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If Gutenberg had been born a Shawnee

Imagine Johannes Gutenberg born in the New World not in Germany. He could have been an Aztec or even a Mohawk. It could have been just a burp on someone’s long ago lifeline. His life’s ambition, the development of the printing press, would have seen fruition high in the Andes, the dark timber of the North or on one of the island cities of Montezuma’s Mexico.

He might have wandered the streets of Cusco, Peru instead of Mainz, Germany and began to experiment with a movable type printing press from populous Mississippi cities like Tanico or Coligoa in 1439. First it would be Johannes’ printing press then The Renaissance and The Age of Enlightenment in the New World?

Gutenberg could have easily picked up beer money by printing wedding invitations for the Lakota betrothed or produced those Mayan Calendars that everyone was talking about a few years ago. He could have even perfected the dirty Navajo postcard and introduced the classified ad phenomenon to the Nez Perce. It would be far more lucrative than printing Indulgences for the corrupt Catholic Church.

Then would surely come the newspaper to this vast, diverse mass of two mysterious continents. There would be the will and the way. People would read all about it from smoky newsrooms in Alaska to hectic copy desks in Tierra del Fuego. A distinct, if not proficient journalistic tradition could well have been in place by 1492 with tribal newspapers flourishing at least in the more populous regions.

Newspaper Rock in Utah

The news stories of the day might well have been digested in papers like the Passamaquoddy Post of the deeply forested Maritimes or the Arhuaco Herald of the snowcapped Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It would take some elbow grease along with a bizarre system of abode clay, chisels, medicinal plants, tree bark, animal horns, sacred water and finally a facsimile of paper, fashioned from the booty of two Chinese tuna boats that crashed on the coast near Salinas, Ecuador in 1440.

But the presentation of the news would be quite primitive at first like some “editorial scratched out on a wall in the plaza of Cajamarca” inland from where Pizarro and his third expedition first came ashore in 1530.

There had been runner headlines throughout the Caribbean when Colombo sighted landed in the Bahamas in 1492 but they had never in print until many years later when it was far too late. By the time someone had translated this tragic story from Carib to Quechua, the Potosi Mine was already in full operation, sending thousands of forced laborers to their deaths and shipping tons of silver back to Spain.


This terrifying editorial from The Machupe (Chile) Peeper warned: “There has been much hubbub about bearded gods riding monsters covered in steel. These are not gods. Not the gods from the East that we seek and that seek us, their people. They are the dark angels of the underworld, animal residue, the helmet and steel, the unclean that must be destroyed. Slaughter them on the beaches my brothers and sisters or suffer the fate of the damned. Let the sands of eternity take them back from whence they came.”

Pretty strong stuff, but mostly ignored even when picked up by the Inca Wire Service. A civil war was brewing again. Inca Number One near Cusco and Inca Number Two in Vilcabamba were far more concerned with fratricide than a bunch of hairy little devils in armor over on the coast.

Language difficulties prohibited clarity when messages arrived to the north and east urging people to stand and fight. Ego as well as distrust and ignorant beliefs in pagan gods didn’t help matters much but it did sell a lot of papers down the road.

Guttenberg could have even printed a bible revered by all of The Nations. Some historians believe he and his cohorts were responsible for the best-selling “101 Edible Roots and Berries of the Hudson River Valley” (1483), “Blueprint For the Solar Tipi” (1486) and the hard-nosed, though distressing self-help anthology “How I Stopped Hating White People” (1491) that was banned in German trenches during World War I and on US military installations in the 1960s.

If the popularity of the newspaper was any indication the peoples of the Americas wanted to know what was happening around them even if it was mashed, disguised and stepped on by countless editors from the cataclysmic corners of a society about to be overrun. We now ponderously enter the Golden Age of New World and Indigenous Reporting that stretched from about 1580 to 1880)

One particularly notable, and ominous ancient headline chronicles the arrival of Hernando DeSoto to the Arkansas Valley. It read:

Europeans Spotted West of Mississippi     June 30, 1545

If you see one of these call the authorities at once!

(Tanico Enquirer) A band of ragged Europeans were seen stealing chickens and corn early this morning near Grizzly Bend. Onlookers, shocked by the behavior, told The Tanico Tribune that heavy rain, prompted by sacrifices in the Temple of the Currents, drove them off by nightfall. An emergency village powwow has been called for later this afternoon. Chiefs say people should say in their wigwams until the intruders can be driven off. Rumors continue to fly regarding disease and steel although many of the North American tribes, dominated by more powerful neighbors, have joined the invaders hoping to gain back some autonomy and extract some measure of revenge on their longtime overlords. Taking advantage of fears and superstitions the Spanish were able to control vast swaths of Florida and the Mississippi Valley.

Some decades later a Sunday feature piece, this one from The Pawnee Daily Observer tells the tale of six white pioneer children who do not want to be repatriated after years in the forest with their new families.

Biting Tykes Attack Missionaries

(Apalachee Chieftan) “Wild Indians” from the ages of 5 to 13 lashed out at “rescuers coming to take them home and out of the clutches of evil savages” today as negotiations hit a wall in the ever-increasing violence pervading the valley since the pioneers began arriving to trap and hunt on our lands.

“We can only hope that these crude pilgrims get bored and move on,” said one War Chief. “There is no gold here that we know of, but if there was they could have it all if they’d just leave.”

The children were kidnapped during a skirmish between Cherokee commuters and a long line of wagon trains near Peachy Draw back when that was Cherokee land.

Saying the good women of the congregation hit them and called them names, the be-feathered and buckskinned brood then ran into the woods temporarily skirting the quandaries of Puritan circumstance.

Their fate will be decided by the US Cavalry slated to be in town over the weekend.

Getting back to the ancients and hot type, the emergence of the newspaper may have played havoc with sophisticated means of communication such as smoke signals, drums, runners as well as verbal histories and legends. It would however have presented a more comprehensive view of what was taking place all over the new World. Take the headline from the Cherokee Headdress which read: Andrew Jackson Steals Grandmother’s Cane or Great Father Buchanan Stokes Fears of Mexican Land Owners in California from The Achomawi Advertiser.

It was all there in black and white yet few people paid much attention unless they were directly affected. The Great White Father continued to encourage Scots-Irish settlement at the expense of present occupants. Business as usual. Pitting the landless poor against the native population has always been an integral part of genocide and worked like a charm in the 18th and 19th Centuries in North America.

Here’s a human-interest story from The Arapaho Arrowhead from that once must have had a printing press stashed somewhere near Sand Creek, Colorado.

Prospector Spared from the Tomahawk

(San Luis Valley, Colorado)   An elderly gold seeker was released unharmed by a war party of Comanche near here Friday. The prospector told our reporter he was saved because the painted warriors liked his rendition of “Has anybody here seen Molly? Molly from the Isle of Mann” which he then proceeded to belt out with bellowed enthusiasm much to the chagrin of all assembled.

As it turns out the braves did not like his singing and told him to leave before he woke the ancestors. Outward signs of singing, such as this, are seen as rude by most Comanche although more progressive sects see show music as akin to chanting and is cherished as a tuba accompaniment in desert nomad customs.

Then a ray of hope during the American Civil War from the Blackfoot Standard:

Death Toll Mounts Back east

(Powatoah Sun) At the end of the fighting at Fredericksburg the field hospitals are filled to the brim with wounded men now victims of the hacksaw and the butcher for a steel ball in the arm or leg. While the numbers of dead continue to mount Red men all over the West have began to wonder if they might get their land back.

Red man

Black man

“Some of us sit and watch,” smiled one Apache maiden. “Others plan for the day when the whites will bleed and breed themselves out of commission with these epic wars of malice and destruction. Peace and prosperity will come for my ravaged people in the wake of that departure, that banishment.”

Spotters near Chancellorsville report large troop buildups possibly indicating another slaughter in that demure wooded Virginia paradise. Unconfirmed sources have gone so far to predict that Confederate General Lee will strike north into Union territory if stoked by another lopsided victory.

For more on this crisis please turn to Lincoln Frees Black Man, Sends Troops to Attack Red Man

A few years after came coverage of an often-ignored episode near the Mexican Border

 Billy the Squid visits Geronimo stronghold near Bisbee

(Chiricahua Evening News) Infamous outlaw Billy the Squid paid a surprise visit to former adversaries in the Chiricahua Mountains today. The two fugitives met for three hours and discussed horses, whiskey and a temporary hideout for Squid who is being hunted by marshals from three territories.

Geronimo acknowledged that, although Squid was a punk and “as white as alabaster” he could be counted on as an ally in the struggle against the settlers who were taking all of the Apache land. Squid, who has been accused of over 35 murders in his short career, looked like the perfect hired gun despite his bilateral symmetry and the presence of eight arms under his coat.

“In these times we cannot afford to be picky,” said Geronimo. “Any enemy of my enemy is my friend.”


(Cheyenne Crier) The 7th Cavalry, under the choreographic direction of George Armstrong Custer, was destroyed near the Little Bighorn River by combined forces of Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapahoe and Dakota earlier today. The one-sided battle pitted the arrogant white soldiers  against a superior force of angry warriors who enticed the armed soldiers into a fight they could not win.

“The fighting force is no more,” chirped the Crier, voicing concern over retribution and the unending flow of European pilgrims into the Black Hills.

The body and hair of General Custer, were among the dead. The commander reputedly enjoyed raiding villages while the men were away and murdering women and children. So much for underestimating the anger and ferocity of one’s foe. Despite Custer’s bloody past he was celebrated in Washington as a fallen hero.


(Ute Tribune) The body of Rev Joseph Meeker was recovered Sunday, three days after his alleged murder at the hands of Northern Ute who had grown tired of his dictatorial proselytizing. The racist missionary had remained intent on saving the souls of these miserable pagans even when close friends and relatives told him to chill out.

The Ute accused Meeker of plowing up their horse racing tracks and desecrating sacred hot springs. Although passive at first the Ute braves realized this frontier saint was bad medicine and planned to force them to farm and take on the clothing, traditions and behavior of whites.

Meeker’s entourage in Northwestern Colorado warned him that there would be trouble if he did not back off. Even his wife, later one of the kidnap victims, said he was alienating the very people he hoped to save from eternal damnation.

Read all about it indeed. In later years the Native News would probably cover such phenomenon as Jim Thorpe, the Navajo Code Talkers, Shaman rebirth, and the explosion of casinos on Indian Land. We will take up that discussion next time.

Kevin Haley

Santa Claus Canadian

(Ottowa) The red-clad warrior of Christmas has admitted his Canadian ancestry today much to the dismay of millions of fans south of the border in the United States. Humbug? In January?

“We are stunned,” said a spokesman for retailers here. “Why would he mislead us? Why would he impersonate himself in such a cruel way? Lock him up!”

For centuries Santa Claus was considered to be a product of the U.S. since his trademark image was created by people like Thomas Nast, Clarence Horning, Frank Leslie and Winslow Homer. Despite these presumptions the elf’s continued insistence that he reside at the brutal North Pole and his long association with Canada should have indicated a rat in the mix.

“People would prefer to gloss over the reality of a situation rather than consider all the possibilities,” said social scientist Margaret Swede of Cal Polygamy, a visiting scholar here. “Why do they think the Canadian kids always got their presents first? He’s been a rabid fan of the Maple Leafs since the first power play. He even goes to Blue Jay’s games. That in itself shows substantial instability.”

What this disclosure will do to Christmas down in the colonies is not known but former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has bravely offered to fill in until a new Santa is appointed, or the old one is exonerated.

“Santa has mislead us for too long,” continued Swede. “Even liberal academia will be slow to forgive him for this ruthless act.”

As an acting Canadian, Santa is also a subject of the crown (Britain) which may not go down well in Fenian circles.

“His mother was a Murphy,” added Swede, “ahh, but don’t they forget the ould sod when they make a few quid across the sea.”

The United States is expected to impose economic sanctions against the Commonwealth of Canada for harboring the bearded fraud.

– Suzie Compost

Christmas Eve On Lonesome

It was Christmas Eve on Lonesome. But nobody on Lonesome knew that it was Christmas Eve, although a child of the outer world could have guessed it, even out in those wilds where Lonesome slipped from one lone log cabin high up the steeps, down through a stretch of jungled darkness to another lone cabin at the mouth of the stream.

There was the holy hush in the gray twilight that comes only on Christmas Eve. There were the big flakes of snow that fell as they never fall except on Christmas Eve. There was a snowy man on horseback in a big coat, and with saddlepockets that might have been bursting with toys for children in the little cabin at the head of the stream.

But not even he knew that it was Christmas Eve. He was thinking of Christmas Eve, but it was of the Christmas Eve of the year before, when he sat in prison with a hundred other men in stripes, and listened to the chaplain talk of peace and good will to all men upon earth, when he had forgotten all men upon earth but one, and had only hatred in his heart for him.

“Vengeance is mine! saith the Lord.”

That was what the chaplain had thundered at him. And then, as now, he thought of the enemy who had betrayed him to the law, and had sworn away liberty, and had robbed him of everything in life except a fierce longing for the day when he could strike back and strike to kill. And then, while he looked back hard into the chaplain’s eyes, and now, while he splashed through the yellow mud thinking of that Christmas Eve, Buck shook his head; and then, as now, his sullen heart answered:

“Mine!” The big flakes drifted to crotch and twig and limb. They gathered on he brim of Buck’s slouch hat, filled out the wrinkles in his big coat, whitened and his long mustache, and sifted into the yellow, twisting path that guided his horse’s feet.

High above he could see through the whirling snow now and then the gleam of a red star. He knew it was the light from his enemy’s window; but somehow the chaplain’s voice kept ringing in his ears, and every time he saw the light he couldn’t help thinking of the story of the Star that the chaplain told that Christmas Eve, and he dropped his eyes by and by, so as not to see it again, and rode on until the light shone in his face.

Then he led his horse up a little ravine and hitched it among the snowy holly and rhododendrons and slipped toward the light. There was a dog somewhere, of course; and like a thief he climbed over the low rail fence and stole through the snow-wet grass until he leaned against an apple-tree with the sill of the window two feet above the level of his eyes.

Reaching above him, he caught a stout limb and dragged himself up to a crotch of the tree. A mass of snow slipped softly to the earth. The branch creaked above the light wind; around the corner of the house a dog growled and he sat still.

He had waited three long years and he had ridden two hard nights and lain out two cold days in the woods for this.

And presently he reached out very carefully, and noiselessly broke leaf and branch and twig until a passage was cleared for his eye and for the point of the pistol that was gripped in his right hand.

A woman was just disappearing through the kitchen door, and he peered cautiously and saw nothing but darting shadows. From one corner a shadow loomed suddenly out in human shape. Buck saw the shadowed gesture of an arm, and he cocked his pistol. That shadow was his man, and in a moment he would be in a chair in the chimney corner to smoke his pipe, maybe – his last pipe.

Buck smiled – pure hatred made him smile – but it was mean, a mean and sorry thing to shoot this man in the back, dog though he was; and now that the moment had come a wave of sickening shame ran through Buck. No one of his name had ever done that before; but this man and his people had, and with their own lips they had framed palliation for him. What was fair for one was fair for the other they always said. A poor man couldn’t fight money in the courts; and so they had shot from the brush, and that was why they were rich now and Buck was poor – why his enemy was safe at home, and he was out here, homeless, in the apple-tree.

Buck thought of all this, but it was no use. The shadow slouched suddenly and disappeared; and Buck was glad. With a gritting oath between his chattering teeth he pulled his pistol in and thrust one leg down to swing from the tree – he would meet him face to face next day and kill him like a man – and there he hung as rigid as though the cold had suddenly turned him, blood, bones, and marrow, into ice.

The door had opened, and full in the firelight stood the girl who he had heard was dead. He knew now how and why that word was sent to him. And now she who had been his sweetheart stood before him – the wife of the man he meant to kill.

Her lips moved – he thought he could tell what she said: “GI up, Jim it up!” Then she went back.

A flame flared up within him now that must have come straight from the devil’s forge. Again the shadows played over the ceiling. His teeth grated as he cocked his pistol, and pointed it down the beam of light that show into the heart of the apple-tree, and wailed.

The shadow of a head shot along the rafters and over the fireplace. It was a madman clutching the butt of the pistol now, and as his eye caught the glinting sight and his heart thumped, there stepped into the square light of the window – a child!

It was a boy with yellow tumbled hair, and he had a puppy in his arms. In front of the fire the little fellow dropped the dog, and they began to play.

“Yap! Yap! Yap!”

Buck could hear the shrill barking of the fat little dog, and the joyous shrieks of the child as he made his playfellow chase his tail round and round or tumbled him head over heels on the floor. It was the first child Buck had seen for three years; it was his child and hears; and, in the apple-tree, Buck watched fixedly.

They were down on the floor now, rolling over and over together; and he watched them until the child grew tired and turned his face to the fire and lay still – looking into it. Buck could see his eyes close presently, and then the puppy crept closer, put his head on his playmate’s chest, and the two lay thus asleep.

And still Buck looked – his clasp loosening on his pistol and his lips loosening under his stiff mustache – and kept looking until the door opened again and the woman crossed the floor. A flood of light flashed suddenly on the snow, barely touching the snow-hung tips of the apple-tree, and he saw her in the doorway – saw her look anxiously into the darkness – look and listen a long while.

Buck dropped noiselessly to the snow when she closed the door. He wondered what they would think when they saw his tracks in the snow the next morning; and then he realized that they would be covered before the morning.

As he started up the ravine where his horse was he heard the clink of metal down the road and the splash of a horse’s hoofs in the soft mud, and he sank down behind a holly-bush.

Again the light from the cabin flashed out on the snow.

“That you, Jim?”


And then the child’s voice: “Has oo dot thum tandy?”


The cheery answer rang out almost at Buck’s ear, and Jim passed death waiting for him behind the bush which was left foot brushed, shaking the snow from the red berries down on the crouching figure beneath.

Once only, far down the dark jungled way, with underlying streak of yellow that was leading him wither, God only knew – once only Buck looked back. There was the red light gleaming faintly through the moonlit flakes of snow. Once more he thought of the Star, and once more the chaplain’s voice came back to him.

“Mine!” said the Lord.

Just how, Buck could not see, with himself in the snow and him back there for life with her and the child, but some strange impulse made him bare his head.

“Yourn,” said Buck grimly.

But nobody on Lonesome – not even Buck – knew that it was Christmas Eve.

Copyright 1901

by Charles Scribner’

Trump Appoints new Chief of Staff/Defense Secretary

News that President Trump had Vladimir Putin to act as both White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of Defense has stunned Washington. Putin, a former KGB officer who is currently President of Russia, will begin his responsibilities after the New Year. Insiders say Trump will dump Mike Pence and embrace the Russian leader as his running-mate in 2020. (Black Russian Photo Service). In response Pence has reportedly booked one-way tickets to Mars.


CBMR to purchase “feeder college”

Crested Butte/Vail Mountain Resort announced plans to purchase Western Colorado University as a feeder facility by the end of the month. Although details are sketchy it appears that the ski resort wants to assure the presence of skier days and provide a place to educate the public as to space charges.

We don’t know what space charges are but we’ll be offering an academic explanation real damn soon,” said Dr. Ethel Marmotbreath, coordinator of the downhill acquisition. “The formula is elusive but has something to do with the multiplication of .0175 by the number of college grads flipping burgers in the Gunnison Valley. Now when students cut morning classes they can buy a half day ticket and nobody will tell their parents.”

Feds allocate millions in search of Buttheads

Despite an image as No Clone and anti-stem cell research, the White House has put aside an additional 3.4 million dollars earmarked for canine potty control in the nation’s ski towns. At present the research has bogged down and proponents of the program now say they’ll need more money to finish the job.

“What began as a ridiculous result gov’ment meddling has now stranded itself in the alleys and vacant lots of towns like Crested Butte,” said Rocky Flats, blueprint specialist attached to the Department of the Exterior. “It’s simple…Either we extend cleanup efforts or go right to the source of the problem. Normally we can skate through March but on a light snow year we could all be up Shiite Creek.”

How or if local dogs will be hermetically sealed and subject to inspection was not discussed but Flats, who made millions marketing marmot dung as the aphrodisiac of the 90s, the program will give new meaning to “the big dump”.

Interested parties can offer their input by stopping by the departmental offices located inside the Pooper Park Chalet anytime between now and Valentine’s Day.

Links for all seasons

A fantasy foursome loads its clubs and takes off for the first tee. They are Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Vladimir Putin and Gina Haspel (Head of the CIA).   Alternates: Stormy Daniels. Caddie: Mike Pence.

Pelosi: I’ll take a mulligan.

Putin: But you haven’t even hit a ball yet.

Haspel: Maybe you should hit from the Ladies’ tee.

Pelosi: How many chances do I get?

Trump: One. Make it a good one.

Putin: We’re all watching your every move.

Haspel: Smooth swing now, Birdie.

Putin: Ask those security people to back away. I’m likely to drive the green.

Trump: I did that last time. I was fantastic.

Pelosi: It’s a long way with a serious dogleg to the right.

Haspel: Those aren’t security people. They are the caterers.

Pelosi: Then why are they on the course?

Trump: They came to see me. They think I’m wonderful.

Putin: No. They came to see me. I promised them Polish vodka.

Trump: People continually tell me I remind them of Elvis. He is my idol and has been since I visited Graceland during a prep school outing.

Putin: My hero is Joseph Stalin even though he couldn’t sink a putt to save his life.

Pelosi: He had plenty of KGB helpers to kick the ball into the hole when no one was looking.

Haspel: But that’s cheating. Who is your hero Nancy?

Pelosi: Nancy Sinatra

Putin: Me too and Ukraine.

Trump:  You’ve done a fantastic job there. Magnificent. Your shot (to Haspel). Who do you look up to, besides me, I mean…

Haspel: John Wayne. I’m the female John Wayne.

Putin: Watch the sand trap. The pin is to the front of the green.

Trump: Well done. I got a four on that.

Pence: I think you got a seven.

Daniels: Closer to a zero.

Haspel: I’d use a pitching wedge and lay up this side of the water hazard. It worked at Guantanamo and that’s a tough back nine.

Daniels: I love it when you talk dirty.

Pence: Hot dog for anyone at the turn? I’ll run interference since they’ll be a slew of pushy reporters asking lots of questions about immigration, climate change, China, pollution, overpopulation, the Black Sea and nuclear arsenals. Does anyone have any answers they would like me to share?

Haspel: Yes. Keep you body still and follow through.

Pelosi: Keep your head down.

Putin: Keep your feet firmly planted.

Trump: Use a stronger grip and a pencil on your scorecard.

– Darlene Duffer