Friday, November 21, 2008

(2) Sacred Ground

Even at this early age I had the good sense to try and
find out about any Indian tribe that might have once lived
in Amherst County. Our village librarian was rather
surprised that this toe-head kid suddenly wanted to know
about any local Indian history that our little library might
have. As it turned out, this good lady was a history and
genealogy buff--so right off the top of her head, she told
me that Amherst County was the ancestral home of the
ancient Monacan Indians who lived in this area at
least for 10,000 years!

From what little we could find in the library, the Monacan
Indians were woodland people who were both hunters
and farmers. They raised basic crops, such as corn, squash,
and beans; and they hunted game and caught fish in the
rivers. But what struck my eye, as I was reading about
these ancient Indians, was that they buried their dead in
sacred mounds. I suddenly realized that day, where I was
stretched out on the grass and had my vision, that I actually
was situated on a small mound!

Now I was scared. What that Indian said to me--"do you
know that you are resting on sacred ground?"--hit me to
the heart. I knew that I had been disturbing the dead, and
this Indian had come to me to let me know.

After getting over my scare, I began to wonder why this
strange contact? Did it mean anything more than just
"get off the grass," or did it involve lots more? Well, the
dreamer in me decided that something special was going
on. A young kid or not, I decided that I was going to sleuth
around and try to find out if there might be some kind of
meaning or message behind all this.

Unfortunately, my good library lady wasn't able to provide
much more information about the Monacan--other than that
which we already had. Like other Indian tribes--such as the
Powhatan and the Cherokee--the Monacan Indians retreated
into other areas under the onslaught of English colonization
during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. And the
Monacan nearly disappeared, too! Today there are only
a small number of Monocan tribal members left in Virginia.

Seemingly my sleuthing came to an abrupt halt. Perhaps
childish--after all, I was a child at the time--but I thought this
vision portended towards some sort of mystical adventure.
About all I could say with any certainty was that I had a vision.
And I couldn't really decipher its message, other than the
literal explanation of the ancient Indian's words.

So, over time, I put aside my interest about this vision--though
I never forgot about it. Not knowing back then, this first vision
was to be the beginning of many that have accompanied me
all through life. At the time, it would seem that I was nowhere
near being a psychic who was receptive to strange phenomena
like visions.

But I will have to say this, that this strange vision prompted me
to study more in general about the American Indians in my
part of the world. Even our little library had information about
the Powhatan Indians in eastern Virginia. They spoke an
Algonquian language. And, of course there's Pocahontas,
a Powhatan princess who married the Englishman John
Rolfe in 1614. Indeed, it was the Powhatan who befriended
the first English colony at Jamestown, who helped them
initially to survive.

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