Give and Take

Fort Ancient Indian Hunters, Ohio Valley, 17th Century

Nature is a continuous cycle of life and death. For millennia, living things, great or small, consume other living things, taking what nature has to offer for its sustenance. But when it dies, its decayed corpse or plant matter gives nutrients back to the soil and the perpetual cycle of life continues. When the Native Americans took the life of an animal, almost every part was consumed or used for some important purpose. They believed the animals they caught had sacrificed themselves for the benefit of humans and the animals would continue to do so if their spirits were treated with respect. Successful hunting and fishing, therefore, was dependent upon courting animal spirits. It has been said that when an animal’s life was taken the Woodland Indians would give thanks to the creator for the animal’s life and, in its mouth, would place a last meal.

20” x 16” Oil