Friday, April 22, 2016

Pictures of the Powhatan Confederacy Before Colonial Expansion

Pictures of the Powhatan Confederacy Before Colonial Expansion

These pictures were drawn for early colonial records by some of the first colonists to encounter the Powhatan Confederacy, in modern day Virginia and surrounding area.  The Powhatans were/ are a south-easterly Algonquian people.  These images are actually very interesting as the pictures portray acts such as ceremonial dancing, medicine people, and the like. 

First, let's look at a close-up of my favorite image from the group of pics:

The above picture is astounding.  The medicine person is sitting in a raised "stupa"-like hut.  Notice his hair style- the top knot.  Also traditional tattoos and necklaces.  What astounds me the most is his posture.  A triangular (aka "pyramidal") posture from the crown of head to the soles of his feet .  Straight back with hands over his knees- with my experience in exercise I would gander that he has completed an energy circuit through his body.  Also pay close attention to his legs.  I challenge the reader's of this blog to emulate his leg posture- most will not be able to do it.  His knees are straight horizontally, stretched all the way out and straight.  It is not a normal posture.  With my experience in martial arts training and other modes of exercise I can definitely say that this posture, especially the leg posture is hard to achieve by a modern western perspective.  I do not have a name for this medicine person of the Powhatan Confederacy, but when one knows what they are looking at, one must realize that this medicine person's posture is of the highest quality, when compared to other world traditions such as a Tibetan yoga for instance.  So this makes me wonder about several things- at the time of contact between the Powhattan Confederacy and English colonists, some people within the Powhatan community must have either A) practiced some kind of well refined exercise modality/ regimen or B) practiced bone setting (breaking bones and re-setting them) to gain the level of achievement from the posture shown in the above picture. 

Next, more pictures, the source from which the above picture comes from.  The striking thing about these pics is the comparison between the Native people and the colonists.  The native people are taller, more well built and 'handsome' by comparison.  Also notice in the left hand corner; despite the apparent struggle, it appears the native person has taken the colonist up to a high point to over-look the country, probably the domain of the local Powhatan people's territory.  Also note the well defined path-ways (pretty much road systems) that the Powhatan people used, as evidenced from the picture:  


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