Credit to Randall Hale

Credit to Randall Hale

Without the enthusiasm of Randall we would not have known about the rock-carvings in Idaho: Let Randall present himself in the way he wrote me

Randall Hale

We see that cattle are part of Randall's life. That is because he grew up on a cattle farm in Idaho. He told me much in this letter. Thanks to him I have a root to the native culture of the Snake River Valley.

"About myself, I will soon be 39, this month. I build homes and provide income from all other aspects of construction. My family has a cattle business wherein we run 7000 head of beef cattle. This requires vast land and therefor has provided me opportunity to travel via horseback over the vary paths of the native Indians of my native state.
I have personal native America friends whom are practitioners of Indian medicine. They have been instructing me in their ways for over ten years. This has never been easy for me nor them because I am a white man and their people feel it is wrong for me to participate in their religious ceremonies. The point is I have been instructed by them to interpret their sacred symbolism in regards to some of their basic rites, This often gives my unique in sites most people of my race don't ever have the opportunity to get to know.
Often what Indians of the past have told the archaeologist is misleading and the natives snicker about the deception, they don't lie in the real sense but rather mislead, and always have. They always will. They care little of the written word. Therefor what the white man has received from them is only enough to pacify their needs without revealing any truths.
These instructors of mine are Shoshone, Bannock, Ute, Navaho, Crow, Blackfoot etc. They tell me truth about their ways because I have gained their trust, enough to be able to sun dance with them, a rare opportunity for a white man, I am the
Point is they know nothing of most of the symbols on these rocks. I am told that they know of past visits from large men in boats whom they would meet with and trade. They would winter among the natives then return to their lands for up to ten years sometimes. These natives do have a coded language, they have chose never to tell to us whites for security reasons.
Point being they had never taught these visitors writing but recognise it when they see it. They gladly help me when I ask for interpretations of something I run across beyond my understanding but they careless about rock carvings of which they know no native had struck yet want to protect these sites by claiming them sacred and get by on the legal clause implied.
My friends feel they now should share everything they know with us whites now because they are losing out trying to teach their own young who have no interest in their own language let alone rock carvings of the past.
You can see why I have such interest in this particular location and hope for an interpretation yet this is beyond me or my medicine man instructors. Anything you might help me with would be worth your time,
In till later CAT SHAMAN

In all interpreting we have to know as much as possible about the surroundings and the culture as long back as we can get information The natives of today do not recognise the meaning of the rock carvings. That means that perhaps they are "occasional" or have been made only for a short period. But surely they have left some impression on the culture that we only can get through deep analysis.

Thanks to our discussion and my reading about the culture we can at least see a little of the past. Our correspondence this summer is more than 250 html-pages that have given me stuff for the analysis on the files about Snake River.

The landscape is mighty and Randall and his family love to be learning from the other local people how to live in peace with nature in the old fashion way.

Randall's background is quite the opposite compared with mine. I grew up in the crowded Denmark with a few miles between the villages and with no forest and lakes in sight. Maybe it is because originally I have the woods and bear in my genes, all my childhood I dreamt about living in the wilderness.

That could even be living among the Indians after I read Fenimore Copper and other writers. In my upper teens I got a time with much living in the forests. Now I have the forest just 10 minutes walk from my home. I always feel that the forest is like a warm coat. In our woods there are no real dangerous animals and I have always been friend with animals. That I learnt on the farm in childhood.

Naturally if I were younger I would envy the life of Randall and he is a good source when I try to imagine the environment of those days. His life is a great story as such and I think I should put in a couple of cuts from his letters. They tell a lot about the man.

"I live in the mountains in Idaho, huge range with many, many bear and as I said
earlier since we run cattle in vast national forest lands. I always am in the wilderness on foot or horse back. This is my life and I am in the bears' world at least 40 hours a week, lucky I am.
My parents had us raise wild exotic animals as I grew up. We had leopards, Bengal tigers, African and American lions, black bears, elk, buffalo, black panthers. It was as if I was raised in a circus not always glorious as you can imagine, these animals require constant attention.
I was the eldest male of the 7 children so I was the lucky one who mostly fed
these beasts, and that as you know requires cleaning up after them. CATSHAMAN a hundred gallon full of cat litter used by an African lion stinks to high heaven and is quite heavy.
Point is I lived with these great beasts half my life, starting off feeding them milk
from a bottle Intel they required 5 pounds of raw beef daily. I've watched them go from being a cute novelty into a true carnivore needing to be kept behind strong steel cages.
This has given me the knowledge of most of their instinctive habits. I can go out into the wilderness and literally smell where the bear shits in then woods, cougar easily, their scents are imbued into my nose forever I fear. Anyhow I have had tremendous pleasure with all these animals. I know the black bear the most"

It is also good to discuss with an experienced man that can tell about the kind of life Indians lived in the past and some tribes are like Randall a part of nature even today. Nature dwelling is the only sustainable kind of living with little consuming since it is based on circulation. It would be hard for city dwellers to really imagine and understand this without experiences from the wilderness, I think.

"I have personally raised buffalo, elk, deer and as I had said before a variety of lions, tigers and bears. I have made all the primitive weapons and have become proficient at their use. I have had to put down buffalo before and had tried to do so with spears, bow and arrows etc. I shall never attempt such nonsense again, nearly met my end. I disagree about the effectiveness of the ancient hunters, rather I feel they were more likely to eat the youngest of all game easily dispatched.
Most spears were not a jabbing weapon rather they where blade extensions used to cut tendons and jugulars when the animals where foundering in mud or water.
Most kill sites were where herds where driven off cliffs and battered and broken upon the tremendous fall they take. This is certainly the case in the location where this series of petroglyph photos were taken.
At the probable time these carvings at Snake River were executed the river access from the ocean was unhampered by power dams, allowing great runs of large salmon, steelhead and sturgeon to migrate the length of the river system. It could be asked why these fish where not harvested further down river. Well because the width is to great, these petroglyphs are along this stretch of the river only where there exist two islands, in four locations where there are rock carvings these locals have these islands".

This cut shows that in him I have his experiences directly available. It would have taken me years if I went to Idaho looking at the places and the rock carvings. I also needed to speak with all local people and still I would not get his experience

Randall loves his Idaho and he is one with nature as well as with the people and the history of the places. His interest go beyond the folk memory that normal goes only a few hundred years back. It is about what people know and need. Randall goes a step further back since he wants to about the oldest evidence on the rock.

With Randall I share the interest for local history and I have gone as far as we have evidence in my own landscape. Occasionally the similarities in the rock carvings of Idaho and my Dal lead him to asking me for digging in Idaho. That I tell about in these files. Sometimes I also mention the discussion about the specific topics in the analysis.

I was forced in my early days to take it easy and bring my titanic mind into frames. My will is stronger than my body and at 41 I got my heart disease. That made me think differently and understand that we have our life as loan. Calming down make it easier to live, so I understand this part of his letters.

"It seems that our modern living has deprived us all to much of our natural healing that our world provides. My Indian Native Practitioners have taught me great medicines the best comes from old women who recall life at early age when they still did seasonal migrations off the reservations. The stories they recall about the teachings of the old medicine men of the past when they were mere girls and the intense mystic aura of those old men had left profound impressions on these women who are now close to a hundred years old. I am lucky they share these memories with me being a white man and not of their kind.
I find any out side around any plant life can be good for the body and soul as long as we accept being human and humble ourselves to higher order in which we live.
I try to teach the youth around me how to find peace of mind in solitude. I had spent 10 years without telephone or T.V. and concentrated on book learning and talking to all the elders I could find about their early lives. This was my cure from my hectic life I had lived prior to moving here to the high altitude country and leaving the financial pursuits behind. I have my wealth now in my basic lifestyle and no longer have mental confusion of which I once stressed out on due to bills and Money".

That is my kind of man. We need to take control over our lives and decide the pace we manage and not let other like TV force us to anything. Especially in my young days I literally sat at the feet of elderly people and got their wisdom. Original Characters were the best, I think. I got their attitude to life and guts to be myself and let reason steer my life. No other can really understand you in the end.

Like Randall I have experienced that doing the things our ancestors did is a good teacher. Then we feel how it was. It is also the same attitude as when we get on our knees in front of a dog, cat or child being on level and doing the same things. It is the way to friendship and knowing each other. When we stand up in front of those small secret things and looks down we are like giants to them and giants often think they are superior is my experience. Then the small things shut their mouth and do not want to play at all.

When I studied the first rock carvings I lay on the rocks and followed the lines to check that the documentation was perfect. After that I drew the carvings myself and tried to understand and interpret. Soon it was now and then as if there was a steering hand behind my own. I am sure that some ancestor appreciated my will to understand and wanted to help me so I got it all right. I am pretty sure that without my attitude of love they would not help me in my work. That is why I feel that Randall is my brother soul. Now a last cut:

"This week-end my lady and I had gone to the near mountains to camp and make a drum. I find storm killed hollow trees and cut large sections from these to hollow out. It takes around a year to do it right and form a perfect circle with one-inch walls. These are from one foot to twenty inches in diameter, four to ten inches deep.
I save the hides from many elk my friends and I kill each year and during the summer I slick the hair from these and produce good raw hide. In the old ways We go out and with a good attitude and with much reverence we stitch the drums individually, one in a different location around a fire of cedar and sagebrush.
I have been offered good money for these before but I choose to present these to people as gifts. They have no money value to me as I place their worth in the pleasure and use someone else may get from them.
I try to test different methods of making these items and test the primitive methods of which I have heard old cultures used. There are a large variety of hollowing processes and none are distinctly better than the others are. Some I simply let wood ants eat the pulp but as I said I have many in the process of making at all times for years.
I let each step take one full year so each drum is worth the time it takes from conception to completion. This one I had just made was from a tree I saw struck by lightening ten years ago. It has taken me that long to produce good quality rims for three drums.
Now as far as the local peoples are concerned, no old writings exist that are definitive as to who lived their the longest. Every indication is that of Piaute and Bannock peoples from 1600's on. This leaves it open as to whom the locals were at such early dates as those from the petroglyph era.
I shall see what comparisons exist as to the other sites from Wees Bar to the Yellowstone. I live along the land route they used.
All petroglyph sites are along the major waterways. It seems any inland messages are painted. I shall find further proof before I am completed. Like to hear from you Randall

Thanks Randall you give me a great time with this enigma

Emeil to Randall Hale at

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