Title: Mystery of the Trees
Presenter: Don Wells, MountainStewards.org
Date: June 26, 2014
Location: Monte Sano State Park Lodge, Huntsville AL
The "Mystery of the Trees" is the story of curious bent trees that many believe were used by Indians as sign post across the continent. As they traveled, often great distances, to hunt, to trade, to gather medicinal plants, to communicate with other tribes, the trees guided their way. Exploring a story that has been hidden for many years, this presentation also leaves the audience with an appreciation for people who hold a great reverence for the earth and nature.
The "Mystery of the Trees" presentation proposes an answer to the question of why there is a mystery. Native culture and history were transferred orally at festivals, family gatherings, and individually when the elders passed on the historical and mythological stories of their tribe. The coming of Columbus and other Europeans, greatly impacted Indian culture. With each succeeding generation more knowledge was lost. By the time of the Removal to Oklahoma, life for the Indians had permanently changed. Many of the elders, having suffered so deeply for so many years, refused to talk about the “old ways” and the stories and historical information, to a great extent, disappeared. How and why the trees were bent were a part of that loss.
Some, however, remembered. Many tribal elders were interviewed over the past five years as the story about the Mystery of the Trees developed. Those interviews not only resulted in a greater appreciation of the story of the trees and of the other great losses of their culture but also gave us a greater understanding and respect for the spirituality and wisdom of the Native Americans.
The presentation will take place at Monte Sano State Park's lodge and is part of the park's year-long 75th anniversary celebration.