- We are blessed to live in a country full of glorious sacred spaces and sacred art. The Native peoples have expressed their love of this land over theMessage 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2010View Source
We are blessed to live in a country full of glorious sacred spaces and sacred art. The Native peoples have expressed their love of this land over the millenia with rock art created in a variety of ways for reasons both awe-insprining and enigmatic.You can enjoy this art and make more effective use of your vacation time by spending some time in research before traveling. Even places that are not traditionally thought of as repositories of native art can surprise you. Areas that have been cultivated as farmland since colonial times may have less accessible or ariable sections where little jewels of native art reside. The local history museum might know, send them and email and ask. Maybe the family visit you planned can be expanded into a side trip through time to experience a world before the history you learned in school. Again, a little reading, a little internet research can open up wonderful new possibilities. And it's so much fun!If you are a parent, make this research a family project. Encourage your kids to pick out books on the area you will be visiting and let them know you would like to hear about the things they have read.Why are the petroglyphs difficult to decypher? Here's a fun family project. Get some large sheets of paper and have each family member tell a story by drawing only symbols. No one should know what any other persons' story is about before hand. Give a couple of days aside for time to work, and then meet after dinner for each family to play a sort of "pictograph charades" by the artist leaving the room while the other family members look at it and try to guess (without hints from the artist!), what the story is about. Get together after and see who guessed the closest to what the artist intended!Most importantly, sacred art should be treated in a sacred manner. Below is a link to a webpage on Rock Art Etiquette. Print it out and laminate it to carry with you. Maybe you would like to carry extra copies as conversation starters with people you meet on your way. Help educate people so they understand that just because a site is out of doors, it doesn't mean you don't have to be careful to preserve what's still there.Whether the symbols are readable to modern eyes, or tell stories whose meanings have been lost to time, as responsible and magical people we owe it to these artists to treat their visions with respect. Teach your children to look and not touch! If the light at the time you visit is poor, buy slides or books at the gift store. Even the old custom of chalking in petroglyphs to help them show up in photos has been found to be surprising damaging to the art, as it changes the chemistry (and speed!) of the weathering process.
Remember that this site itself is sacred, and it was chosen for a reason. Much progress has been made in the last 30 years or so by archeologists returning to sites at different times of year, because the original meanings were tied to features of the landscape which were more prominent at certain times of year. Dating the art, connecting it with a particular tribe or culture are done through careful digging at the site, when you go off trail or disturb a site, you can easily destroy evidence which would reveal much to a trained researcher - evidence which cannot be recreated once lost.Enjoy the links below, and have a great vacation!Stephanie
EtiquetteThere are overall federal laws which are meant to protect rock art, but each state, and even different tribes within a state may have additional laws. Find out in advance the rules for the area you will be visiting. Whenever possible on native lands, get a tour guided by native guides. Some tribal areas have the nearer trails designated for tourists, but more extended tours on tribal lands are available for an extra fee which will take you to more remote (and often better preserved) sites. You may in some cases not be allowed to explore on your own, please respect this, the rules are their to preserve the art!
For the kids:
Cartoon video “ Why not to touch or pick up"
Remember, don't disturb things! You might upset someone! http://www.scienceviews.com/photo/thumb/SIA0313.jpg__________________________
"It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much,
and live with her too little.
-- Oscar Wilde, "De Profundis", 1895