See a fascinating video made in 1978 of a conversation between him and three students here. His insights are still rich and startling, his humor subtle and gentle.
Deloria’s most famous book was “Custer Died For Your Sins,” and it is far funnier than the title would indicate. Our favorite part was his challenge of the accepted ideas of anthropologists that he encountered in his academic studies.
He challenged orthodox anthropology’s notion that all American Indians crossed a long-ago “land bridge” that linked Asia and Alaska. Not only Indians, but also trees seemed to have crossed that boundary. His ridiculing of the idea, plus his questions, “What evidence did you base that claim on?” and getting no answers, no links, no references, no papers…, is simply hilarious.
“Did the trees walk?” he asked, IIRC, though we can’t find our copy of the book. “No,” he answered his own question. “Everybody knows trees can’t walk. Perhaps they tossed their cones far away in order to plant young trees farther out.”
One would think that no one could be more ridiculous than that, but now, here comes another academic with another far-out theory of “walking trees.” Here’s the complete story, as related by Random Lengths today:
Climate change moves tree species, according to report
A huge “migration” of trees has begun across much of the West because of [Note grant-worthy lead here] global warming , insect attack, diseases, and fire, according to a new study by forest researchers. Many tree species are projected to decline or die out in regions where they have been present for centuries, while others move in and replace them. The study suggests that many species that were once able to survive and thrive are losing their competitive footholds, and opportunistic newcomers will eventually push them out. “Some of these changes are already happening, pretty fast and in some huge areas,” said Richard Waring, professor emeritus at Oregon State University and lead author of the study. – 11/16/2011
Before anyone falls for this global warming meme, wait for IFO’s report on the AMS-Oregon meeting at the end of this month. Should be fun!