Welcome! Welcome! Today in a continuing saga of survival tactics, I though we might have a look at another basic part of survival. As you may know, the three main items a person needs to survive are food, clothing and shelter. Last week we talked a little about food and if you were ever in a position of needing to survive on your own, what might you do.
In the book THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF, RED HAWK’S WOMAN and THE LAST WARRIOR, the hero and heroine are thrown into situations where they must survive together in order to survive at all. Actually in my new book BLACK EAGLE (due out in May of 2009), again the hero and heroine must fall back on survival techniques. Luckily the heroine is with a Native American man who has been trained all his life on these same kinds of survival techniques.
This week I was going to talk about shelters, but before we go into the different kinds of shelters and how easy they are to build, let’s talk about one other necessity in the quest for survival — freedom of movement — or this might translate into modes of transportation. This is an extention of the quest for food, since transportation is very important in the search for something edible to eat. Getting around is very important. In the East, Indians often used dug out canoes, because the area was littered with lakes and streams. There was also traversing by foot, the preferred method of transportation used by scouts of most all tribes. (This is because scouting work must by its very nature be covert — one must not be discovered — and the only way to ensure that is to travel by foot.)
Horses in the East were a nuisance due to the fact that they could be easily tracked and in truth couldn’t travel as far as a man. But horses came into their own in the West, where an Indian just wasn’t an Indian unless he was on horseback. But I digress. We’re talking about survival. In the East, Native women often went out in groups and traveled over the countryside in search of roots, sap from maple trees, as well as pecans and other nuts. They walked and were accompanied by at least one man who would act as their guard. Men often took off on the hunt on foot. The reason again is because game can hear and see and sense in other ways a horse. The best way to be a successful hunter was to procure one’s game on foot.
But that was in the East. In the West the best way to obtain food, since great distances were sometimes to be traversed, was to ride. The warrior rode out to the buffalo hunt, he rode out to meet the enemy, he rode to new parts of the country, ever in search of trade and/or food. There was even a saying amongst the tribes that a man without a horse was a sorry sight. Indeed, a good friend of mine, who grew up in the wilds of Montana toward the first part of the last century once said that once when he had fallen off his horse, he was questioned by his parents not about how he was, but had he damaged the horse. (True story.)
Let’s not forget our northern regions, either. In upper state New York, Vermont, New Hamphsire and all along the Canadian border, snowshoes were used as a mode of transportation. They were also used out west in Montana, Idaho and North Dakota. It does appear that man is ingenius in his inventions in the quest for survival. Indeed, his cleverness may be a survival technique all of its own.
I know, I know, I’ve used this picture in this post already, but it’s quite something isn’t it? Off topic, here but Grandfather George, who lives with us, is a Native actor and has met this young man. Deep sigh… Okay, back on topic. Transportation and freedom of movement is important to one’s survival. One of the main problems that the Indians had that created such hard times for them in the early part of reservation life was not being able to leave the reservation to hunt and to obtain food. They lacked freedom of movement. Even today, where would we be without the car or bicycle to get us to the store?
I guess the main thing to remember in the quest for food is that so long as one can walk, one can gather food, go and buy it or in general find it. But while we’re on the subject of modes of transportation, tell me, what is your favorite? What do you like best? Airplane? Car? Horseback? Travois? Rollerskate? So again welcome, welcome. Come on in an let’s talk.