Before I go into the most interesting part of the blog and tell you some more about the awesome abilities of the American Indian scouts of old, I wanted to say again that I’ll be giving away a Trade Paper copy of THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF to some lucky blogger. This is valued at $15.00. Just leave a comment and you are automatically entered into the drawing for the book (void where prohibited).
Let me mention again that my schedule is intense and I rarely have a moment to myself most days…and so I rely on you to come to the blog tomorrow (Wednesday — usually at night) to see if you have won. Sometimes I pick a winner and post it, and never hear from them, and that saddens me because it is a rare occasion when I can find the time to go and look that person up. So please, please be sure to check back tomorrow — it should be posted by evening — and see if you are the winner, okay? All you have to do is drop me an email and we’ll figure out how to get a book to you, if you are the winner. And yes it is true that I am giving away a $15.00 value copy of the book THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF. So do come in and leave a message.
THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF, which is just out in Tradepaper format, is a book about a hero who is among other things, a scout. In researching this profession, I ran across some extremely interesting abilities that these men of old had. And in my last post I had promised to cover in more detail how a scout could tell from a mere trail the thoughts, health, etc. of the man/woman/animal who had left that trail. This information, some of which I’ll quote, comes from the book, THE WAY OF THE SCOUT by Tom Brown, Jr., a man, who as a young boy was taken under the wing of an old Apache scout, and who was trained by that man as a scout. Grandfather is what Mr. Brown called this old Apache scout. So this passage is from this book.
“(Grandfather) defined the tracking that we had done as typical or novice tracking, but the tracking of the scout was defined as master tracking. Even at the onset, the difference became obvious. Grandfather told us that the earth was like an open book, filled with stories. These stories were written not only in the softest ground but also on every other type of soil even on rock…”
And here is where one really begins to learn about the old American Indian Scouts (which, let me repeat here — those scouts who worked for the United States army were not the scouts of old). Anyway, again, another quote from THE WAY OF THE SCOUT, “You must stop looking at the tracks as lifeless depressions in the ground. Instead, and you have noticed inside of the track is a tiny landscape. There are hills, valleys, peaks, ridges, domes, pocks, and countless other little features. These features the scouts developed into a science, that which they call the ‘pressure releases.’ It is through these pressure releases that the scout can know everything about the animal or man that he is tracking. The scouts of my clan could identify and define over four thousand of these pressure releases, and I know of no peoples of the earth that have been able to do the same.”
Mr. Brown goes on to explain in his book how these pressure releases can be read and identified, and he goes on to say that because man or animals are stabilized by their feet on the ground, they are always in motion and always having to keep balance — even to the tiniest of moves. It’s because of this constant need to keep balance and shift that produces the “pressure releases.”
Mr. Brown goes on to say that he and his friend, Rick, who was learning about tracking also, would start to identify their own moods and look at the pressure releases and note the difference between that mood and some other emotion — and study their own tracks — he says that everyone became a source of study.
He even goes on to say that “Grandfather taught us to expand our awareness and tracking beyond even that level. He would stand beside a tree, point to a missing limb and ask, “How long ago was this done? What did it and how? What direction did the cutter come from? Was his axe or saw dull or sharp, was he right- or left-handed, what degree of strength did he have? Grandfather told us that we should always hold one question in our minds at all times: What is this telling me?”
By the way, the picture to the left is a picture of a young Charles Eastman, a Sioux Indian, who became a lawyer for his people. I believe (please correct me if I am wrong) that it was Charles Eastman who established the Boy Scouts long, long ago. Charles Eastman also wrote several books with the help of his wife, whom he met in collage. She was white. I believe some time ago, there was a television story concerning Charles Eastman and his wife, and I believe that Adam Beach played the part of Charles Eastman. This was an interesting fact to learn for me, because I have never really known that the Boy Scouts came to us from the American Indian — I had never stopped to consider it until I read about it from either one of Charles Eastman’s books or another book.
Well, that’s all for today. Next blog I’d like to tell you a little about the water dance of the scout. Did you know there was such a thing? I can’t help but think sometimes that it is a shame that one culture coming in will often destroy the culture that is there already. There is so much we could have learned from the American Indian of old. I always look forward to these blogs so that I can tell you a little about what I’ve learned because I think it so vital to keep these things alive.
Pick up your copy today.