When we talk about Indians or the derogatory, “Redskins,” we should all sigh for a moment. We should have respect for people who lived here 5,000 years ago. The First Americans! The First TRUE Americans? Or at least before us or after early America’s Paleo Indians.
Our area in central New York is rich in Native American history. Wherever there is water (lakes, streams, ponds, creeks, rivers), people were here living in “peace”: working fields, fishing, hunting, playing, gathering food/staples for the winter stock, piling wood for fires to stay warm, building houses and making tools.
We need to take a few steps backward sometimes and just imagine what it was like to get up in the morning and go to work! Go hunting! Go fishing! Get a fire going (without a match and/or lighter)! Go find something to eat for not only myself, but for my family. If I failed my duty as a hunter or fisher, I could die, as well as my family. This was not something I would fail! I would succeed!
I would not only succeed, I would teach my children how to chip flint and make a spear or arrowhead; how to start a fire. I would show them how to hunt and fish. I would show them as my father and mother showed me — “The Basic Principles of Life” remain today.
We have to teach our offspring the basic fundamentals of life. We need to not only teach them how to hunt and fish, but more importantly the safety on how to use guns, knives, bow and arrows and axes.
Native Americans didn’t have guns. We know that, but they still had to use weaponry. They had to teach safety and respect for the dangers of spears, knife blades, snares, deadfalls. Some common sense, even though hundreds and thousands of years have passed. We can learn from people that we know were here and lived happily or at least in dignity.
Herman W. Hopper