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AMERICA’S HEROIC PAST Selected THROUGH a general absence of ancient American history, one is apt to feel that history and civ ilization began in this new-old world with the coming of the white men in 1492. An error indeed; —her civili zation is so old that empires had been born, lived, and vanished, whole peo ples and races had disappeared, before ever Columbus thought westward. The background that America pre sents is vastly different from that of ancient Britain as we know it. Amer ica was a land of lofty mountains, wide plains, impenetrable forests; a land of painted deserts and deep chasms; every beautiful and needful thing was in profusion. A “Land of the Best” it seemed—generous and abundant, for the enjoyment of the races who possessed it in peace. They were a proud and 1 fearless race —these red warriors of the for ests —swift and silent of foot; strong and enduring in pain—a people of few words and deep thoughts, feeling the presence of the Master of Life upon them equally on the mountain peaks, in the depths of the forest, or in the thundering voice of ,gpeat cataracts. As the Sun-Father journeyed over the land, from the shores of the Nar ragansett to the Waters of the West, every day he saw his children waiting to greet him. On the eastern moun tains, from the serpent-mounds by the Father of Waters, from the kivas of the desert-born, and from the temple pyramids and stone cities of' the southlands everywhere the Red Men stood with faces raised and hands uplifted to salute the Great Father. They worshipped Him and loved Him always—all days were His; and they felt His watchful eye upon them in every act of their lives. Songs, dances and ceremonies in His honor kept alive His memory in the minds of His children. Very gladly they told the old tales, and taught to the young men the wisdom of their fathers, that not one word might be changed or lost. Days of, purification and prayer they set aside for the youth, and many trials he had to pass through to prove himself worthy to enter the ‘medicine lodge.’ The legends and stones and coun cil of the elders daily filled the ears and the minds of the young warriors, who had ever before their mind’s eye the example of their fathers—brave, resolute, sagacious^ —whose deeds they themselves must emulate, and if pos sible, excel. It is a matter of regret and' sur prise, how little the background of America’s heroic past has entered into our national consciousness. It has af fected neither our racial nor mental life, as a whole, and not one trait of our cojnplex heredity can be traced back to our predecessors in the New World. It is the reverse of the case with the English colonizers. Through centuries, conquering bands of Jutes, Angles, Saxons, and Scandinavians whose empire was naturally the sea —had sailed out from their mist-wet forests and d&nk mo rasses, dark fjords and glacier-plowed mountains, and sweeping down upon Britain, had made themselves masters of the land—and in some cases sub jects to the genius—of the Celt. These were the people of delicate imagination, of fine courtesies, and poetry, and to the rude strength and simple honor of most of the invaders they added knightly refinement and chivalry. From them come our pic tures of warriors with gold torques, and gay-colored mantles, of flame headed spears and tuneful harps. But all had their beautiful and friendly gods, who in the memory of living men, had walked in familiar inter course with the sons of earth. All this is naturally a part of our make-up, now largely diluted with other strains, and over-crusted with the peculiar traits of the modern American. But with the first, the only real American—there is no tie, no faintest link, no single common in terest. It is a matter of supreme impor tance to appreciate and preserve all we can of the civilizations that pre ceded us in the occupation of Ameri ca, and to incorporate into our gen eral consciousness the splendid traits that marked the finest types of the race. The progress of archaeology and an intelligent study of the won derful remains in this country have proved that America, instead of being a howling wilderness peopled with savages, was the home of enlightened and advanced races, and that their descendants, far fallen from their high origin, were the men who were found here by Coloumbus and the other bold navigators of a bygone age. Among the most striking remains, the first perhaps that come to mind are the Mounds of the Mississippi Valley. These are huge earth-works, built by a people whom the Iroquois called the Lenni-Lenape, who had al ready disappeared before the former came, and by whom they were recog nised as their superiors. These re mains of the mound-builders are found widely scattered, and are di vided into two classes —erections sup posed to be fortifications, of irregular shape and size, and the religious edi fices, which were very different. These are frequently of geometrical shape, the angles, lines, and circles. being perfectly accurate. Those long dis tances apart are sometimes of exactly similar dimensions. The orientation, size and general characteristics are the same all over the immense territory of the 'North, Central, and South American remains. Some of the Mis sissippi mounds are shaped like ser pents, doves, turtles, ovals, and even the human form. The great Serpent- Mound is one which deserves particu lar mention. It is built on the sum mit of a hill, the body curved and tail coiled, being five feet high, thirty wide in the middle, and over a thou sand long if uncoiled. The jaws are OUR MOTTO—“IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND” Stillwater, Minnesota, Thursday, October 27, 1921. represented as swallowing a smaller mound in the shape of an egg. The western states are famous for their cliff-dwellings, towers, commun ity-houses, temples, and edifices of brick or stone. Arizona has unques tionably had a dense population and a very highly-organized society, to judge from the remains of architectural and engineering skill still existing. One of these is an aqueduct, or immense irrigation canal, considered by experts to higher than modern work, cut 100 feet through solid rock, with four branches, the main stream being 120 miles long. / Progressing further, we come to Mexico—the land of the Aztecs and the Toltecs. They had their pyra mids, their richly-carved temples, their statues, and gold and jewel work. Much of this, together with their sacred books and writings, was destroyed by the Spanish conquerors, but enough remains to show—as was expressed by some of the Spaniards themselves—that they destroyed ? civilization higher/ than their own. The Aztecs’ were adepts in metal lurgy, were skilled in astronomy and medicine. They had poetry and a drama of their own, a splendidly or ganized government in many respects, and were a people of luxury and splendor in their private life. Next comes the land of the Mayas and Quich-es, whose civilization was perhaps the highest of the North American continent. They are an ex tremely ancient race, their very rec ords carrying us far back into days when man was hardly supposed to have existed at all. Nearly all their cities—rich and beautiful—are now lost (and were lost even w'hen the Spanish came), in a sea of tropical verdure; and their value and beauty has been appreciated only within the last few generations. The story of the discoverers who have gone into the forests of Yucatan, Guatemala, and Oaxaca, and brought back the priceless knowledge of these wonders, is net only fascinating! but inspiring. Our whole horizon of knowledge is widened and pushed back, until we see the races of antiquity—in America as elsewhere—becoming greater as we venture farther and farther back into the night of time. The literature dealing with these subjects is very extensive, but the is by no means exhausted. Details of the ancient American arts, sciences, and religion are constantly added to our knowledge, proving how high a source the remains must have come from. But the delight in the splen dor and beauty of it all—the wonder and mystery of their origins, their his tory, and their fall; the romance of tracing their connections with other rations of anthjuity, the desire to pre serve all that remains—all of this, wonderful and ennobling as it is, is still inferior to the touch of the mighty spirit that informed these peo ple. They have left us the heritage of their thoughts, their achievements, and their precious knowledge, of which so little has yet been deciphered to inspire the children of another race. \ Vol. XXXV: No. 13 FOUNDATION OF FREEDOM Selected rOR the first time in 18 years the steel safe in the library of the State Department at Washing ton was opened and the Secretary of State displayed the original five sheets on which is written the constitution of the United States. The original of the Declaration of Independence was also displayed at the same time. The opening and displaying of the constitution and the Declaration of Independence was part of an official plan to offset any possible effects of “Red” activities and bring home t« the people of the United States the foundation on which their govern ment stands. In this movement the Secretary of State has enlisted the co-operation of the press and motion picture organi zations and, with this purpose in view, the newspaper correspondents who visit the State Department daily, 1 and representatives of the leading film companies and officials of the depart ment were present at the cremony. Pictures were made by motion camera men and the result will be that millions of patrons of “movie” theaters .will receiye a visualization of the document which constitutes the foundation of the United States gov ernment, and the story of the consti tution and the way it is being safe guarded by the government will again be recalled to the American public. This was the first time since 1902 that the constitution had been dis played. The constitution is preserved, to gether with the original parchment of the Declaration of Independence, in the large steel safe in the library of the State Department. The Secretary of State, as' temporary custodian of the constitution, is charged with the responsibility for its preservation in good condition. An inspection of its condition is made only at rare inter vals. The examination of the historic parchments was made the occasion of an informal ceremony "after it had been officially ascertained that the in strument was in a state of perfect pre servation. The Secretary of State addressed the officials, newspaper men and motion picture representatives present at the time. He referred to the significance of the American con stitution as representing all that was best and highest in government. “The Secretary of State,” he said, “being the custodian of the constitu tion, may at his discretion make an inspection of that document in order to assure himself that proper measures are being employed to protect it for this and future ages. That is the pur pose of this informal ceremony. I observe that it is perfectly protected from light and air and the elenients which ordinarily destroy written doc uments which may be exposed to them. We find the constitution safe so far as th? forces of nature s r " r ct rrred. We should pro- (Page s, Col.t) iOTA ;UOA.V ,LbXX .