musty speculative take on American Indians
Monday, August 3 2020
location: southeast shore, Twenty Ninth Pond, remote Minerva Township, Essex County, New York
This morning as I drank my coffee, I flipped through a book published in 1960 entitled The Adirondacks: American Playground by a Charles Albert Sleicher. Sleicher was born in 1881, before one of my two grandfathers, so the musty quality of that title is perfectly appropriate (and it's what drew me to pick up the book in the first place). Another quirk (as opposed to a feature) included a table of contents that listed each type of mammal preceded with a definite article except for "bats." But the chapter that really grabbed me was the one entitled "Indians," where the origins of America's indigenous people were discussed. In a modern book on this subject, a fairly definitive origin story could be written based on archæological and even genetic evidence, but apparently this wasn't the case back in 1960, at least not as far as Charles Albert Sleicher was concerned. Everything he wrote about the origin of the Indians was deeply speculative, something he was willing to admit, and he quickly fell back on the wisdom of the Bible, suggesting that Indians were possibly a lost tribe of Isræl, and then pointing out similarities between Indian and Jewish culture. Sleicher even floated one theory that had the origin of Jews in the New World, spreading westward into Asia across the Behring straight and going on to build the pyramids, etc. Mind you, Sleicher's world view in other parts of the book don't seem particularly flat-earther, Mormon, or even Biblical literalist. It's as if, in a pre-Internet world, his research resources were limited and he just didn't have access to the information that was known even in his day about the origin of American Indians and believed it was all forever unknowable, lost forever to history.
I tried drinking kava tea again this afternoon, and in so doing came to the opinion that it is not really a compatible drug for my constitution. It leaves my stomach feeling vaguely upset, drains away all my ambition, and (like marijuana) give me a perspective just outside myself that makes the me I see seem just a bit pathetic. Still, this is a great state to be in when bingeing on episodes of Silicon Valley, though seeing dramatizations of developers actually making stuff has me feeling both depressed and inspired.
This evening Gretchen made a spaghetti with a hearty red sauce containing mushrooms and chunks of The Bridge tofu (available only in Albany). We ate it on the dock while drinking chilled pinot grigio, which confirmed Gretchen's opinion that her constitution is no longer tolerant of even trace amounts of alcohol.
some fair-use images from The Adirondacks: American Playground by Charles Albert Sleicher
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