Thursday, November 26, 2009
Celebrating Rock Turkey on Thanksgiving
Here's "Rock Eagle," a prehistoric rock pile sculpture located in middle Georgia. It's one of the most spectacular indigenous rock piles I've seen in the US. The Native Americans who built it are probably the ancestors of the Muskogee or Creek Indians. Known today as the Woodland Indian phase, this culture lasted from 1000BC to about 1000AD.
But most archaeologists say that the effigy sculpture is not depicting a eagle -- rather, it's most likely a turkey. Calling this sculpture Rock Eagle is massive projection of our own mythology of eagles as fierce freedom fighters ( never mind that eagles will eat carrion before hunting) and has little to do with Native American sensibilities.
On the other hand, turkeys were undoubtedly the most important bird of the prehistoric forest. Food, clothing, and building materials all are uses of the average turkey sacrifice. Even Benjamin Franklin petitioned for American national symbol to be the turkey instead of the eagle. Humble, gracious, and bountiful, this bird is still a symbol of abundance for the American Continent.
So in the spirit of gratitude this Thanksgiving, say a toast to Rock Turkey!