HUNTING AND NATIVES, THANKING AND HONORING   [HUNTER GRAY  APRIL 18  2002]

 

From a RedBadBear discussion:

 

From Hunterbear:

While I know we agree on many things, Eric, our areas of disagreement in
this context are only increasing.

But, in a nutshell, I don't think you, who know much indeed about American
culture [and who would be one of my top choices for a lawyer], can stand in
that Anglo-American culture and pass negative value judgments on the culture
of any Native American tribal nation -- especially when you know virtually
nothing about its origin and its history and its vision and its contemporary
challenges. Your knowledge and your yardsticks exist within and come from an
alien culture -- and probably an urbanized version of it at that.  The Makah
have hunted whales since the Beginning of their Time -- their cultural
context is  ancient -- and they know very well how to do it properly and
effectively and very, very respectfully.

What a Makah does with a Whale, I do with the [also extremely intelligent]
Bear.

 My understanding is that, at this moment, the Makah are preparing for the
next hunt -- in the context of traditional culture -- and I am certain that
they will be successful. The potlatch feast provided by the whale will feed
many thousands -- strengthening unity within the Makah Nation and building
thousands of interpersonal bridges with and between other Natives from other
tribal nations.  The rivers of meaning in all of this are very deep and very
high -- and very, very old.

Further, I don't see how you can use any human-developed scientific
mechanism to measure the innate intelligence of any living thing [other than
perhaps other humans.]  How absolutely presumptuous!  Who ever asked the
animal?


 All I can say is that I've known horses and mules -- and cattle -- that
were extremely intelligent. I make these judgments on the way they function:
shrewdly, cunningly, effectively. And how do you know a cow or a horse
doesn't mourn its dead?  I know for a fact that coyotes and bobcats
certainly do. The animals that I once trapped [some of whom could very
skillfully sidestep my trap sets and, going into obviously deductive mental
processes, deliberately spring the No. 4 Victor double-spring traps without
becoming caught], were certainly coming from a high level of intelligence.
I couldn't measure it -- nor could any human -- with a human-developed lab
tool.  But I could certainly recognize and admire the extremely adept and
effective fashion in which they so often utilized their intelligence -- and
the victories they won in doing so.


At this moment, my half-Bobcat cat  -- Cloudy -- is looking at me with the
greatest intensity from her green eyes under her tufted ears and above her
tufted claws.  She knows precisely how to manage me and does it not as a
simple skill -- but as a fine, well-planned art. She always gets her way.

Anyway -- let's be friends.

I don't know if you checked out the links I provided. I have more but
enough, I suspect, is about enough.  However, here is one more:  Winona
LaDuke, Ojibway, speaking for the Green Party on the whole Makah whaling
issue:   http://globalcircle.net/winonamakah.htm    She handles the situation
with great sensitivity and in great detail and I would assume that her
highly informed position on the matter would be enormously reassuring to
most reasonable persons.  You may not agree, but do look at it.

In Solidarity - Hunter [Hunterbear]


Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]
www.hunterbear.org  ( social justice )
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´

 

From Hunterbear:

But, Brother [Walter] Davis, the Species, whether Whale or the Bear or Another -- depending on the respective Native cultural milieu -- is Very Special in the
most ancient and vitally contemporary sense.  Hence, its uniquely
strengthening -- deep and high -- socio-cultural role.

Best - H

Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]
www.hunterbear.org  ( social justice )
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´


From Hunterbear:

Walter Davis states [on Redbadbear]: "I believe that hunting or other cases
of killing animals can and should be morally justified in some cases but not
on the basis of their
"intelligence."

We have no argument at all on this point, Walter. We never will! And, while
again emphasizing that a certain animal -- e.g., Whale or Bear -- has
especial significance in the framework of its specific Native cultural
setting, I point out that, when the respective animal is taken, all  its
meat is eaten and nothing is wasted.  On the general matter of hunting, I'm
personally very critical of people who hunt for trophies -- and I see
hunting primarily as a matter of securing meat in the context of  outdoor
adventure and challenge.

As you know, I grew up in Northern Arizona and Western New Mexico -- very
much in a Navajo framework but with close family ties to many Hopi people
and to a great many people at Laguna Pueblo.  In the latter setting, our
relationship with families based in one particular clan structure was
especially close and we attended many of its functions -- both at the Laguna
villages in New Mexico [near Grants, between  Gallup and Albuquerque] and at
the Laguna colony in the western edge of  the railroad town of Winslow,
Arizona which is about 55 miles east of Flagstaff on what used to be Highway
66.  In the Winslow setting, the Lagunas have traditionally been Santa Fe
railroad workers and their families.  In return for letting the railroad
cross the Laguna reservation in N.M. [based on very old and enduring Spanish
land grant title], the Santa Fe agreed to give hiring preference to Laguna
men in many job categories and it honored its commitment.

In the "old days," the leading, traditional hunter for the Laguna clan with
which our relationship has been very close was Juan Carillo -- who was
one-half Apache [Mescalero/Chiricahua] and the direct nephew of Geronimo.
His father was a Castilian Spaniard who came to Southern New Mexico and
established a ranch and married Geronimo's sister in the framework of the
Catholic Church.  Because of the virulent Anglo hostility directed toward
Geronimo and all members of his family, Juan Carillo wound up being
partially raised at Laguna for reasons of safety -- and, even though the
Lagunas and the Apaches had frequently been antagonists, most Native people
were standing together in those very tough days!  He married into the Laguna
tribe and lived out his life in that setting. He was a tall man and an
excellent hunter.  Juan Carillo, his son Richard, and Margaret Beardsley
Carillo --Richard's wife -- and various others in that and closely related
families were very old and enduring friends of our family. The younger
people are to this moment.  Juan Carillo, very much a traditionalist, hunted
with a Winchester 1873 44/40 lever action and consistently used old-time
black-powder cartridges.

When Juan Carillo killed the first buck mule deer for this large extended
family network -- in the Fall hunting season -- that deer was taken into a
special family place at Laguna, hung in the shade, and decorated
extensively.  Many came to pay their respects and to honor the deer.  In due
course, the women of this clan grouping prepared a massive feast:  the deer,
plus the great loaves of bread via  outdoor clay ovens for which Laguna is
rightly well known, and much more -- including super hot chili.  Our family
attended these very important affairs with regularity.  Once gathered,
certain religious functions would be performed.  Then, the clan grandmothers
would bring in a steaming pot containing the deer's  cooked head, with the
horns sticking well up.  Everyone would be given a piece of the meat from
the head -- with the eyes considered very special.  I was once given an eye
and found it delicious. The rest of the food -- including all of the body
meat of the deer -- was then brought in.  Chili soup, with various
vegetables, had a base of cooked, cracked bones.  Virtually everything
relating to the deer was prepared and consumed. And the deer was frequently
thanked for his signal contribution.

In more conventional hunting situations, nothing was wasted either.  This is
true in all Native tribal nations.

 When I killed my first bear -- a critically important coming-of-age ritual
done as a lone hunter -- I shot an extremely large male black bear down in
the very vast and rugged  Sycamore Canyon wilderness region southwest of
Flagstaff, Arizona.  I used an old Winchester 1894 lever action 30/30 with a
24" barrel. The bear, which we had to pack out in sections over a two day
period [I went back to Flagstaff and got my Dad and an adult family friend],
had a closely estimated [by various adults] live weight of  650 pounds.
Nothing was wasted. [ We did lose most of the hide, the last thing we took
out on the final day, to green October blow flies. We were able to save some
pieces of it.]

The several hundred pounds of bear meat, in fine shape, were totally
consumed over some years. [My mother immediately bought an especially huge freezer for the Bear.]  I ate very large portions of it before I went off to
the Army -- and I ate much of it when I finally returned. The skull hangs on
my office wall to this very day and can be seen on the very front page of
our large social justice website.  And I wear a bear claw inconspicuously
around my neck.

In Solidarity -

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]  Micmac / St Francis Abenaki / St Regis Mohawk



Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]
www.hunterbear.org  ( social justice )
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´

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