Welcome to SCHOCK MCCOY PRODUCTIONS by J.H.McCoy. This website will give you information about a variety of topics: nature, literature, history, and astronomy, as well as additional details about my articles in THE MINDEN CITY HERALD (989-864-3630). The last two pages are a tribute to my mother, Gloria (Schock) McCoy (1923-2013). The journal she wrote on our trip West (1977) can be found in "Writing/GSM."  It is my hope that you will always find something interesting and informative on this website and that 
you will visit often.  Please sign the guest book, and thank you for stopping by.       
        J.H. (John Herbert) McCoy           
 THE MINDEN CITY HERALD          SAND BEACH TWP.
              THE THUMB
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JANUARY 30, 2015
johnhb79@yahoo.com
9636 Roberts Rd.
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cell: 989-551-9487
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​             JULY 27

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    JULY 
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RECOMMENDED READING
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REMEMBERING HOW IT WAS
THE CAMERA SKETCH BOOK **
** With apologies to Washington Irving and THE SKETCH BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. (1819-1820).
    (Click on small "pics" to enlarge)
Canada geese fly by.
Mourning doves
TODAY
YESTERDAY
THE "BURN BOSS"  IN THE WHITE HELMET
J.H.MCCOY
 SATURN
    (SSE)
​MORNING 
PLANETS
1621

JULY QUOTATION
@
 AROUND THE THUMB
JULY 20   SIR EDMUND HILLARY, 1919, FIRST, MT. EVEREST
JULY 21   ERNEST HEMINGWAY, 1899, NOBEL PRIZE WRITER
JULY 22   ROBERT DOLE, 1923, REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER
JULY 24   AMELIA EARHART, 1897, PIONEER AVIATOR
JULY 26   GEORGE CATLIN, 1796, EARLY ARTIST OF THE WEST
JULY 26   ALDOUS HUXLEY, 1894, "BRAVE NEW WORLD"
JULY 30   HENRY FORD, 1863, AUTO MAKER, FORD MOTOR
JULY 31   J.K. ROWLING, 1965, HARRY POTTER NOVELS
from THE OLD TEACHER'S ALMANAC
MARS BRIGHTENS AS THE EARTH MOVES CLOSER TO 
THE "RED PLANET"
JULY 6 - EARTH IS AT APHELION 
FARTHEST FROM THESUN
94,507,803 MILES
MARS
​ (ESE)
4 WILD DOGS AND 7 PONDS AT THE HCNC
++  all photos in THE CAMERA SKETCH BOOK are unedited  ++
"SUMMER OF MARS"
            THIS WEEK IN
THE MINDEN CITY HERALD
 THE MINDEN CITY HERALD
              JULY 5, 2018
Kevin Roggenbuck explains how stone tools were made and used by early inhabitants of the Thumb.
EVENING PLANETS
from THE MINDEN CITY HERALD - JUNE 18, 2015
   CEREMONY AT THE PETROGLYPHS
AVAILABLE ON
AMAZON.COM
JUPITER
    (SE)
   
"The question is not what you look at but what you see."
                           HENRY DAVID THOREAU**
VENUS
    (W)
 
"NEWLY SETTLED in Wisconsin, Robert Root longs to make where he lives feel like home ground.  He turns for guidance to three authors deeply rooted in place: John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and August Derleth.  ...Walking with Leopold at his Sand County shack, with Muir at John Muir State Natural Area, and with Derleth in Sac Prairie prepares Root to walk more observantly through the world around him, including portions of Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail...."
from back cover
Many of his friends, neighbors, relatives, and relative friends must have sighed in relief when Henry finally croaked his last, mumbling "moose.. . Indians..." and was safely buried under Concord sod.  Peace, they thought, at long last.  But, to paraphrase the corpse, they had somewhat hastily concluded that he was dead.

His passing did not go unnoticed outside of Concord.  Thoreau had achieved regional notoriety by 1862.  But at the time when the giants of New England literature were thought to be Emerson, Hawthorne, Alcott, Channing, Irving, Longfellow, Dr. Lowell, and Dr. Holmes, Thoreau was but a minor writer.  Not 
even a major minor writer.

 Today we see it differently.  In the ultimate democracy of time, Henry has outlived his contemporaries.  Hawthorne and Emerson are still read, at least in university English departments, and it may be that in a few elementary schools up in Maine and Minnesota children are being compelled to read Longfellow’s Hiawatha (I doubt it; doubt they can, even under compulsion), but as for the others they are forgotten by everyone but specialists in American literature.  Thoreau, however, becomes more significant with each passing decade.  The deeper our United States sinks into industrialism, urbanism, militarism—with the rest of the world doing its best to emulate America—the more poignant, strong, and appealing becomes Thoreau’s demand for the right of every man, every woman, every child, every dog, every tree, every snail darter, every lousewort, every living thing, to live its own life in its own way at its own pace in its own square mile of home. Or in its own stretch of river.

EDWARD ABBEY (1927-1989) from DOWN THE RIVER

A POSTSCRIPT:
E. ABBEY ON THOREAU
** Scroll down for a postscript on Thoreau
1817-1862
EARLY FROG CHORUS
from THE MINDEN CITY HERALD (5/10/18)

Regardless of what the calendar says, it is not spring until the frogs start singing. Punxsutawney Phil and other prognosticators are often wrong about the end of winter and the coming of spring, but you can bet on the frogs!  When you hear them singing, spring is here.

Frogs are also called “anurans,” a term that the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines as “any of an order (Anura) of amphibians comprising the frogs, toads, and tree frogs, all of which lack a tail in the adult stage and have long hind 
limbs often suited to leaping and swimming.”

There are thirteen anurans in Michigan, including bull frogs, green frogs, leopard 
frogs, tree frogs, and toads; and each species emerges from hibernation and mates
in a sequential order of “breeding windows” during the spring and summer.

This year, the first members of the spring chorus to announce the new season in my neighborhood were spring peepers and wood frogs.  As the weather finally warmed 
up at the end of April, both “early bird” anurans were singing loudly in the vernal 
ponds near my house.

The spring peeper is a small brown or tan tree frog with a roughly formed dark “X” 
on its back.  The Latin word crucifer in its binomial name, Pseudacris crucifer, refers 
to the cross-like mark and means “cross-bearer.”  (Pseudacris is a combination of two Greek words meaning “false locust,” a reference to the frog’s, loud, piercing call.)  
At close range, the “X” on the frog’s back can be used to identify it.  However, spring peepers are very small (about an inch long) and hard to see.  Even when they are singing loudly in the water at your feet, it is not easy to spot them.  Of course, once 
you know their unique sound, you can simply identify them by ear.

The spring peeper is named for its call, which the male uses to attract a mate.  (In all frog species, only the males sing.)  The high-pitched single note is similar to the peeping sound made by young chickens, but much louder and more intense.  The 
short ½-second “peeps” are repetitive, sharp, and shrill.  When large numbers of 
spring peepers are calling in the same pond, their individual efforts blend together 
in a loud, intense crescendo of sound, which is said to resemble jingling sleigh bells.

Standing at the edge of a vernal pond and listening to the high-pitched calls of numerous spring peepers is an unforgettable seasonal experience.  Up close, their incessant chirping is actually hard on the ears – an insistent, almost deafening reaffirmation that winter is over.

The wood frog (Rana sylvatica) is another member of the early anuran chorus.  It 
begins singing in the spring ponds as soon the ice melts and the weather warms up.  Its unique call is similar to the sound of quacking ducks - a hoarse, clacking, staccato-like sound repeated continually.  The wood frog’s sharp, raspy call is easily distinguished from the clearer, bell-like sound of the spring peeper.  Often both frogs sing together in the same pond, but their calls are completely different and easily separated.

Wood frogs also can be identified by their distinct markings.  They are the frogs 
with the “robber’s mask” – a black facial spot extending from the eye backward past the eardrum.  Wood frogs also have a dark line from the eye forward to the tip of the snout.

Like most anurans, the wood frog only frequents the newly thawed ponds for a short time in the spring.  Once the breeding season is over and the eggs are laid, they leave the water and take up residence in the woods and swamps; hence, the name, “wood frog.” 

Almost everything I know about identifying frogs I learned from Jim McGrath of 
Nature Discovery (Williamston, Michigan).  He and his wife Carol are frequent presenters at the Huron County Nature Center on Loosemore Road.  Their Saturday Programs about Michigan reptiles and amphibians (snakes, frogs, toads, and salamanders) are some of the most popular and well-attended presentations of the summer season.

The first Saturday Program I ever attended at the Nature Center was Jim McGrath’s presentation on Michigan’s frogs and toads. There was no power in the building 
that day, and so instead of playing a recording of each anuran’s call, McGrath simply did the vocals himself. To say I learned a lot about frogs and toads that day would 
be an understatement.

I am no expert on anurans, but thanks to McGrath, I can at least recognize two of
the frogs in the early spring chorus: the spring peeper and the wood frog.  They are usually the first and arguably the best, because to winter-weary residents in my neighborhood and around the Thumb, their songs unmistakably announce the real coming of spring.

J.H.McCoy

Notes: Jim McGrath has a CD for sale entitled “Frogs of the Great Lakes Region.”  It contains the recorded sounds of Michigan’s thirteen frogs and toads and is a great
help to identifying their spring mating calls.  The CD can be ordered from Nature Discovery at: www.naturediscovery.net.  The cost is $15, plus a $3 shipping fee. 

The proper names of the thirteen anurans featured in McGrath’s “Frogs of the Great Lakes Region” are: Western Chorus Frog, Northern Spring Peeper, Wood Frog, Northern Leopard Frog, Eastern American Toad, Fowler’s Toad, Pickerel Frog, Eastern Gray Tree Frog, Cope’s Gray Tree Frog, Green Frog, Blanchard’s Cricket Frog, Bull Frog, and Mink Frog.

On July 14, 2018, Jim and Carol McGrath will be back at the Huron County Nature Center for a Saturday Program entitled “Reptiles & Amphibians.”  It will cover 
Michigan snakes as well as the state’s frogs, toads, and salamanders.  The McGraths will return on August 4, 2018, for a presentation called “Michigan Mammals.”  Again this year, both of these Saturday Programs are sponsored by me and my website, Schock McCoy Productions. 

A complete list of topics for this year’s Saturday Programs at the Huron County Nature Center can be found on their website: www.huronnaturecenter.org.

For more information on spring peepers and wood frogs, visit my website at: www.schockmccoyproductions.com.  Also LIKE US on Facebook.  I am also on Twitter: @JohnHMcCoy41.

Up close, the spring peeper (left) with the "X" on its back is easily distinguised for the "robber-masked" wood frog.

Raccoons are usually nocturnal, but if they are hungry enough, they will start foraging early, especially in the spring.   Last week just before sunset, I looked out in the backyard and saw a raccoon hanging upside down from my tubular feeder.   It was holding on like a furry acrobat and busily eating black sunflower seeds.

I started opening a window to yell at it and scare it away, but the raccoon heard me and dropped to the ground.   It ran into the nearby cedars and disappeared.   In a few minutes, however, it was back.

I watched as the raccoon climbed up the shepherd’s hook and skillfully maneuvered around my new squirrel guard.   The large, upside-down “funnel” worked well on squirrels, but it was completely useless with this larger and more powerful “bird seed burglar.”  The raccoon simply pushed the guard against the steel pole and then reached above it with its clever hands and continued climbing.    Soon, it was back hanging under the feeder and calmly eating sunflower seeds.

Again, I opened the window, and the raccoon dropped down and ran.   It must have been hungry because it kept coming back.

Raccoons are native to North America.  Long before Europeans established settlements in the New World, the indigenous tribesmen hunted them for their meat and fur. Christopher Columbus was the first European explorer to mention the animal in his writings.   He probably saw one of the raccoon subspecies on the newly-discovered islands in the Caribbean.

When the English established a colony at Jamestown in 1607, the Powhatan natives supplied them with their name for the strange, new animal with the long tail and masked face.  They called it “aroughcun,” meaning “one who rubs with its hands.”   Captain John Smith (1580-1631), leader of the Jamestown expedition, transcribed the sound of their word into English and included “aroughcun” in a list of Powhatan terms that he was compiling.

William Strachey (1572-1621), a writer who arrived in Jamestown (1610) after being shipwrecked off Bermuda, also mentioned the raccoon in his account of the colony. However, he spelled the Powhatan word differently; his version was “arathkone.” Eventually, the aboriginal name was anglicized and added to the English language as “raccoon.”

The raccoon is one of the most numerous and widespread animals in North America, and everybody knows what it looks like. The Kaufman Field Guide to Mammals of North American includes several colorful illustrations of raccoon activity and some good descriptive details:

“Size varies with climate: very small in the Florida Keys, much larger and stouter in the cold northern zones.   When walking, appears hunchbacked in profile.   Usually grizzled gray-brown, but sometimes much darker or paler overall.   Tail is long (but shorter than the body length), bushy, banded with black and white, and tipped with black; black face mask is surrounded by white fur.”

Because the fur around its eyes resembles the black mask sometimes worn by robbers and outlaws, the Kaufman Field Guide humorously refers to the raccoon as a “masked bandit,” and mentions its “nighttime raids” on “garbage cans and garden plots.”  
It also states that raccoons are omnivores and then lists some of their favorite food items:

“…their diet on land includes nuts, fruits, insects, small rodents, and birds’ eggs and nestlings, while near the water they will take frogs, fish, mollusks, crayfish, insects, and practically anything else they can catch.”

The Michigan Mammals Field Guide by Stan Tekiela mentions two additional food items that raccoons are especially fond of: “suet” and “birdseed (especially black sunflower seeds and thistle).”  That explains the raccoon’s stubborn persistence and my habitually empty bird feeder.

I scared the raccoon away a couple more times, but it kept coming back. I knew that as soon as it got dark, it would clean out my feeder once again. So I simply went out and took it off the shepherd’s hook and brought it in the house.  That’s one way to turn the tables on a “masked bandit.”  And it might be the only way!

J.H.McCoy

Notes: More information about raccoons from the Michigan Mammals Field Guide:

“[Raccoons are] able to climb any tree very quickly and can come down headfirst or tail end first.   Its nails can grip bark no matter which way it climbs because it can rotate its hind feet nearly 180 degrees so that the hind toes always point up the tree.”

“Known for the ability to open such objects as doors, coolers and latches.   Uses its nimble fingers to feel around the edges of ponds, rivers and lakes for crayfish and frogs. Known to occasionally wash its food before eating, hence the species name loctormeaning “washer.”  However, it is not washing its food, but kneading and tearing it apart. The water helps it feel which parts are edible and which are not.   A strong swimmer.”

“Active at night, sleeping in hollow trees or other dens during the day.”

“Usually a solitary animal as an adult.   Does not hibernate but will sleep or simply hole up in a comfortable den from January to February.”

“Emerging from winter sleep, males wander many miles in search of a mate.  Females use the same den for several months while raising their young, but move out afterwards and find a new place to sleep each night.  Males are not involved in raising young. Young remain with the adult female for nearly a year.”   
RACCOON AKA "MASKED BANDIT"
from THE MINDEN CITY HERALD  (5/17/18)
"Caught in the act"  -  a raccoon, aka "masked bandit," raids a bird feeder in broad daylight.
LAC STE. CLAIRE VOYAGEURS AT AN ENCAMPMENT IN PORT SANILAC
BABY MOURNING DOVES
REDESIGNED MEMORIAL IN MINDEN CITY - 50TH ANNIVERSARY - 1968-2018
    NATIVE AMERICAN ARTIFACTS AT 
THE HURON COUNTY NATURE CENTER

Last week, the newly constructed outdoor amphitheater at the Huron County Nature Center was the setting for the first Saturday Program of 2015, “Native American Artifacts.”   Kevin Roggenbuck from Harbor Beach displayed his impressive collection of primitive arrowheads, hand axes, scrapers, and grinding stones.  His enthusiasm and his lively commentary about his career as a self-taught amateur arrowhead hunter fascinated the audience and keep them in their seats for almost two hours.

Roggenbuck said his interest in Native American artifacts dated back to the spring of 1965 when he was two years old.   His older brother Chris, only four at the time, found a well-made arrowhead on the family farm just north of Harbor Beach.  In the following years, this unique object became the focal point of family discussions and a venerated souvenir from the farm’s prehistoric past.  No doubt, the Roggenbuck boys often wondered about the identity of the primitive hunter who once stalked wild game in the very fields which they now called home.

Perhaps trying to equal his brother’s accomplishment, Kevin Roggenbuck also began looking for arrowheads, but he was not successful, at least in the beginning.   It wasn’t until he was thirteen that he actually uncovered his first authentic artifact, and it was not an arrowhead.  Rather, it was a hand ax, a stone carefully shaped to fit a man’s grip and used for chopping, cutting, or perhaps self-defense.

As the years went by, Roggenbuck’s interest in Indian artifacts continued, but it did not develop into a full-blown hobby.   Then about twenty-five years ago, he visited an old friend in Florida, and everything changed.  Suddenly, he refocused on his earlier interest, and the “hunt” was on.

Dave Cass, a former classmate at Harbor Beach High School, then living in Florida, showed him his extensive collection of Indian artifacts and gave him a few tips on how to find them.   Together, they hiked through places in the state where primitive objects were much easier to find than they were in Michigan, and Cass added several more items to his Florida collection.

Returning to the Thumb, Roggenbuck began applying some of his friend’s techniques to an area which he had known all his life.  He spent long days and countless hours walking the fields of Huron County and other parts of the Thumb, scanning the ground for any items left behind by the primitive tribesmen who once lived here.  Eventually, his efforts resulted in the collection which he brought to the Nature Center - actually only a small part of the many items which he has found in nearly a quarter century of looking.

Roggenbuck not only displayed the artifacts which he unearthed over the years, but he also gave his audience some tips on how and where to find them.   He said that almost ninety percent of his collection had been discovered in farm fields and that spring was the best time to look.   The melting winter snow and early spring rains often reveal objects which have been buried for centuries.   He added that erosion may be the farmer’s enemy, but to anyone who hunts for prehistoric artifacts, it is an important “benefactor” and “friend.”

Ironically, Roggenbuck advised potential arrowhead hunters “not to look for arrowheads” when they are in the field.   He said they should watch for a sharp edge or a small chip in a stone, something that does not look natural.   Most of the time, an edge is all that is visible because the rest of the object is still buried. It is not often that you find an arrowhead or spear point lying on the ground in plain sight. 

He also told his audience to pick up anything that looks out of place and to examine it carefully.   Prehistoric artifacts are made of stone and basically will last forever.   To find them, all that is needed is the right set of circumstances and a trained eye.

Roggenbuck said that digging for artifacts is another strategy that he has employed from time to time.   While archaeologists disapprove of this method because it destroys the historical context associated with the find, often it is the only way that valuable items can be recovered and preserved.   He indicated that he found his first large spear point while sifting through a pile of sand in a quarry near Bay Port.   The sand was scheduled to be moved to another location and used as fill.   Had he not dug through it, the artifacts he found probably would have disappeared forever. 

During his presentation, Roggenbuck gave his audience a short tutorial on the types of stone used by native people to make arrowheads and other useful implements.   He said one of the stones they most prized was chert, a type of sedimentary rock found as a nodule or layered deposit inside other rocks.  Chert breaks with a kind of fracture which produces a sharp edge.   Indian workmen simply took advantage of its flaking action and used it to make cutting tools, scrapers, and even weapons.  “Flint” is a common name for a type of chert used by early toolmakers.

Roggenbuck also mentioned in passing that the bow and arrow was probably not the weapon of choice for most of the prehistoric hunters who first stalked game in the Thumb.  He said that more typically they would have used an atlatl, a type of throwing stick attached to a leather thong and used to hurl a spear or a long dart at the intended prey.  His conclusion is partially based on the thickness and weight of the “projectile points” found in the area – many were too heavy to be shot from a bow.

Roggenbuck’s enthusiasm for his subject was definitely contagious, and several members of the audience stayed behind after the presentation to talk about their finds and to show him some of their “treasures.”

“Native American Artifacts” was the first Saturday Program held in the new outdoor amphitheater at the Huron County Nature Center. It was not, however, Kevin Roggenbuck’s first appearance as a presenter; nor is it likely to be his last. He has become a perennial favorite at the weekly summer series, not only because of his unique collection of prehistoric objects, but also because of his great reverence and respect for the indigenous people who made them.   This year’s audience is already looking forward to his return engagement in 2016. 

J.H. McCoy

Notes: In the interest of full disclosure, Kevin Roggenbuck was one of my students at Harbor Beach High School when I taught English there. He graduated in 1981.
THE DOWNBOUND "JOSEPH H. THOMPSON" PASSES BY SAND BEACH TOWNSHIP
from THE MINDEN CITY HERALD - JUNE 28, 2018
Seated around the historic rock, young and old alike watched the ceremonies and listened attentively to the speakers.

Last Saturday, the Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic Site on Germania Road was the setting for a ritual observance which dates back to pre-settlement times.  Members
of the Saginaw Band of Chippewa gathered at the large sandstone outcropping in the state park to feast, recite prayers, and to honor the traditions of their ancestors, the Anishinabek (“Original People”).

There was a ceremonial fire, a cleansing rite, a water blessing, and a native feast for all in attendance - buffalo meat, wild rice, and strawberries.   The annual event is held at the historic site on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice.   According to the lunar calendar used by the Anishinabek, the longest day of the year occurred during the month of the Full Strawberry Moon, so-named because it was the season when the tribes gathered the ripening fruit.   For this reason, strawberries were on the menu at the yearly celebration. 

Judy Pamp, a member of the Saginaw Chippewa tribe and assistant director of the Ziibiwing Center (ZC) in Mount Pleasant, conducted the ceremonies and explained the rituals and traditions of her ancestors.   She was assisted by Bonnie Ekdahl, a member of the Bear Clan and the first director of the ZC, which opened its doors in 2004.

Both spoke of the “Grandfather,” the large piece of Marshall sandstone, which was the focal point of the ceremonies.  Considered sacred by the Anishinabek, the rock is marked with symbols and images dating back from 400 to 1,000 years ago.  Pamp recalled coming to the area as a child to visit the “Grandfather.”   She said her family would camp nearby and perform a ritual cleansing of the rock with cedar boughs and water from the nearby Cass River.

Pamp believes that the carvings on the “Grandfather” were left there by her ancestors to instruct future generations.   She said they still speak to us today about the sacredness of life and interconnected nature of all things, animate and inanimate alike.

Bonnie Ekdahl described the long struggle of the Anishinabek to preserve their heritage in the face of systematic efforts to eliminate their culture.   She said it was not easy to make their voices heard, even on the banks of the Cass River, where the State of Michigan did not involve the tribe in the preservation of the sacred rock until the late 1990s.

Ekdahl also believes that the symbols etched into the sandstone outcropping have something to say to the current generation.  According to her, the most famous carving on the rock, the “Bowman,” represents knowledge and teaching, which must be shot into the future like an arrow from a bow.   She added that in many cases the lessons of the past have been forgotten and must be relearned.

The ceremonial highlight of the afternoon was the blessing of the water.   The Anishinabek believed that it was sacred and must be honored and protected.  During the ritual, water in copper pitchers was blessed with sweet grass and ancient songs. Then a small amount was shared with the “Grandfather” and with all the spectators, who sipped the newly blessed water from paper cups.   No photographs were allowed during the water ceremony.

After this ritual, Stacy Tchorzynski, an archaeologist from the Historic Preservation Office, spoke on behalf of the state.  Her topic was: Collaborative Park Management and Exciting Future Projects.   She described the recent history of the sandstone outcropping beginning with its discovery after the Great Fire of 1881.  She explained the efforts to map the site and protect it from vandalism and erosion.  Originally in private ownership, the land around the rock was eventually purchased by the Michigan Archaeological Society in the 1960s and donated to the state.     During the early 1970s as the park began to take shape, many ancient artifacts were found in the area, some dating back 8,000 years.

In her speech, Tchorzynski explained the pros and cons of the wooden pavilion, which was added in the 1970s to protect the rock from the elements.  She also mentioned that the high fencing topped with barbwire is not always successful in preventing vandalism.   Last year, someone scaled the fence and carved some small mushrooms on the edge of the stone.

On a happier note, Tchorzynski also discussed the state’s upcoming plans to improve the park, including the restoration of two collapsed hiking trail bridges over the Cass River.   Currently, hikers are not able to complete the circular trail through the park unless they are willing to wade across the river.

More than 125 spectators attended the annual event, some arriving on a chartered bus sponsored by the Port Huron Library.   Surrounded by the greenery of the summer woods, they sat on lawn chairs or stood quietly around the “Grandfather” during the ceremonies and speeches.

Once again next year, on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice in the month 
of the Full Strawberry Moon, the Saginaw Chippewa will return to the Sanilac Petroglyphs.  They will repeat the ritual water blessing and share their communal feast with all who attend.   As in other years, the public will be invited to participate in this ceremonial remembrance of their ancestors, the “ancient ones” who canoed the river long ago and carved their pictures in the large sandstone rock on its bank.

J.H.McCoy

Notes: The petroglyphs are located in the 240 acre Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park on Germania Road (south of Bay City-Forestville Road).   From now through Labor Day, the fenced site is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. An interpreter from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is on hand to explain the history of the rock and the significance of the carvings.   

The state park is always open for hiking, bird watching, and other activities, but the fenced area around the petroglyphs is accessible only during the summer season.  Admission to the park is free.

The new interpretive signs at the state park were designed by the Ziibiwing Center of Culture and Literature in Mount Pleasant.   They reflect the influence of the Chippewa and include many Anishinabek terms like Ezhibiigaadek asin (“written in stone”), their words for what we call the “Petroglyphs.”

[from an interpretative sign in the park]

Ezhibiigaadek asin represents the collective memory of the Great Lakes Anishinabek (Original People) ancestors. Throughout the Anishinabek aboriginal territory, certain areas were used for ceremony.  These areas were sought out for their spiritual power and significance. Ceremonies and teachings were conducted at these sacred sites, and many ceremonies still exist today.”

[from another interpretative sign in the park]

“Archaeologists have studied the Sanilac Petroglyphs site since the 1920s. They have recorded these carvings through drawings, photographs and plaster casts, and excavated in the area around the rock outcrop.

Stone tools and pottery found during investigations show that native people occupied the area intermittently over roughly the last 8,000 years and help date the creation of the petroglyphs to within the last 1,500 years.   A prominent carving featuring a bow and arrow also suggest this time period, which followed the introduction of this technology to the region.”

The Ziibiwing Center is located in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, just south of the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort.  It features exhibits on the history and lifestyle of the Chippewa and other Great Lakes tribes.  General admission for adults is $6.50. The web address is: www.sagchip.org

“Ziibiwing” is an Anishinabek word which means “by or near the water,” the home ground for the Great Lakes tribes.
After the events at the Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic Site, Judy Pamp, a member of the Saginaw Chippewa tribe, answered questions about the historic rock and the Anishinabek culture.
"CEREMONY AT THE PETROGLYPHS" -  SCROLL DOWN
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