Yes, I am going to be giving away a free copy of the new Tradepaper copy of THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF. However, because the book isn’t due out for release as a tradepaper until July 22nd, the winner of the drawing today will have to wait a week or so before I can send out the book.
The tradepaper copy of the book is valued at about $16.00. So do come on in and leave a message. All one has to do to enter the drawing is to leave a comment — void where prohibited.
That said, the blog today is the 2nd in a series of blogs that I want to do concerning the Scout in Native America. Because THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF, THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR and RED HAWK’S WOMAN all center upon a hero who is a scout, I thought I might say a little bit about this very important person, if only because upon the observation and word of the scout lay the survival of the tribe. We often hear about the chiefs of the tribes, but one of the most valuable members of the tribe was the scout.
Interestingly, the scouts of the tribe belonged to a very secret society, so that most members of the tribe did not know who their scouts were. It is my belief that this was probably a rule of survival, because in their own tribe, these men’s lives were so important that the tribe could not take a chance on jealousy risking the life of their scouts.
Much of this information (and most of what follows here) comes from the book by Tom Brown, Jr., THE WAY OF THE SCOUT, who as a boy of seven, was taken under the wing of an 83 year old Apache, whose name was Stalking Wolf. Stalking Wolf, or Grandfather, as he is called in the book, taught Mr. Brown not only the fundamentals of tracking and hunting, but he taught him the Way of the Scout.
Mr. Brown notes that Grandfather was quick to point out that the old scout was NOT the scout that was hired by the U.S. army/cavalry. The scout was the man who would “locate the game, direct the clan away from its enemies, decide where the clan would migrate and through what route, and otherwise keep the clan safe.” From THE WAY OF THE SCOUT.
In his book Mr. Brown tells us that Grandfather would teach himself and Mr. Brown’s friend, Rick, in two different aspects about the same skill. One was the pure physical skill itself. The second teaching method was to teach the same skill but as “the way of the scout.” Those skills were different from just the skill itself — and it carried with it a philosophy all its own.
He gives an example in his book. He notes that first grandfather would teach how to build a basic shelter. Then when that was mastered, he would teach how to make that shelter invisible in the environment one was in so that to all people — “all eyes,” it wasn’t there.
As Mr. Brown notes: “We became scout purists, where everything came from the earth and was made by our own hands. As far as Grandfather was concerned, if we went into a survival situation with our clothing on then we were not living in survival, but camping.” From THE WAY OF THE SCOUT.
At this point, I’d like to add my own observation of what might be considered scouting. The first time I went to a reservation, my friend and I went to a lake with a man from the tribe. When we went to the lake, the man made several observations. Out of the blue (for us) he said that about 2 hours ago 6 or children (I don’t remember the exact number now — but he certainly knew) had been at the lake swimming. He named what their ages were and went on to say that they were the children from (and he named the family). When I asked him how he knew this, he pointed to the tracks left in the sand. He pointed out the difference in several of the prints, he pointed to places the sand had dried, where the sun was and where it had been when the prints were first dried, and from these as well as other observations, he told us not only when the children had been there, but how many there had been and eventually who those children were. I was amazed.
In my next post, which should be in two weeks, I’m hoping to explore the realm of how a scout can tell from a single track many different things: the age, the health, the thoughts and even the emotions of the person who made them. It is in this book, THE WAY OF THE SCOUT, where Mr. Brown tells us about “pressure releases” and a little of how to read them in the prints left upon the earth.
On sale in ebook or tradepaper
THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF, coming in Tradepaper July 22nd, 2015. At present it is marked down for sale, so go have a peek.