Friday, November 13, 2020

Could some UFOs be linked to Native American 'white stone canoe' legends, stories?

By Steve Hammons

There are at least three distinct stories and legends of a “white stone canoe” from Native American tribes of the northeastern and upper Midwest U.S., and southeastern and south-central Canada. There might even be more references in history and literature to a white stone canoe. In fact, one is a well-known children’s story. 

A stone canoe? That doesn’t sound like it would float very well on the then-pure and pristine lakes, rivers, streams and oceans of ancient North America. 

But in light of more recent developments, maybe we can discover possible connections – such as U.S. Navy fighter pilots from aircraft carriers at sea encountering objects that they said reminded them of the appearance of a white tic-tac breath candy. 

The Navy pilots used the tic-tac example to describe fairly large, oval or oblong-shaped objects appearing to have a hard and smooth surface, white in color, with no apparent edges, wings, tails, cockpit or method of propulsion. 

What does this have to do with ancient American Indian stories and histories? In the old times when these legends originated, the only vehicle or means of transportation they knew was the canoe. That was their transportation technology. They did not use horses or other animals for transport and did not use carts or wagons.


As a result, any object or phenomena that was used and moved as a vehicle would probably be termed a “canoe.” So, if Native Americans encountered something that appeared like a white stone that moved and possibly transported people, it could be called a “white stone canoe” – a “canoe” that looked like a white stone (like a tic-tac). 

Over the centuries, this might have begun to be perceived and visualized as a conventional Indian canoe but made of white stone instead of the other normal materials used for canoe-building. This might not be an accurate understanding. 

Materials that would have been familiar to Native Americans in that era were those found in Nature such as wood and forest materials, byproducts of animals they hunted as well as soil, rocks and stones, including smooth and shaped river stones.

So, what are the three stories about? And are there more references out there in history books, oral histories and literature from those eras? 

1) The well-known children’s story “The White Stone Canoe” is from a tale reportedly originating with the Ojibwe, also known as the Ojibwa or Chippewa who lived in the Great Lakes region. The tale is also associated with the Odawa, Odaawaa or Ottawa, also of the Great Lakes area. 

In this story, a young woman passes on. The young man who is her husband is heartbroken. His friends tell him to get over it by getting his mind off her passing, maybe going on the warpath with them or meeting other young maidens. 

But the young man takes another path. He travels a great distance in search of his beloved wife. At long last, he arrives at the home of a strange old man. The old man tells him how to follow an unusual path to a land where he can be with his wife. 

The young man then follows these directions and arrives at a mysterious lake, where he finds a white stone canoe. In the center of the lake is an island, and on that island shore is his wife, in a white stone canoe. There’s much more to the tale worth reading and thinking about. 

A famous book about the story was written in poem form by James David Edgar, illustrated by W.D. Blatchly and published in 1885. It was titled "The White Stone Canoe: A Legend of the Ottawas" 
2)  Another well-known Indian story of the eastern Great Lakes area, specifically around Lake Ontario, is that of The Great Peacekeeper named Dekanawida, Deganawida or Tekanawíta. He is believed to have arrived in the upstate New York region sometime in the early 1100s and is said to have been born north of Lake Ontario among the Wendet, also known as the Wyandot or Huron people.

As a young man, he went to live with two of the five tribes living south of Lake Ontario, the Mohawk and the Onondaga. From east to west along Lake Ontario were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca. 

There are various accounts of Dekanawida arriving, departing and even transporting other peace chiefs in a white stone canoe. 

At the time, there had been years of war and bloodshed between these tribes and internally within them. Blood atonement and revenge, brutal killing and other dark practices were widespread. 

Dekanawida, with the help of Hiawatha and a female leader named Jigonsaseh, helped craft peace among these tribes, and formulated concepts for peaceful democracy and unification known as The Great Law of Peace. This led to the alliance known as the Haudenosaunee (“the people of the longhouse”), better known as the Iroquois Confederacy.

Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and other founders developed a keen interest in the governmental and societal concepts of the Haudenosaunee. The founders repeatedly met with the Haudenosaunee and it's widely believed that the founders incorporated Haudenosaunee ideas into the U.S. Constitution.  

3) Further east in New England, eastern Canada and Nova Scotia, Native tribes such as the Abenaki of the Wabanaki Confederacy and the Mi'kmaq or MicMac have legends about the Creator sending to Earth a being known as Glooscap (also spelled Gluskabe, Glooskap, Gluskabi, Kluscap or Gluskab). 

Glooscap helped create the Earth, animals, plants, trees and other life in our world, according to the story. He was said to have arrived on Earth in a white stone canoe, landing in the Nova Scotia area. 

He brought knowledge and wisdom to the people, such as understanding of good and evil. Glooscap also brought knowledge about fire, fishing nets and canoes, according to Native legend. 

According to an origin story on the website of the Canadian Museum of History (Musee Canadien de l'Histoire), “The Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot and Abenaki of the Atlantic region tell of Glooscap, who made the world habitable for human beings by creating and arranging landforms, giving animals their attributes and eliminating many monsters."  

The website explains, "A very long time ago, our Mother the Earth was only a globe of water. In the Skyworld where the supernatural beings lived, the twins, Glooscap ('good') and Malsm ('weak'), were sent to earth in a large stone canoe.”

Another tale on the website of the Maine Memory Network, contributed by the Maine Historical Society, gives this account: “When the Indian storytellers speak of the Old Time, they mean long ago, long before the White Man knew their country, when at first there was only the forest, the sky, and the sea—no living creatures."

"Then, so legend says, Glooscap came. He came from the Sky in a stone canoe with Malsum, his twin brother... Down out of the sky floated the great stone canoe bearing [Glooscap and Malsum] …"  

And another version of Wabanaki stories from the Abbe Museum, an associate of The Smithsonian Institute, notes, “The Indians saw him [Glooscap] coming and were amazed at the sight of his canoe. At once they knew that he had greater power than anyone else for he was doing amazing things.”


Are these Native stories in any way connected to eyewitness accounts by U.S. Navy pilots and corresponding radar and sensor returns from Navy ships? What about other types of “unidentified aerial phenomena” or “UAP” as the Navy is now calling unusual, unknown objects and/or phenomena in the skies, or closer to ground-level? 

Is current advanced scientific and national security research in this area related to ancient Native American legends of North America? 

The descriptions by Navy pilots of a large, white tic-tac zipping around the ocean skies and around their fighter jets do seem similar to a “white stone.” 
However, there reportedly are also other types of UAP and other unidentified phenomena that don’t seem to fit this description.

For those interested in Native American lore and possible clues to these mysteries, the Web is full of references to the white stone canoe stories, histories and accounts. 

One book that might be worth reviewing is “Travels in a Stone Canoe: The Return to the Wisdomkeepers” by authors Harvey Arden and Steve Wall, published in 2012 by Simon & Schuster. 

The book is described on Amazon: “Travels In A Stone Canoe is a luminous story. Two journalists from National Geographic on assignment in Indian Country cross an invisible boundary between two worlds, two different visions of reality -- and find their lives transformed.”

“In a stunning and probing narrative 
 part adventure tale, part reflection and epiphany  the authors of Wisdomkeepers embark on a dramatic ‘spirit journey’ into the living wisdom of Native American spiritual elders,” the Amazon description notes. 

“When, nearly twenty years ago, a darkly enigmatic Cherokee herbalist approached Harvey Arden and Steve Wall with the proposition that they join him in a study of the lives, wisdom, and spiritual practices of Native America's fast-disappearing ‘Old Ones,' the veteran writer and photographer found themselves thrust, despite their own hard-nosed skepticism, onto a mystic ‘path of the Wisdomkeepers’."

"After receiving 'signs' foretold by the Cherokee, they set off on a journey of spiritual discovery through another world, called Great Turtle Island," the Amazon summary explains.

Another related book is “The Stone Canoe: Two Lost Mi'kmaq Texts” by Peter Sanger, illustrated by Alan Syliboy, with translator Elizabeth Paul. The book was published in 2007 by Gaspereau Press of Nova Scotia. 

Amazon description: “This is a story about two stories and their travels through the written record. The written part begins in the mid-nineteenth century, when Silas T. Rand, a Baptist clergyman from Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, took as his task the translation of the Bible into Mi’kmaq, the language of the indigenous communities in the region.”

“In the process of developing his vocabulary, Rand transcribed narratives from Mi’kmaq storytellers, and following his death, 87 of these stories were published in a book called Legends of the Micmacs.”  

The description explains that, “One of these contains the story of Little Thunder and his journey to find a wife. The other is the story of a woman who survives alone on an island after being abandoned by her husband.”

“Both are among the earliest examples of indigenous Canadian literature recorded in their original language; the 1847 transcript being perhaps the earliest. Their publication in The Stone Canoe makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Mi’kmaq storytelling and indigenous Canadian literature,” according to the Amazon summary. 

As we face current challenges in today’s modern world, in these ancient legends and stories there seem to be clues about unusual goings-on and the nature of Nature. 

Is it possible that some of these ancient accounts might guide us to paths of understanding that we can follow? And where might those paths lead?

(Related articles "Navy Research Project on Intuition," "Human perception key in hard power, soft power, smart power" and “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Wildland firefighter basic training available at community colleges, tech schools, training centers

By Steve Hammons

Basic training to work as a seasonal wildland firefighter consists of an efficient, nationally-standardized combination of classes referred to as the S-130 and S-190 training courses. This training is developed by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).  

The NWCG coordinates interagency standards for wildland firefighting among federal, state, regional, and tribal agencies and operations throughout the U.S. The NWCG also produces training manuals for the wildland firefighter S-130/S-190 courses. 

The courses are available at community colleges, vocational training centers, technical schools, high schools offering dual credit, stand-alone wildland firefighter training academies, and various agencies and organizations. Individuals applying for jobs as seasonal wildland firefighters must be at least age 18. 

It’s tough, dangerous work. In recent fires in the West, some wildland firefighters needed to deploy their emergency shelters, which are far from 100 percent effective. Three firefighters were injured. Rescue helicopter crews have recently plucked wildland firefighters from very dangerous situations. 

Yet, with overtime and hazardous-duty pay, and sometimes working 12-hour or 24-hour shifts (or longer in emergencies), wildland firefighters can earn substantial pay during the months of the fire season. They can also earn the satisfaction of working together as a team to help save forests, wildlife and domestic animals, homes, communities and human life. 


The S-130/S-190 training for basic wildland firefighting includes four components:

- S-130: Firefighter Training
- S-190: Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior
- I-100: Introduction to the Incident Command System
- L-180: Human Factors in the Wildland Fire Service 

Passing a “work capacity test,” known as the “pack test,” is also a related part of the training and requirements. This fitness training and test are meant to simulate basic real-life physical requirements for extended trekking over rough terrain and vigorous work with hand tools, chain saws and other gear. The pack test for wildland firefighters involves:

- Completing a 3-mile hike
- While carrying a 45-pound pack
- Within 45 minutes

When the S-130/S-190 courses and pack test have been successfully completed, the candidate can apply for entry-level wildland firefighter jobs. If hired, the Incident Qualification Card or “red card” can then be issued which authorizes the entry-level wildland firefighter to work on the fire lines and other emergency situations. 

In addition to the basic S-130/S-190 classes, many other advanced and specialized wildland firefighting training courses are also available through the NWCG. 

Member agencies of the NWCG include the following: 

- Bureau of Indian Affairs (U.S. Department of the Interior)
- Bureau of Land Management (U.S. Department of the Interior)
- Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S. Department of the Interior)
- Forest Service (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
- International Association of Fire Chiefs
- Intertribal Timber Council
- National Association of State Foresters
- National Park Service (U.S. Department of the Interior)
- United States Fire Administration (Federal Emergency Management Agency) 

Jobs for seasonal wildland firefighters can be posted during the late fall and winter between September and December. Some hiring announcements may close in January, though hiring for upcoming fire seasons can continue through March. 


For many people, the 2017 Hollywood movie “Only the Brave” about an interagency hotshot crew was a window into the world of wildland firefighting. Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Connelly and Andie MacDowell were some of the actors portraying the Prescott, Arizona, community and a real-life hotshot wildand firefighting team. 

The movie told the story of the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire incident in central Arizona when 19 of the Granite Mountain Hotshots wildland firefighters of Prescott died, even though they had deployed their emergency shelters as they were about to be overrun by a wall of flames. 

Interagency hotshot crews consist of 20-22 wildland firefighters who have enhanced training, equipment, experience, capabilities and readiness. According to the NWCG website, there are 68 hotshot crews nationwide, composed of 1,360 firefighters. Much like a small, forward military unit, they can operate in remote wilderness areas for extended periods. 

Occupational hazards for all wildland firefighters can include breathing wildfire smoke, and sometimes the smoke from buildings, vehicles and other hazardous materials. Fatigue, stress, heat, rugged terrain, accident injuries and burned, falling trees pose additional dangers. 

But for those interested in facing the dangers, challenges and rewards of wildland firefighting, there will likely be a need for more wildland firefighters in the future. 

The length of the summer and fall fire season has been gradually expanding. Forecasts predict that this pattern will probably continue, with wildland fires remaining a threat for longer periods each year. 

The severity of wildland fires has also been increasing, as reflected in the current fires in the West. A record amount of acreage has been burned, as well as many homes and communities. Lives have been lost. 

These patterns seem to indicate that there will be an increased need for a more-robust force of seasonal wildland firefighters in the years to come.

For more information:

(Related articles "Navy Research Project on Intuition," "Human perception key in hard power, soft power, smart power" and “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)

Friday, September 11, 2020

Athens County, Ohio, was key spot when colonists, Redcoats fought Shawnee in 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant

By Steve Hammons

At the junction of the Ohio River and the Hocking River in southeastern Ohio in 1774, the then-King’s governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, established a forward base as part of “Dunmore’s War” against the Shawnee and other tribes of the region in the months, weeks and days before the American Revolution.

In a planned two-pronged attack on the Shawnee in the southern Ohio and Ohio River Valley area, Dunmore’s force of approximately 1,700 men traveled from Fort Dunmore (Pittsburgh) to rendezvous with a Virginia colonial militia force near what is now Point Pleasant, West Virginia. (Fort Dunmore was previously known as Fort Pitt, and Fort Duquesne under the French.)

But for some reason, including suspicious ones, Dunmore chose to stop short of Point Pleasant, and built a base camp he named Fort Gower, 45 miles up the Ohio River. Dunmore built Fort Gower at the mouth of the Hocking River, originally called the Hockhocking by Native people. That location is now the village of Hockingport in Athens County, Ohio.

Dunmore sent a message downriver to militia Col. Andrew Lewis, commander of a force of about 1,000 men who had proceeded toward Point Pleasant. Dunmore told Lewis that he had changed plans and was now going to attack some Shawnee towns deeper in southern Ohio instead of joining forces with Lewis’ militia at Point Pleasant.

As the militia force arrived in the Point Pleasant area, without Dunmore joining them, the Shawnee and some Mingo and Lenape (Delaware) allies attacked. Shawnee Chief Cornstalk led between 300 and 500 warriors in a fierce, prolonged and bloody battle – but were defeated by the colonial forces.


Lord Dunmore was John Murray, a Scotsman with the title 4th Earl of Dunmore. He was appointed as colonial governor of New York from 1770 to 1771 and of the Virginia colony in 1771. He advocated for and launched a series of attacks into the Shawnee and other American Indian lands abutting the Ohio River Valley and southern Ohio, known as Dunmore’s War.

By 1774, Dunmore was also ruling over restless colonists who were increasingly unhappy with British control. On the western frontier of the Appalachian Mountain Range, settlers and those seeking more land were also starting to resist British governance, laws and taxes.

New arrivals to the colonies were heading west, trying to acquire land and a better life. In doing so, they pushed deeper into the lands of the Shawnee, Cherokee and other Native people who had lived there for thousands of years.

The Cherokee did not join the Shawnee, Mingo and Delaware warriors at the Battle of Point Pleasant, also called the Battle of Kanawha, even though the original Cherokee land then extended into the far western side of what is now West Virginia. In fact, Cherokee territory extended up to the exact area of Point Pleasant on the Ohio River, also then known as the Ohi yo or Ohiyo.

Why didn't Cherokee warriors join the fight? Part of the reason might be that British government agents were active among Indian tribes, trying to manipulate alliances and loyalties – and divide and conquer.

The Shawnee and Cherokee also had somewhat different cultures. The Shawnee to the north were patrilineal and the Cherokee to the south had a matrilineal society. Another probable and related reason might have been that Cherokee women had been voluntarily intermarrying with Scottish, Scots-Irish and Anglo newcomers since earlier times of friendly contact.

In the Cherokee tradition and culture, these men joined their wives’ matrilineal clans. Children of these marriages were also members of mothers’ and maternal grandmothers’ matrilineal clans.

The two tribes' languages also had different roots. The Shawnee spoke an Algonquian-based tongue that was widely used in the north-central regions of North America. The Cherokee spoke a type of Iroquoian language from areas to the north and northeast, such as today's upstate New York.

These elements were in play as the Battle of Point Pleasant unfolded. As a result of the defeat of Chief Cornstalk and his warriors, large sections of real estate were surrendered to the victorious forces. This pattern among the Native people had been going on for decades and would continue throughout the 1700s and 1800s.

Even as the Battle of Point Pleasant was being fought, the American Revolution was about to begin in earnest. It has been speculated that Dunmore might have been sabotaging and betraying Col. Lewis’ militia force to weaken these imminent American revolutionaries, potentially soon to be disloyal to the King. Did Dunmore also tip off the Shawnee, who ended up attacking first?

If Dunmore did get a backchannel message to Cornstalk and his warriors, did he give them accurate information about the strength of the militia force? Cornstalk's estimated 300 to 500 warriors attacked the militia force said to have included about 1,000 men. Was Dunmore trying to weaken both adversaries – rebellious colonial militias as well as the Shawnee and Native tribes in the region?

After the battle, many of the militia troops regrouped at the Athens County, Ohio, location of Dunmore’s Fort Gower. There on the mouth of the Hockhocking River, Dunmore forced, or tried to force the militia members to sign a loyalty oath to King and Crown. This loyalty oath is known as the “Fort Gower Resolves.” Many militia troops did not wish to sign such an oath.

But the victory at Point Pleasant for Lord Dunmore was short-lived. Before all the militia troops had even returned home from the Dunmore’s War campaigns against the Shawnee, shots had been fired at Lexington and Concord. The American Revolution had begun. And in 1776, Dunmore was forced out of Virginia by the new “Americans.”


Today, the village of Hockingport is one of the many smaller communities and larger towns along the Ohio River, on both the Ohio and West Virginia sides. Upriver, the Ohio flows through western Pennsylvania. And downstream, the great river continues along Ohio's border with Kentucky, Indiana and beyond before joining the Mississippi River at the southern end of Illinois.

The Hocking River, once a route Dunmore used to attack Shawnee villages, continues northwest from the Ohio about 27 miles to Athens. The town is the county seat of Athens County. It's also home of Ohio University, chartered in 1787 under the new and fragile U.S. government as part of expansion into the Ohio lands, and founded in 1804.

Hockingport is about 27 miles downriver from Marietta, Ohio, which historian David McCullough researched extensively for his best-selling 2019 book “The Pioneers.” 

In his book, McCullough focused on the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 that claimed "the Ohio Country" and areas north and west for the new U.S. government, as the French and British had done before, and as Spain was doing elsewhere in North America. 

The Northwest Ordinance also established guidelines for governing the new territories. Initial planning for the establishment of a school of higher learning in the Ohio Country (later Ohio University in Athens) was also part of the ordinance.

And Hockingport is also 17 miles southwest and downriver from Parkersburg, West Virginia, where the 2019 movie “Dark Waters” explored toxic dumping into streams and waterways of the area. 

Point Pleasant and the nearby town of Gallipolis, Ohio, are both 45 miles southwest and downriver from Hockingport. In 1966-67, a “UFO flap” occurred around Point Pleasant – one of those situations where odd lights in the sky, and sometimes seemingly-related phenomena, are seen in a particular area in certain time frames.

These have happened throughout the U.S. and around the world. The U.S. Navy is now referring to these airborne types of sightings as “unidentified aerial phenomena” or UAP because they seem to be of different types, some solid, some not.

The 2002 Hollywood movie "The Mothman Prophecies" was based on a limited representation of the best-selling 1975 book by researcher and writer John Keel about the '66-67 situation around Point Pleasant. The movie told only part of the story.

The movie was filmed in the small town of Kittanning on the Allegheny River northeast of Pittsburgh, and in Pittsburgh itself, from where Dunmore launched his assault into those Ohio River Valley lands back in 1774.

Kittanning is the name of a former large town of the Lenape or Delaware people located there. Lenape warriors fought alongside Chief Cornstalk at Point Pleasant. The word "Kittanning" refers to "main river," by which they identified the combined Ohio River and Allegheny River in western Pennsylvania as one river.

The nearby Kittanning Path was a major east-west Native American trail between that region and the higher Appalachian Mountains, and was later used by European colonists.

Many odd, glowing lights around the Point Pleasant region in 1966-67 were seen up and down the Ohio River. And a significant number of such lights were also reported around Point Pleasant's Chief Cornstalk Hunting Grounds, later called the Chief Cornstalk Public Hunting and Fishing Area, and now the 11,772-acre Chief Cornstalk Wildlife Management Area, supervised by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources.

Could Cornstalk and his Shawnee people be looking in on their old homeland from time to time, remembering that terrible battle at Point Pleasant, and the days and years of struggle and sorrow that followed for the Shawnee and other Native people? Are they able to recall happier times in the Ohiyo lands too?

Are they, like many Americans today, trying to understand and sort out our complex national history – and discover a more perfect union?

(Related articles 
“Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” and “Reagan’s 1987 UN speech on ‘alien threat’ resonates now” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.) 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Native American words around us: States, towns, rivers, lakes, terrain, plants, animals, military

By Steve Hammons

More than half of the states in the U.S. are named from Native American words. The names of hundreds of American cities, towns, villages, townships and counties also come from Native languages.

Words from American Indian cultures also form the basis for the names of hundreds of lakes, rivers, streams and creeks. Hills, mountains, valleys and other geographical terrain features are also named after Native terminology. Additionally, many elementary, middle and high schools have names related to Indian languages.

Parks, wilderness and wildlife areas are also often named from Native American words and references, including national parks and national forests. Many of our words for plants and animals are also based on Indian languages.

Are some of these words derogatory in certain ways? Yes. In Phoenix, Arizona, a rugged urban mountain popular with hikers had been called “Squaw Peak” since around 1910. On April 17, 2003, the name was officially changed to “Piestewa Peak” in honor of Lori Piestewa, a U.S. Army soldier killed in Iraq.

Piestewa, from the Hopi tribe community in northern Arizona, was the first U.S. female fatality of the Iraq War (but not the last). She was the first female Native American U.S. service member in history to die in combat.


The U.S. government information service Voice of America (VOA) noted Native American Heritage Month in 2017 with an article, “to acknowledge the histories and cultures of Native people across the U.S., highlighting the challenges they have faced, their sacrifices and their contributions.” The Nov. 17, 2017, article headline was, "Native Americans Gave Places, Animals, Plants Their Names."

The VOA writer explained, “When Spanish, English and French explorers, fortune seekers and settlers arrived in the Americas, they encountered plants, animals, places and cultural objects which they had never seen before.”

“They borrowed names from the hundreds of different Native tribes and languages they encountered across the continents. Today, those loan words are so thoroughly incorporated into American English and other contemporary languages that many aren’t aware of their origins.”

“This month, VOA is highlighting Native American contributions to U.S. language, history and culture.” The VOA article listed s
ome of the many common words today believed to have North and South American Native origins. It also noted that, “In some cases, word origins are still in dispute.”  

- Animals: Caribou, chinchilla, chipmunk, coyote, iguana, jaguar, moose, muskrat, opossum, piranha, raccoon, skunk, terrapin and woodchuck.

- Plants and foods: Avocado, cashew, cayenne, chocolate, hickory, persimmon, potato, squash, tobacco and tomato.

- Daily life: Barbecue, cigar, hammock, kayak, moccasin, parka and poncho

According to VOA, the words hurricane, caucus and quinine are also derived from Native words.

Other sources of information propose that Native languages are the basis for the words pecan, chili and guacamole. Canoe and toboggan are also believed to have Native language roots. Bayou, sequoia and Quonset hut reportedly are additional words from Native language.

Today, there are increasing efforts underway across the country to revitalize the use of Native languages, teach them to younger people and preserve them for future generations.


According to an April 16, 2018, article on the website, “Many military members feel a connection between the bold warriors of Native American nations and their own commitment to their missions. They understand the defense of their lands and their honor, against all enemies.” That article was under the headline, "These Meaningful Military Traditions Come From Native American Culture."

U.S. Army helicopters have frequently been given tribal names, the article author noted. “Apache, Black Hawk, Chinook, Kiowa, Lakota, Creek, Cayuse, Huron, and Ute. All Native American tribes and currently used Army aircraft.”

“There are also several retired aircraft with tribal names. The Iroquois, Choctaw, Seminole, Shawnee, Mohawk, and Mescalero helicopters and planes have been retired between 1967 and 2011,” according to the article.

Like the controversies over sports teams' mascot names, these names for military aircraft, Tomahawk missiles and other weapons could also spark mixed reactions, and the article dug a bit deeper.

The article pointed out cultural, sociological and psychological “ties to a warrior culture.” The article quoted veteran Robert Holden, deputy director for the National Congress of American Indians, and member of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes. “Warriors have always been in our presence and always will be ... not only in times of conflict, but in times of peace as well," Holden said.

“Appropriation or homage?" the article writer asked. "In recent years, cultural appropriation is a buzzword that seems to be on everyone’s lips. There has been more awareness of how institutions, people, and groups have used racial, cultural, and ethnic stereotypes as an insult or negatively. A prime example is the debate about renaming the Washington Redskins.”

The article also asked, “So, why are some references to Native Americans considered derogatory and others, well, just fine? It’s the intent behind the naming.” The article notes cases in the U.S. military, “where a name or an emblem has been used distastefully.”

According to the article author, “However, there is also genuine admiration and respect for the tradition of Native American warriors among the US military. We revere the Code Talkers and use the names of brave leaders and nations to denote strength of character and force.”

In U.S. military patches and mottos, we often see references to American Indians. For example, the U.S. Army Special Forces shoulder patch is in the shape of an arrowhead. The Army Special Forces crest includes two crossed arrows over a fighting knife or dagger. These are not just military art. They
 have meaning.

In the 101st Airborne Division (Army paratroopers), the famous 506th Infantry Regiment uses the Cherokee word “currahee” as their motto. The first episode of the TV mini-series “Band of Brothers” was titled “Currahee.” A book about the WWII invasion of Normandy is titled “Currahee! A Screaming Eagle at Normandy.”

So, what does currahee mean? It is generally interpreted in English as, "We stand alone" or “We stand alone together.”

(Related articles 
“Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” and “Reagan’s 1987 UN speech on ‘alien threat’ resonates now” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.) 


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Film experts, fans celebrate rediscovery of Appalachian story ‘Spring Night Summer Night’

By Steve Hammons

An independent film from the mid-1960s has been lovingly resurrected, restored and now, rediscovered by a new wave of fans. “Spring Night Summer Night” has been making the rounds at prestigious film festivals in recent years and is now available via a dual DVD/Blu-ray package from Flicker Alley.

Filming began in 1965, directed by Joseph L. “Joe” Anderson, then the head of a tiny film program at Ohio University, Athens, in the Appalachian southeast corner of the state. Ohio U. students were writers, cast and crew, and the film was completed in 1966 for $29,000.

The film tells a story of life in a small Appalachian town, and the transition into adulthood of the two main characters, Jessie (Jessica) and Carl. It was filmed in and around Athens, Athens County and neighboring villages, towns and counties.

“Spring Night Summer Night,” released in 1967, caught the eye of prominent filmmakers at the time. It premiered at Italy’s Pesaro Film Festival in 1967 was slated for viewing at the 1968 New York Film Festival.

However, it was bumped from the festival and replaced by the showing of John Cassavetes’ “Faces.” “Spring Night Summer Night” was finally shown at the festival in 2018.


And on Jan. 10, 2020, “Spring Night Summer Night” was shown at UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater, billed as the “West Coast Digital Restoration Premiere!” Film restorationists Peter Conheim and Ross Lipman, who were key in the film's rebirth, were present for the event.

The UCLA announcement of the showing noted, “Director J.L. Anderson’s remarkable first feature, Spring Night Summer Night has been claiming the attention of a growing number of critics as it has gradually emerged from a decades-long obscurity following screenings, in recent years, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, UCLA and the Rural Route Film Festival. This stunning new 4K restoration promises to bring the film an even wider audience.”

Now recognized as an outstanding independent film, the new DVD release includes extras such as alternate and behind-the scenes footage, interviews with the film’s participants, commentary by film experts and a “Bluegrass Trilogy” of three shorts filmed at Ohio University and set to Bluegrass tunes.

An Oct. 15, 2018, article about the film on the entertainment website IndieWire was titled, “‘Spring Night, Summer Night’: One Film’s Bizarre 50-Year Journey to Its Long-Delayed New York Film Festival Premiere.”

The IndieWire article explained that the film’s long road to the 2018 New York Film Festival screening involved many people over the years. These included Conheim, Lipman, and director Nicolas Winding Refn and his cinema preservation activities.

Cinematographer Ed Lachman was part of the team that filmed “Spring Night Summer Night” and a student of director Anderson. Lachman told IndieWire, “The film department only existed because of the football department, who owned a film processing machine and 16mm cameras we could use.”

Lachman explained, “It was this very open classroom where Joe exposed us to all these films we had never seen before – you really could feel that influence of European films of the time watching that film tonight. Joe made his films with his students.”

“He thought we should be out filming in areas around Athens, not unlike the Italians after the war. I worked on his next film after this one, ‘America First.’ It was one of the most exceptional experiences I had and really formulated my interest and approach to filmmaking,” Lachman said.


In another article noting the film’s inclusion in the 2018 New York Film Festival, the local newspaper The Athens News featured a Nov. 20, 2018, piece under the headline, “A missed masterpiece – Film world rediscovers long-neglected feature shot in 1965 in rural Athens County and surrounding area.”

“The cast were first-time movie actors, with locals as bit players,” according to The Athens News. It recalled, “An article that appeared in the Ohio University student newspaper, The Post, on Nov. 29, 1966, reports on photography for ‘Spring Night Summer Night’ wrapping up. It quotes [script co-writer Franklin] Miller as noting that ‘of the 57 people connected with the film, everyone is, or was, a student at OU’.”

The Athens News quoted Miller as saying, “As we were writing, a two-year process, we drove all through the remote coal-mining hills of southeastern Ohio, scouting locations and, equally important, listening to speech patterns.”

The article also reported that UCLA film restorationist Lipman reviewed the film in 2012 and called it “a compelling and beautiful drama.” Lipman said UCLA had acquired the original negative and only remaining print. However, at the time, funding for restoration was not available.

But before long, due to widespread appreciation of the film, support was forthcoming to professionally restore it.

“Spring Night Summer Night” might also be relevant in current national discussions about society, culture, history, economic opportunity and human behavior.

The Athens News piece points out that, “Watching it may bring to mind the debate now raging around J.D. Vance’s memoir ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ which decries Appalachia’s supposedly dysfunctional culture, and Elizabeth Catte’s stinging rejoinder, ‘What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia,’ which reminds us that the region’s downtrodden status is more inflicted from without than bred from within – and has often sparked homegrown resistance.”

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For more information:

“Spring Night, Summer Night Blu-ray Review + Unboxing,” 
Flicker Alley, on YouTube

“Spring Night Summer Night (1967) – Trailer,”
Flicker Alley, on YouTube

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(Related articles 
"Navy Research Project on Intuition," "Human perception key in hard power, soft power, smart power" and “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Miami U. of Ohio changed name from ‘Redskins’ to ‘RedHawks’ in 1997

By Steve Hammons

Miami University of Ohio in Oxford, located in southwestern Ohio near the Indiana state line, changed its mascot name from "Redskins" to "RedHawks" in 1997 after the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma made a name-change request of the university.

The university's decision to change the name sparked debate, according Miami University’s Director of Miami Tribe Relations Kara Strass. 

In a July 13, 2020, article from ABC9 News in Cincinnati under the headline, “Miami University was decades ahead in dropping Redskins nickname,” Strass was quoted as saying, “I think this was a very controversial decision. I don’t think it was one that was made lightly."

She noted, “There was a lot of alumni pushback to people who saw Redskins as part of their Miami identity, part of their experience of going to school at Miami, and felt like I think something had been taken away from them. It’s been pretty controversial ever since then.”

Miami University was founded in 1809 – not long after many native people, including the Miami, Myaami or Myaamia of southwestern Ohio and Indiana, and the Shawnee of Ohio and Kentucky had been pushed out of the region by force, after much bloodshed and loss of their lands.


Miami U. is in an area that was an interface between the Miami people to the west and northwest, and the Shawnee tribe who lived to the east in central and southern Ohio and Kentucky, south of the Ohio River, or as it reportedly was called then, the “Ohi yo” or “Ohiyo.”

Today, Miami U. is home of the Myaamia Center, begun in 2001 as the Myaamia Project, with wide-ranging activities in partnership with the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. That tribe is the only U.S. government-recognized Miami tribe, though there is also a Miami tribal group in Indiana.

According to their webpages on the Miami U. website, “The Center focuses on conducting in-depth research to assist the Miami Tribe’s educational initiatives aimed at the preservation of language and culture.”

Additionally, “The Center also emphasizes exposing undergraduate and graduate students at Miami University to tribal efforts in language and cultural revitalization.”

Also on the Miami U. website, "The Myaamia Center is directly supported by both the Tribe and the University. Anyone committed to helping perpetuate Miami language and culture for future generations is welcome to participate."

The Myaamia Center describes its mission: “The Center, a Miami Tribe of Oklahoma initiative located within an academic setting, serves the needs of the Myaamia people, Miami University, and partner communities through research, education, and outreach that promote Myaamia language, culture, knowledge, and values.”

Relationships that have been established between Miami U. and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. “Over the years, a thriving and mutually enriching relationship has developed between the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University.”

“Each activity, project, class, and visit is one piece of a much broader, continuously developing relationship,” the Myaamia Center webpages explain.


The center is involved in research and conferences. “The Myaamia Center's offices explore research on a breadth of topics, from language and education to cultural ecology.”

“We present our research regularly at events such as the Myaamiaki Conference. We also make our research available to members of the Miami Tribe community and the public, in many cases as free downloads.”

Also from the center’s webpages:

- 125 Myaamia students have enrolled at Miami University since 1996.

- 89% graduation rate for Myaamia students at Miami University as of 2017.

- In 2022, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University will celebrate 50 years of relationship building.

According to Cincinnati’s ABC9 News article, “The Miami Tribe formally asked the university to change its nickname and mascot in 1996. A year later, it did – to RedHawks.”

Miami U.’s Strass is quoted as saying, “That is a first step, and that there is so much more work to be done, before people truly understand what it means to be a native person, to honor native communities.”

The article explained, “At Miami, Strass says without the name change a lot of what’s happening now, like the creation of the Myaamia Center and a program that’s bringing 30 tribal students to attend school there this fall, wouldn’t have been possible.”

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For more information, visit their website: 
Miami University’s Myaamia Center

(Related articles 
"Navy Research Project on Intuition," "Human perception key in hard power, soft power, smart power" and “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)


Friday, June 5, 2020

Analysis: Research company involved with UFOs opens up about activities

By Steve Hammons 

A couple of weeks ago, a small startup company involved in forward-leaning research held an online Q&A session to discuss their activities. The company, To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science (TTSA), gained recent attention for their involvement in research into U.S. Navy encounters with “unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP).”

One of the company’s advisers, Christopher Mellon, took questions from participants on Twitter. Mellon previously held the position of U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence. 
Of the total questions and answers, 25 were later published on TTSA’s website. 

For some people, both the questions and answers probably trigger increased curiosity, a closer look and a deeper thoughtfulness about what could be involved.

Further analysis of some of the questions and answers might improve our perspectives. And analyzing some points a bit more could also provide some helpful acclimation and orientation, and possible insight.

Below are seven of the verbatim Qs and As, or sections of them, with a brief analysis of some aspects that seem relevant.


Q #7: Reporter George Knapp [award-winning investigative journalist, KLAS-TV News, CBS8, Las Vegas] has speculated there are other, better funded UAP programs that should come to light. Word is about 4 of them in existence for many decades. Do you feel confident we will learn about more programs in the near future?

A: I’m not sure what programs he is referring to but I see no evidence DoD is about to release info about new, undisclosed, classified programs on this topic. We applaud DoD’s recent openness regarding the videos however we would like to see greater transparency going forward. All of us at TTSA would like to see greater government transparency.

Analysis: According to many credible reports, during World War II and in the post-war late-1940s and 1950s, the U.S. defense community became aware of seemingly very unusual aerial phenomena. So, there appear to have most likely been seven decades of research into the situation.

Many researchers looking into this overall topic claim that there is significant evidence, as well as notable circumstantial indications, pointing to robust U.S. activities in this area.

Q #9: How would the team respond to criticism of a small group claiming TTSA is positioning #UAP as a potential threat to create a "defense" narrative around the topic? This seems simply a way to engage those who only respond to something if they think it’s a POTENTIAL threat.

A: We were motivated by the lack of support for pilots concerned about threats to (them) from these aircraft, from mid-air collisions, or possibly worse.

Analysis: The framing of a narrative (which is basically a story) can be very important. What actually is the true story? Or, are there many sides, elements and perspectives to the story or multiple stories? Narratives and storytelling can be used in various ways, with various degrees of accuracy and completeness.

On this particular topic, maybe we still don’t know, understand or comprehend various aspects of the story. Yet, maybe there is enough information somewhere to indicate that the situation is related to a defense threat of some kind.

Q #11: Thanks for getting credible mainstream outlets to cover this (NYT, CNN, WaPo, etc.)! My question is does appearing on disinformation programs like Glenn Beck/Hannity do more hurt than good?

A: I don’t regard the UAP issue as a partisan topic, and Lue [Luis Elizondo, TTSA director of government services and programs] and I do interviews for all manner of press. I have independently written about my concerns and distaste for excessive partisanship and the problems it poses

Analysis: The American free press includes credible and professional news organizations as well as media outlets with lesser credibility. In recent decades the media landscape and ecosystem have changed due to the emergence of the internet, new online media, as well as developments in TV and movies.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “disinformation” as the following: “false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth.”


Q #12: Has there been any tangible progress on the international stage? What kind of progress, do you believe, has been achieved by other countries in tracking, investigating, and replicating these phenomena? And, lastly, are you seeing positive momentum?

A: There is growing international interest. In 2018, for example, the Chinese government-funded an international UAP symposium focused on high tech issues. Lue recently returned from a visit to Latin America that will feature prominently in an upcoming episode of #UNIDENTIFIED [A&E History Channel docu-series “Unidentified: Inside America's UFO Investigation”].

Analysis: The global nature of the situation being researched seems significant. With the various international tensions and humanitarian challenges around the world, increased cooperation on this particular topic could be helpful.

In an Oct. 13, 2019, article on The Hill website, “3 reasons to investigate the US Navy UFO incidents,” former State Department analyst Marik von Rennenkampff wrote that, “Given the anti-democratic and authoritarian inclinations of some major world powers, it is imperative that such [advanced aerospace] capabilities fall into the ‘right’ (i.e., democratic) hands.”  He added, “In the event that such capability exists, mere knowledge thereof should prompt a fundamental shift away from humanity’s baser priorities in favor of loftier, nobler objectives.”

Q #13: If @TTSAcademy could only accomplish one goal (in my opinion you've already accomplished a great deal) - What would the most important thing that comes out of all this?

A: Great question! If the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life is established, it will prompt the biggest transformation in humanity’s outlook since Copernicus.

Analysis: The natural and logical implications of various research in this area do seem to point to very significant possible or probable developments. As Mellon notes, this would result in a transformation for humanity.

Our basic understanding of certain aspects of science, spirituality, Nature, the Universe and ourselves could change somewhat significantly.

Q #14: Can you address how the understanding/realization of the UAP being a real phenomenon has changed you and other members of TTSA at a personal level?

A: Wow, interesting question. I’m proud of what we have achieved in a short period of time but also keenly aware that the ramifications are immense and potentially very concerning. The more concrete the issue becomes the more weighty it becomes.

Analysis: Mellon notes that he and his TTSA colleagues are, “also keenly aware that the ramifications are immense and potentially very concerning. The more concrete the issue becomes the more weighty it becomes.”

This seemingly will increasingly also be the case for more and more Americans and people around the world.

Q #16: In May 2016, Leslie Kean [author, journalist, researcher] asked: "Are you certain there is no government cover-up?" You answered, "It’s impossible to prove the negative, so all I can say is that I never saw any evidence of official interest in UAPs."

A: Uncle Sam has a big basement and rummaging around there can turn up all manner of things. However, I think the central problem at the moment is the lack of government interest and effort to get to the bottom of the issue.

Analysis: (Same as analysis on question #7 above related to journalist George Knapp) According to many credible reports, during World War II and in the post-war late-1940s and 1950s, the U.S. defense community became aware of seemingly very unusual aerial phenomena. So, there appear to have most likely been seven decades of research into the situation.

Many researchers looking into this overall topic claim that there is significant evidence, as well as notable circumstantial indications, pointing to robust U.S. activities in this area.

To read the full 25-question Q&A, visit the TTSA site here.

(Related articles 
“Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” and “Reagan’s 1987 UN speech on ‘alien threat’ resonates now” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)