View Full Version : Native American Stories - Becoming Mainstream Science?

2013-Jul-31, 07:01 PM
It seems that more and more evidence is mounting, that many Native American Legends are directly related to geologic events.

Geologists at UW have even used these legends to locate the potential sites of achient landslides, flood plains, etc... and have often then found real supporting evidence in the geology of the regions around these sites.


Contrary to claims that verbal traditions are not as accurate as written ones, this seems to be a good indication that American Natives, knew how to pass information verbally without too much of loss of accuracy.

Ara Pacis
2013-Aug-01, 05:12 AM
I recall hearing that there are tales of the flooding of the great lakes from a time when they had a lower water level and then got a glacial inundation.

2013-Aug-01, 07:03 AM
I think that's a bit different from saying it is becoming part of science. What it means is that it's relevance as evidence is being reevaluated.

I remember reading that before 3/11, there were villages that had stories of huge tsunami that were understood wrongly as just exaggerated folklore. But I think often it takes a lot of effort to go through those stories and figure out what they're talking about. The people may have moved, for example.

2013-Aug-01, 02:17 PM
The following story describes very well what happened, including the caldera collapse, at Crater lake 7,700 years ago. It was translated into English by the Klamath Natives some time ago. They even remember the name of their chief that first told the story. I find it fascinating that their verbally passed down histories, remained intact with useful information for such incredibly long periods of time.

A long time ago, he [Chief Lalek] said, the spirits that live in the mountains and in the water, in the earth and in the sky, used to come and talk with the Klamath people. One time the chief of the spirits that lived deep in the mountain where the lake is now became angry with the people on the earth. Muttering with wrath he came up from his home, stood upon the summit of the mountain, and vowed that he would destroy the earth with the Curse of Fire. Hearing him, the chief of the sky spirits came down and stood on the summit of Mount Shasta. From their mountaintops the two powerful spirit chiefs began a furious battle, in which all the spirits of earth and sky took part.

Mountains shook and crumbled. Fire pouring forth from the mouth of the chief of the below-world spirits swept through the forests and reached the lodges of the people. Red-hot rocks and burning ashes fell for miles and miles. The people rushed into Klamath Lake and there prayed to the chief of the sky spirits to save them from the Curse of Fire. To appease the angry below-world spirits, two old shamans of the tribes offered themselves as a living sacrifice, and their sacrifice was accepted. One last time the mountain-that-used-to-be broke open and all the earth trembled. The below-world spirits were driven back into their home and the top of the mountain crashed down upon them.

Then came the spirit of storms. Rains that fell for many years wiped out the fires and partly filled the hole that was made when the mountaintop collapsed. Never again were the Klamath people visited by the chief of the below-world spirits, but through this story they were warned to keep away from the old mountain and the new lake.

2013-Aug-01, 02:42 PM
That is a fascinating account. Having visited crater Lake, I remember there is also a small volcano in the lake, Wizard island, which rose after the major caldera collapse but seems not to feature in the story. Maybe they were all staying well away! The lake has also the striking blue colour from deep water scintillation, which must have impressed all early observers.

2013-Aug-28, 02:24 AM
dgavin, that's a cool story. Having seen the caldera from the ledge, its even more cool.

The Hopi have an oral history of the beginning of the last ice age. The story from the northern tribes were so convincing, some Hopi journeyed to its southern most edges to verify in fact the ice had covered the once green lands. Anyway, love the story and your geological discussions. Thanks.:clap: