Friday, January 23, 2009
Acccording to Littlenose
Littlenose Johnson would have pulled me out of the snowbank who ever I was, but he wouldn't have given me so much attention after that or left his trailer to me, if my name had not been William Warren: the same as that of the Ojibway hero who, during the nineteenth century while still in his twenties, became a representative in the Minnesota legislature and wrote a still respected history of the Ojibwa, and then died at the age of twenty nine of tuberculosis which he probably picked up in the smokey lodges of the many sachems from whom he collected his information.
Littlenose shared with him the notion ( given a bad name by Joseph Smith with his hokey dissappearing gold tablets) that the western hemisphere was settled, at least in part, by the legendary lost tribe of wandering Jews. But Littlenose had a more nuanced notion of how that stood and, at least in the case of his personal ancestory, it was true.
James Little-Nose Johnson was the son of an Objibwa/Abnaki/Scot. The Scot was his father's great grandfather - a Jew from Edenbierg who emigrated to Canada, became a fur trader , and married an upper Yukon Abnaki.
It was the Scots trader, not one of his Indian forebears, who first got the name, Little-Nose. Could be he diid have a small nose, at leaat in comparion to his Yukon tribesmen , but it was also the usual name that group used for all white men. The name Johnson itself was one the family had long ago adopted for business purposes in Scotland. The name Fux, or Fuchs, as it was sometimes spelled, sounded too much like Fucks, and the literal English translation - "Fox", sounded too shifty for business purposes. So Johnson it was.
For a while, Lyman Littlenose Johnson, the son of that fellow and father of our Littlenose , made good money in the Great Bear Uranium mines. Littlenose had four years at a private school near Utica, New York and a year at a trade school in Toronto. Then the mines and money played out, the radiation killed his father, Tuberculosis his mother, and Littlenose took to the road. He never married, though I never knew why.
His nose, by the way, was not particularly small.
No, he said, probabally more than once, he had the BIG nose but the little Johnson.
The nose had a hawkish hook, not from his forefathers, but from when he ran into a dog's' head in trying to break up up a sled team fiight, and his nostils were usually flaring as it he were runing with his mouth closed or trying to signal with them.
He said it was the Inuit in him. He would say the man of the North and extrme cold has two main rules: Even if it is not frozen solid, do not drink hard liquor at forty below zero, and do not riun with your mouth open. Either one will quickly freeze your tonsils.
As for not eating yellow snow, he told me, there is a time and place for that.
Urine generally is sterile and harmless, and rein deer urine in the right season, can be rich in the psycho active Aminata Muscaria vision mushroom, that the reindeer love to get into.
As a matter of fact, said LittleNose, when he was seeking visions with the sachems in their sweat lodges, he had nearly lost his Johnson to one of the herd that had assembled, and always did, to eat the ground and vegition that had been peed upon by the men as the periodically took a break from the sweat. The important things I learned from Littlenose were on a higher level than that, but
his conversation was usually not
He earned his living at first as a surveyors assistant, carrying the chain through awful blowdowns and alder tangles to measure the shortest distance between two points, and after that internship, he put in a lot of time as a scout for hydro electric and power lines, then many years off and on he was a migratory lineman and rigger. He was also a tinker and fetish maker, working with copper and quills. Thie inside of hiis travel trailer is like a tool box, ready to go. In his life, he pulled it half way up and down the continent. He made blow gun made from split and reamed sumac, glued and bound back together with copper wire, and also from electrical conduit pipe to shoot darts fletched with cattail fluff.
Ed Demond and Littlenose saw a lot more of each other than I ever saw of either one, but any time I ever saw them together there was likely to be an argument about the settling of the New World. Ed believed in the Berring Strait landbridge and then right straigt down the west coast theory, and Little Nose argued for a slow and evolving migration at the speed of climate change along the great chain of lakes from The Artic to the St. Lawrence.
Littlenose didn't insist that that no Asians ever walked over the bering strait landbridge during low water, and he never insisted that the Lost tribe of Jews were the only commers.....no they were lost only because they, like the Johnsons, were now subsumed in the mingled races of the Americans.
These variousl peoples came not from Asia so much as from the artic - from the great circle around the green and flowing glacier during a warmer age.
According to Littlenose , the predominant race of early folk were small, and yellow from a diet rich in cellulose and resins. They ate roots and bark and drank sap, consumed also porcupine meat and wore their quilled hides for protection from large animals. They ate no beaver, but treated them as brothers and followed the colonies of the Great Beavers, which were as large as four hundred pounds in tat era .
When not traveling, the yellow people moved onto the drained flood land slived in the abandoned beaver lodges, They cultivated berms along the beaver canals and on the old pond bottom for the first years of their high fertility. Littlenose told me that when the great ice retreated, all the beavers got small and the people began to scatter up and down and across wide country. Rememant bands of the yellow people stayed mall and developed alliances with the porcupines.
Littlenose was not a Bigfoot believer, but he assured me that bands of the little people still existed in pretty safe secrecy all over the Cannadian Shield and even down into the Adirondacks.
Much of what he says comes from the old men and Sachem circles he sat with, but when I have sat with him and Ed DeMond, I am pretty sure I could see him originating some of the detail to bolster his argument, but ....Yellow people, Wandering Jews, North West Passage.....whatever you want to believe, I will be going the Way of Littlenose.