The Mountain Man
Ever remember, as a kid, being enthralled from a visitor “from afar”. Was it an uncle who’d traveled the world and came bearing gifts of a strange nature? Or, was it a brother who had lived in far off lands and came with tales of custom, ritual and food that your mind could not make sense of?
How must Native American’s felt when Lewis and Clark passed through in 1804? Never having seen a white man before, let alone their “medicine gun”(an air rifle first used in the Napoleonic wars), blue beads, and iron tomahawks. The first black man to pass through the continent was himself a unique experience. York, the slave of William Clark and an integral part of the Corp of Discovery, entered amongst the Indians and was treated as a visiting deity.
During the mid 1600’s, fur trapping became depleted in the eastern parts of North American. This brought on a migration of French trappers (from Quebec) to head west. These early visitors spent their winters trading and trapping with Native Americans in northern parts of the intercontinental territory.
When a friend of mine saw this piece in clay, he remarked in French, “Du Lointain”. He told me it meant, “From Afar”.