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Extra resources for History, Literature, and the Writing of the Canadian Prairies
Dinosaur bones come out of the ground like rocks with frost, and the sparse upland grass does not hide the projectile points nor stone hammers that lie upon the hillsides, blending, like the tipi rings, into the rock-strewn ground. These High Plains, which travellers have sometimes claimed were barren, throb with a history that predates history, ossified. The tectonic plates that crawl like turtles across the earth's mantle carry their shell of fossil forests from warmer latitudes and warmer times up here where the sun slants even at noon as it beats upon your head in prairie July.
The technology of the people conjectured to have hunted the megafauna was flint projectile points mounted on wood, and the projectile points remain. What they meant in the context of their culture, no one now knows, and perhaps it will remain unknowable. The technology 28 The Tantalizing Possibility of Living on the Plains of the horse, buffalo, and Sun Dance culture remains—if not intact, certainly documented by anthropologists and reimagined by the dancers. The technology of the people who brought the plough and the spotted cow is manifest on the Plains.
We humans are, however, quite important to ourselves. The land will survive us as it survived the dinosaurs. But we will not survive our ecological niche. Thus, it behooves us to respect the land, lest it cast us away as small micro-organisms to be burnt off mother earth with a good fever. ENDNOTES 1. Paul Martin, "The Discovery of America," Science 179 (1973): 969-973. Cited in Don Gayton, The Wheatgrass Mechanism: Science and Imagination in the Western Canadian Landscape (Saskatoon: Fifth House, 1990).