Turtle, Mother Earth Painting by Ruthie Landelius, ©2015
A guide to
Myths and Legends
in the film Perjury of Time
by Randall Derrick
One of the first conflicts during the pre-production was to change perspectives and distance myself from the original place names by creating new location metaphors designed to protect certain sites from looters and robbers. For purposes of realism most of the film was shot on location and that includes the famous “Six Toes” site, "Old Water Set Afire by Lightning" and “Where Water Rushes from the Snakes Mouth.” This is an opportunity to assume interpretation of a particular event in history by creating new devices like metaphors, myths and legends to encapsulate and transport these few facts into the future.
It’s been long established that history will become distorted over time. Civilizations counter this problem by creating myths and legends about everything. Facts about especially important stuff like human creation, heroic characters, epic events and the like are locked into special fact containers that carry information across time and space preserving its legacy. It resembles a physical object from the past, sometimes real and sometimes unquestionable. The film Perjury of Time illustrates several recently discovered homicides but lacks the omniscience of an eye witnesses or a lasting preservation process to fully comprehend these stunning events of history.
Equally important is the existence of ancient icons created by temporal actors of the time. These elements serve as a springboard for the creation of fictive myths that help the story set its own metaphorical values and by their very nature become legitimate myths and legends in their own right.
Beginning with the turtle and footprint petroglyphs at Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument this short elaboration serves to orient the listener to the mythical and authentic background context in legendary terms that illuminate both circumstance and character. Perjury of Time is fictive history that moves the story forward in time with no other method than a few myth-protected facts.
Turtle, Mother Earth is the geographical place name of the Earth among many Native Americans and other groups around the world. Turtle, Mother Earth is a veritable Garden of Eden whose name and legacy have remained the same through out its history. It isn’t a religious Utopia or an ideology but a real place. The story of the Earth and its Creator are represented in the film by turtle and footprint petroglyphs at Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument.
The Turtle Creation Myth ( The Story of Turtle, Mother Earth) is common among many Native groups in North America and serves as the Creation myth for their cultural identity. The animation in the film is an extrapolation of a connection between the actual turtle and a few similar stories regarding turtles as similar and significant icons. The story in Perjury of Time is an exaggeration of the meaning of the turtle petroglyphs that were common among the Antelope Creek phase culture that populated the Canadian River basin between about 1100AD and 1500AD. The actual turtle carving is a fact hidden deeply in the historical container destined for the future and this is our version.
The Footprint Legend is equally compelling as told by an Osage Shaman:
[After Anghenii’s] (Sky Woman’s) creation of Turtle, Mother Earth:
“Years later, on a rare visit, Sky Woman’s father even walked the earth and we know that because his footprints remain in rocks broken from the turtle’s shell.”
The footprint petroglyph at Six Toes Carved into A Rock is very similar to the footprint a few miles downstream at the Alibates monument. The footprint carving has two feet carved into a rock and the icon at Alibates is a single footprint carved in distorted dimension. There are approximately an equal number of footprint and turtle carvings at the Monument. Both icons seem to be of mutual importance at numerous sites, forming another connection between the Six Toes Carved into a Rock and the Antelope Creek culture.
Along with the turtle carvings the footprint carvings are directly representative of the Antelope Creek phase and an easy assumption about the design and treatment of the footprint is they’re related in metaphysical and corpus regnum style succession: similar to other footprints around the world. To the Romans the footprint represented an important leadership icon implying a lasting mythical existence through history ad infinitum.
“Shaman ground dust from the footprints of their Creator and gave medicine to future leaders of the clan.”
Inside the largest Alibates footprint carving lie numerous pock marks seemingly drilled into the rock. Similar markings are drilled into the dolomite and limestone buildings blocks of the Roman Colosseum. Vocationalists and tour guides preach the drillings were to harvest the raw calcium from the rocks for medicinal purposes most particularly as a mineral supplement for pregnant women. Since the physiology of human creativity is often similar throughout the world many of the meanings of icons can be compared and declared as similar in utility. The Perjury film has made this assumption which can be seen in the footprint narrative. It’s another meta-container whose task is, like the turtle, moving forward in time ad infinitum.
Pangi’a is the place name of all the continents when combined in a into single landmass. The name is identical to the word "Pangia" used by modern geologists describing the single land mass before tectonic activity. Yellow Across the Horizon sits mid way up the latitude in Pangi’a. The weather pattern is dominated by strong dry and hot westerlies created by the adiabatics of high elevations directly to the west.
Blood of Mother Earth is the Canadian River that originates near Raton, New Mexico and ends at its confluence with the Arkansas River. The bloody red water is the origin of the name “Blood of Mother Earth.” As the river cuts through the Permian Red Beds it picks up red dirt and colors the river like blood reflecting from the sky. The red color is most prevalent after a heavy rain.
There are also fossil springs of gypsum and crystal clear water combined that merge into Blood of Mother Earth. The bloody water is undrinkable.
Yellow Across the Horizon is an adaptation of place name “Horizontal Yellow” which was used by the Kiowa that occupied the northern edge of the Great Southern Llano shortly before contact (c. 1800). Our original source is from a book by Dan Flores called, Horizontal Yellow.
The Tierra Blanca Arroyo stretches from Eastern New Mexico across the modern Texas panhandle. Its confluence with Palo Duro Creek east of the city of Canyon, Texas creates the Prairie Dog Town Creek Fork, the furthest west headwater to the Red River. Archaeologists have dated The Apache (Querecho) occupation of the Tierra Blanca to about 1100 AD. A site near its eastern path, near modern Hereford, Texas, is referred to as the Tierra Blanca Complex in archaeology.
Where Water Rushes from the Snakes Mouth is the location of the modern Alibates Flint Quarries and the Alibates villages which include the petroglyph gallery of turtles and footprint carvings. It was the spiritual home of the I’dee in the Blood of Mother Earth Valley.
Over the centuries different groups frequented the Alibates Flint Quarries in search of the lithic resources required of survival. There were other fruits and benefits of the region and the site at Alibates sat in direct proximity to several strategic reserves. There were the flint quarries a quarter mile away, at least one fossil spring that discharged the clearest water the Ogalalla Aquifer had to offer and plenty of available natural sustenance among the flora and fauna. Assumptions of the significance of its location are based on these three attributes and a result of their lifestyle can still be seen in the architecture and rock carvings. Tools left in place after 1500AD make anthropologists and archaeologists curious about their fate. When the Spanish explorer Coronado traversed the far eastern frontier of their occupation the Spaniard's chroniclers made no mention of Natives living in stone dwellings. They only mentioned the blood drinking Querecho who were probably early Apache explorers at that time. They were the pedestrian nomads of the Great Llano.
The shape of the petroglyph gallery and its proximity to the village and quarries lend assumptions of its importance in Antelope Creek life along the Blood of Mother Earth valley. The petroglyph gallery faces north and on clear summer evenings one can watch the Big Dipper (Ursa major) rotate around its axis (Polaris) the North Star and then lay itself to rest below the horizon:
“The symbol of Turtle, Mother Earth sits here, looking north over the Bloody River reminiscing as the Big Dipper rolls below the horizon in the early summer mornings. “
Where the Sun Rises Against the Wind is a mythical location whose real identity lends its namesake to the culture of the region: Antelope Creek. The site is one the most excavated of all the Antelope Creek sites. Antelope Creek is a major tributary into the Blood of Mother Earth. Its confluence is on the south bank and enters the Bloody River basin several miles downstream from the Snakes Mouth. The remains of Anghenii dahteste ih-sonsee were found in a burial here along with her shaman tools.
Six Toes Carved into A Rock is the original site location of the massacre of three families. Room Number One was a single dwelling that contained the complete skeletons of twenty one men, women and children. Inside that same dwelling researchers also found eleven severed skulls. No other skeletal remains were found. Within a few feet of that dwelling in Room Number Two, archaeologists found a petroglyph in the alter. It was a rock carving with two footprints carved into it. One of the feet had six toes. The myth of the “Six Toes” petroglyph was the catalyst for the name of the fictional character Daso Daha, “The Great Hawk.”
The remains wer discovered and recorded in 1964 by archaeologists excavating along the Bloody River. The excavation was intended to salvage prehistoric artifacts and remains before the area was inundated by water halted by the Sanford Dam. The reservoir would be called Lake Meredith. Six Toes Carved into a Rock is an actual location whose name and location will not be mentioned here.
Six Toes is near where the Great Bloody River turns north and it was occupied continuously since 900 AD. Originally a Lago Arroyo (Lake Creek) site, new dwellings were built between 900 and 1100 AD and again between 1275 AD and 1420 AD. The three dwellings that existed when the attacks of 1447AD took place were the last known permanently occupied dwellings. They we’re built and occupied by the same occupants.
The evolution in time between 900 AD and 1275 AD was a time period of consolidation for the Antelope Creek culture. There were similarities between the main villages that developed between 1100AD and 1500AD, the official window of time of its occupation, and the results are what is known today as “Antelope Creek architecture.”
Six Toes predates the latest architectural construction at Snakes Mouth and Where the Sun Rises. The occupants of Six Toes cultivated the flood plain of the Bloody River directly east of the site. They, like other villages in the basin, traded food for flint from Snakes Mouth.
Fossil valley is located almost directly east across the Bloody River and a few miles upstream. It was an older sister village to Six Toes and it’s believed Eknath’e was from here but there’s a possibility she was from a smaller village slightly to the west of Six Toes. In the waning days of the Antelope Creek occupation water shortages became more common and the best fresh water could be found above the floodplain near the source of fossil springs. As the drought worsened toward the 16th Century occupants began moving eastward into the Woodlands where higher seasonal rainfall provided a more consistent supply of fresh water.
Where the Juniper Tree Stands Alone is an actual location directly across from the Six Toes site. it’s a single juniper tree that today is possibly two hundred years old. The tree had an ancient fire pit directly beneath it. The proximity of the tree to the fire pit raises obvious questions leaving one to figure the fire pit predated the tree. Its location high above the river plain gave good visibility up and down the river valley for miles. This site is a fabrication for the convenience of the film and thus requires its own myth and legend.
Where the Juniper Tree Stands Alone is a place named in the legend of A-paytah-a and his future bride, Ati-kushala.
A-paytah-a was the legendary “tender of the fire” signals for the Antelope Creek in the area near Six Toes. Smoke plumes and flames of these signal fires could be seen for miles both day and night and the importance of the “Tender of the Fires” to the integrity of the villages cannot be overemphasized.
A-paytah-a, the Tender of Fires, was always suspicious of a jealous warrior who was in love with Ati-kushala, his future bride. There were rumors and gossip about her beauty among the men in the clan. Ati-kushala’s body was never tended properly and was carried off by Eagles. Her spirit wanders the Earth to this day.
A-paytah-a was tortured by this guilt until the end of his life. He neglected the responsibilities of his legend as “tender of signals” and spend his time on Earth foolishly chasing the spirit of Ati-kushala.
That is why no one was watching from Juniper Tree Stands Alone.
Old Water Set Afire by Lightning is actually a fossil spring occupied by Anglo settlers in the late 19th Century. It’s only a few miles west of modern Amarillo, Texas. The USGS place name is Tecovas Creek. It’s a tributary to the Canadian River which lies just to the north and was a well known trading site among Comancheros and other Native groups that travelled and explored the Great Llano from the beginning of time. Tents were erected and thus its namesake Tecovas which means tents in Spanish. It was a seasonal tent city that attracted traders for miles around. In the film Kuterestan, the Querecho Creator, blasted a hole in the Earth, releasing a spring of fresh water that flowed north into the Blood of Mother Earth.
Indee, or Ndee is a mostly Apache language dialect, (similar to the Navajo Ndee biyati' / Nnee biyati’ or Western Apache/Southern Athabascan). The name might refer to a group with early southern Athabascan language dialects. For the purposes of this film a reverse play on word “Dine” yielded “I’ndee” which means the same thing to the earlier Athabaskans who settled prior to the powerful Southern Athabaskan Navajo and Apache. The “I’ndee” in the film are the Antelope Creek culture.
The Querecho were probably Plains Apache (also known as Na'isha, Lanes, or Semat). They were descendants of travelers who migrated from the west during some early population dynamics between the Navajo, the Anasazi and other exiting Athabascan tribes. The term “Querecho was a name given to Apachaen tribes encountered by Coronado on his adventure across the Llano Estacado. Querecho was a general term referring to Mescalero, Jicarilla and Lipan Apaches that populated the Llano Estacado between 1500AD and 1700AD. They were nomadic groups that hunted buffalo and lived exclusively on the kill until later periods where they began cultivation to supplement their diet. Complex agriculture is necessary for an expanding population and it’s possible the I’dee abandoned control of the Bloody River basin because of changing climactic conditions that reduced seasonal agricultural yields. The I’dee simply could not sustain a large population with limitations and fluctuation in annual rainfall.
The Mogollon were southern tribes along the southern Rio Grande valley. Their language group included the Jornada and Mimbres Mogollon They were displaced or absorbed by the Querecho by about 1500AD.
Tierras Canyon are the canyon lands directly off the eastern edge of the Llano Estacado. The Tierras Canyon culture was ultimately absorbed by the Querecho beginning as early as 1100AD. Some believe the Tierras Canyon people were trade partners and go-betweens between the Antelope Creek and other groups to the south, particularly the Tey'a and Mogollon
Tey’a is an extinct tribe that flourished in central Texas, possibly a predecessor linguistically to the Lipan Apaches that occupied the same region following the extinction of the Tey'a.
Pecos are groups that occupied the Pecos River valley from central west Texas north into modern New Mexico. They were influential in the architectural developments of the I’dee and were constant and trusted trading partners. The Pecos pueblo people in the film Perjury of Time occupied modern Santa Fe. They were defeated in a rebellion by the Spanish.
Daso daha Shilajh ("Coyote’s Brother") was the only son of Eknath’e and Daso Daha, "The Great Hawk." Shilajh was the only survivor of an attack on Six Toes in 1447 that left everyone dead but him. Shilajh at the behest of Anghenii and Nantan, gains revenge on Enli’s clan in the attack on Old Water Set Afire by Lightning ..
Enli Kuzinkinsce’a (“Hunted Coyote”) was the son of Gosheven, a Querech clan leader that hunted the western Llano between 1400 and 1425 AD. Normally comfortable in the Mescalero Escarpment region they were pushed from the west by the Navajo expansion and looked toward the Llano for a new homeland. Gosheven and a hunting party explored areas near the northern edge of the Llano and thats where they discovered what appeared to be a large, flourishing culture. He and some others kidnapped Daso Daha’s wife Eknath’e. Gosheven produced several children from her and their last son, Enli Kuzinkinsce’a, migrated east onto the northern Llano and discovered the oasis at Old Water Set Afire by Lightning.
Anghenii dahteste-ih sonsee is a composite character:
1. she is a direct descendant of the founders of Turtle, Mother Earth.
2. Her father left footprints as he walked the earth. She gave medicine to pregnant women, actually dolomite dust ground from the footprints of their Creator.
3. She held the izzy cloth that told the past and predicted the future of the villages. She was the preeminent female shaman to the villages and knew the heath of the villages by watching child births in all the villages surrounding the Snakes Mouth.
4. She was well travelled and talked to people far from the Blood of Mother Earth valley. Stories of her were were repeated by Cabeza de Vaca whom she met as he traversed southern Tey'a territory. She was remembered in his writings as a tattoo-faced Albino woman surrounded by demons and angels. She was very old. It’s believed she sanctioned the revenge killings at Old Water Set Afire by Lightning by I'ndee warriors from several villages along the Blood of Mother Earth.
5 She lived to be over 100 years old. Her remains were discovered in a burial at a place called Where the Sun Rises Against the Wind. Her burial was unique in that it contained her shaman tools and an izzy-cloth that was filled with cryptic objects that included human fingers and ears.
Eknath’e was a young shaman and poet from a village upstream from Six Toes She was probably the daughter of a clan leader. She married Daso Daha ("The Great Hawk") in an arranged marriage. They had an only son, Daso daha Shilajh Eknath'e was kidnapped about 1425 by a Querecho hunting party from the west. She was never heard from again.
Daso-daha ("The Great Hawk") was the hamlet leader at Six Toes Carved into a Rock. His nickname "Six Toes" became the namesake of the three house-village where the Great Bloody River turns north. He married Eknath’e ("The Poet") in an arranged marriage. He was murdered by Tierras Canyon traders who were attempting to subvert Indee trade agreements with the Mimbres-Mogollon of the southern Pecos basin. Weeks after his death, about 1425, his wife Eknath’e was kidnapped by a roving band of Querechos from the west.
Gohsheven was Enli Kuzinkinsce'a's birth father. He brought the spirit of Kuterestan, their Creator, to the edge of the modern Llano Estacado. Although he hunted there and kidnapped to expand his clan he spent his last days along the Mescalero Escaprment with his wife, Eknath’e, the poet who was kidnapped from far across the Llano in the early part of the Fifteenth Century. Pushed east by expanding Navajo, the Apaches groups spread like a wave from modern north central Arizona and New Mexico and down into Texas and Mexico where they flourished and fought the Europeans and became the final legacy of the Native American in the south central region.
Produced by the Genius Coalition