Preface to the storiesA chief purpose of the story part of this book is to deliver information in a manner which will provide enjoyment to imaginative children and adults with a lively sense of curiosity about the world around them. One way to do this is to create stories which are based on scientific information, but in which specific details are fictionalized and compressed. The third part of this book, then, consists of stories, as true to existing scientific knowledge as possible, but fictional, nevertheless. Together, the sroties and pictures in these following pages are intended to create ipressions, to provide the reader with a feel for past lifeways and people.
This book, including the following stories, is concerned with people about whom the only information we have is what remains in the soil in the form of sites and artifacts. I wish to make it clear that while this book and the stories in particular deal with people who were ancestral to present North American peoples, in no way is it possible to isolate any group to which these early people were direct ancestors.
All cutlures, past and present, are dynamic, changing through time. Even languages change so much that if we heard a two thousand year old language now it would be understanable only to someone who had studied it. A good example is Latin, which developed into modern Italian.
All of the stories are based on reasonable speculation. This is based on ethnographic analogy, a major technique used by North American students of prehistory; comparison of the material remains left by now-vanished groups of people with those used by known libing or recent societies.
The characters, situation, and events dramatized in the fictional stories are entirely the products of my own imagination, and do not intentionally represent any living or historic characters, situations or events. Similarly, the stories are not meant to encompass all aspects of prehistoric life, only some of them.
The stories are set mostly in times when important innovations occured which improved the lives of the people. I won't tell you what these are in this preface. To find out you must read on.
The most recent events mentioned in the stories occurred more than fifteen hundred years ago. These are the introduction of the bow-and-arrow and pottery to central North America. Archaeologists cannot show scientifically, and these stories do not speculate on, the cultural identity of the peoples who inhabited central North America fifteen hundred years ago and longer. I leave the writing of the history and ethnohistory of the present aboriginal peoples of North Americal to historians and ethnologists, indigenous and otherwise.