properly, he is rewarded by silent acceptance. If he should make an error, he is chastised and teased. This ridicule continues beyond that which takes place at the time. The other men are also told of his failings so that they can join in…. The system is very effective and makes the youth even more determined to succeed under conditions of normal cultural stability."

—Nelson, “Shadow of the Hunter”

"Yakwa: Banquet of the Spirits," a documentary on Mato Grasso (Brazil)’s indigenous, the Enawene Nawe. Note the vitality of the not-so-old-timers telling their origin story—in stereo!