Saturday, April 08, 2017

story of Estevan

OK so there's this guy, Estevan, a black Moroccan, slave of a guy named de Carronca, and by chance, he's on this boat, which represented an attempt by Pamfico de Narvaez to settle Florida from Mexico, in 1528. And they get shipwrecked, and only four of them survive, landing in or around what is today Galveston, Texas. The four that survive are Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, Andres Dorantes de Corranca, Alonzo de Castillo y Maldonado, and Estevan, a slave of de Carronca. So he's lucky to survive this terrible shipwreck, but unlucky in the sense that his owner survived as well, so he was still a slave. He has a name which will appear later as he, Estevan, eventually becomes the first black man in New Mexico.

These four start out from Galveston, and have a pretty hard time. Their goal is to get back to Spanish civilization, which in 1528 would be the center of Mexico, or, if you go straight west, somewhere in Chihuahua. There was not much in what is now Matamoros, Laredo, Big Bend, etc. Well, there were people, but they didn't especially like these four, or were inclined to help them. At some point however they picked up a story, the story of the Seven Cities of Cibola. Some textbooks have them picking up this story after they arrive in Chihuahua, or even after they first visit New Mexico (now you're talking only Estevan; the other three were not involved in the trip up to the Pueblos). But at some point they heard this story, and it apparently was well known.

Six of the Seven Cities of the Cibola (the buffalo) were Halona, Matsaki, Kiakima, Kuakina, Kechipawa, and Hawikuh. This is according to Joe Sando, I believe, in Nuevo Mexico, an anthology. There was a seventh city, Kwilelekia, he said, which wasn't found at that time, but has been found since then; it was near present-day Silver City, NM. Of these seven, one, Hawikuh, is known in the present day as the Zuni Pueblo. This is the one Estevan eventually walked into.

Ah but it took them years. These four set out west, from Galveston, and nearly starved several times. They were taken prisoner, escaped or were freed, and then taken prisoner again. It took them eight years, and finally they arrived in San Miguel de Culiacan, so the story goes, in 1536. Here, the story goes, they were starved and delusional, bad shape, but they told the story of the Seven Cities to an eager audience of Spanish royalty and explorers. Upon hearing of Seven Cities of the Cibola, their mouths watered, their greed overflowed, and they decided to send an expedition up north to see what they could plunder.

Now keep in mind that this happens at a time where Spanish plunderers had already done in the Aztecs, but, based on what they'd found, they hadn't had reason, before, to think there was much up in the New Mexico country. What few expeditions there had been, were not very successful, or hadn't come back. And, of the four ragged shipwreck survivors, three weren't interested in pursuing the matter, though Cabeza de Vaca's name sticks in my head, perhaps for other reasons. In any case, when they set out to explore the north, from San Miguel de Culiacan, they picked Marcos de Niza, a Franciscan friar, and another friar, and some native guides, and then they got Estevan to go along. Estevan from Azamore (Azzamour), they called him, and he was described as fanciful. They had purchased him from de Carronca. They set out for Hawikuh in 1539.

Estevan was fond of women and turquoise, and had a gourd with feathers, and began to get along well with people along the way, who kept providing him more of what he needed, and making him feel that he was indeed a great leader, come up north to communicate or for whatever reason. One friar got sick, and Marcos de Niza sent him back; then he, Marcos, became weary of Estevan's style, and had trouble staying with him. When Easter Week came they stopped in Vacapa and he chose to send Estevan ahead by himself. He told him the following:

If you find nothing, send back a cross the size of a hand. If you find something good, send back a cross twice the size of a hand. And if you find something great, like a country, with tons of gold, send back a cross the size of a man.

Four days later, a messenger appeared with a cross the size of a man. Marcos de Niza felt that Estevan had stumbled upon something.

Estevan made it up to Hawikuh (Zuni pueblo) but they killed him. According to Joe Sando, he'd offended them when he'd sent his calabash ahead of him; he claimed that he was the advance of a large party, and they should just deliver unto him, women, and turquoise, and whatever they had. The Zunis apparently felt that if he was the advance of a large party, it was just as well they should kill him, so he doesn't tell them where they were. In any case, the Zuni were known to say, "The first white man we ever saw was a black man." He's still portrayed, even today, at feast day in Jemez Pueblo, where a black man and white man are portrayed together.

Marcos de Niza made it a little later; he put crosses on the hillsides, declared the area as part of Spain, and went back to tell everyone about the Zuni Pueblo and whatever else he had found. He was later to say, I think, that there were indeed seven cities, and one, the one he had been to, was very good with the metalsmithing and thus worthy of plunder. People blame de Niza for spreading stories of gold and silver that eventually brought more Spanish up to New Mexico, looking for gold and silver. The origin of the story of the Seven Cities is unclear. Some NM History textbooks place it here: de Niza made it up, and went back and told everyone. Others say no, it was something the four shipwreck survivors heard, way down on the Gulf Coast or soon after. This also is something I'd like to look into.

sources on ancient Americas

These three were found in the chapter listed in the previous post. One would expect Mr. Sando, having made the claim about his work with the Caribbean languages, to at least provide someplace for us to start. These are the three he listed at the end of his chapter; I'm not sure what they contain.

Marder, William (2005). Indians in the Americas: The untold story. San Diego, CA: The Book Tree.

Sando and Agoyo (2005). Popay: Leader of the first American revolution. Santa Fe, NM: Clear Light Publishers.

Graham, John A. (1981). Ancient Mesoamerica: Selected Readings. MacNeish, Richard (1981). Ancient Mesoamerican civilization. Second edition. Palo Alto, CA: A Peek Publication.

Now I should point out that what you see above, in the third one, is somewhat unclear. Is that two different publications? If so, the first is quite incomplete. Is it possible that there is one inside of the other, given that they are the same year?

I haven't found out yet, still looking. More later.

Keres part II

So I'm a substitute teacher, and I get placed in a New Mexico History class, which is my favorite, because, as a history major, and Social Studies/History teacher wannabe, NM History is my weakness, so I have to bone up on the facts. So I start reading the textbooks that are given to the students, that, in this case, were actually under their desks. This particular one was an Anthology of readings by New Mexicans, including Joe Sando, and was the following:

Sando, J. The Pueblo People. In Nuevo Mexico: An anthology of history. 2009. New Mexico Highlands University: Semos Unlimited.

On p. 28 I found the following:

The second Pueblo Indian group to arrive were the Keresan Speakers. A similar language, which I believe was spoken in the Caribbean, caused me to decide that the Keresans migrated from the Caribbean islands. Columbus, we learned, arrived in the Caribbean on the island of Haiti; Hai-ti means "wherein" in Keres, and the leader whom Columbus met with was named Ha-ta-wehi, which means "corn pollen" in Keres. It is a man's name in Keresan. Columbus conferred the title of "Cacique" to Ha-ta-wehi, so most Pueblo titular leaders have that title today.

Today, when Keresans begin a story, they say Hama ha,i (hane) meaning "when we were in the east." Some of these words are for direction: east, west, south and north as hane, pune, coowa, and tipani. On one island, the residents near the islands were called Tiponicos (Northerners), Haynecas (Easterners), and Coowacon (Southerners).

During their migration westward the Keresans stopped in Florida. There the leader's home was covered with seashells,so they called it the white house. Eventually the Keresans arrived at Chaco Canyon, and lived there until the great drought also drove them to where the descendants are today. They brought the corn dance and the medicine society to the Pueblo Indian country.

Actually, I have to admit that I read that several times before I had the impulse to just copy it and put it here. It is possible that I mis-transcribed Ha-ta-wehi, as one version, in my notes, has no -i at the end, whereas the other does. But I also noticed that the writing is not meticulously proofread, as there is an "also" in the third paragraph that doesn't seem to have any reference; it's not questioned, and these things sometimes happen in writing; who knows what he's referring to?

So, hot on the trail of this line of information, I did some more research. I was looking for independent verification that this Joe Sando linked the Keresan to the Caribbean, and I was looking for someone to say that either he was a respected historian, or he was a kook. Nothing. I couldn't find anyone that even mentioned his 2009 claim, and I haven't yet found the work he says it is based on (doesn't mean it's not out there). Joe Sando was a respected historian, from the Jemez Pueblo (near the Keresan ones, which include Acoma, and Laguna, Pueblos). He died a few years back. He was well known for sharing a lot of what he knew about the Pueblos, but not sharing their religion, which he figured was their own business.

There were three people who did work on the Keresan grammar, trying to interpret it, and make it available to the outside world. One, Joel Maring, is a father of a friend of mine in southern Illinois, and found that they actually had a different language for women and men, in the sense of at least having different words for a number of things; I was unable to get much more detail than that. But this rang a bell, because I remember that being true of the Arawak language, that was spoken in the Caribbean when Columbus arrived. What makes this important is that, if we're talking a migration of peoples here, they must have had enough men and women to have made migration of the language possible. We're not talking three lonely guys in a boat here. We're talking migration of a people, and it's in about 1200 or 1300. I'd really like to get to the bottom of this.

Then, a couple more twisters if I may, but these are not carefully documented yet. I will try to document.

There were three people, as I said, who did work on the Keresan grammar, and they are easily found in the Wikipedia references. They are Davis, Miller, and Maring. Maring's work was at one point called "unfortunate," for reasons I don't know. The Keresan people also requested that no more work be done on their language, by anyone, ever. That I found a little unusual. What happened? I am not purposely trying to connect these two events, which could be totally unrelated. At some point they decided that people looking into their language weren't helping them. Perhaps they decided they wanted no part of being traced to the Caribbean? Will they be mad at me if I even dig into it? I would be taking isolated words, like the ones you see above, and tracing them to Arawak, perhaps using notes from my graduate school, where I'd found an ancient book, written in French, that had described the Arawak language. My research, in that case, led me to use historical linguistic principles to relate Arawak to other languages, some deep in the Amazon, and perhaps Garifuna, which is supposedly related.

I promise to dig some of this stuff up and put it here as well. It seems to me, no work on languages is "unfortunate," though it's unfortunate if you get malaria in the process of gathering data. It also seems to me that if you have corn traditions, you wouldn't have started them in the Caribbean, nor would you have picked them up in the Big Bend on your way through what is today south Texas. They are finding stuff in Chaco Canyon, even today; it's obvious people had lively lifestyles, and wrote about them, back in 1200-1300. I am working toward a claim that 1) they knew what they were doing, 2) they didn't head up the Rio Grande not knowing what they'd find; 3) they had a lot of people, yet still had enough food for the long journey, assuming the Rio Grande had water back then; 4) there was some system of continent-wide communication, perhaps petroglyphs, that guided people in these epic journeys. When the mound people left their capital, present-day Cahokia, in 1200, they had already gone thousands of miles on rivers, up to Idaho, Canada, the Appalachians, the Gulf. We don't know why they would leave Cahokia, but we can suspect that they were aware of the Caribbean, and, they would be likely suspects for a "corn dance." But if you put yourself back in that era, and you run into a world traveler, presumably you don't share the same language, but are you going to give up? Or are you going to find the cool places there are, in the world, like Kathmandu, or Macchu-Piccu, and one or two among you are going to at least try? I think they were like us, except that 1) they didn't have Google Maps; 2) they knew the stars real well, and 3) they did everything by river boat, and did it pretty well. That's all I can ascertain based on what I've read of Cahokia and Chaco Canyon, but I'd like to know more. And I'm not claiming that the mound people and the Caribbean-based Pueblos were the same people. What do I know? I just suspect that, at some point, they at least had contact. North America is only so big, and in these small places, people tend to know everything.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Keres part I

I have moved to New Mexico and become a substitute teacher in the high schools and middle schools in the Alamogordo/Cloudcroft area; I love New Mexico history best although I am far from an expert on it. I have not entirely given up on all of my ESL goals, my life, my research, my passions, but for the moment, I've had to do this for personal reasons, and my path is leading me to being a high school history/social studies teacher. New Mexico needs teachers, so it is making it easier for me to do it. I also needed a break, but needed to keep working, since my wife's experience as Chair led to what can be best described as a healing recovery period in the mountains.

So, I was subbing in a New Mexico History class on Monday, and opened up an old textbook (2005?) by Joe Sando called "Nuevo Mexico." It was slightly more comprehensive than your average textbook, and when it came to the part about the nineteen Pueblos up by Albuquerque, the author claimed that those nineteen fell into three camps based on origin of their language: the Zuni were in a camp of their own (possibly having come from Mexico), the Tiwa/Tewa/Towa were in the biggest camp, accounting for most of the Pueblos, and then there were the Keres, or Keresan, or Queres - these accounted for seven of the Pueblos, including the Zia Pueblo (who gave us that cool Zia symbol on our license plate). Then, he claimed that he believed the Keresan people started in the Caribbean, based on similarities in the languages, and that they had come to New Mexico via Florida, where they had learned about putting shells on the leader's house and calling it the "white house." He also said that they had stopped at Chaco Canyon for a while, before settling in the Pueblos that we recognize today as the Keresan Pueblos around Albuquerque.

I was stunned, but I hastily jotted down some of the information that he claimed. When I asked the students, I found out that it was generally known that there were 19 Pueblos; it was generally known that the Pueblos at one point had rebelled against Spanish rule; nobody knew anything about the Caribbean. I came home and researched links between Keres language/culture and the Caribbean. No mention of Sando's claim. No nothing tying these people to the Caribbean whatsoever.

Joe Sando was actually from the Tiwa/Tewa/Towa side of the Pueblos, a place called Jemez Pueblo, but he was a respected scholar of all the Pueblos, and wrote many books. He was best known for not sharing details of the Pueblo religions with the outside world, though he was a prolific teacher of other things related to the people of the Pueblos. He died recently. I have found no other reference to this book or to his claims. Did people ignore them? Hate him for making them? Dislike the inference that ancient people (1300?) could travel from the Caribbean to New Mexico?

The heck of it is, in graduate school, I studied ancient Caribbean languages, or at least Arawak, which was spoken in the Caribbean when Columbus arrived. I still have those notes somewhere. I had found this worn out book that translated what was left of Arawak into French, and made my Historical Linguistics paper on it. It was the crowning achievement of my graduate school career, though that had some low points too. Those Arawak people were generally thought to have related people deep in the Amazon, and the Garifuna of Honduras had a related language too. I considered it my job to find out whether the languages were indeed related, based on the principles of language change that we had used. I got an A on that paper, I believe.

I have a new theory, which is that the ancient peoples traveled more than we give them credit for. They knew the stars and planets far better than we do. The mound people of the Cahokia area traveled the rivers, from present-day East St. Louis to Canada, Idaho, the Appalachians, the Gulf. There is proof that they did thousands of miles on the rivers, but no proof that they ever saw the Aztecs or Incas. But this was all before 1200, when they disappeared from the East Saint Louis area. If they could do that, then the Keres people could go from the Caribbean to New Mexico. They would have had to have taken the Rio Grande (most likely) - through Big Bend, El Paso, Las Cruces, etc. They would have had to have had a reason. I'm still stewing on that.

Joe Sando said in his book that they'd stopped in Florida; also, that they stopped in Chaco Canyon for years before they settled in their Pueblos. Hmm. He also said that they have an expression in their language, "When we were in the east..." that indicates that they are about to tell a story from the old times. He was convinced that this referred to the days of the Caribbean. He gave linguistic evidence, which I have copied poorly but will retrieve at the first opportunity. It's all on p. 28 of "Nuevo Mexico."

In the Wikipedia entry for the Keres language, it says that there is some disagreement about what the Keres languages could have been related to; there were no known languages that were close to it. Sapir studied them but couldn't get the hang of the tones; one of his assistants stayed behind and got a better idea. Greenburg thought they might be related to Caddoan, which is interesting because the Caddoan people claim the Cahokian sun god as their own, and all three (Caddoan, Mound people of Cahokia, and Keres) had elements of sun worship in their culture. Remember, Cahokia was empty after 1200, though it had been the biggest city in the Americas for over a thousand years. Archaeologists have placed the arrival of the Keres in the 1300's though I haven't seen the Caribbean mentioned anywhere. My guess is that if they knew the stars as well as they did, they also knew the land. They didn't have Wikipedia, but they knew how to make boats and use them. They weren't necessarily afraid of the Gulf of Mexico.

They didn't even discover Cahokia, really, until they were building the interstates, in about the 1950's. They had to build a bunch of cloverleafs in E. St. Louis and they kept running into the bases of what came to be known as "Woodhenge." Eventually they realized that this was the capital of the Americas for a thousand years and that much of it, across the river in particular, had already been destroyed. But what they saved was still quite intense. And some of it is still there.

These days I drive past a place with ancient caves. It has the feeling of ancient, canyon, river, mountains and elk, all that stuff, on the border of the vast Tularosa basin and the Sacramento Mountains, where the ancient people would have had access to everything they needed - meat, plants, water, shelter, security. I know one could find stuff by digging. But instead I shoot down that road at 45, going from 9000 ft. to 3500 feet every day, paying close attention to staying on the road and not craning my neck to look for rock drawings on the walls of the cliffs. These too were ancient people, before the Apache and Comanche came around with their horses, before everyone. We're in the habit of calling them "primitive." That's because they didn't have laptops. But hey, I have an idea. That is, every time a huge rock falls from the cliff and lands in the road, that's because the ancient people are watching us, and saying, basically, wake up. You think you're so great. You'll be lucky if you have descendants in this world, because you have no respect. And if you scorn travel, you're an idiot.

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Friday, December 30, 2016

Boxcars on Walnut

Now available on Amazon $5.38 + shipping
Coming on Kindle $.99 (soon) as well

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Dozen Crime Stories

Now available on audiobook!

Friday, December 02, 2016

Short Stories

for the ages!

Monday, August 22, 2016

CALL theory

CALL theory applied to language learning, as I understand it, emphasizes integration of technologies into curricula, rather than using the computer as an add-on, using the computer to extend learning beyond the classroom, and keeping the focus on the learner in getting more opportunity to use the language (Rilling et al., 2005). In the teaching world’s hurry to integrate computers and their software into every aspect of language learning, this is the best they can do to offer reasons why we should be in such a hurry. The computer offers us unlimited opportunity for using the language, non-stop, every day, with people in any corner of the globe. The world is rapidly moving over onto the computer anyway, yes, and the skills students need to communicate on it are absolutely important to their future success in that world.

CALL theory could be criticized for being somewhat vague, or for not explaining why we should move our entire language classroom over onto computers, or for not exploring what sinister consequences might result, or for not tackling the question of whether languages can be taught more easily or more efficiently this way. But these questions are neglected temporarily in the rush, like a gold rush, to publish articles in which we show how we are using certain technologies successfully, both with students and with teachers, to advance the cause of language learning in new environments, i.e. blogs, wikis, online fora, Skype, etc. It has become commonplace to call upon CALL theory as a justification for learning and managing these technologies, without noticing that CALL theory never tried to justify them. CALL theory pointed out the obvious – that the world was moving onto the computer anyway – and never tried to prove to us why this would be an improvement.

This is only the beginning. I need to learn more about this theory. 

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Motivation part II

I'm out here in Lubbock; it's a good place to ride off into the sunset, because when you do, you end up 9000 ft. up in the Sacramento Mountains, and that's what I plan to do as soon as I can.

But in the meantime I was asked to review a paper done on "motivation" and did it, my final parting shot to a semester that came to a relatively smooth end recently. Motivation has always been the key to language learning, but like everything else, people have had trouble figuring out what it is, what to do with it, how to construct it, etc. The world is full of EFL teachers in remote places who have told me, basically, all the "how-to-teach" lessons you give me are no good if you can't motivate the students. OK, fair enough. Let's figure out what it is, so we can figure out how to use it to help people learn.

So this writer starts out and brings in CST, as if that's the foundation of the new approach. Twenty years of research done by the Robert Gardner school, gone, not a trace, it's all this new approach based on CST. Well CST (Complex Systems Theory) is a set of ways to explain things in nature where every little actor acts based on the environment. So, if you boil the water at the bottom of a bucket eventually the molecules bump into each other, and the hot ones make the other ones warmer, and mathematical equations along with network theory can help explain how fast and in what order, etc. It actually can be applied to language: You move to Texas, you say "thank you" twenty times a day, but when everyone says "think you" back, eventually your vowels change based on what you hear. It's the environment you're in; it's not a rule or a decree that makes you do it.

Now apply this to motivation. Anyone who wanted to apply CST to motivation was probably looking at a football team, where everyone has to get their collective anger up and relies on feeding off his teammates; if one gets really riled up, it'll help get the rest to play their best. But that doesn't really apply to a language classroom. You can put people in groups repeatedly, but they start from the general maxims "Do what is required" and "Do as little as possible" along with "Don't let them see you break a sweat," which is perhaps the most important. One can see CST operating here, namely motivations changing based on perception of the environment, but there is a crucial difference. The teacher can change the requirements. The teacher can change what "possible" refers to. The teacher can change what is "required." People are not flailing around in a leaderless vacuum. The students we are talking about always have one eye on the teacher, and the other on their classmates.

The problem I see with the above scenario, and with group work in general, is that the collective influence works in both ways. It's not like a football team where everyone is invested in a single outcome. You can have a group huddle at the beginning and say to them, in effect, hey, it's in your best interest to put your whole souls into this group work, but basically, it isn't going to happen.

It isn't even going to happen in the U.S., where people have paid literally thousands to come over here, get an apartment, and maintain a life so they can learn English in order to get integrated into the society. A lot of our (ESL) students are more than willing to do the best they can in group work, but motivational forces are still pushing and pulling them simultaneously. In Japan, or Peru, it's much worse. The collective spirit is definitely a pulling force.

I was impatient, not so much with the assertion that motivation required a CST-kind of explanation, but with the failure to explain how, or why. It's not such a revelation that motivation is at the bottom of everything. You can look at any class, ESL or EFL, worldwide, and say, motivation is the problem here. But sometimes I think people pull out concepts like "CST" in order to say, "it's all so complicated, there's no way we normal people can figure it out." Actually, I think we can figure it out. I don't think I can say I've done it yet, though.

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