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    Thursday, December 04, 2008

    Survival Skills of Native California


    Book Excerpt: Survival Skills of Native California

    "To forget the lessons of the past is to not only endlessly repeat its horrors but to lose its most magnificent possibilities....The early inhabitants of California had that folk wisdom, almost a gut intuition built over millennia, of what was good and bad, a sense of value which allowed them to make what must seem to us an astounding choice: they rejected progress, the tilling of the soil in favor of a hunter-gatherer way of life."

    —Paul D. Campbell
    (from back cover)

    from Introduction: Secrets of Indian Survival - Survival Skills of Native California by Paul D. Campbell, p. XIII

    This book undertakes the task of restoring what we have methodically destroyed: California Indian survival skills. From the scattered bits and parts it seeks a critical mass of essential detail on each representative skill to recreate a whole technology.

    Not an end in itself, California survival lore unlocks a paradise too long maligned as mere unused land marked for development. Beyond the sprawl, the asphalt, the final orchard gate, the very end of the last dirt road, looms the mystery and vitality of California wilderness. The stars there still glitter like ice, the sun burns more brightly.

    Valleys, mountains, streams, deserts and sea--not long ago all of California was wilderness.

    The first Californians lived in harmony with that untamed place, using skills refined over 10,000 years. For those who believed in the sacredness, it was a garden, carefully tended. Conquest, greed, the mercantile juggernaut of Western civilization, in a few short decades crushed a marvel but weakly understood. California native skills were lost, buried beneath highway and city without end...

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