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[Excerpts from a small book by Dr. John Andeson]

Book Reviews

"John Anderson has that seldom attained, but unique ability to intellectually tie tribal mythology ("history to us") and the common person's world together without sacrificing the heart and soul of the stories he relates. As an oral historian on ancient society, I honor and appreciate his desires and talents."

(Ron Therriault, Director of Native American Studies, Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana, Flathed Indian Reservation, 1994.

"Fox is a wonderful character who teaches through the positive and negative. John Andeson offers a fascinating study that will appeal to anyone interested in Native Americans and the first literrature of this land."

(Pofessor Clifford Trafzer, Director of Native American Studies, University of California, Riverside).


"This book is about puzzle solving. It features the summer solstice and fox lore of western Indian tribes. People often ask me how I come up with ideas for my writings on ethno-astronomy. As the reader follows the narrative from the California islands, north to Montana, they see that the solutuon of the Fox enigma did not evolve in a linear progression. This is not surprising since scholarly reasoning incorporates logic but is often dominated by intuition and the unpredictable circumstances of our lives."

"You can watch the solstice sun rise on June 21 and wonder, as generations before you, about the mysterious motions ofthe sun and stars. For the next four days, the sun appears to cease movement on the horizon. Ancient man interpreted this phenomenom as a time of crisis, during which the sun was immobilized.

Two Kalispel folk tales about a Jumping Fox suggest clues as to how the Fox is linked to miraculous resurrection in native mythology. I conclude that these tales describe the motions of the sun and stars during the solstice, a time of spiritual rebirth. They appear to serve the same function as songs about the Jumping Fox of the Chumash islanders, coastal astronomers of California." (page 4)

The Fox Puzzle

"Many solutions to the Fox puzzle are possible, and we may never be certain about the stellar identity of the celestial Fox. What we can be confident of, however, is that after the theatrical sky displays of the solstice, the native peoples of the American west rose at twilight to witness the renewed sun. They rejoiced to see it's retrograde motion, knowing that it would bring the rains of fall and winter. The Chumash dances anticipated this celebrtory rainfall by moving to the north end of the stage, diaappearing into the Siliyik sanctuary with the parting words: "The tide rises and the Wood-tick drowns." (page 25).

The Velpecula Hypothesis

"In the early 1980's, I studied Chumash Fox prayers and songs, in an effort to understand the role of the Fox officials of the island peoples. The key, it seemed to me, was in identifying a Fox constellation and interpreting its role in Chumash ceremonialism. Failing in this endeavor, I put aside the Fox Puzzle for many years, until I began research for a book on the Chumnash Path of the Dead.

I was intrigued at the time with parallels between European and Native American star lore. I developed an astronomical model assuming an identification of the Iluhui as the stellar group called Vulpecula by the Europeans. Vulpecula means the little fox, and it is located on the Milky Way a short distance from the Chumash Land of the Dead... (J. Anderson, Appendix A , page 29).

In Retrospect: After doing research for a number of subsequent books on Chumash etho-astronomy, I came to the conclusion that the field notes of European scholars counsulting with traditional Chumash in the last part of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century ignored the subject of the South Mountain because it either did not exist (my curent assumption) or was relatively insignificant ceremonially. In The House of Fate, for example, I proposed that the stars of the southern sky resided within the great Abyss, lacking any significant 'pivot' - either on the earth or in the sky (J. Anderson, January 1999).

MORE (text from this book)
The Author
The Chumash House of Fate
Kuta Teachings (Chumash Indians)
Enememe's Friends
How to order this book
The Female Fox Official of the Islands
The Chumash Islanders
Info On Chumash