Cannibal giants metamorph negatively, pretending to be kin until killing and eating people with that age old cannibal perfidy. People became cannibals when they hardened their hearts toward their kin. Restoration of social relation could heal these rifts, the Wabanaki thought, by addressing the cannibal as father or grandfather, appealing like Dr. King to a higher nature, conscience. Kindness to the giant was their hope of transformation.
Truly naive, it was European technology that the AlgonquinCannibal giants metamorph negatively, pretending to be kin until killing and eating people with that age old cannibal perfidy. People became cannibals when they hardened their hearts toward their kin. Restoration of social relation could heal these rifts, the Wabanaki thought, by addressing the cannibal as father or grandfather, appealing like Dr. King to a higher nature, conscience. Kindness to the giant was their hope of transformation.
Truly naive, it was European technology that the Algonquin embraced, Iphones, computers, nano parts and digital DNA, to make the analogy. The myths are pictures of the native and the alien, Algonquin vs. European, giant vs. Glosknap, cannibal forces of conflict vs. their resolution. But these are viewed by the European scholar of the past after the conflict ends in his favor, but what about when the conflict is not resolved and the viewer is the native? In the war of the natural vs. digital the conflict is global, but the giants and cannibals are still the devourers. English treachery and the greed of European morality altogether dispossessed the occasional good English altruist who skewed the native just enough to ensure total extinction. So Weymouth kidnapped five Wabanakis to England. KIDNAPPING AND TECHNOLOGY were the two salient seductions of what the alien did to the native. Does it make you think of our own time at all?
Wishful thinking makes the scholar say the opposite of the fact, that "from the beginning of contact the Algonquians had an informed realistic view of the challenges of the cultural encounter." 119 This is so horribly wrong since Glusknap (old spelling) and that (theology of) acceptance of the other, like the Jesuit astronomers' redemption coming from space, made them miss entirely the horror of evil they encountered. Myth and folklore document this adaptability, this naïveté, in the cultural evidence of stories and poems.
Myth says one thing history another, but when they are one and the same we have apocalypse. I love this kind of talk, that "myth is central to the study of cultural encounter precisely because it provides the template shaping people's ongoing production of identity" 120. This identity provides security with common shared public values. But Contact makes for decentering when people question these values. However it came, Algonquian values from the conflict of summer and winter, relatives vs. strangers, the center vs. the periphery, women in camp vs. men hunting in the forest, made for adaptive values, the critic says, trying to make a whole thought of their one world, which itself is a human misnomer. There is no human whole thought. It is impossible that humans solve their contradiction even if some myth or religion they practice says it does. Positive against negative, the hero Gluskap against the cannibal giants of windigo, Kiwakwe, chenoo, seek a solution of good and evil, but there is none, the positive sharing power of Gluskap vs. the negative antisocial giants of greed, is supposed to transform the world, meaning absorb and redeem the evil that is made human in other tribal members.
Gluskap learns to be good by one struggle at a time until he releases the captive animals and forbears revenge. It is a perfect tale for society within itself, in its one world, but it utterly fails when confronted with the outside; there only the Hopi view survives, http://www.colorado.edu/ReligiousStud... IMPLACABLE WAR WITH THE OTHER. Do not compassionately stay your hand against the enemy. Execute him. Every effort Gluskap made to transform the world was to bring the natural, the animal into harmony and kinship when the people sought to survive the drought by taking to the water as fish or the forest as game: "my relative of a strange race, my spouse's parents" 123.
Treating animals as kin they extended this courtesy to the English, a big mistake, a kind of genocide by myth. To utterly oppose the English however was to deny their religion and its constructive myth to accommodate the world. But the world is implacable. Read for yourself 124 the catalog of cannibal giant English. Cannibal giants were vicious, envious, selfish in nature, refused to share, pretended to be kin in order to eat human flesh, thus violating the paramount order of kinship. Humans could become cannibals but could cannibals be human? Gluskap said yes. Since humans became cannibals when they hardened their hearts, cannibals could be human if softened in healing. The invited in the Nephilim. This dialectic annihilated the people.
Gluskap showed that technology should be used to socially construct the people for human welfare. In their grasping, Europeans were considered to be like the cannibal giants. How the Wabanaki were corrupted by commercial contact with Weymouth and kidnapped is the cautionary tale of our own Black Science of the present. For you can have a new kidney and new genes if you will just get aboard ship. When the Wabanaki subsequently eliminated the Popham colony the internal pressures triggered by this betrayal of their religion weakened them. 128 Hence cultural contact, wave on wave of epidemics, liquor, factionalism and division, the cannibal virus so to speak. In post contact history Gluskap's teaching became more urgent. Europeans were identified with sinful Adam, rebaptized, etc. Post contact history we have a lot of and more is coming.
Obviously Ken's work on Algonquian myth in Mapping Otherness https://books.google.com/books?id=QPN... would appeal to me, stories stuffed with the cultural evidence they embody, the tension between myth and history, to reverse the ethno historical dependence on European documents. I have an immense appreciation of Howard Norman's books on the Cree.https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... All my writing on Pop, Susan, Wonk Yaps, Orcs, is like the Indian myths, except mine are about the Caucasoid, http://encouragementsforsuch.blogspot... stories with evidence of cultural encounter (with the transhuman and science as if they were European conquerors). In the conflict of these cultures with the mythic origins of the native, i.e. the natural world, everything said of the European conflict with the native applies to the transhuman conflict with the natural, except there is no Glooskap who struggles the hard way to preserve against evil; there is only evil as a kind of joke. No maturation through concern for others, but there might be a killing of the giant frog that ate all the world's water at the end. When the Algonquian were deprived of world and water they changed form into fish and bear and thus became the other by transplantation, a sort of combine with the energy of the other. But in this alienation into animal others as kin, their strategy of goodness, once transformed, hoped to change the European into kin, which shows how wrong they were. Glooscap faced the challenge of the other European constructively, like kin, hence the benignity of this belief empowered their annihilation. They should have read Franz Fanon.
Ken Morrison: In Memorium. Pre-Contact, Contact, Post-Contact Glooscap. Contact Beyond the Abenaki!
I come to these matters as a poet, not hampered by any particular disbelief. Maybe a little kin to the Abenaki, dreams, visions, I take the case Ken lays out as prophetic of our own. Hence I design five scenarios of Contact beyond the Abenaki:
Countdown 1: Baptizing Martians Countdown 2: Oracle AI Countdown 3: The Conscious Unconscious Countdown 4: Collective Psychopathic God particles Countdown 5: Woman and DNA Against the Gods
I lived next door to Ken Morrison, 1946-2012, http://mailman.yale.edu/pipermail/nat... for 15 years. At that time there were three professors on our half block, Kenneth M. Morrison, Professor of Religion at ASU, Lew Alquist, Professor of Art at ASU 1946-2005, a positive influence on our artist son, http://www.rememberlew.blogspot.com/ and myself, sometimes Renaissance English. Ken's interests in gardening and research paralleled mine. We both moved to be neighbors within three months of each other. His dissertation written in 1975, the same year as mine, was on the Abenaki, various tribes that lived in the river basins of New Hampshire, Maine, and New Brunswick who fought many wars against the French and English. His Abenaki and their relations with New England and New France, 1600-1727, had much in common philosophically with mine of the same year, Restorations of the Golden Age in New World Discoveries [1500- 1680], which was preceded by a faux MFA thesis, Ameryca! (Austin 1973-4). Ken inspired two stories after I knew him, Christmas City and Gardens and Grapefruits http://users.synapse.net/kgerken/Y-07....
We had come to Phoenix for the medical internship at Good Samaritan, but in the first ten years here lived south of McDowell at 24th street. We were there when the freeway was built, had moved into the derelict neighborhood just a year before. All social relations had fragmented, leaving behind drug houses, gangs and illegals. Our immediate six neighbors on all sides were widowed white women in their 60's and 70's left over from the lowering social tide. They had pomegranates and grapefruit trees and oleanders to hide the gangs. We had three breakins before our first black chow joined us as a stray. Finally, when the immediate neighbor lady to west went belly up (she and her daughter inspired the notorious Susan http://www.friggmagazine.com/issuetwe...) and the house redeemed from demo by a speculator at the last minute was rented to people who stored motor oil in five gallon buckets under the lemon trees, I had to move. The house next to Ken was the one provided. Ken had only arrived there himself three months before. The day we moved in I looked over the back fence and there were four card tables set up with candles with people playing canasta! No wonder I thought it was heaven. http://aereiff.blogspot.com/2012/12/a...
Ken's study is anthropological, ethnohistorical, sociological, but from a personal point of view that is engaging and well expressed. His writing puts his best face forward. My writing on the new world is often symbolic, facetious and opaque, but I never set out to be a scholar or professor, only a poet, which is no excuse for being neither.
Ameryca is all about contact effects and the primitive which contact destroyed, and then destroyed itself. http://encouragementsforsuch.blogspot... Restorations of the Golden Age is about the metaphor of discovery more than discovery itself, how inflated rhetoric of poets made the new into the old, into impossible topographies of gold, into the woman and lovemaking, into the act of love as a love voyage, into other world destinations, Bermuda into Hades, Virginia into heaven, or the new, new man. So myths of the gold tree, the gold man, heaven and hell, beauty and love were preoccupied filters, metaphors of the new but as the old. This very playful but serious business preoccupied the best minds of the English Renaissance which criticized empire even while they built it and criticized commercialism even while establishing it. So while the ship captains were probing the coasts off Penobscot and kidnapping Wabanaki to take back to the King, the poets at home were laughing and chortling and not getting at all how in this the beginning of the new world they were sowing its end in its destruction. but they did get that woman was the world and the new world was the world, so in a 400 year shot they progressed civilization to ruination and the earth to apocalypse.
Ken was an atheist or if not then a profound agnostic so I find it noteworthy he cried for three days after reading Buber, as his Obit says http://mailman.yale.edu/pipermail/nat.... I took it as axiomatic that a professor of religion would be antagonistic to faith. The founder of the ASU Religion Dept was a pronounced skeptic in his writings about spirituality. http://pennsylvaniafathers.blogspot.c... I say this from their universal rejection of supernatural paraphernalia, angels, inspiration, miracles and denial of scriptures in various ways. Ken made a perfect investigator of Indian religion, but shortsighted as the Algonquin about evil.
Is it consciousness if it only happens after the fact? All these reflections come some years after Ken's death, but last night, 7/13/15, wasn't the first time I had a dream visit with Ken. I dreamed of taking his class, needed for a doctorate, political theory or post modern grammar, which he taught. He had a radio show. Sitting next to him before class, convivial etc, after waking, I searched him looking for an authority he used to cite named Sam Gill on native American religions, and found it! His biblio is fascinating. Then I found his pdf on baptism! It all reminds of the dream I had of Carroll Abbott that sparked the writing of Native Texans http://humanbotany.blogspot.com/2011/... as if all these things lay just under the surface waiting to be awakened. I hate to say it, but when we finally get to where we forget ourselves so much that we are not conscious then our best work perhaps can emerge, if we live. I live in the unconscious origins http://perkiomenapocrypha.blogspot.co... long before these realizations of the singlehearted love of my wife from the moment practically we met, stemming from that second in June 1959 when Yeshua made himself known to me and I joined with the roots of 1024 genomes in ten generations.
These ideas abound in Ken's essay Native American Other than Human Persons, reality assumptions embedded in Algonquin: the master of animals, human and animals communicate in dreams, entities who live in other space time dimensions. Animals are human beings who have donned costumes and masks that created their animal forms, green corn and harvest rituals, first salmon, buffalo renewal ceremonials, bear ceremonialism revolve around human well being gained from gifting acts to other persons where words are intentional beings that represent an objective reality as kachina masks give physical form to cosmic persons encountered in dreams.
It is tragic Ken and I never conversed over these matters that mean so much to me in reality, if not in philosophy. Communication with a person is altogether different from reading his work. I never took him seriously as an intentional being because he did not see beyond his words or himself into the realms, as if he were giving by rote things he had heard but did not know himself. In all this writing and talking Momaday http://humanbotany.blogspot.com/2011/... never mentioned, as if the bear were deceased with the past, Rainey Mountain gone with the American prairie, as if all those thoughts about the other than human beings were theory and not the teachings of the great hearted chow-chow and all the dogs who love the dawn and the moon and the night air who cover us with their love, the direct apprehension of reality without interpretation. Denatured, like Richard E. Wentz who writes so much of the Pennsylvania Dutch but thinks heaven an obsolescent metaphor or those writers about fraktur or any other primitive religion who have not known its verity. They at least were able to get Nietzsche into their hearts.This was felt so when his garage was broken into and he was nonplussed. I merely screwed a 3/4 in sheet of plywood over the broken door. He would send away for exotic plants that could not thrive in our heat, so I gave him stands of aloe which still proliferate in his yard long after he is gone. If we never really had a conversation, I did hear of his activities, helping his grad students get posts at which he was good and many students would visit him at home. But he smoked, another rote effect, which caused his demise no doubt. He had moved to Oregon to live with his brother in law Geoff Glover, http://www.thesiuslawnews.com/v2_news... also early deceased, mentioned in the acknowledgments of Kinship, who had visited many times, a person who would repair his house. Ken was sitting at the breakfast there talking and simply on the instant died. At the beginning of Embattled he speaks of a cabin where he took seclusion. He had one of these here and would go many long weekends out of the month and much in summer outside of Prescott, on the mountain, but, another anomaly, he double and triple mortgaged his house during the fat years here to pay for improvements to the cabin, so when the evaluations crashed he could not afford the increased mortgages and that was the reason for the move to Oregon. We had a rooster and three hens wild on the street then, who had chicks several times, but gradually got whittled down till only the rooster was left, who would come and roost at night in Ken's aqua vitae and make his racket in the morning so that I considered dealing with him, but never did. He was very beautiful, but one morning I came out and he was dead in the drive as if his neck had been wrung. I gave him an honorable burial wrapped in a red T and rosemary. He has a gravestone. So came the end of that first event when we had moved in and saw them in the back yard playing canasta. He did not have a woman. The house was repossessed. an exstudent recruited and her taxi driver friend to live rent free until the bank ordered them out, about six months. So all our lives are contradicted. Ken's studies are anthropological, ethnohistorical and sociological, but from a personal point of view engaging and well expressed. His writing puts his best face forward.
YESU, YESU, FILL US WITH YOUR LOVE, SHOW US HOW TO SERVE, THE NEIGHBORS WE HAVE FROM YOU.
I read this in graduate school and found its treatment of Indian-white relations rather shallow in comparison to other ethnohistorical studies of the same era (like Salisbury's MANITOU AND PROVIDENCE). I've re-read parts of Morrison's book since then, however, and think I might try re-reading the whole book one day. I think I probably didn't give it enough of my attention the first time through.